Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday - Thursday Slate


You will not find much discussions on the Mon - Thurs NFL slates around the Internet, for a number of reasons.  First, picking players from just two games is scary.  The way to take down a GPP on a two game slate is pretty simple - get everything right.  That's hard.  With more games in play, the room for error is much bigger.  Look no further than a DraftKings' weekly perfect lineup and compare it to the top scores on even the biggest GPPs and you will find that the winners were still about 20% or more lower than the perfect score.  On short slates, you need to be as close to perfection, if not 100% perfect, as possible.

Still, these can be some fun games to play, and that's what DFS is supposed to be about, right?  Watch the games with a chance to win some money, and if you don't, just say "Oh well, maybe next time."  That's the attitude you need here.

The other part that makes Monday - Thursday slates so difficult is that these games are three days apart, which feels like a lifetime.  Consider this week where Baltimore goes to Pittsburgh on Thursday.  We know that Michael Vick will be starting, but there are some other guys who are banged up (like Crockett Gillmore) and we are not certain about whether they will play on Thursday.  That highlights a great feature of DraftKings - the ability to make a late swap right up until a player's game kicks off.  You can put Gillmore in, for example, and then decide to use Heath Miller instead on Thursday or even Maxx Williams.  You have that choice.

Now, let's talk about Monday Night Football and Kansas City visiting Green Bay.  The simple recipe for the Chiefs is to run the ball as much as possible with Jamaal Charles ($7,400) (and a little of Knile Davis ($3,000)) and play keep away from Aaron Rodgers.  That might work for a while and keep Kansas City in the game until later in the contest, which is all you want to have Charles be productive and getting 20+ touches in this one.  Travis Kelce  ($5,000) is the the top target for Alex Smith ($6,000), and the big tight end could find the end zone in Lambeau Field.  Jeremy Maclin ($6,000) will have a hard time getting to value unless he gets to 100 yards, and I just do not see that happening.  I like using Kelce and Charles from this group, but Alex Smith and/or Maclin are tournament options.

Green Bay should have Eddie Lacy ($7,200) starting tonight instead of James Starks ($3,000), but I think this game comes down to Aaron Rodgers ($8,000) and his big arm.   Randall Cobb ($7,300) should see a lot of opportunity from the slot and I like him to be the leading receiver tonight, while James Jones ($4,800) has a better chance to score than Davante Adams ($5,000) who is also coming back from injury.  Rodgers and Cobb are my favorite plays, but either wide receiver is a viable tourney option as is TE Richard Rodgers ($2,500).

Now let's talk AFC North.  Baltimore, 0-3 for the first time with Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh, heads to Pittsburgh where the Steelers have to figure out what to do without Ben Roethlisberger on a short week.  Michael Vick ($5,000) will be your starter here, but the value of stud wide reciever Antonio Brown ($9.200) drops significantly, as does home run wideout Derrius Heyward-Bey ($3,600).  Markus Wheaton ($3,500) barely warrants any mention, but two players sure to be in the short passing game this week are running back Le'Veon Bell ($7,700) and TE Heath Miller ($3,700).  Vick will dump the ball into Bell's hands early and often, and Miller should have a good shot at reaching value against Baltimore's soft secondary, something Miller always seems to find a way to exploit in this rivalry.  My top picks for Pittsburgh are Bell and Miller, but if you need cap room, consider Vick, who makes a cheap tournament stack play with Antonio Brown.  I would really not go hard after any other wide reciever aside from Brown, but if you are looking to separate your lineups, Wheaten or Heyward-Bey are you choices.

The Ravens are desperate for a win.  DESPERATE.  Joe Flacco ($6,000) has so few options to move the ball, it is almost ridiculous.  After WR Steve Smith ($6,200), only five targets went to wide receivers last week.  Tight ends Crockett Gillmore ($3,500) and rookie Maxx Williams ($2,500) were featured more all over the field against Cincinnati, and Williams could be the guy if Gillmore is out (he missed all of the second half for reasons unknown).  The run game could be in play, but who do you trust?  Justin Forsett ($6,000) is not looking that great, and Lorenzo Taliaferro ($3,000) is not on the field enough, even if he does get a shot at a touchdown.  Flacco and Smith are the safe options, and then it is anyone's best guess.

As always, take it easy on short slates, but have some fun.  Enjoy the games for what they are - games with some chance at some nice upside.  Good luck.

Enter your Monday-Thursday teams here on DraftKings.


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