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Unless you have been living under a rock, you know the biggest story of tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup is Josh Jacobs ($11,400 Captain, $7,600 Flex, $12,000 FD) – is he in or is he out? It has been reported in multiple locations that the Raiders will have Jacobs participate in pre-game warm ups and see then how he feels – which leaves a big void in what to do if you are intending on playing the Raiders tonight and how you are building your lineup.
On the one hand if Jacobs does suit up, you have to expect he will be getting close to his normal workload and quite frankly I think that will additionally change the gameplan enough that even if you aren’t playing him, you have to account for his presence. If he doesn’t suit up, then it isn’t just who do you play in place of him, it is also how much are you considering the Raiders gameplan shifting.
Considering that the Chargers are entering the game 31st in the league against the rush, if Jacobs is going to play I would expect him to be a focal point of Gruden’s attack plan. It only makes sense as with Jacobs keeping the defense honest, it opens up play action for Derek Carr to exploit. If Jacobs sits however, do I expect the Peyton Barber/Kenyan Drake combo to have that same workload? I don’t…despite the career game that Barber had last week. The Raiders come into tonight with their opponents favored, so if Jacobs isn’t there I would expect the game plan to shift squarely on the arm of Derek Carr. So let’s get into these two scenarios.
The Las Vegas Raiders
I think the core of the Raiders team that you need to build around if Jacobs sits is Derek Carr ($16,200 Captain, $10,800 Flex, $16,000 FD), Darren Waller ($13,800 Captain, $9,200 Flex, $13,000 FD) & Hunter Renfrow ($8,700 Captain, $5,800 Flex, $9,500 FD) if you are playing cash games. In tournaments I like Henry Ruggs ($9,600 Captain, $6,400 Flex, $11,000 FD) in this tandem instead of Renfrow. Carr for me is a must start, 3 straight weeks of over 22 fantasy points and over 380 passing yards. And while he has thrown 2 interceptions, he also has thrown 2 touchdowns in each of the 3 games. Waller is just unstoppable on the field and has seen 7 or more targets in each game this season and while he hasn’t cracked 100 yards in a game since week 1, you just know that is coming the way he is used in this offense. Really when you look at the target tree from Carr, both Renfrow and Ruggs are averaging 6 per game and each had over 78 yards recieving last week. But in tournaments, I like the upside and the variance of Ruggs being able to put up 78 and a score on 2 catches where in cash I think the safer 5 or 6 catches for 78 from Renfrow will be a floor many players will like.
The pivot to Renfroe and Ruggs however is Bryan Edwards ($7,500 Captain, $5,000 Flex, $9,000) who also had a great showing in Week 3, crossing the 80 yard mark for the second time this season. Of the 3 recievers Edwards is significantly less owned as of right now, so he does make a contrarian play… I have no problem using Edwards in place of Ruggs in tournaments and I love him in onslaught stacks with Carr, Waller, Ruggs or Renfrow.
Outside of Waller you have to love the price tags of the Raiders Recievers on DK. It is very easy to build a double stack with Waller and still have money for a solid Chargers run back. However I am a little concerned with Renfrow and Edwards particularly if Josh Jacobs plays. I still think you can play Ruggs for the big play ability he provides, but I do wonder if some of the extra targets that Renfrow and Edward have been seeing is an effect of not having thier work horse running back on the field.
Speaking of if Jacobs is out, I think there is another controversy going on – is it Barber or is it Drake? Starting with Kenyan Drake ($8,100 Captain, $5,400 Flex, $8,000 FD) I do think there is still space to play him tonight whether Jacobs is in or out. Drake has seen 5+ targets in each of the first three games as well as 7 or more rushing attempts. While he hasn’t really “done” anything with these attempts, it is pretty clear he is in the game plan as the change of pace. Perhaps the matchup against the 31st ranked rush defense can ail those woes. Peyton Barber ($10,200 Captain, $6,800 Flex, $10,500 FD) however becomes a must start in my opinion if Jacobs sits. Gruden has said multiple times over the last two weeks “I love Peyton Barber” so you need to listen to him. In Jacobs’ absence last week Barber took 23 attempts for 111 yards and a score. He also had 5 targets and caught 3 of them. I think even if Jacobs does play, if you are multi-entering, I’d have still have a few shares of Barber in the event that Gruden wants to ease Jacobs back to action… he will be the guy though if Jacobs sits.
If Josh Jacobs plays, my strategy changes where I will not be as deep on Raiders Wide Recievers and will still use Carr, Waller Jacobs as my core to build around. Carr would be my Raiders captain in those lineups. If Jacobs doesn’t sit, Renfrow goes back into my core and I love mix and matching Ruggs and Edwards with Peyton Barber at Captain.
I will mention a Dart Throw on the Raiders, the other Tight End Foster Moreau. ($2,100 Captain, $1,400 Flex, $7,000 FD). The hopes to use Morearu in lineups is that random End Zone toss or two for a touchdowns. Really that is it. He is on the field for 75% + of offensive snaps and he can be a red zone threat. Sure he is also very low owned tonight, but that really doesn’t do much without a TD – so he could make ya or break ya but that is what a dart throw is all about. The other guy I want to bring up here (and this is only because of the Prime Time heroics he showed in Week 1) is Zay Jones ($2,700 Captain, $1,800 Flex, $6,500 FD). Right place, right time, he won a lot of people a lot of money in week 1, so if I don’t mention he’s worth a dart throw here … I’ll be kicking myself tomorrow I was one of the only DFS writers to hit Lightning in a Bottle in week 1 by mentioning Jones as a dart throw. So here we go again! He’s a Wide Reciever 4 at best and he has seen a target or two in each of the last two games, so never say never.
