You can reach me on Twitter @delrayboston
I am so excited to be back writing for Real Deal Fantasy HQ and bringing you the best DFS Picks, Strategy and Advice every week! My name is Sean Weymouth and hopefully you checked out the Week 1 DFS Preview yesterday because it was loaded with HITS and outside of key injuries that occurred, it certainly could have helped you CASH!
Tonight we have and anticipated HOT Monday Night Football game to close out Week 1. The Ravens come in with a (to say the least) banged up backfield and now are missing one of their most key defensive starters in Marcus Peters. The Raiders on the other side of the ball also have a murky outlook in the backfield and a lot of question marks surrounding their second year wide receivers … so let’s get into it!
My Sunday Night Football article focused on two ways to attack the slate for either team. Were you favoring a defensive domination or were you favoring an offensive explosion. Tonight for Monday Night Football I don’t foresee needing to split hairs on that strategy. While the Raven’s do have a formidable defense, without a key cog in the wheel like Peters – they do not scare me as much. The Raiders on the other hand (unless drastic things changed in the offseason that no one has heard about) do not come into a night with a Defensive powerhouse to speak of. So I expect there to be plenty of offense and a high scoring affair. Let’s get into it.
(Editor’s Note: This article will list players with the pricing on the respective sites – Draft Kings or Fan Duel. In Draft Kings Showdown slates, Captain choices which earn 1.5 Fantasy Points have a higher salary than Flex choices, where Fan Duel has one salary for either the M.V.P. slot or Flex spot in the single game lineups. All 3 prices will be listed.)
This is a big night for the Raiders – opening night in their new hometown at their brand new Allegiant Stadium. Don’t think that the drama an spectacle is lost on Coach Gruden. I fully expect him ready for his boys in black to put on a show. With the loss of Marcus Peters in the Raven’s secondary, I see Gruden ready to exploit the hole with his Big Tight End Stud Darren Waller ($16,200 Captain, $10,800 Flex, $13,000 FD) early and often. As such, I project Waller to be one of the most rostered player in tournaments. Waller scored less than 14 Fantasy points only 5 times last season and he walked away with an average of 18.5 Fantasy Points per game making him a close 3rd behind only Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews as far as Tight Ends go. Waller also saw 6 or more targets in 15 of 17 games last year topping out at a massive 17 targets in Week 13. So I don’t think it is a stretch to think he sees at least 9+ targets in this game and if he can take those targets and go Waller, the Baller on them – I don’t know how you will be able to cash without him in your lineup. On Raiders Side of the ball he is probably the Optimal Captain choice – but at such a high cost, it will be difficult to fit in all of the other ‘stud’ pieces in this game on Draft Kings … on FanDuel he is as close to a lock and load at MVP for me as possible.
On Draft Kings however I am looking at Derek Carr ($14,700 Captain, $9,800 Flex, $14,000 FD) at Captain. While I think Carr will be a popular flex play, I don’t see him nearing the popularity at Captain as Waller or Lamar Jackson on the other side of the ball … and stacking Carr – Waller with Carr in the Captain seat on DK at least gives you a little more room to try and fit in at least one or two more “stud” pieces. The reason why I do not think Carr will be as popular at Captain is the reputation of the Baltimore Defense and players not wanting to risk 1.5 points on Carr being intercepted and sacked often. Additionally, I think many players will look to pay down at Captain hoping that makes them “different” (something we preach often in our DFS articles). Carr is priced just right in my opinion and by the way – no risk it, no biscuit baby.
