Update: Completely forgot about Sam LaPorta in the initial write-up. No excuses, just a complete error on my part. He's absolutely viable at Captain and in the Flex on this slate. Apologies for the lack of analysis, completely forgot about him when writing this up.
We close out Week 8 of the NFL season with a Monday Night Football matchup featuring the Las Vegas Raiders visiting the Detroit Lions. The Raiders find themselves in need of a win as this game could dictate if they’re sellers at the NFL Trade Deadline or not. They’re 3-4 and coming off a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 7. They will have Jimmy Garoppolo back for this game so that’s a nice bump for Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. The Detroit Lions are sitting at 5-2 after a very disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. The fact they lost isn’t disappointing. Every team takes a loss through the year. But the offense managed just six points total and it was just a poor effort all in all. But it’s a great opportunity to get back into the win column in this matchup at home. Here are the top NFL DFS plays and strategies for Monday night’s Showdown contests.
Spread: Detroit Lions (-7.5)
Over/Under: 46.5 Points
Weather: This game will be played in a controlled environment.
- Curtis Bolden, Linebacker – Questionable (Knee)
- Daniel Carlson, Kicker – Questionable (Groin)
- Divine Deablo, Linebacker – OUT (Ankle)
- Nate Hobbs, Defensive Back (Ankle)
- Jonah Jackson, Offensive Tackle – OUT (Ankle)
- David Montgomery, Running Back – OUT (Ribs)
- Frank Ragnow, Center – Doubtful (Toe/Calf)
- Benito Jones, Defensive Tackle – Questionable (Ankle)
- Joshua Paschal, Defensive End – Questionable (Knee)
- Malcolm Rodriguez, Linebacker – Questionable (Ankle)
- Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Guard – Questionable (Back)
NFL DFS MVP/Captain
News broke on Twitter Sunday afternoon that ARSB is questionable to play with an illness. We don’t know the severity or the extent of it. Something seems to be going around various locker rooms. I would say it’s more likely that he plays. And if he does, he’s an easy candidate at Captain. Just over his last two games he has 25 receptions on 34 targets for 226 yards and a touchdown. It’s clear he has a ton of upside in any matchup. He’s typically Jared Goff’s first-read on passing plays and while the Raiders haven’t allowed an opposing wide receiver to catch a touchdown since Week 4, the Lions are easily the best offense they’ve faced since then and this secondary isn’t all that impressive.
Here we have another stud wide receiver that commands a heavy target share and is easily his quarterback’s first read most of the time. With Brian Hoyer last week, Adams was heavily involved early on. And then, for whatever reason, they just couldn’t seem to get him going as the game progressed. But now he at least has Jimmy Garoppolo back under center and Jimmy G isn’t afraid to force feed Adams. The Lions have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. The Lions have a pretty good pass rush highlighted by Aidan Hutchinson. They only have two sacks in their last three games but when Jimmy Garoppolo is being blitzed, Adams has a 32% target share.
With David Montgomery out once again, Jahmyr Gibbs is given a tremendous opportunity in a great matchup. He touched the ball 20 times last week but more importantly he had nine receptions on 10 targets. Sure, most of the production came late in a blowout loss. But at least the coaching staff has seen he can be “the guy.” This matchup projects better for Gibbs. The Las Vegas Raiders have allowed seven rushing touchdowns to opposing running back this year and five of those have come in their last three games. Opposing running backs also have 10 receptions in the last two games against the Raiders, so again, Gibbs projects well to be involved in the passing game as well.
Meyers is my favorite contrarian play for this game. He will have plenty of exposure at the top of lineups, but not nearly as much as ARSB or Davante Adams. Despite being the number two in this passing game, he still has 56 targets in six games and only one outing with less than seven targets. He has double-digit targets in four games already and has found the end zone in three straight games. It didn’t take long for him to develop some chemistry with Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s been more productive than Adams at times this year and you have quite the discount with this play as well. If you need a little more persuasion, meet Jacobs Gibbs from CBS Sports…
Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays
Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions
It’s perfectly fine to play Goff at Captain. You know me, I want players that offer a higher ceiling. Goff has three games this season with 25+ fantasy points on DraftKings. But in the other four performances he’s posted under 20 points. He’s much better at home when he’s in a controlled environment. The Raiders have good numbers against opposing quarterbacks. But they also haven’t been tasked with shutting down quarterbacks on the more talented end of the spectrum. This is a good “floor” matchup for Goff, but we will need some passing volume for him to be optimal at Captain. We can’t afford a performance where he attempts under 30 passes, but he’s at home and we should feel good about the play in a controlled environment.
I can confidently say I have zero interest in Jimmy G at Captain but will gladly flex him for any of my lineups that have Adams or Meyers at Captain. He did miss last week’s game, but he has just one performance on DraftKings with more than 18 fantasy points and he just isn’t a player that goes off for 300+ yards on a consistent basis but he did do it in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s likely to finish with 200-250 passing yards and possibly two touchdowns. However, he does have a 7:8 TD:INT ratio which is pretty horrendous all things considered. But with his return to the lineup, it does elevate the upside for his pass catchers and he’s a nice safe flex option if his pass catchers have big games.
If it weren’t for the volume, I don’t know if I’d be interested in playing Jacobs at all. He enters this game with 118 carries on the season but he’s averaging just 2.9 yards per carry on the year. He has just one carry for more than 20 yards. But again, there’s a ton of volume for him and he’s involved in the passing game with 26 receptions on 39 targets through seven games. The Lions are pretty tough to run on. Yes, the Ravens backfield went for over 100 yards against them last week, but I think we see positive regression for Detroit’s run defense. And given how inefficient Jacobs has been, he likely needs multiple receptions and a score to be of service to our DFS lineups.