I’d also reccomend a decent share of Kicker Daniel Carlson ($5,700 Captain, $3,800 Flex, $9,500 FD) if you are multi-entering. While both of these teams are generous on points, they both have a fairly decent front 7 and when I think of a game that could be a shootout with several stalled redzone trys like this one could be, I’ll want to capture all the points I can. Carlson has been busy lately with 7 FG attempts over the last 2 weeks. This is a DK play only btw …
The other DK Play only is the Raiders Defense ($4,200 Captain, $2,800 Flex). I don’t expect this to be a low scoring game, but stranger things have happened and the Raiders have sneakily been a solid defense for fantasy scoring. Pair them in a couple lineups with Carr and a reciever, maybe Jacobs or Barber depending on who starts, if you are multi entering.
The Los Angeles Chargers
Stop the presses! For the first time EVER, Mike Williams is more expensive than Keenan Allen on Draft Kings and FanDuel! Mike Williams ($15,300 Captain, $10,200 Flex, $14,000 FD), Keenan Allen ($13,200 Captain, $8,800 Flex, $12,500 FD). Now I love both these guys tonight but $8,800 for Keenan Allen? Lock it in! Seriously though, you aren’t going to gain leverage over one of the other in terms of ownership (they both are expected at 35% owned in tournaments) but I love the upside of the double stack with Justin Herbert ($16,800 Captain, $11,200 Flex, $15,500 FD)… both of these players come in with upside and I especially love the savings on DK that Allen offers at Captain.
The Charger’s target tree isn’t hard to figure out, it’s Allen, it’s Williams and it’s Austin Ekeler ($14,400 Captain, $9,600 Flex, $13,500 FD). I think Ekeler is my favorite play on the night. Double digit fantasy points in all 3 weeks thus far and the last two weeks in particular 18 and 19 points respectively. He will be a big part of the game plan tonight. The Raiders are middle of the road against the run, but if they are able to get pressure on Herbert I see Ekeler’s targets only going up tonight. The nice thing on DK is that you can play Allen in Captain with Williams- Herbert and Ekeler and make it fit with the pricing on some of the Raiders … what a fun concept!
So it isn’t hard to know my core for the Chargers are Herbert – Williams – Allen – Ekeler. Here’s a lineup: Allen (Captain), Herbert, Williams, Ekeler, Kicker Daniel Carlson, Foster Moreau. $600 left on the table… not bad.
But the Chargers have a cheat code. His name is Larry Roundtree ($1,500 Captain, $1,000 Flex, $6,500 FD) and yes he is only $1,000 on DK. At best Roundtree is the change of pace for Ekeler. At best, he maybe only gets you 3 carries and a target, but at best the construction you can make with Roundtree is pretty sweet. Look into it. Maybe you sacrifice either Allen or Williams or Ekeler, but it can open some doors for you – and he’ll at least see the field too! You never know where those 3 carries are…
If you are looking for Chargers Dart Throws aside from Roundtree, I would first look at the Tight Ends Jared Cook ($6,600 Captain, $4,400 Flex, $7,500 FD) and Donald Parham ($1,800 Captain, $1,200 Flex, $6,000 FD). Cook really hasn’t been used the way he last was in New Orleans but he has seen enough to warrant some consideration and he certainly has red zone accumen from his time on the Saints. Parham is another big target but similiarly to Foster Moreau on the other side, he is really touchdown or bust. If I had to pick one to fill a lineup, it would be Cook but we did see Parham catch the Touchdown pass last week, so I’d keep both men in your player pool.
I’ll also mention Jaylen Guyton ($3,600 Captain, $2,400 Flex, $7,000 FD) who is the Wide Reciever 3 and while he has seen his targets decrease since week 1 where he had 5, he also has seen at least 1 rushing attempt in each of the last two games so it could be that the Chargers are hoping to use him as a gadget man … perhaps that starts tonight in Prime Time!
I’d also reccomend a decent share of Kicker Tristan Vicaino ($6,000 Captain, $4,000 Flex, $8,500 FD) if you are multi-entering. While both of these teams are generous on points, they both have a fairly decent front 7 and when I think of a game that could be a shootout with several stalled redzone trys like this one could be, I’ll want to capture all the points I can. Vicaino had 4 attempts in Week 2 against Dallas and I could see this game following that game’s pattern… This is a DK play only btw …
The other DK Play only is the Chargers Defense ($4,800 Captain, $3,200 Flex). I don’t expect this to be a low scoring game, but stranger things have happened and the you never know what can happen with Joey Bosa and the gang. Pair them in a couple lineups with Herbert and a reciever, maybe Ekeler or Roundtree and run it back with Daniel Carlson and Waller or Renfrow, if you are multi entering.
My Favorite Captain/MVP Picks
Josh Jacobs (if he plays)
Peyton Barber (if Jacobs Sits)
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CONTESTS