Pairing Carr with Waller is a no brainer but after that – what to do with the Raider’s Offense. Josh Jacobs ($12,600 Captain, $8,400 Flex, $12,500 FD) is reportedly good to go for tonight but all reports from Raiders camp during the offseason has seemed to hint that his domination on downs from a year ago may not be returning. This is largely due to the Raiders signing Kenyan Drake ($10,800 Captain, $7,200 Flex, $8,500 FD) who it has also been reported Gruden is high on. So are we looking at a time share here? Running back by committee? The issue for me is that Drake has never been known as a pass catching superstar back … so I’d be hard pressed to think Gruden is planning on utilizing him in a 3rd down role only. However with Jaylen Richard on IR, a player the team did use in that 3rd down role – it is possible that is what Drake is in line for.
Add all of that to my hesitance in playing any running back against the Ravens … especially right now. I am only speculating here but in my real world job the phrase “control what you can control” comes in to play often. What couldn’t the Raven’s control? Marcus Peters going out for the season and the shape it leaves their secondary. What can they control? How about the running games of their opposition. So I am wary on Jacobs and to a lesser extent Drake in this game. I will be multi-entering so I will have shares of Jacobs, but I’ll also have at least a handful of lineups (really maybe 2) with Drake in them… I am fearful for Jacobs that Drake is going to be much more than a backup.
So then who does this leave for the Raiders to roster. Quite frankly each of these next pass catchers have a big question marks on them, but I will prioritize who I am looking at. I want to point out, I am not looking at this next group for a Captain or MVP if I am playing a Raider in that spot. We just don’t know how they will be fully utilized, yet. Tonight should help answer those questions. First is Wide Receiver Bryan Edwards ($8,400 Captain, $5,600 Flex, $7,000 FD). Edwards missed the majority of his rookie year last year but before he got injured he was a highly acclaimed talent by all accounts. He is probably the closest this team has in the #1 Receiver vein, behind Waller of course. I think he will be a priority for the Raiders to “get going” and no time like the present for that. So of this group, he would be my favorite. Next is another second year man Henry Ruggs III ($7,500 Captain, $5,000 Flex, $9,500 FD). Ruggs was the fastest player coming out of the draft last year and the immediate thought was he would be the natural X in this offense. While he did have flashes last year, that full X that we were hoping to see really didn’t materialize. We will see if the addition if the addition of the fully healthy Edwards can open up more room for Ruggs to work – but tonight I like Ruggs as the Deep threat against a suddenly venerable Raven’s secondary. Probably the workhorse of the Raiders receiving corp last year was Hunter Renfrow ($4,200 Captain, $2,800 Flex, $7,500 FD) who is probably the “Cole Beasley” in this offense. In 5 of the Raiders last 6 games of the 2020 season, Renfrow was targeted an average of 5.5 per game. The question is again with a fully healthy Edwards on the field does Renfrow’s target share stay the same or go down. We know Jon Gruden is a Renfrow fan so that is a plus and probably why I am mentioning him here. I’ll have a few shares of Renfrow, but will be over weight on Edwards and Ruggs in my lineups. In fact pairing one of these guys with Carr and Waller may be more contrarian than you think. I believe a lot of players will have Carr and Waller only from the Raiders paired with 4 Ravens in their lineups…
Dart throws from the Raiders – there are plenty. Starting with another Running Back that we hear Gruden is high on, recent signee Peyton Barber ($3,000 Captain, $2,000 Flex, $5,500 FD) who is a big bruising back who may have some juice left in the tank. I could see Gruden sneaking Barber in for goal line work and rifling a touchdown from either Jacobs or Drake. Then we have the REVENGE game narrative of Willie Snead IV ($1,800 Captain, $1,200 Flex, $6,500 FD) the former Baltimore Raven who I would have to imagine is fighting for WR3 status with Hunter Renfrow. If the Raiders go 4 wide, dollars to donuts Snead is out there and if so I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get some looks especially on 3rd downs. Also at $1,800 I’m not opposed to sneak Snead in at Captain in at least one lineup. You never know when there is a revenge narrative at play. I’d also have at least one lineup (if you are multi-entering) with Zay Jones ($2,700 Captain, $1,800 Flex, $6,000 FD) who is entering his second year with the team and also can be considered a deep threat if given a look (Gruden likes this guy too). Lastly, I’ll mention here TE2 Foster Moreau ($1,500 Captain, $1,000 Flex, $5,500) who mainly is utilized for pass protection and run blocking, but could I see him getting a few targets and a lucky end zone look – anything is possible. I want to point out, outside of Snead, these guys are DK plays for me only. To me Barber, Jones and Moreau are way over priced on FanDuel and I’d rather use that budget elsewhere.
