For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will be providing free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. We have loads of information and NFL DFS showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 1 Monday Night Football slate featuring Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 1 Monday Night Football
Week 1 wraps up tonight with the Ravens heading into Las Vegas to take on the Raiders. It was a tough preseason for the Baltimore running backs, with J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill going down with injuries. For the Raiders, Josh Jacobs is questionable with a non-COVID illness.
Lamar Jackson is going to be wildly popular on Monday Night Football, with the Ravens suddenly short on running backs. Over the last two seasons, Jackson is averaging 73.7 yards rushing per game, 6.6 yards per carry, and he has 14 touchdowns. It is almost an afterthought that he also has 62 touchdowns passing while averaging nearly 200 yards passing per game. Last year the Raiders were bottom five for both rushing and passing DVOA metrics. Just play Jackson.
It sounds like undrafted rookie Ty’Son Williams will be getting the RB1 role due to attrition. Dobbins and Edwards are out for the season, which means Williams is going to be playing under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. Baltimore brought in Latavius Murray after he was released by the Saints, and they also added Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman to the practice squad. Trenton Cannon will also be available, though he has more of a special teams role.
Williams appeared in 31 games in college, with just shy of 1,400 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns. Even though Murray has been with the team for less than a week, it would not be a surprise to see him get a healthy portion of the snaps if Williams falters.
Rookie Rashod Bateman is on the injured reserve, as is Miles Boykin. That leaves Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins and Devin Duvernay as the main targets for Jackson. The Ravens are happy to run the ball and let their defense do the heavy lifting, even when injuries and circumstance have not forced their hand. It would not be a surprise if there are only 20 to 25 pass attempts from Jackson tonight, as long as Baltimore can keep the Raiders off the scoreboard.
Mark Andrews should see six targets at a minimum tonight as one of the few trusted options that is available in the passing game. Nick Boyle is on the injured reserve, so that leaves journeyman Eric Tomlinson (37 games in six seasons with three teams) and fringe option Josh Oliver (four games in two seasons), who will likely only be on the field when Andrews is getting a rest.
This is a good matchup for the Ravens, who should once again be one of the better defenses in the league. Derek Carr does a reasonable job of avoiding sacks and limiting interceptions with his conservative style of play. However, it is not hard to envision a return touchdown of some sort for Baltimore.
This is not going to be fun for Carr, who opens the season against a veteran defense accustomed to playing in prime time. Last year the Ravens had the 10th-best passing DVOA, and they do a great job of pressuring opposing quarterbacks. Carr is generally a fantasy option that is skipped over on normal slates, though to his credit, he did top 20 DraftKings points on nine different occasions last year.
Kenyan Drake joined the team after being heavily pursued by coach Jon Gruden. This was a bit of a surprise since Gruden is also high on Josh Jacobs, but it could turn out to be a stroke of good fortune tonight. Jacobs was downgraded to questionable on Sunday with a non-COVID illness. If he is out, or even limited, this could bode well for Drake since his salary reflects being on the short end of a shared backfield. Jalen Richard is on the injured reserve, so Peyton Barber would likely get at least a handful of touches in the event Jacobs is not a full go.
Henry Ruggs III is a talented option, but he is hampered by Carr’s lack of downfield throws. Bryan Edwards is a solid all-around option, though he was limited to just 12 games in his rookie campaign with a variety of injuries. Hunter Renfrow is the possession receiver, and Zay Jones will be spelling Ruggs and Edwards. Willie Snead is also on the squad, giving Las Vegas solid depth at this position. Nelson Agholor left behind 82 targets, 48 receptions, 896 yards and eight touchdowns — this production is likely to be dispersed across the various receivers.
Darren Waller is the de facto WR1 for the Raiders, and he is the clear favorite of Carr. Waller has been stellar with back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons. The only knock against him is that he has just 12 touchdowns in his last 32 games. Foster Moreau is the backup and the blocking tight end. With only 34 targets in his 29 career games, he is hard to recommend as a fantasy option.
The Raiders are a bend-not-break defense that does not collect many sacks or turnovers. Since Baltimore is likely to keep things on the ground, there will not be many opportunities for Las Vegas to collect fantasy points.
Monday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 1 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Week 1 Monday Night Football Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Lamar Jackson: It is likely that Jackson is going to be on 95%-plus of all rosters in the single-game contests tonight.
- Derek Carr: This ranking is a surprise to everyone.
- Mark Andrews: The lack of Ravens pass catchers and the discount from Waller make him a core option tonight.
- Darren Waller: Clearly the Raiders’ best receiving option.
- Ty’Son Williams: No salary discount, and he is projected to be on just 30% of all rosters.
- Justin Tucker and Daniel Carlson: Kickers can often be valuable in single-game slates.
- Josh Jacobs/Kenyan Drake: The health downgrade yesterday is concerning for Jacobs. Even if he starts can he be trusted?
- Hunter Renfrow: Seventy-seven targets for 56 catches, 656 yards and two touchdowns compared to 58 targets for 37, 645 and three for Ruggs and Edwards combined.
- Marquise Brown: Brown needs a long touchdown to be valuable on a prime-time slate.
- Latavius Murray: Bargain at $8,000 on FanDuel. The $6,200 on DraftKings is more indicative of a guaranteed split-workload.
Week 1 Monday Night Football Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Henry Ruggs: Talent is there, but can his quarterback get him the ball downfield, or will he be running wind sprints?
- Sammy Watkins: Veteran who is used to playing with different quarterbacks and learning new systems.
- Bryan Edwards: More of a differentiation play since he does not have a long track record with his injury history.
- Baltimore D/ST: Fairly valued for this matchup.
- Devin Duvernay: Will need to break free for a long one, which is possible. Also returns punts and kickoffs.
Week 1 Monday Night Football Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Picks
- Payton Barber: Moves ahead of Watkins in the event Jacobs is inactive or not starting.
- Las Vegas D/ST: They will at least be on the field a lot, though Jackson limits his mistakes and sacks.
- Patric Ricard, Alec Ingold, James Proche, Josh Oliver: All at the DraftKings $200 minimum, avoid on FanDuel.
- Willie Snead/Zay Jones: Just enough opportunities to warrant their own mention; 2-3 projected targets each if active.
- Foster Moreau/Trenton Cannon: Touchdown dart throw.
- Tylan Wallace, Eric Tomlinson, Derek Carrier, Josh Oliver: No thanks.
- Devonta Freeman/Le’Veon Bell: Likely inactives.
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