This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.The last NFL contest of the season is upon us.
If you didn't take the plunge into the Showdown (single-game) contests during the regular season, here's a very brief rundown of how it works:
Showdown lineups require that you select at least one player from each team. One player out of the six in your lineup is designated as the Captain, which multiplies his fantasy points total by 1.5. The salary of the player you choose to put in the Captain spot is 1.5x the salary he would have in one of the other five "regular" spots in your lineup.
While the basic cash-game approach would steer you toward putting the highest-projected scoring player in the Captain spot, big-field GPP lineups need to consider other factors such as projected ownership rates when filling that position.
The Rams are currently 2.5-point underdogs (the line opened with them at +1.5). The over/under total is 56.5 (down from 58).
The Implied Score is Patriots 29.5, Rams 27
The Rams averaged 6.4 yards per play on offense during the regular season. They allowed 6.0 yards per play to opponents.
The Patriots averaged 5.9 yards per play on offense during the regular season. They allowed 5.7 yards per play to opponents.
In terms of fantasy points allowed to each position, here's a quick glance at what each team has done to this point.
|Patriots||20.3 (22nd)||24.1 (T-13th)||36.0 (T-12th)||13.4 (20th)|
|Rams||19.6 (18th)||23.7 (T-10th)||36.4 (T-14th)||13.7 (24th)|
Captains to Consider
For the players below, the first price listed is the Captain price, the second is the price to use them in the other lineup spots.
Tom Brady ($15,900, $10,600) - Only Julian Edelman is more expensive on this slate, but it's hard to imagine Brady getting left out of more than 20 percent of lineups in this game. During championship week, Patrick Mahomes' ownership rate hovered around 75 percent across all contests, and the public's lack of faith in Jared Goff should tip the scale more heavily in favor of Brady this week. In each of his last three Super Bowl appearances, Brady has thrown for at least 300 yards while scoring multiple touchdowns, while he's topped 40 attempts in each of his last five Super Bowl matchups. For the season, only Todd Gurley and Goff have averaged more fantasy points per game than Brady, and it's easy to lean toward Brady in cash games with the uncertainty about Gurley's workload split with C.J. Anderson, and with Goff's very limited postseason experience.
Todd Gurley ($13,500 / $9,000) - If you had told everybody during the first half of the regular season that Gurley would be the fourth-most expensive player on the board for the Super Bowl slate, it wouldn't have made sense. His late-season knee injury, and a very quiet showing in the NFC championship game (five touches, 13 yards) have him priced down slightly, and the extra $2,400 under the cap by using Gurley as the Captain instead of Brady (or $1,500 saved from bypassing Goff) will leave you with a nice upgrade for one of your other roster spots. With an extra week of rest prior to Sunday's game, Gurley is in play for me as a top Captain consideration in tournaments, but I would still look for a lower owned twist or two on the bottom of my roster with any Captain Gurley builds. Gurley had six 30-point games during the regular season, and a gameplan that takes some of the pressure of Goff by leaning heavily on the run (especially early) should push him back toward an easy 20-25 touches with a ceiling for more. Perhaps that workload skews more heavily toward receptions out of the backfield than usual, as a way of getting Gurley out in the open field more frequently.
Jared Goff ($15,000 / $10,000) - I don't *think* Goff will be a more popular Captain selection than Gurley, but I do *think* that Brady's Captain usage will be high enough that steering away from him might be enough of a twist at the top make Goff completely tournament viable. How much will the Patriots' defense be able to confuse Goff? How effectively will Sean McVay scheme to put Goff in a position to play well? Other than the Week 17 blowout win over San Francisco, Goff hasn't played particularly well since the Game of the Year on Monday night against the Chiefs in Week 11. I would rather not use him as a Captain, and see if I can fit him into a regular spot at an even $10,000. Keep in mind, that there can be room for Goff, one running back and two receivers to top 20 fantasy points each in the Rams' offense, but that will likely leave your roster too thin at the bottom with rarely-used options on the New England side.
Julian Edelman ($16,200 / $10,800) - Edelman is probably the safest tournament pivot away from Captain Brady, which is why he's carrying the premium price tag. Maybe the price ends up being a slight deterrent, but I would play Edelman even in a contrarian tournament lineup that doesn't include Brady. Thanks to the full PPR scoring, and the heavy concentration of targets Edelman receives, he outscores Brady on DraftKings somewhat regularly – most recently, in the divisional round win over the Chargers.
James White ($10,800 / $7,200) - White frequently functions as the Pats' No. 2 pass-catching option behind Edelman, and while an extreme shift occurred in the postseason matchup with the Chargers (15 catches on 17 targets, 24.7 DK points), he should remain busy as part of the modified offensive gameplan sans Josh Gordon. His role is steady, the Patriots clearly trust him in big-game situations, and he comes with a nice discount from some of the other Captain considerations, which offers you valuable flexibility for upgrades elsewhere in your build.