Not a phenomenal play by any means, but let’s keep expectations in check. At best, he’s maybe the third option in this passing game. But if St. Brown misses the game then that’s an easy bump to Reynolds’ value and he’s likely in the conversation to be used at Captain. He has just six targets in his last two games which we don’t like to see, but Dan Campbell did give him high praise over the weekend going so far as to say he’s an “unsung hero” for the team. Of players with at least 10 targets, Jared Goff has a passer rating of 149.0 when targeting Reynolds and he’s a reliable piece used to move the chains. He’s a good play overall, but his ceiling is elevated if ARSB is inactive.
I personally don’t love the play but it’s mostly an issue with pricing. Williams had six targets last week but caught none of them. I imagine the coaching staff is still encouraged hence the workload, but the former first-round pick still has a long way to go to prove his worth. Despite the zero he took last week his six targets did go for 143 air yards so they are targeting him deep. For that reason, he does have some appeal at Captain because he is a deep threat as we saw in Week 6 when he scored on a 45-yard bomb from Jared Goff. But do keep this in mind, five of his six targets last week came when the Lions were down 35-0. We still like the involvement but he’s a boom-or-bust kind of play in any game. We tend to like those players specifically for Showdowns.
Narrative street right here. What’s the narrative, you ask? Oh I don’t know. It’s the night before Halloween and his name is Michael Mayer. Is it Michael Myers? No, but it’s close and I want to have a little fun with this. Mayer slashed his way to a productive game two weeks ago but turned back into a pumpkin last week. Tight ends can be a murderous matchup as the Lions haven’t defended the position well. There’s a path for Mayer to knife his way to a killer night so hopefully he and Jimmy G can rekindle that flame from a fortnight ago.
The projected total is at 46.5 points and the Raiders even have an implied total of 19.5 points so Vegas expects some offense. The Detroit Lions ($5,000) are actually reasonably priced in this matchup and they’ve returned double-digit fantasy points in three of their last five games. They perform a little better at home and should do well enough to stop the run game but are beatable through the air. Jimmy Garoppolo is returning from injury and remember he has a 7:8 TD:INT ratio so he’s certainly turnover prone but the Raiders offensive line has only given up eight sacks all year.
The Las Vegas Raiders ($3,600) are a nice discount off the Lions but at the same time, you can’t feel great about starting them since they have an implied total of roughly 26-28 points depending on the sportsbook. This D/ST is rather forgetful. They have only five takeaways all year with 15 sacks in seven games. And they now have to defend against an offense with a great offensive line, and this is a group that can run and throw the ball effectively. The Lions are pretty pissed off after last week’s showing and I expect an onslaught from this offense and don’t have much interest in this group but I’m willing to get some exposure to the Lions D/ST.
I’m not going to lie, when I saw this my brain was put in a pretzel…
FOUR kickers?! My worst nightmare! Now I won’t lie, I don’t really keep track of kickers. Sometimes in Discord when I get asked about kickers, I have to look up who they play for. I just don’t care about them normally. So to my shock and dismay, I was flustered when four of them were priced so close together. It looks like the Lions will be going with Riley Patterson ($4,800), who was the only kicker listed on the depth chart as of Friday night. He’s only attempted three field goals in his last three games. He has eight total FGA’s the whole season. That just speaks to how good this offense is because they haven’t had too many drives stall out. The Raiders haven’t had too many kickers “go off” against them and that’s usually because they surrender touchdowns, not field goals.
For the Las Vegas Raiders, Daniel Carlson ($4,200) is questionable with a groin injury. That’s not ideal for a position that needs to be limber and flexible. He has been getting plenty of volume with 10 field goal attempts in his last three games. He practiced in a limited fashion on Saturday so that’s promising. Groin injuries are difficult. I can’t imagine he kicks unless he’s 100%. Even if he’s 90% with just slight discomfort with the kicking motion, I can’t imagine he’s active. No kicker has put up double-digit fantasy points against the Detroit Lions and that’s mostly a testament to the defense. If Carlson can’t go, James McCourt ($4,200) will get the nod and I don’t think I’d be too excited to play him since he doesn’t have any in-game action this year.
NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains
Reynolds played second fiddle to Gibbs last week, but we put it in the past and acknowledge he might get eight or so touches in this game with David Montgomery once again ruled out. Reynolds is a bigger bodied running back than Gibbs with about 15 extra pounds on him so he might be better suited for high-value goal line touches. But in a blow out last week he had just four touches as Jahmyr Gibbs came to live in the second half. He’s incredibly affordable and we’re only two weeks removed from him getting a dozen touches.
Raymond might be the preferred value over Reynolds. He saves you $400 and is usually good for a couple receptions each game. He’s caught all eight of his targets the last three weeks and they do get him involved with a few targets each game. He’s cheap and if he’s making those catches then those receptions are all the more valuable.
You can also consider Zamir White for $400 more on DraftKings. White has five receptions the last two games. But I’m leaning to Renfrow. It appears that the Raiders and Renfrow want to get a deal done for Renfrow to find a new team. There are two ways this could unfold on Monday. He is either involved so the Raiders can showcase him and draw up more interest. Or they don’t want to risk him getting hurt and his role is limited. But that’s been the case all year, hasn’t it? He’s only $1,200 on DraftKings but we just need a little production here. Tre Tucker ($600) is the super cheap punt on this slate with a pair of catches in back-to-back games. Two catches in this game and he’s likely paying off his price tag.