Thursday Night Football DFS Preview: How to build your lineup for Jacksonville-Cincinnati
Welcome back to week 4 of the Thursday Night Football Showdown Build here at Aaron Torres Online. Last week’s game dealt us a big blow with Christian McCaffrey going down with a hamstring injury in the first half. We did nail the big game from DJ Moore, and I even told you to play Anthony Miller at his $1000 salary who scored a touchdown! I hope you have been able to use the information in these articles to build out a winning lineup and cash in so far. Let’s do it again!
As you know, I will be coming to you weekly with a column specifically focused on one type of DFS contest, the Showdown style on DraftKings. I will be 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 six 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 times 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 4 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, Cincinnati is a 7-point favorite over Jacksonville and is expected to win this game. We are going to want to put a Cincinnati player in our captain spot since they have the better offensive weapons, and should score more. Using Joe Mixon will cost us $16,500 and will limit our ability to fill out the flex spots with quality players. I would like to use Mixon as the game script should favor the run if Cincy is playing with a lead, and they have been running more than we thought they would be coming into the season. Mixon has 73 touches through 3 weeks and is playing as a true bell cow running back. If you use Mixon, prepare to throw a dart or 2 at guys we talk about in the value section.
If you wanted to pay down a bit at captain, you could go with one of the Cincinnati receivers Ja’Marr Chase or Tyler Boyd. With Tee Higgins looking like he will miss his second consecutive game, the bulk of the targets should go to these two options. Chase has scored the most so far with his 4 TDs, but Boyd leads the team in targets and receptions. Both are good options as captain this week, but I would lean Boyd for salary relief.
Flex Spots with high salaries
We already talked about a few options in the captain section, so depending on who you play as captain, the others are certainly good options to flex. Mixon, Boyd and Chase are the main skill position weapons for Cincinnati and should all play a big role in this game. Joe Burrow came into this season with high expectations but may be taking a little longer to settle in after coming back from a devastating injury last season. He has yet to eclipse 20 fantasy points over the first three weeks and has thrown four interceptions over the past two games. This could be a “get right” spot for Burrow against a Jacksonville team that has given up 91 points over 3 games. My concern is Cincinnati looking to have a more balance approach and not throw as much. Playing with a lead last week, Burrow only threw 18 times so that passing volume does concern me a bit.
The Cincinnati secondary is also beatable, so the Jacksonville weapons are also playable in the flex spots. Trevor Lawrence has thrown multiple interceptions in every game he’s played so far, but even in Week 1 where he threw three picks, he still put up 25 fantasy points. He’s thrown the ball over 30 times in all 3 games and that volume should continue in a game they should be playing catch-up. Mike Hilton is the best cornerback for Cincinnati, and he plays in the slot most of the time and will see a lot of Laviska Shenault.
For that reason, I will likely go with either Marvin Jones or DJ Chark as a flex in a friendlier matchup against the weaker outside corners. Id look to pair Lawrence with one of his pass catchers and bank on passing volume.
Flex Spots with value
Most of the options we want to use in this contest carry a salary over $7000. There are a few options that fall below that mark and we will have to consider a couple of them in our lineups to get a group of those higher salary players in our build. Shenault is at $6600 and can be considered for his role on the short and intermediate routes, but I won’t be playing him since I don’t love his matchup this week. The Cincinnati defense is intriguing at $5600, mainly because they get to face a quarterback who has thrown seven interceptions and fumbled twice in three games. They’re also coming off a game that they had two interceptions and four sacks as well. They have 10 sacks and four turnovers created and I look for them to be able to add to those totals in this game.
Down in the bargain basement we will find a few pass catchers that could be our dart throw flex option. If we use these guys, we are hoping that they find the endzone like Anthony Miller did for us last week. Jacksonville tight end Jacob Hollister is only $1,000 and had six targets last week. They did just trade for Dan Arnold, but with only 2 days to prepare for a Thursday night game he may not be active for this game. If he’s not, this could be Hollister’s last chance to be a meaningful aspect of this offense and could be targeted in the red zone with his 6’4 frame. I also mentioned Tee Higgins trending towards not playing so we could throw a dart at the Cincinnati receiver we expect to fill the 3rd WR role. Auden Tate is $400 and Mike Thomas is $600. Neither has been targeted much, but if you pick the right one and he scores, the return on investment would be huge for your lineup. Tate saw 27 snaps last week so I would lean in that direction with the dart throw.
Final Build Thoughts
I want Mixon in my captain spot this week with the predictive game script telling me Cincinnati should be playing with a lead and running the ball. Mixon could go for over 100 yards in this game and score once or twice. I’ll use Lawrence for his passing volume against a weak secondary. Ill pair him with his favorite target at receiver and bring it back with Tyler Boyd on the other side. Ill round it out with the Cincinnati defense and a dart throw option.
Week 2 Thursday Night Football Showdown Style Lineup
Captain – Joe Mixon
Flex – Trevor Lawrence
Flex – Tyler Boyd
Flex – Marvin Jones Jr.
Flex – Cincinnati Defense
Flex – Jacob Hollister if Arnold is inactive. If Arnold is active, pivot to Auden Tate
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