My last crack at a perfect NFL showdown contest at FanDuel went pretty well. Cameron Brate (2.1% owned) was a serious deep dive that allowed me to stack up a slew of elite options and he scored on Tampa Bay’s first touchdown of the game.
Brate fizzled from there and it was Vance McDonald that ended up being the best tight end in the game. Shame on Chris Conte for getting stiff-armed to oblivion.
My one gaffe of that night was DeSean Jackson, who actually could have still been a fine play if an electrifying punt return for a touchdown wasn’t called back due to a holding penalty. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a great play in the MVP slot, however, while Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Brate were all solid NFL DFS picks.
It gets trickier going into week four’s TNF tilt, however, as the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams lock horns in a game that may not be that easy to predict. Both teams have very good defenses, but they also boast capable rushing attacks and overall dynamic offenses.
Because of this, I think the best play is – much like on Monday – just loading up with as many studs as possible. Let’s see who my must-haves are and what contrarian strategy could be worth your time:
MVP (x1.5 points): Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($16.5k)
I don’t see any way around Gurley in the MVP slot.
You can fade him and gain a massive edge on the entire field if he’s awful or you can keep him out of your MVP slot if you think someone else will be better than him. Those are two GPP-ish moves you could pull, but I won’t get that cute.
For one, I don’t see Gurley being a spare in such a big home game, while I also believe he’ll be the best fantasy option in this game.
That isn’t meant as a slight to the Vikings, who happen to rank 7th against fantasy running backs. However, even when Gurley is stifled, he still is so involved and so efficient inside the red-zone that he’s still bound to reach/exceed value.
Besides, almost nobody in this game has a great matchup by the numbers, so basing who you’re playing strictly on rankings may not be the way to go here.
FLEX: Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings ($12.5k)
This is another easy one for me, as Thielen is explosive enough to turn a small amount of opportunities into a huge game, but has such a massive role that you don’t really need to worry about the ball coming his way. The guy saw 19 targets in week three and hasn’t had fewer than 12 in any game this season.
The matchup is not great for any of the Minnesota receivers, but whether they’re somehow overcoming that matchup or playing from behind all night, something tells me Thielen is going to get his looks and turn them into fantasy points.
FLEX: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings ($9.5k)
I also like the two quarterbacks in this game and guys like Brandin Cooks and Stefon Diggs, but they should be quite popular and in what could be a defensive battle (both teams excel against the pass), I’m going to go a different route.
I still need to use pass-catchers in this contest, so I’ll just pivot to Rudy, who may go a little overlooked as a tight end.
He’s a really nice price for a red-zone asset, however. He’s topped 10+ fantasy points in each of the last two games and already has two scores in 2018. Facing a Rams defense that ranks just 21st against the tight end position, I think he could be a strong play.
FanDuel isn’t as PPR-friendly as DraftKings, so you’re always going to want to lean on scoring ability over catching. Rudolph has a fine enough role, but if the Vikings are scoring through the air tonight he’s a solid bet to be part of it.
FLEX: Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams ($10k)
The same can be said of Kupp, who is often looked to by Rams quarterback Jared Goff inside the 20. Goff and Kupp connected for five touchdowns last year and another two already in 2018.
Kupp isn’t the top receiver for the Rams and you can even look to Robert Woods if you want, but he certainly has a solid role and is a threat to score in any matchup.
He’s also a solid price and with 9+ fantasy points in each game this year, seems like a pretty safe play.
FLEX: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings ($11k)
Cook is an iffy call, as he sat out of Minnesota’s week three drubbing by the hands of the Bills and is still questionable on a short week. He suggested he’ll play and it does sound that’s where it’s trending to, but nothing is certain as I type this.
I am going to assume Cook plays and his role alone (13+ touches in both games played this year) is worth giving him a long, hard look. I get the feeling this game sets up more as a ball control showdown, where both teams feed their top rushers a lot and take advantage of scoring mismatches in the red-zone. Some crazy shootout where both quarterbacks put up 300+ yards and 3-4 touchdowns isn’t impossible, but it’s just not what I’d call logical given the matchup.
That makes Cook a must for me and I think he caps off a very strong five-man roster for tonight’s showdown contest at FanDuel.
I’m not taking a crazy deep dive like Cameron Brate this week because I’m not sure one really exists. There was at least some logic behind punting with Brate and this week the only cheap guy I’d really have eyes for is Laquon Treadwell ($8k) and he’s not even offering an amazing discount.
I think going balanced is the right call here and while it will be tough to fade both quarterbacks and some of the other top options, I don’t think you need them to field a competitive roster tonight.
Love my NFL DFS picks? Hate them? Let me hear it in the comments below!