With another NFL DFS Showdown Playbook for Monday Night Football, we bid adieu to the first half of the NFL season. The Los Angeles Chargers have another primetime game for the second straight week after beating the Chicago Bears in Week 8 to improve to 3-4. A win would do a lot to keep their playoff hopes alive to get to 4-4. But on the other side we have the surprise team of the AFC in the New York Jets sitting at 4-3 who have done well to make opposing teams play to their pace. The Jets are riding a three-game winning streak and have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs on the backs of their defense. It may be Week 9, and it’s not the sexiest game, but there’s a lot on the line in this AFC matchup so let’s take a look at how to approach the game for NFL DFS Showdown contests!
Spread: Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)
Over/Under: 39.5 Points
Weather: Partly cloudy skies with temps in the high-40’s and low winds.
- Joshua Palmer, Wide Receiver – OUT (Knee)
- Morgan Fox, Defensive End – Questionable (Oblique)
- Jalen Guyton, Wide Receiver – Questionable (Knee)
- Eric Kendricks, Linebacker – Questionable (Ribs)
- Otito Ogbonnia, Defensive Tackle – Questionable (Knee)
- Kenneth Murray, Linebacker – Questionable (Shoulder)
- Sebastian Joseph-Day, Defensive Tackle – Questionable (Illness)
- Duane Brown, Offensive Tacke – OUT (Hip)
- Chazz Suratt, Linebacker – OUT (Ankle)
- Adrian Amos, Defensive Back – Questionable (Ankle)
- Allen Lazard, Wide Receiver – Questionable (Knee)
NFL DFS MVP/Captain
The Jets are better at defending the pass than the run. They’ve given up 100+ rushing yards to opposing running backs in four of seven games this year, including 128 yards to Saquon Barkley last week but he also touched the ball 39 times in that game. Opposing running backs have also been catching more passes out of the backfield. Barkley had three last week and did nothing with them, but the week prior D’Andre Swift had eight. That’s basically where Ekeler is earning his money. He caught seven-of-eight targets last week for 94 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t efficient on the ground despite getting 15 carries. But that’s the beauty of Ekeler. His heavy involvement in both aspects of this offense make him a great play at Captain in a matchup like this.
I initially didn’t have Keenan Allen listed here at Captain, but I’ve come around. I don’t believe Keenan Allen draws a ton of coverage from Sauce Gardner. He likely sees more of Michael Carter II since Allen lines up more in the slot than on the outside. When Allen is lined up on the perimeter, then yeah, he’s probably covered by the Sauce. But overall, the New York Jets allow the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. This is a nightmare matchup for all their pass catchers and the road atmosphere certainly doesn’t help. I still have some concerns, but Andrew Cooper is more bullish on him than I am.
Very few receivers can exceed 11 fantasy points against the New York Jets. Allen could be one of the few to do it and at Captain you’d need a monstrous game from him.
Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets
Hall has effectively been let loose by Robert Salah and that’s resulted in three straight games with over 20 fantasy points on DraftKings. He’s scored in three straight games and could certainly find the end zone again Monday night. Breece Hall is a cheaper version of Austin Ekeler, or at least, he’s developing into that kind of player. Hall has four straight games with at least three receptions including 11 catches on 14 targets over his last two games. Opposing running backs have caught 30… T-H-I-R-T-Y passes in the last four games against the Los Angeles Chargers. The secret’s kind of out. Offenses can effectively check down to their running backs and go from there. Breece Hall shapes up to be a fantastic play Monday night.
He hasn’t scored since Week 2, but you get the sense that he’ll get one in due time. Diontae Johnson finally found the end zone on Thursday night and he had not previously scored since the 2021 playoffs. So it can happen for anybody and touchdowns are hard to project anyway. But we can project workload and involvement. He has 46 targets over his last four games and he’s coming off his first 100-yard effort of the season last week against the New York Giants. Dare I say Zach Wilson is actually beaming with more confidence? The Chargers secondary allows the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers so Wilson naturally projects well in this matchup. Now this is the part where I would normally say you correlate Garrett Wilson at Captain with Zach Wilson in the flex. You certainly can do that, but you don’t need to force it. Per DraftKings scoring, Zach Wilson has only one performance with more than 15 fantasy points this year and he’s yet to throw for 250+ yards. It’s not an awful idea to play Garrett Wison with Breece Hall and chase the ceiling with those two.
Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays
I’m just reading the tea leaves here. Herbert’s a great quarterback and he’s having a solid year. But unless we’re making 150 lineups and max entering a contest, I don’t love Herbert at Captain. The floor is certainly fine, but the Jets haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer so far this year and they’ve played against quarterbacks like Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts. Given the matchup I just don’t foresee a “ceiling” game from Herbert but he’s perfectly fine in the flex, assuming he attempts 30+ passes and can throw a couple touchdowns.
Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
I’m writing him up because it just feels like I have to, ya know? As I mentioned in Garrett Wilson’s section, Zach Wilson has just one game with more than 15 fantasy points on DraftKings. If there was ever a time to get numero two, it would be Monday night. The Chargers allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Of course they’ve had to face the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, and Patrick Mahomes. But despite the big names on the defensive side of the ball, they tend to get beat through the air. This is as good a matchup as Wilson will see this year. Do I think he goes for 300+ passing yards? No but the floor is elevated given how bad the Chargers defense has been.
