Well we have finally come to the end of the Covid Season and what a super showdown do we have on tap today. Oh to be a younger NFL Fan today. When I was younger the Superbowl was dominated by teams hundreds of miles from Foxboro and games that were largely over before they started. To have had a recent string of competitive Super Bowls over the last 6+ seasons has been a treat… but today’s offering of Da Big Game has the promise of something that all us DFSers love: A SHOOTOUT! No, not at the OK Corral and No not at Swarangens in Deadwood… no today’s shootout is primed to occur in the Sunshine state with Swashbucklin’ cannons and at least 10,000 witnesses live on hand.
Ok, hyperbole aside we do have a DFS Showdown slate to talk about. So let’s get down to business.
Lineup Construction and Contest Selection strategy:
When I think of this game and the Chiefs and Buccaneers I think it may be very easy to fall into the trap of Patrick Mahomes at Captain and one of either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce in the Flex, paired with Brady and whichever Buc Wideout you can afford and maybe a cheap kicker. I would say 90% of lineups will look like that today – and why not? Patrick Mahomes is the highest projected player on the slate and rostering both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be cost prohibitive so you have to choose – right? Well I am not saying that is right or wrong but what I am saying is you need to think differently if you want to get a leg up on 90% of your competition.
The first bit of strategy I am going to employ is to Mass Multi Enter. I don’t usually talk or recommend what contests to put your money towards, but here I want to explain how I am and why. If you think of the Super Bowls of the past, think of all of the times a star rises from the crowd that at the start of the game the majority of the 20 million viewers at home are like – Who? Be it a Defensive Stud, a Wide Receiver, a Kicker … I think we all have memories of Super Bowls where someone stepped up. So while I am not saying to base a lineup on the past, what I am saying is multi entering (mass multi entering really) will allow me the room to have flexibility in some of my lineups that kinda get weird, while still allowing me to have a lineup with the headline studs… does that make sense? It also will allow me the chance to not just have Patrick Mahomes in my captain slot but have several lineups with a different captain.
Ownership is important in DFS but the one thing to keep in mind is with only one game – two teams – getting away from having some Chalk players in your lineup will be impossible. So you have to think more in terms of your construction in that landing on the right combination of Chalk vs lower owned players will be extremely tough to pinpoint in a single entry or even a 3 entry max. So my first advice here is to consider your bank roll and consider mass multi entering and give yourself more ability to cover the field. I will help you here with picks to help you build from but if you can afford it, I recommend mass multi-entering and creating variance. The reality is that if indeed 90% of the field will construct a lineup with Mahomes, Hill or Kelce, Brady, Cheapest Buc pass catcher and Kicker and only 5 of your 20 linueps look like that, but the other 15 are built differently – the leverage those other 15 lineups have given you could be the difference between cashing or not… If you have further questions on this approach send me a DM @DelRayBoston
DFS is tough and most people do not win money. Let’s get that out in the open. I am currently on a NBA losing streak that makes me want to pack it in and give it up. But if you love the thrill of a DFS Contest like I do – you can’t give up! As long as it doesn’t bankrupt you in the process I mean.
So when I say think differently, the first thing to do is to think back as much as you can at losing lineups that you thought were going to be winners and think about how you could have built that lineup differently. Maybe you thought I need to build this lineup so I am not just playing all of the Chalk players and you went real deep on value targets that you thought carried no ownership, to the point that you sacrificed high scoring targets that ultimately you may have needed to cash. Or maybe you built a lineup where it was all chalk and you ended up winning $1.00 because 6,300 players all had the same lineup and you all split 56th place. You can go back to past contests right in Draft Kings and FanDuel and you can see the results … spend a minute and do that today. Look at past Showdown Lineups you built and then look at the winners of those contests. See what they did that you didn’t. Sometimes when you do that you will see something you missed. Yes there is a lot of luck in DFS – it’s gambling after all… but if you employ a strategy not just of thinking differently against the field but against yourself, you could find lineup construction today to be a lot more fun and hopefully more profitable.
So who says you can’t roster both Tyreek Hill AND Travis Kelce in the same lineup? A podcast you listen to every week? A pundit who tells you that it is impossible for both guys to have mega performances at the same time in the same game? Well let me give you permission to buck that line of thinking. What if you have Tyreek and he puts on another 3 touchdown 200 yard performance – but Kelce also had 90 yards and a touchdown and not having the combination of the two lost you money? Are you going to tell me that couldn’t happen? If 90% of lineups have one or the other – I want to have both. Am I eating chalk here – yes, but in this case eating MORE chalk made me different.
Who says you can’t build a lineup with a Buccaneers Domination theme? Brady, 2 of 3 wide receivers, Fournette AND Jones? Again did you hear it somewhere or read it somewhere that you shouldn’t? Listen if 90% of lineups have Mahomes at Captain I want to have at least one with Brady in that spot – don’t you? And look at how the Buccaneers have been playing recently. Brady has at least 3 touchdowns in like five of his last 6 and by the way – the Chiefs over the last half of the season have fielded the WORST Red Zone Defense in the league coming into this game. They have more wins with 1 touchdown or less lead than the Atlanta Falcons all season. Are you going to tell me that the Chiefs and the Falcons are the same caliber team? If you believe that I have some ocean front property in Iowa to sell you. So seriously – be different, build a Buccaneers domination lineup and don’t be afraid of it.
And who says that this game is going to shoot out? Well I did but that isn’t my point. Vegas has this line at 56 and the Chiefs at 3. The last time these two teams met the Chiefs won 27-24 so if you do the math in essence Vegas is giving the Chiefs 4 more points… so what if the UNDER HITS? Seriously if you are mass multi entering like I am, you need to have think this way. As a safety net I’ll have a couple lineups with a Kicker at Captain and for certain a few lineups with the Defense in a stack with an opposing kicker … is it likely we see a defensive struggle for 4 quarters? No … but in case we do, be prepared. Most players in your contest will not… I can guarantee that.
Last bit of advice here – I think it is paramount that you have both Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady in your lineup, somehow. You have two quarterbacks that ultimately run their offenses, two offenses that are high powered and can beat you in many ways. I think fading one over the other is going to be a mistake. If you are multi entering I am not saying every lineup needs to look like that, but if you had a gun to my head and asked me to predict what the winning lineup of the Millionaire Maker looks like, my best guess would be a lineup with both quarterbacks rostered. Using Brady in the Captain spot and Mahomes in the flex is the way I will attack this mostly, for what it’s worth.
INJURIES AND VALUE
My last bit of strategy to talk about here before I get into picks is using injury news to your advantage. This carries over to not just injuries but likely scenarios we could see play out today due to news we have advantage of knowing.
The Buccaneers – Antonio Brown and Cameron Brate are both questionable and while both are expected to play after logging practices this week, the thing to note here is how much are they expected to play? I find it hard to believe that the Bucs will throw AB out as a decoy to open up lanes but it is possible. The reports are that he is still not operating at 100%. So while I am not saying fade AB here, what I think is important to NOT do is to chase Scotty Miller or Tyler Johnson if you are worried about AB’s condition. While I think it is a good idea to sprinkle some Miller and/or Johnson in a few lineups if you are mass multi-entering, I wouldn’t do it at the expense of not rostering AB – unless Brown is ruled out entirely. Tom Brady loves Antonio Brown and if he is out there, don’t think for a second Brady won’t try to give Brown a Super Bowl moment… so just don’t fall into the trap of thinking he is a decoy and you need one of the other guys (Miller or Johnson) to cash….
The Cameron Brate news though does have more implications I think. If you have already looked at the slate Draft Kings has Rob Gronkowski at ONLY $3,000. If Brate was out, I would have hit the lock button on Gronk in a hot minute. But the reality is that Brate over the last 4 games has run more routes than Gronk, out targeted Gronk 4 to 1 and has been a go to target for Brady. Now same mentality regarding Tom Brady and Gronk as it is to Brady and Brown. Tom Brady and Gronk’s relationship runs deep and if you don’t think Brady would love to give Gronk one more reason to spike the ball in the endzone in the Superbowl, well have I told you about my ocean front property for sale yet? My point here is that with Brate in, Gronk can’t be seen as a lock even at that ridiculously cheap price. The Bucs have been using Gronk for run blocking a lot recently and anything can happen – but I think if you are multi-entering Brate is as important as Gronk even at $1,200 more on DK. There is only a $500 difference between the two on FanDuel so this isn’t as much of an issue. Either way – keep in mind, the Chiefs have been torched by Tight Ends all season long and in their first meeting Gronk had 6 catches for 106 yards. I would keep a Tampa Bay Tight End in your player pool for sure today … or both of them.
