We have another Monday night football DFS double-header, with the Eagles traveling to Tampa Bay, and a Super Bowl 56 rematch in Cincinnati between the Bengals and Rams.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase (Chris Raybon’s come included with a FantasyLabs subscription) within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
Jalen Hurts is the top quarterback on this slate, but the question is whether you play him or take the savings with some other options.
The Eagles passing attack hasn’t really clicked to start the year, and it remains to be seen if tonight is the night when everything comes together. Tampa Bay took a very blitz-heavy approach in Week 1 against Kirk Cousins but then scaled it back in Week 2 against the mobile Justin Fields. Hurts has averaged just 5.1 yards per attempt when not blitzed this year compared to 8.8 yards when blitzed.
However, Hurts was able to get it going last week with a 26.22-point DraftKings performance against Minnesota. If looking for ceiling, he’s definitely the top option.
It’s a close call between Matthew Stafford and Baker Mayfield, but Stafford slightly looks like the better option. He’s turned in back-to-back solid performances, with 17.46 and 18.98 DraftKings points in the first two weeks. The matchup is middling this week, as Cincinnati has allowed the 11th-fewest yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks on the year. He still projects as one of the top options on the slate.
However, it looks like the path of least resistance if not playing Hurts. Mayfield and the Bucs will likely air it out but the matchup is brutal. As of now, my plan for this slate is to play one of Mayfield or Stafford, but it remains to be seen who.
Joe Burrow is tentatively expected to suit up, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get there tonight. He’s currently 29th in EPA per dropback, 29th in completion rate, and 31st in yards per attempt. He played against two solid defenses in Baltimore and Cleveland, but this week may be no different, with the Rams giving Geno Smith and Brock Purdy trouble.
I prefer the other three over Burrow.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Joe Mixon is one of my first clicks in lineups tonight. He comes with a very affordable price, and his role could be expanded with Cincinnati potentially going more run-heavy.
Mixon faced two stout run defenses and now gets the Rams, who have allowed 5.3 yards per carry to opposing backs. This offense has been ugly through two weeks, but Mixon is a good bet to see a solid amount of volume this week. A back who’s likely to get 13-15 carries and 3-6 targets is a prime target.
Kyren Williams isn’t far behind Mixon tonight, as he’s another one of the slate’s top options. He saw 15 carries in Week 1 and 14 in Week 2, as he’s clearly the top back in this offense. The real story was his pass game usage in Week 2, catching six of 10 targets for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The matchup is easier than last week’s versus San Francisco, as Cincinnati is allowing 4.5 yards per carry to opposing backs through the first two weeks.
Rachaad White has a great role with very limited competition, but he’s been extremely inefficient. He’s had 19 and 22 touches in the first two games, totaling 152 yards. He gets a daunting matchup tonight, as Philadelphia has allowed just 2.9 yards per carry through two games.
White should be able to get some passing volume, as the Eagles have allowed the fifth-most points through the air to opposing running backs. However, the matchup, coupled with his inefficiency, makes him a tough play. I prefer Mixon and Williams.
The Philadelphia backfield is interesting. D’Andre Swift ran wild last week against Minnesota, taking 28 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown while catching all three of his targets for 6 yards.
With Kenneth Gainwell back in the lineup, it’s unclear how the backfield will be split. Gainwell saw all the work in Week 1, with Swift barely seeing the field. I’d expect it to be close to a 50/50 split, with likely a slight lean to Swift. Reports are that they’ll ride the hot hand.
I prefer Gainwell to Swift when you include the salary and the major ownership discount. If in Swift’s price range, I’d likely just use Williams or Mixon.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Dating back to last year, we’ve seen A.J. Brown more involved when the other team is running man coverage, with a 31.7% target rate per route run against man versus just 21.9% against zone. Sadly, for him, Tampa Bay has played nearly 90% zone through two weeks.
However, we know Brown has voiced frustrations about his lack of usage, and Tampa Bay ranks in the bottom five in yards per target and yards per catch to opposing receivers. I think they prioritize Brown here, and once again, I prefer him to teammate DeVonta Smith.
He’s not the highest priced, but Puka Nacua is my top priority on this slate.
He’s currently questionable with an oblique injury, but Sean McVay said he expects him to suit up.
Nacua has 35 targets over the first two weeks, with 24.9 and 33.1 DraftKings points despite not finding the end zone. He has a ridiculous 31% first-read target rate and 38% target rate per route run. I’m buying all of the stock that I can until Cooper Kupp returns. He’s underpriced for his role, and I’m going to be all in.
Chris Godwin quietly has an elite matchup tonight. With Avonte Maddox on the field last season, the Eagles allowed 6.4 yards per target and zero touchdowns to opposing slot receivers last season. With him off the field, they allowed 9.1 yards per target and eight touchdowns. That’s a massive difference.
Tee Higgins has seen more success than Chase to start the year. After airballing in Week 1, he caught eight of 12 targets for 89 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. He’s also seen a higher first-read target rate than Chase, at 26%. I slightly prefer Higgins with the savings, but it is close.
Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith are less preferred than their teammates tonight, but both are big plays waiting to happen. Chase has a 26% target share and a 20% first-read target rate, while Smith has posted better scores than Brown in each of the first two games.
Mike Evans has had a great start to the year, with 50.7 DraftKings points through the first two games. This isn’t a stellar matchup on the perimeter against Philadelphia, but he’ll surely get volume.
Tutu Atwell has been overshadowed by Nacua, but he’s quietly putting together a great start to the year. He’s seen 17 total targets, catching 13 balls for 196 yards. He has an 18% first-read target rate, which is respectable. He may get overlooked tonight, and he actually leads the position in Points/Salary.
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NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Dallas Goedert is the best tight end on the slate tonight, but his role has been worrisome to start the year. He caught six balls for 22 yards on Monday night against Minnesota. He’s seen just a 10% first-read target rate, and he’s being utilized primarily on screen passes. He’s not a priority for me tonight, but if I have the salary, he’s definitely the top player.
Cade Otton isn’t a flashy play, but he’s been solid for Tampa Bay. He caught all six of his targets for 41 yards this past Sunday. He’s been on the field for 76% of the team dropbacks, which is by far the most of anyone not named Godwin or Evans. He’s the top Points/Salary play by a mile, and we saw T.J. Hockenson rack up catches against Philadelphia last week.
Tyler Higbee has kind of been a forgotten man in this Los Angeles offense. He’s running a route on 84% of the dropbacks but has just an 11% target share and a 10% first-read target rate. I’m personally not too interested here, but he could fall into the end zone and pay off his price tag.
Irv Smith Jr. looks doubtful for this contest, which thrusts Drew Sample into an increased role. He makes a lot work at such a cheap price on DraftKings.