The Jets numbers against opposing tight ends look a little better than they actually are because they technically yielded just one reception to the position last week. But keep in mind, Darren Waller got hurt and if you’re reading this YOU had more passing yards than Tommy DeVito in Week 8. The Jets have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends and Gerald Everett did find the end zone in back-to-back games prior to missing last week’s matchup against the Chicago Bears. With Joshua Palmer out for this matchup, I’m expecting a little more work for Everett, especially in the red zone. Donald Parham ($3,200) is obviously viable at tight end as well. He found the end zone last week since the Chargers were without Everett while adding 43 receiving yards.
I don’t have a ton of analysis regarding Lazard, but I’m concerned because he was a late addition to the injury report and he’s questionable for this game. Even if he’s active I likely wouldn’t be too excited about playing him. You can find cheaper players that potentially deliver the same output. But at the same time, the matchup is fantastic but he only has one game with more than eight fantasy points this season.
Personally, I don’t love Johnston in this matchup, but I know I’d be hammered with questions if I left him out. It certainly helps that Joshua Palmer is out. With Palmer’s injury last week, Johnston had five catches for 50 yards. But this matchup is brutal for the sizable rookie. He will see most coverage from Sauce Gardner or D.J. Reed and that doesn’t bode well for the perimeter receivers. Johnston took advantage of a far better matchup last week, but he still struggles with separation. The routes will likely be there for him, but we like Keenan Allen because he’ll likely avoid coverage from Gardner and Reed. Johnston probably won’t be as fortunate.
Obviously with an implied total as low as 39.5 points, D/ST’s certainly have appeal. Zach Wilson is prone to mistakes, but I could see the Jets leaning more on the run game. That wouldn’t bode well for the Los Angeles Chargers ($5,000). We need Wilson to drop back and throw passes. The Chargers can’t pick him off or sack him unless he’s sitting in the pocket with the ball in his hands. The Bolts have just two sacks in their last two games. In their four previous games they had 21. We love this matchup if Wilson attempts 35+ pass attempts. He only has one interception in his last four games, but he has fumbled five times in that span as well. The New York Jets ($4,200) could potentially be an outstanding value in this game. In their last three games they have 10 sacks with seven takeaways. The pass rush has stepped up and they defend the perimeter better than anyone. They’re a difficult matchup for any offense and they have the benefit of playing at home.
I won’t completely write off either kicker, but at the same time, I’m not as jazzed about these two as I was last night for the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals game. The lower total does knock kickers down in this matchup. However, you could argue that the lower total implies the offenses could be stalling in the red zone which could lead to more field goals. The Jets do boast a good enough red zone defense where six of seven opponents have attempted multiple field goals. Five opposing kickers have been graced with at least three field goal attempts. That bodes well for Cameron Dicker ($4,600), who is coming off a game with three field goals made and three extra points made. Dicker correlates well in the flex with Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, or Justin Herbert at Captain. If this game stays close, then Greg Zuerlein ($4,400) should be viable. He’s 11-for-11 in his last three games for the Jets while also drilling some from deep. He likely won’t be called up for extra points because that would mean the Jets are really lighting it up with touchdowns. But if this game stays close and the field goals keep the Jets alive then there’s a path to The Leg being optimal. However, if it’s a blowout, then we likely see the Jets chase touchdowns.
NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains
Conklin had just two targets last week but prior to that he had five straight games with at least three receptions. At $3,000 on DraftKings, that’s perfectly fine for a flex play. The Chargers present a good matchup against tight ends. However, the numbers are inflated because of big games from Travis Kelce and T.J. Hockenson. But if Conklin can go out and get a minimum of three receptions with some yardage and maybe a touchdown, then he’s crushing this value.
We have a $200 running back that likely gets a few touches. And if he can catch a pass or two out of the backfield then he crushes value. He only has 10 touches in his last four games, but we just need him to squeeze out a little value at $200. You can also roll the dice on Dalvin Cook ($1,400), who also sees a few touches per game. But with Breece Hall breaking out, the Jets have basically thrown up their hands and admitted they have no use for Cook.
Simi Fehoko and Derius Davis, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
So the Chargers did activate Jalen Guyton off IR. But he’s not currently listed in the player pool for DraftKings. That’ll certainly be worth monitoring. With Joshua Palmer hitting IR that could make things dicey in terms of reps. So with Palmer hitting IR, Simi Fehoko ($600) and Derius Davis ($200) become very popular sub-$1K paydowns on DraftKings. Fehoko found the end zone last week while Davis added a pair of catches. Davis also sees work on special teams as a kick returner. A couple catches will crush value here and allow us to pay up for more star players. I anticipate Davis being a very popular Flex play. He’s currently in two of my three lineups for this game while Fehoko may provide a little more leverage.
Obviously, the fact that Gerald Everett and Donald Parham will both be active hurts Smartt. But they are both a little beat up and had to work off to the side during practice all week. He’s a $200 punt at the position that is largely a leverage play because nobody will play him. But he could just as easily fetch a goose egg for the second straight week.