What a terrible string of bad luck the Raven’s have suffered with their running backs. I won’t belabor that point too much. So what do we know. The likely starter and bell cow (for at least tonight) is rookie Ty’son Williams ($10,200 Captain, $6,800 Flex, $12,000 FD) who I expect to be as popular a play as Darren Waller. The Raiders come into the season ranked 27th against running backs in 2020 and averaging 125+ yards per game to the position. So if Williams is the bell cow tonight, he should be in great shape if the Raven’s lean on the run. That is IF and that IF comes in the form of Latavius Murray ($9,300 Captain, $6,200 Flex, $8,000 FD) recently signed in the wake of Gus Edward’s season ending injury. Here’s the thing … Murray was just in training camp with the Saints before he was released. That means he is at least mostly in football shape. Could I see Murray taking 3 and 1’s, 4th and 1’s and Goal Line work from Williams – ABSOLUTELY. My gut says the Ravens want to give Williams some room to see what he can do, but if the rookie can’t get it done on the goal line, I’d be concerned if I didn’t have a sprinkling of Murray in my lineups.
Then there is the curious case of Le’Veon Bell ($6,300 Captain, $4,200 Flex, $9,000 FD). As of this writing, Bell is still listed on the practice squad but there is speculation he will be activate tonight and if so I would have to imagine he would be RB3 – and if you believe Coach Harbaugh at all when he said recently that (and I am paraphrasing) Bell is in Great Shape, but not Football Shape yet – that might be a distant RB3 role, but that being said with the luck the Ravens have been having lately would it shock anyone to see Bell trotting in the end zone late in the 4th Quarter? I am not saying to waste a Draft Kings roster spot on Bell but if you are entering 150 lineups, maybe sneak him on one. Just in case.
The other potential candidate for any running back touches, perhaps on third down, is special teams running back Trenton Cannon ($2,100 Captain, $1,400 Flex, $6,500 FD). I am only bringing him up here because in the event Lev Bell isn’t called up, I’d say the same thing if you are multi-entering, maybe sneak him on one lineup just in case. Again only if Lev Bell isn’t called up. Also both Bell and Cannon are DK plays for me only. They are WAY too expensive on FanDuel for the expected extremely low amount of touches. I mean Latavius Murray is $1,000 cheaper than Lev Bell on FanDuel …. why would you ever play Bell there? At least, tonight. And yes I know they also signed Devonte Freeman to the practice squad but I have heard nothing to suggest he is being elevated so I am in no hurry to write about him here.
Which of course brings us to Lamar Jackson (18,800 Captain, $12,400 Flex, $17,000 FD). Outside of maybe Darren Waller, there is no other MUST PLAY Player in this game than Lamar Jackson. My best guesstimate is the Ravens, instead of fully game planning with back up running backs, will put this game on Lamar’s shoulders. You are playing Lamar Jackson. Don’t over think it. Yes he is expensive but the flip side is, if he does what he is paid to do, I am just not sure how you cash tonight without him in your lineup. It will be tough to roster $18,800 in Captain and feel great about the rest of your choices, so most players will have Lamar in the Flex. Those that can figure the math out right will have him in Captain. I will be in that group. In this case I am not worried about an uber popular play here … as they say in the biz, eat the chalk.
