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Thursday Night DFS Preview: Take Lamar Jackson and then... who in Thursday's Baltimore-Miami game?

Credit: @New_era8 Instagram

Welcome back to Week 10 of the Thursday Night Football Showdown Build here at Aaron Torres Online. Can you believe we are already at Week 10? This week we get an exciting Baltimore team, fresh off a high scoring win, heading into Miami to face a team that is trying to stay afloat. They are coming off a narrow victory against Houston last week and we still don’t know if they will be without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the second consecutive week. Tua missed last weeks game with a hand injury and is still not practicing fully heading into a game on a short week. Miami may choose to play it safe and give him the long week after the Thursday game to heal up, which makes building this showdown slate lineup interesting. As we build out this week’s lineup, we have to do so assuming that Tua is not going to play based on what we have seen in the past week.

As you know, I come to you weekly with a column specifically focused on one type of DFS contest, the Showdown style on DraftKings. I am here every Thursday, specifically giving you players and strategy for the Thursday Night Football Showdown contests. Showdown Style is a DFS contests, also referred to as Captain Mode contests, where your roster consists of only 6 players and must include players from both teams. The positions in this type of contest are a “Captain” and 5 “Flex” players. This means that you can play a QB, RB, WR, TE, K or Defense in any of those roster spots with no minimum or maximum at any position. The player you select as the captain will score 1.5 time the standard fantasy point value for every statistic but drafting a player in the captain spot will also cost you more salary than if you were to draft them in a flex spot.

Before we get started, remember to check out my “DFS Flash” podcast, a quick whip around DFS show, that’s only 15-20 minutes and gets you ready for the full Sunday DFS slate ahead. It’s been delivering winners every week so don’t miss out! Make sure to subscribe here or listen below.

With that, let’s build out our Week 10 Thursday Night Football Showdown Slate Lineup!

The Captain Spot:

As I mentioned, the player you use in this spot is going to cost you more salary by being the captain, but it will also score you 1.5 times the standard point value earned. We nailed our captain spot last week with Jonathan Taylor going off for a huge game. This week, I want to do my best to use Lamar Jackson in the captain spot. Lamar is a fantasy football machine with his dual threat ability. He has shown improvements as a passer this year to go along with his electrifying talents as a runner. Lamar averages over 27 fantasy points per game, and has had games of 35, 37 and even 45 this season. Using Lamar is going to be costly but getting 1.5 times the point value could be huge if Lamar can hang another 40 burger in this game.

One of the main reasons I want to use Lamar is because there really aren’t any other options that I see having the ability to outscore Lamar in this game. The other options would be his leading pass catchers Marquise Brown or Mark Andrews, Miami backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett or their running back Miles Gaskin. Gaskin has had several games where he completely disappeared, so he is too risky for me to use at captain. Brissett averages about 10 fantasy points a game so he doesn’t give me the upside I want at captain. The Baltimore pass catchers are intriguing, but I would rather look to get one of them in a flex to pair with Lamar at captain. Using Lamar at captain is going to be the move, but it will also require us to find some flex value since we are paying up at captain.

Flex Spots with high salaries:

Before we look for value, I want to be sure I have a couple of solid floor options in my flex spots to ensure some stable point scoring to go along with Lamar. I said before that I’d want to use at least one of his main pass catchers so I will look to do that with either Brown at $11,000 or Andrews at $8,800. Brown is the clear number one receiver for Lamar, getting double digit targets in 3 of the last 4 games. Miami also ranks 30th in the league against opposing wide receivers. They’re not much better against tight ends, ranking 26th against the position and making Andrews a nice target as well. It would be nice to be able to use them both, but I don’t believe that would work in a budget unless you throw multiple darts. Miami’s top corner Xavien Howard hasn’t played well this season, but he is starting to get healthy from multiple nagging injuries. Between his ability to disrupt Brown and the much higher price tag Brown carries, I will likely lean towards using Andrews in a flex spot.

The tight end on the other side of this matchup is also a nice play in this game. Mike Gesicki has had a nice emergence into the upper levels of tight end this season. Gesicki is averaging nearly 13 points a game and has been a focal point of the Miami passing game with the injuries the wide receiver group has suffered this season. Through 9 weeks of the season, Gesicki is ranked third amongst all tight ends with over 110 fantasy points in a ppr format (about 9 points behind Andrews). As bad as we talked about Miami being against the tight end position, Baltimore ranks even worse, coming in ranked 29th in the league. At a $7,400 salary, Ill be looking to use Gesicki for his volume potential in a plus matchup.

