The NFL season may only have a couple of weeks remaining in the regular season but that hasn’t stopped DraftKings from introducing a new format! Snake Draft Showdown is now open and ready for you to dive into, continuing with Thursday’s game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders, which starts at 8:20 p.m. ET.
If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy before, you’re likely familiar with how a Snake Draft works. In short, for these Showdown contests, once the allotted number of entries are filled in a contest, the draft will begin one minute later. The entrants are assigned a random draft order and will commence in that order. The player with the first pick gets dibs on everyone while the player with the last pick will get a double pick, as it’ll end the first round and thus begin the second.
For a full breakdown of rules, please visit our How to Play Classic and Showdown NFL Snake Draft page.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Snake Showdown Rank: 3rd
I love this spot for Jefferson going against the Saints’ secondary. I mean don’t get me wrong, this secondary hasn’t been bad by any means but I do like the individual matchup for Jefferson against CB Marshon Lattimore. In coverage, he’s been targeted against 66 times, allowing 41 receptions (62.1% catch rate) for an average of 14.1 YPR and seven (!) touchdowns.
Jefferson has been one of the best deep ball receivers in the league and has seen 23 targets of 20-plus yards. Of those, he’s made 14 receptions averaging 33.3 yards, which is second-best in the league behind only DJ Moore. The running backs in this game, Dalvin Cook (Rank: 1) and Alvin Kamara (Rank: 2) will be coming off the board quickly, but I think Jefferson, overall, has one of the best matchups to produce in this game.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Snake Showdown Rank: 2nd
Kamara became an afterthought, somehow, in this Saints offense once Taysom Hill took over for Drew Brees. It got so bad for Kamara that he was averaging just 27.8% of the overall team touches with Hill under center, a much lower number than 35% with Brees in. In fact, Kamara’s targets were essentially cut in half, averaging only four a game compared to the 8.1 with Brees.
Luckily for Kamara (and us) Brees is back under center. Kamara is right back into his normal workload, seeing 43.8% of the touches, a number no one else even comes close to handling. He faces a Vikings run defense that’s been league-average against the run, but has also allowed 100-plus rushing yards in back-to-back games. With the Saints listed as seven-point favorites on the DraftKings Sportsbook, Kamara should be in a great position to rack up the scrimmage yards, especially with his main man back under center.
Matchup to be aware of
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Snake Showdown Rank: 1st
I mean I can’t honestly sit here and say with a straight face that Cook is a fade. The man is simply unstoppable and rarely is scripted out of games with his pass-catching ability. With that said, this isn’t a great matchup for him. The Saints have been a very strong run defense all season long, allowing an average of just 18.2 DKFP — the second-lowest in the league. Opposing teams have found some success as of late — the Eagles and Chiefs went for at least 121 rushing yards in this matchup — but overall, that hasn’t been the case. When taking the first pick, I’m not overly crazy about taking a running back who is on a team that is a seven-point underdog. Especially when you consider how much work Kamara will receive, regardless of the score. Again, this isn’t a case to fade Cook overall, but if you do land that first overall pick, this is all something to consider.
Third Round Flier
Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings
Snake Showdown Rank: 9th
Editor’s Note: Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) has been ruled out for Friday’s game vs. the Saints.
While not official as of writing, it’s looking as if Kyle Rudolph (Rank: 17) will once again be ruled out for the Vikings. This makes Smith Jr. the TE1 for a third week. He’s been a consistent red zone threat throughout the year and has eight targets in that scenario. He’s seen one in each of the last two weeks with Rudolph off the field and, as he’s in a favorable spot against this defense, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that trend continue. The Saints allow an average of 12.3 DKFP and 44.7 receiving yards to opposing tight ends, putting Smith Jr. in a position to be a great late round pick. Last week with Rudolph off the field, Smith Jr. finished third on the team in overall target share at 13.3%.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is steveazors) 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 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.
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