So who will Lamar Jackson be throwing to when he throws. Your most likely candidate of course is Mark Andrews ($13,500 Captain, $9,000 Flex $11,000 FD) based on the historical. Andrews should be in a great spot to smash tonight and he is always a red zone threat. If you are single entering Lamar Andrews makes as much sense as Waller Carr but I also like the Lamar-Andrews-Waller base for lineups. As much as I like Derick Carr, he isn’t the priority that Lamar is tonight and I think you may be able to get sneaky by saving a bit of salary with the rest of your lineup.
I think one player that is going to go slightly underlined tonight is Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins ($7,800 Captain, $5,200 Flex, $8,000 FD). Sammy Watkins Week 1 Fantasy Stud is a thing right? Well it kinda sorta has been … but more importantly, I think Lamar will be welcoming Sammy Watkins to this team with open arms. Watkins has been a professional WR for several years now, so he has experience to come with his speed and that has got to be a welcome addition to this Raven’s team. I’d look for Sammy Watkins to be involved and I wouldn’t be surprised if he riles away some of the targets that Mark Andrews normally sees. I will have a lot of Sammy Watkins.
Another player to have on the radar is Marquise “Hollywood” Brown ($11,400 Captain, $7,600 Flex, $10,000 FD) who also should be welcoming Sammy Watkins to this team for nothing else than to in theory give him more space to operate. You have to remember, Brown was a first round pick for the Ravens two years ago and from all accounts has put on some weight and had an excellent training camp. I’d look for Brown to assume an X receiver role and I’d consider him a deep threat tonight.
I also think you should be looking at Devin Duvernay (Captain $3,900, $2,600 Flex, $7,000) who has had glowing reports in training camp and has shown speed and elusiveness on kick returns. He will be out there as the Wide Receiver 3 and could see some targets tonight. I am only playing him on Draft Kings though as I think he is way over priced on FanDuel. I will be honest though, I do not know how many targets will even be going around tonight. The Raiders Defense does not scare me enough that I think both Watkins and Brown won’t have open looks especially with their speed.
And if you are looking for Dart Throws – and I do mean Dart Throws – as cheap salary savers at the end of the lineup, the names I would throw out here are Wide Receivers Miles Boykin ($300 Captain, $200 Flex, $5,000 FD) and James Proche ($300 Captain, $200 Flex, $5,500 FD) who look to be competing for the Ravens Wide Receiver 4 spot. Marquise Brown, Boykin and Proche all were activated from the Covid-19 list for tonight. Of the two I prefer Boykin who has shown flashes of speed and elusiveness when on the field last season – but again, I’d classify these guys as DK Dart Throws only. No way am I paying $5k for either on FD. Lastly Tight End Eric Tomlinson ($1,200 Captain, $800 Flex, $5,000 FD) who will be on the field most likely for 2 tight end sets and could see a target and you never know if that target is in the end zone. Again these are salary savers at the end of expensive lineups if you are multi-entering aka dart throws.
If you are playing a defense on DK tonight dollars to donuts it will be the Ravens ($6,900 Captain, $4,600 Flex) but I personally am avoiding defenses. I think this will be a high scoring game but the prices for either make me want to stay away. Do I think one of these defenses could get there on sacks and turnovers – it is possible, but too risky for me to waste the salary on. The Raiders are $4,500 at Captain and $3,000 at Flex for what it’s worth.
Lastly, I have said it before but I always have 2 lineups rostering the kickers at Captain but tonight I am less inclined. I just do not see either offense struggling too much to move the ball. If I am prioritizing either it is the Raven’s Daniel Carlson ($5,400 Captain, $3,600 Flex, $8,500 FD) but then again Justin Tucker ($6,000 Captain, $4,000 Flex, $9,000 FD) is a bonafide hall of famer. Kickers are a DK play only for me, I just can’t pay those salaries for kickers in this game on FanDuel. I’d most advise using them in domination stacks as opposed to paired with a defense as normally would be reccomened. I think this will be a high scoring affair so hold onto your butts.
Favorite Captain/MVP Plays:
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS!