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Thursday Night DFS Preview: How to build your lineup in the star studded Green Bay-Arizona game

Credit: @ArizonaCardinals (Instagram)

Welcome back to week 8 of the Thursday Night Football Showdown Build here at Aaron Torres Online. Last week we had an ugly matchup with a bunch of backups and had to get creative with our build. We hit on guys like D’Ernest Johnson and even Case Keenum, but thankfully we don’t have to do that again this week. This week we get a matchup between two potential championship contenders who have a combined one loss between them. Covid-19 has affected this game with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard both missing this game on the reserve/Covid-19. While this hurts Green Bay in the game, this does open some opportunity for us to find value in our DFS lineup.

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. Make sure to subscribe here or listen below.

With that, let’s build out our week 8 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. This week, I’m looking at one player only as my captain and its Kyler Murray. While Kyler is the most expensive player in this contest, I expect him to score a lot more fantasy points than anybody else in this game. Kyler averages over 25 fantasy points a game and adds a rushing upside that we love from our fantasy quarterbacks. Arizona hasn’t had to rely on Kyler’s rushing ability this year as much as they have in the past, but he gets a good matchup against a Green Bay defense that has allowed the second most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks this season. We haven’t seen Kyler run one in himself since Week 3, and I’m sure he is missing the end zone, so with this plus matchup I think he breaks that streak this week and runs one in. I expect Kyler to combine for at least 3 touchdowns in this one and score 25-30 fantasy points in this matchup. Using him in the captain spot, that could get us over 40 points in our showdown slate lineup. Sign me up!

I am going to use Kyler because I believe there is enough value in some lower salary players this week, but if you prefer to be more balanced and not spend all the way up for Kyler as a captain you could consider some other players too. Aaron Jones is intriguing with Green Bay missing their top two receivers so the thought could be they run more and also utilize Jones as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Deandre Hopkins is Kylers top weapon and one of the best receivers in the league so hes always in the conversation, but he is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, so I won’t chance paying up for him. I won’t be using Aaron Rodgers as a captain with his two top receivers out. As a flex, sure, but too risky for me at captain.

Flex Spots with high salaries

This is where I would put Rodgers in my lineup. At a salary of $11,400 it is a bit high for a guy who is missing his top receivers, but Aaron Rodgers is going to need to do everything in his power to keep his team in this game, so the offense is going to rely on him to produce. In a primetime matchup against another top NFC contender, Rodgers should be able to bring it even if he doesn’t have all his weapons at his disposal. Aaron Jones also falls in here for me, but I would go Rodgers over Jones if you had to pick one. Jones may get more volume this week, but he did only have 6 carries last week and Arizona has given up the 6th fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. If they add some more attention to stopping the run as well this week with Adams and Lazard out, it could be a long night for Jones.

The other options in consideration at that $7,000 or more salary point would be Christian Kirk and the Arizona running back duo of James Conner and Chase Edmonds. If you aren’t paying up for Hopkins, which I’m not, I will use Kirk here. Kirk has received at least 5 targets in all but 2 games so far and Kyler seems to like looking his way. He has scored in back-to-back weeks and is a good lower priced option to work into your lineup to pair up with Kyler. Both Conner and Edmonds are averaging double digit fantasy points this season, but they are operating as a committee. Edmonds hasn’t found the endzone yet, but he is getting most of the touches out of the backfield and is utilized as a pass catcher as well. Conner is the one who has been the red zone threat and has 6 rushing touchdowns on the season. I said before that I think Kyler calls his own number this week, so I am not looking to play Conner. I will consider Edmonds for the volume and bonus of getting some receptions, and he’s the less expensive of the duo as well at a $7,000 salary.

Flex Spots with value

There are a few pass catchers to look at in the value range of salaries this week. AJ green slots in just under the $7,000 mark at $6,800 and is another option if you’re looking for a cheaper player to pair with Kyler. He is neck and neck with Kirk for second on the team in targets, but I prefer the upside that Kirk gives being more explosive, so I won’t be using Green.

Two pass catchers that I will look at though are the two tight ends. On the Arizona side, they just brought in Zach Ertz, and he made his presence felt right off the bat last week in his first game with the club. Ertz was targets 5 times and racked up 66 receiving yards which included a big 47-yard touchdown. Arizona has shown they are utilizing their tight end this year, so Ertz becomes an every week threat to potentially score a touchdown. Robert Tonyan on the other side was exactly that last year, a touchdown machine. Tonyan only has 2 so far this year and has come back to earth, but he gets a good situation this week coming off his best game of the season last week. With Rodgers missing key receivers, he could be forced to lean on his tight end once again like he did last year. If they get in the red zone, it could be Tonyan that he is looking to. I like Tonyan as a low salary, boom-or-bust play in this contest.

For us to use Kyler at captain and still work in higher salary guys like Rodgers, Hopkins or Jones, you’re going to need to dive deep for a low salary dart throw in this game. The guys we are going to look at here are Green Bay receivers who will have a more prominent role with some top receivers missing this game.

Down at $3,600 is Randall Cobb, who we all know has history with Aaron Rodgers. Adams is the go-to for Rodgers nowadays but without his top target this week Rodgers could go back to his old top dog and look Cobb’s way a lot this week. I think that many people will be playing this narrative though, and Cobb will be very highly rostered at this salary, so I am going to dive even deeper and play Equanimeous St. Brown at only $600!

In addition to Adams and Lazard, Marquez Valdez-Scantling may also not be back from IR for this game, and that could lead to St. Brown being on the field very often. His snap percentage has increased every week already and now, thrust into a bigger role, it should be at its highest point for us this week. He had a touchdown last week called back for pass interference and if he gets one that stands this week, at only $600, he could be a contest winner!

Final Build Thoughts

The build was fairly easy this week since I knew I was putting Kyler in at captain. I started there and then threw St. Brown in as my dart throw flex. I went with Kirk to pair with Kyler and took the less expensive Arizona back who gets the more volume. I went with Rodgers over Jones and then put Tonyan in to pair with him in hopes he finds the end zone.

Week 8 Thursday Night Football Showdown Style Lineup

Captain – Kyler Murray

Flex – Christian Kirk

Flex – Chase Edmonds

Flex – Aaron Rodgers

Flex – Robert Tonyan

Flex – Equanimeous St. Brown

Make sure to follow JB on Twitter @FantasyCoach JB


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