The Chiefs – The big name to keep an eye on is Sammy Watkins. Watkins is expected to suit up for this game but will he also play a significant role – it remains to be seen. This could be Sammy Watkins last game with the Chiefs – it could be his last game period too. The oft injured Watkins has contemplated shelving the cleats. So there is emotion attached to this news here. We have seen time and time again one game per season is the Sammy Watkins game – could that be today? I don’t know but with the news circling him, it seems unlikely that he sees a full compliment of snaps. We won’t know for sure until around 5PM. Why this matters is directly tied to the age old question on the Chiefs. Who else do we roster other than Mahomes, Hill and Kelce? If Watkins is out I will have a lot of Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson and a sprinkle of Byron Pringle. Most people will gravitate to Hardman but I am going to make a rule I only use Hardman in lineups without either Hill or Kelce and that I have some lineups with Hardman and the Chiefs defense stacked in the event there is a kick return touchdown. I do not think it is a good idea to ignore Demarcus Robinson however. We have seen Robinson be the right man at the right time for Mahomes more than once and could this be a Demarcus Robinson Superbowl? Weirder things have happened. I wouldn’t roster Hardman and Robinson in the same lineup – but I don’t mind rostering Robinson with either Hill or Kelce and in this case I prefer lineups WITH Tyreek Hill. The Buccaneers have a soft spot in their secondary and especially have been beaten by the long ball. So even if Watkins is in, I don’t mind Hardman or Robinson but if he is out or limited I think both guys carry a little more priority. If we get news that Watkins is playing and starting, I likely won’t have much for any of the other three – minus the Hardman stacks with the Chiefs Defense I mentioned. If this is indeed Watkins swan song on this team, I could see Patrick Mahomes looking to send him home happy. So like I said – pay attention to this Sammy Watkins news.
My Captain/MVP Picks
If I am playing a Chief at Captain I think you may assume that Patrick Mahomes is my priority. After all in week 12 against Tampa Bay, Mahomes dropped 482 Yards on this team and 3 touchdowns completing 37 of 49 passes enroute to 35.3 Fantasy Points. Now am I saying that will happen again – no, but it certainly could! The thing is though 269 of those yards went to Tyreek Hill as did all 3 of Mahomes’ Touchdowns. Mama Mia. It makes me lean towards Hill as my favorite Chiefs captain. It is not like Tampa Bay’s secondary has improved right? Well … the thing to keep in mind is that the strategy that Tampa Bay must imploy is how do we keep Patrick Mahomes on the sideline and if they are successful at that it could severely hamper either Mahomes or Hill from having those monster performances. So while I like Mahomes and Hill a lot in this matchup, my favorite Chief Captain pick is Travis Kelce. On both sites Kelce is more expensive than Hill, so because of that I think he will be the least popular of the 3. But look at Kelce’s last 8 games and you can just see how much this offense is running through him. Since week 11 he has gone over 100 yards receiving 5 of 8 games and more notably less than 80 yards only once. Additionally, he has had at least one touchdown in 7 of the 8 games, with 2 in the victory over Buffalo in the AFC Championship. The only game in that stretch that the Thor didn’t score was against the Buccaneers. I like the odds of Kelce getting that missing touchdown back today, maybe even twice. The Bucs come into this game 16th against Tight Ends for what it’s worth.
If you are mass multi entering I don’t mind looking at a lineup with Watkins (if he plays), Hardman or Robinson at Captain/MVP if you want to be different and save some salary, but when you do that you run the risk of multiplying 7 – 10 points by 1.5 and sacrificing multiplying 20 – 30 points by 1.5 by not rostering Mahomes, Hill or Kelce in the spot. So my advice to you if you do go the route of a cheap secondary receiver at the top spot that you use that salary savings to stack you flex spots as much as possible.
The two most interesting low owned Chiefs captains though that I will have in my player pool are Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Harrison Butker. In the case of CEH no one is going to roster him at Captain. The Buccaneers run defense is too good and his usage is too low – right? Well yes, but for me this is the exact type of game script I want to attack in a showdown especially one in the Superbowl. Do I think we see CEH run for 120 yards? Probably not. Do we think he will catch 80 yards? Hmm, unlikely… but is there a real chance he takes 1 or 2 touchdowns to the house from the goal line? Definitely possible. So don’t let the the narratives scare you. If you are multi-entering, having a lineup or two of CEH at Captain definitely interests me. For Harrison Butker it’s just simple math. The Chiefs won by a field goal in Week 12. Vegas is basically giving the Chiefs 4 more points today to get to the 56 mark. That is a field goal and an extra point. If Butker kicks two or three field goals and delivers on 2 or 3 more extra points, he is well worth a nod on at least one lineup at Captain for me.
On the other side of the ball, I love Tom Brady at Captain. First he is the fourth most expensive player on the slate which is ideal for a little variance rostering him over Mahomes, Hill or Kelce at Captain. Second Brady threw for 345 and 2 against this team in week 12, so really right behind Mahomes in that regard and if it wasn’t for the two picks he threw, he also would have cracked 30 Fantasy Points. Interceptions have been a problem for Brady, but Touchdowns have been a problem for his opponents. Since week 14 Brady has thrown 2 or more Touchdowns in EVERY GAME. Why are you going to consider fading that at Captain. If he can throw even close to the yardage in Week 12 and have 2 or more Touchdowns and no interceptions today … he makes an EXCELLENT Pivot from the more chalky Chiefs at the top spot.