Sony Michel ($10,200 / $6,800) - Michel is my preferred big-field tournament selection for this game. He's priced down enough to leave a couple upgrades for other lineup spots, and the Patriots have been running the ball very effectively over the last two months. With back-to-back 100-yard games in the playoffs and five rushing scores in the last two games, another heavy dose of Michel seems likely against a Los Angeles defense that has been very leaky against the run this season (5.1 YPC). In a projected close game with the Patriots favored, the game script should be a positive one for Michel.
Robert Woods ($11,700 / $7,800) - Woods has been more consistent than Brandin Cooks game-to-game this season, but as has been the case nearly all season, there is very little that separates them in a particular matchup. My assumption is that most Rams stacks will feature Goff, one of the two running backs, and one of Woods or Cooks. Pairing both together might offer a slightly different variation from those builds, and combos that put one of them with Josh Reynolds at a discount might be slightly more effective since you'll have more budget left to put a combo of New England players together.
Brandin Cooks ($12,300 / $8,200) - If I get one lineup in a big-field tournament and I"m only using one of the Rams' top-two receivers, it's Cooks. In the eight games the Rams have played since Cooper Kupp's season ending injury, Woods has topped 20 DraftKings points once, while Cooks has reached that mark on three occasions. I expect the field will have a similar mindset, however, which makes Woods the better contrarian play in the Captain spot of the two if you have the luxury of making a lot of combinations.
Only the non-Captain price is shown below for these players.
Rob Gronkowski ($6,000) - The Rams are more dangerous up front than the Chiefs, which may leave Gronk in a position to block a lot more this week than he did in the AFC championship game (six catches, 79 yards, 11 targets). This might be his swan song before a permanent move to Hollywood, and I think he'll be slightly overlooked since there are a handful of very interesting plays in this group that are more affordable.
C.J. Anderson ($5,400) - The Saints effectively shut down the Rams' running game in the NFC championship game, but Anderson has at least 16 carries in his last four contests. Many lineups may simply choose between Anderson and Gurley. Pairing them together is a tournament tactic to consider if you're bypassing Goff in your lineup.
Josh Reynolds ($5,200) - Reynolds has absorbed a nice share of the red-zone targets in the absence of Cooper Kupp. He might see 7-8 targets if the Rams are playing catchup and the passing game attempts are higher than expected. Reynolds should have comparatively favorable matchups against the New England secondary, who will be focused primarily on Woods and Cooks.
Rex Burkhead ($4,800) - Burkhead was heavily involved in the game-winning drive against the Chiefs two weeks ago, and New England's ability to run the ball down the stretch and in the postseason has been impressive. In addition to exhausting the opposing defense, lengthy drives reduce the number of plays for the opposing offense as well. Most New England backfield stacks will pair Michel and White together. If you want to utilize Burkhead, I like the idea of using the entire trio together in the event of a Brady fade, since you could also avoid Edelman in that lineup and hope that the scoring drives are finished on the ground by one of the three running backs instead of James Develin or Cordarrelle Patterson. Otherwise than that type of build, I'm probably looking elsewhere for cheap pieces of the New England offense.
Phillip Dorsett ($4,200) - Dorsett scored for the third straight game in the AFC championship game. His role has increased slightly as part of the adjustments made to account for the loss of Josh Gordon. I've written this a few times in recent weeks, but it's worth repeating. Dorsett is more of a big-play burner than his output this season would lead you to believe. He's a nice cheap option for tournament lineups, and someone I would consider in an Edelman-fade build too, where he might be combined with Brady and one of the New England running backs.
Chris Hogan ($3,800) - Remember August, when everybody liked Hogan as a temporary WR1 while Julian Edelman served his four-game suspension. The production fell well short of expectations, but Hogan has been targeted at least five times in each of the last three games, which is enough to make him dangerous with a sub-$4K price tag. I like him most as part of a four Patriots, two Rams build, with Hogan taking the fourth spot and a combo of Michel, Brady, and one of White or Edelman as the foundation.
Kickers & Defenses - All are very much in play at their respective prices. Season to taste, but I probably wouldn't put any combination of two in the same lineup since I'm bankrolled for a limited number of builds. Greg Zuerlein stands out as the most interesting play of the four options, and if you're getting completely whacky, maybe he's the big-field tournament Captain you plug in, hope for four or five field goals, and load up a chalky combination for the remaining spots. More reasonably, he's a cheap play capable of pretty easily getting 3-4x value under $4,000 in a regular lineup spot.
Cordarrelle Patterson ($1,600) - The cheapest explosive player on the board in this game, Patterson is a viable sixth-spot punt for tournament lineups seeking upside near the bottom of the price list. Patterson is averaging 5.4 YPC and 8.8 YPT this season, and he's scored four times from scrimmage on just 63 touches, and has taken one kick return for a TD as well.
Gerald Everett ($2,000) - We'll always have that three-game stretch from Week 14-16 where Everett had 20 targets. Everett runs more routes than Higbee, and he's the more dynamic pass-catching threat of the duo, so he's the Rams tight end I would play if one of them breaks into my lineups.
Tyler Higbee ($2,200) - Higbee's ceiling appears to be 5.5-6x value at this price. He's reached double-digit points three times in 18 games this season, including the NFC championship game (4-25-1). Higbee has been targeted more than four times exactly once this season.