Right after getting a matchup between two contenders in the NFC in the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football in Week 8, we are treated with a battle of two teams currently out of the playoff picture in the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9. While it may not look like an enticing matchup on the surface, there will be plenty of decisions to make on the DraftKings’ Showdown slate.
Is Jonathan Taylor going to be worth paying up for? Can Mike White continue rolling after leading the Jets to a massive upset victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8? These are questions we will need to ask ourselves as we are compiling our lineups for Thursday night. Whenever there is a game taking place with two mediocre or below-average teams, it’s always more fun when you build a lineup or wager something — responsibly, of course — for the game. With that in mind, let’s take a look at my favorite options for my captain and flex spots on DraftKings.
Captain Spot Considerations
Jonathan Taylor ($17,400)
As of this moment, Vegas has the Colts as near 10-point favorites at home over the Jets. If Indianapolis is going to beat anyone by double-digits, there’s a good chance that Jonathan Taylor is going to be one of the reasons why. After seeing an average of only 50.2 of the team’s offensive snaps in the first five weeks, Taylor has seen 69.3% of the snaps in the past three weeks. Regardless of his snap share, Taylor has produced 21+ points on DraftKings in each of the last five games for the Colts. If there’s anyone in this game that has the upside to eclipse 100+ yards and 2+ touchdowns, it is Taylor. There’s also the fact that New York has given up the most DraftKings points per game (37.3) to the running back position this season.
Michael Pittman Jr. ($15,300)
T.Y. Hilton has already been ruled out for the Colts on Thursday night. That means that targets could mainly be funneled to Michael Pittman Jr. against the Jets. The second-year wideout out of USC is coming off of his most productive game on DraftKings, as he hauled in 10 of his 15 targets for 86 yards and two touchdowns versus the Tennessee Titans in Week 8. Pittman is seeing a healthy 25.5% target share and a team-high 30.3% of the red-zone targets. Even in a win last week, the Jets surrendered 46.5 DraftKings points to the wide receivers of the Bengals, which was the 7th most in the NFL in Week 8. All signs point towards Pittman being the go-to wideout for Carson Wentz for the second consecutive week.
Michael Carter ($12,900)
Among all of the players that are beginning to have value in fantasy football at this point in the season, Michael Carter appears to be a potential league-winner. The rookie rusher out of North Carolina has shown off his chops as a runner and a pass-catcher in recent weeks amid the absence of Tevin Coleman. In the past two games alone, Carter has totaled 114 rushing yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. He’s also caught 17 of his 23 targets for another 162 yards through the air in the past two games for the Jets. With a backup quarterback in White under center, Carter is a security blanket in an offense that is without Coleman and potentially without Corey Davis for the second straight game.
Flex Spot Considerations
Mike White ($9,800)
Speaking of White, I’m either going to look like an idiot or a genius by placing confidence in New York’s backup quarterback. Zach Wilson remains sidelined for the Jets with a knee injury, giving White an opportunity to make his second career start. The fourth-year quarterback made his first career start in Week 8, lighting up the Bengals for 405 yards and three touchdowns en route to a three-point win for the Jets. The defense of the Colts hasn’t been stout against quarterbacks, allowing the 12th most points per game to the position (20.07) on DraftKings. While I wouldn’t expect 400+ passing yards from White again, we usually don’t get a quarterback with multiple touchdown upside for under $10,000 on DraftKings.
Jamison Crowder ($7,800)
As of this moment, Davis is doubtful to suit up for New York for the second consecutive game due to a hip ailment. That means that the wideout in line to see the most targets again is Jamison Crowder. Crowder isn’t a field-stretching wide receiver, or a wideout that is going to make contested catches over defenders consistently, but he is a reliable slot option for any quarterback. The veteran wide receiver had eight receptions for 84 yards on nine targets in Week 8 against the Bengals. On a site that rewards one point per reception like DraftKings, Crowder gives us a relatively safe floor (yes, I know it’s tough saying a Jets player gives us a safe floor). And if he can find the end zone, that’s an added bonus for someone that could easily see 10+ targets against the Colts.
Zach Pascal ($6,600)
The absence of Hilton does aid Pittman in being a top option in Week 9. However, don’t forget about Zach Pascal. Before Hilton made his debut in Week 6, Pascal had five consecutive games of 5+ targets, and he had three touchdowns. Over the past two weeks, Pascal has garnered 14 total targets, resulting in only eight receptions for 57 yards. With Hilton out, Pascal should be the No. 2 target for Wentz in the aerial attack, especially with Parris Campbell also out. While Pittman does lead the Colts in red-zone targets with 10, Pascal has nine himself this season. Once Indianapolis gets near the end zone, Wentz has shown that he’s comfortable targeting Pascal.
Denzel Mims ($2,000)
There tends to be one value player that always emerges as the marquee salary-saving piece on Showdown slates. Some people may side with kickers or a defense as a somewhat cheap option on DraftKings. For me, I’m looking for someone that is due for a touchdown or a breakout spot. As previously mentioned, Davis is trending toward being out for the Jets on Thursday night. That should lead to another increased workload for Denzel Mims. While Mims only caught two passes for 30 yards last week, he did see the most snaps for a wide receiver on the Jets in Week 8. Seeing that New York didn’t trade Mims at the trade deadline, maybe they finally plan on incorporating him into the offense more, beginning in Week 9 versus the Colts.