The other option in the Miami passing game is Jaylen Waddle. The rookie has quickly emerged as the leading receiver on the team after they’ve lost both Will Fuller and DeVante Parker to injuries. Waddle had 10 targets last week from Brissett and that was the 3rd time in the past 4 games he has had double digit targets. Even in the one game he didn’t get double digit targets during that stretch, he caught 7 of 8 targets for 83 yards and 15 fantasy points. Baltimore is a tough matchup for wide receivers, but Waddle has shown us his ability to score double digit fantasy points even without finding the endzone so he should be in consideration for a flex spot.

The only other options in consideration at that $7,000 or more salary point would Jacoby Brissett and Miles Gaskin. Because of the reasons I mentioned when I brought them up in the captain section, I likely won’t be using either in my lineup build. I wouldn’t mind using Gaskin as a flex since Baltimore does rank 26th against opposing running backs on the season, but it’s a gamble as to which Gaskin you will get. He has had games where he scores multiple touchdowns and puts up 30 fantasy points and has also had games where he rushes 5 times and gets 3 fantasy points. The decision to use or not to use Gaskin could be the one that makes or breaks your lineup in this contest.

Flex Spots with value:

The Baltimore running game is a revolving door of running backs who peaked 5 years ago and are still holding on for dear life. Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell, both top 10 backs in 2016, are the two that will likely lead the way for Baltimore. Latavius Murray still hasn’t fully recovered from his ankle injury and likely will sit this one out to get healthy on the long rest week. At $6,600 and $5,400 respectively, Freeman and Bell are not options that I feel great about using in my lineup build. The two backs split carries almost equally last week and also have to compete with a rushing quarterback in addition to competing with each other. I believe they cannibalize each other’s value too much to trust.

Rashod Bateman at $5,800 and Sammy Watkins making his return at $5,600 are the 2nd and 3rd wide receivers in Baltimore’s passing offense. Bateman is coming off back-to-back games with double digit fantasy points, but both of those games were with Watkins sidelined. With Watkins coming back this week, it is unclear how the snap distribution will be with them both in there. Baltimore also loves to run multiple tight end sets and that forces at least one of these receivers to come off the field. As we saw last week, they also use a fullback so there are times where Baltimore will only have one receiver on the field. Because of these factors, and the fact that we don’t know how the snap share will play out, I will likely be off both secondary receivers as well.

If we are going to use Lamar as a captain and want to use at least 3 of the higher priced flex options, we need to find some value. The Baltimore defense is $4,400, but they are coming off back-to-back games with negative fantasy points. Although they could take advantage of a backup quarterback with limited weapons, I don’t think they give us enough upside with their 4.5-point average. I will look at Justin Tucker at $4,000 though. Tucker averages nearly 10 points per game and has scored double digit points in 5 games already this season. At that price, even getting to his average gives us a nice 2 and a half times return on our investment.

Final Build Thoughts:

I put Lamar in my captain spot and put both tight ends and Waddle in flex spots. After that, I knew I had to go with a low-priced player and a bargain basement dart throw play. I put Tucker in at $4,000 which only left me $900 for my final spot. With this spot, I just want a guy who wont get me a zero, but has a possibility of scoring a touchdown for a big boost. I considered 2 options, Preston Williams at $200 and Salvon Ahmed at $800. Williams is a talented receiver but has been a healthy scratch in the previous two games. There is no telling what kind of role he will have and if he is even out of the doghouse, so I was a little worried that he could be a potential zero. I decided to use Ahmed at $800 since he will get some touches and could possibly even get a couple of carries in the redzone as he has in the past. I already mentioned that Baltimore is ranked 26th against opposing running backs and Ahmed also brings the upside of getting all the carries in the backfield should something happen to Gaskin.

Week 10 Thursday Night Football Showdown Style Lineup

Captain – Lamar Jackson

Flex – Mark Andrews

Flex – Mike Gesicki

Flex – Jaylen Waddle

Flex – Justin Tucker

Flex – Salvon Ahmed

Make sure to follow JB on Twitter @FantasyCoach JB


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