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Fantasy Football Picks: Bills vs. Bengals DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Bills and the Chargers with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Well, another season of Monday Night Football has come and gone. We’ve had to endure some real tough matchups in primetime the past few weeks, but the NFL Schedule Gods really came through for this evening’s tilt between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only is this a potential battle for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, it’s a possible Championship Game preview.

I’m excited. You’re excited. Let’s dive into it.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Monday Night Finale Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (BUF vs CIN)


Captain’s Picks

Josh Allen ($17,100 CP) - It’s supposed to be a relatively balmy January night in Cincinnati on Monday. There isn’t supposed to be much wind, either. This all must sound pretty idillic to Allen, particularly after Week 16’s contest in Chicago against the Bears. Still, by the end of the fourth quarter, despite a pair of interceptions, Allen had racked up three total touchdowns and 25.0 DKFP. Why? Because that’s what the pivot does. Allen comes into Week 17 as one of just two QBs with over 400.0 DKFP for the season as a whole. He’s exceeded 30.0 DKFP seven times and he’s averaging an elite 0.66 DKFP per drop back — the fourth-highest mark in football. There’s nothing Allen can’t do. He’s got a rocket launcher attached to his right shoulder, while he also has the size and strength as a runner to lead Buffalo with 11 carries inside the five yard-line. Allen is matchup-proof. Allen is script-proof. Allen is always worthy of his price tag in Showdown.

Ja’Marr Chase ($15,900 CP) - To say that Chase hasn’t skipped a beat since returning from a lengthy injury absence would be an understatement. From Week 13 to Week 16, Chase’s 48 targets are tied for the second-most in the NFL with Keenan Allen, a figure which also includes a league-leading 14 red zone targets. Generally speaking, when a wideout is given that many opportunities near the end zone, it means their touchdown expectancy is quite high. However, when it comes to Chase, the sophomore is a big play waiting to happen no matter where he’s seeing the ball. In fact, 11 of Chase’s 21 career touchdowns have been over 30 yards. Six of the 21 have been at least 50 yards. When as asset can combine the stable floor of a massive target share with a seemingly unlimited ceiling, you have to take notice. In a sentence, that is Chase. Having him attached to a quarterback like Joe Burrow ($10,800) is pretty helpful, too.

FLEX Plays

James Cook ($5,600) - This is a tough slate to navigate from a financial standpoint, with six different players priced above $9K. Those circumstances make an asset like Cook very attractive. The second-round pick has steadily seen his role increase the past month, as Cook’s logged at least a 40% offensive snap share in three of the Bills’ past four games — including a season-high 43% rate in Week 13 against the Patriots. It’s a span where the rookie has also hauled in 10 passes and scored two of his three touchdowns this season. Bengals D/ST ($3,400) has been rather stingy when defending the run, yet you’re unlikely to find anyone with a salary lower than Cook who is nearly as involved as the 23-year-old.

Hayden Hurst ($3,000) - I’m quite curious to see where people gravitate in this area of the pricing list. The eye is obviously drawn to Trenton Irwin ($4,400) after the wideout found the end zone twice last weekend versus New England, but with Tyler Boyd ($5,000) not even listed on the Bengals’ injury report, it’s unlikely Irwin will see the field all that often on Monday — barring more unforeseen ailments. Also practicing in full all week was Hurst, who is set to return to action for the first time since early December. Hurst hasn’t showcased a lot of upside this season, only managing to exceed 10.0 DKFP in four contests, yet he has registered at least three catches in nine of his 12 games. Also, because of his recent unavailability, Hurst’s price is by far the cheapest it’s been all year. It simply appears to be a good chance to buy-low.


Devin Singletary ($7,000) - In a way, this whole article has been building to this moment. I mean, it would make no sense at all to stack Allen, Cook and Singletary into the same lineup, as all three are fighting each other for the same high-leverage touches and opportunities. Plus, the rise of Cook has had a clear impact on Singletary’s role. Where the veteran was regularly eclipsing a 70% snap share early in the season, Singletary’s now seen a snap rate below 60% in three of Buffalo’s past four games. He’s also dipped below 50% twice within that stretch. Fewer carries is not the formula for success against any defense, but it’s a particularly poor strategy against Cincinnati. Since Week 14, the Bengals are surrendering just 74.7 opponent rushing yards per contest — the second-lowest mark in the league.


While the Bills certainly need to win this game if they want a first-round bye in the playoffs, my lean is towards the red-hot Bengals. Cincinnati is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games and 5-0 ATS in it’s past five matchups at home. It what should be a highly competitive and entertaining tilt, give me the points.

Final Score: Cincinnati 27, Buffalo 24

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Monday Night Finale Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (BUF vs CIN)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.