If I am not going Brady, I think my next favorite Buc is Leonard Fournette. It has been clear that Fournette has taken over this backfield with 12 or more carries over the last 3 weeks and a touchdown or more in every game since week 15. He also has averaged 4 catches per game in that span. The Chiefs are 21st against the run and have been gouged by dominant running backs all season. With Brady the focus of the defense I could see a lot of check downs going Fournette’s way and I could see Fournette having a nice game on the ground as well. In Week 12 Ronald Jones went 9 for 66 and caught a 37 yard pass for a score. If Fournette has taken over this role, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say he could match or surpass that.
You also can’t talk Bucs captains without mentioning Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. I think if you are playing Cash Lineups Godwin is your guy, but I love Evans for Tournaments. The Red Zone upside Evans carries against the worst redone defense in the league coming into this game, is too much to pass up. We have seen Evans with multiple touchdown games numerous times this season and I wouldn’t be surprised at all of it happens here. It isn’t to say I don’t like Godwin a lot – I do – but I think his target share and yardage are safer play in cash. My biggest piece of analysis here on Evans and Godwin is ownership. Both Evans and Godwin are priced in that range where you could go up for Brady, Hill or you could go down for Fournette, Antonio Brown. Which I think will keep their ownership in check and that is where I like to attack in Showdowns.
I also think if you are multi entering, having at least one lineup with the Buccaneers Defense at Captain isn’t crazy. The Bucs are at home and they have been playing great football recently defensively. Can anyone fully stop Patrick Mahomes, no … but if they can shut down the run and bottle neck the pass. the Bucs have as much of a shot as anyone at sacks, fumbles, interceptions and I don’t think it’s crazy to have at least one lineup telling that story. And when you play Patrick Mahomes it is always smart to have the opposing Kicker on at least one lineup as Captain/MVP – the thought being that teams want to keep pace however they can and that means field goals are better than a goose egg in the red zone. So Ryan Succup – Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up.
Flex, Flex, Flex it Up!
As always – anyone I mentioned above is firmly in play for me in the flex. I want to mention that if you are new to this article but it is a way for me not to mention a player twice and waste time.
The common theme people will build around is a domination of one team over the other but I am more inclined to think that balanced builds win Superbowl tournaments. So make sure you are stacking your quarterbacks with your favorite target for them and filling your lineup with the most potential points that you think could happen. If you think Demarcus Robinson catches more balls and has more yardage than Harrison Butker, than play him. If you think Patrick Mahomes goes out and lights up the field and throws another 200 yard game to Tyreek Hill, but maybe roster Mike Evans or Chris Godwin at captain so you can have some salary left over to still use on more likely point scorers and not going full Stars and Scrubs with your lineups.
I think the only player that I haven’t talked about already is Ronald Jones. Yes I like Fournette at Captain, I also like Jones as a Flex Play. He is too cheap on Draft Kings and no one is better at breaking a 60 yard score out of nowhere than RoJo. So he is firmly in my player pool as a Flex but I fear his lack of volume will keep him out of Captain consideration for me. I also think Jones is more of a Tournament play than cash play due to the volatility. I also want to mention another favorite low owned tournaments play for me is Darrel Williams who sees enough snaps to warrant consideration here. Especially as a pass catcher and change of pace I think Williams should be in consideration and especially if Sammy Watkins plays I like him over Hardman or Robinson from a low ownership high upside standpoint.
If Sammy Watkins and Antonio Brown Sit, I would rank the options available like this for Flex Consideration:
Last bit of flex strategy to think about is lineups that favor a positive game script for one team over the other (aka Domination lineups). I think it is a common trap for a lot of DFS players to say – I think the Chiefs will dominate this game and load their lineups with Chiefs players … but the reality as we saw in Week 12, the dominating Chiefs performance really came from only 2 guys – Mahomes and Hill. So for me, if I am building a lineup with the game script of a Chiefs domination than I want my lineup to be chalk full of Buccaneers as they will be needing to play catch up ball and minimally with the Chiefs. Or vice versa. Does this make sense? THINK DIFFERENTLY
Here are some example lineups for you that I built this morning:
Captain: Tyreek Hill
Flex: Patrick Mahomes
Flex: Demarcus Robinson
Flex: Tom Brady
Flex: Chris Godwin
Flex: Ronald Jones
MVP: Mike Evans
Flex: Tom Brady
Flex: Patrick Mahomes
Flex: Mecole Hardman
Flex: Antonio Brown
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS and THANK YOU for reading Real Deal Fantasy DFS all season long! PS I’m serving St Louis Ribs and Skyline Chili (homemade) today – how about you?! Tweet me your Superbowl Spread @DelRayBoston! I’ll be sharing pics of mine at Kick Off!