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Fantasy Football Picks: Ravens vs. Raiders DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

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

It’s a tradition unlike any other. No, no, no... Not The Masters on CBS, the Las Vegas Raiders playing on Monday Night Football to wrap up Week 1. If it feels like you’ve seen a lot of Jon Gruden’s squad in primetime the last few seasons, I can assure you that you have. In fact, since Gruden took over the team again in 2018, Vegas has opened the season on ESPN in three of his four seasons. This time, they’ll draw the very good Baltimore Ravens as their opponent.

Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.5M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (BAL vs LV)


Captain’s Picks

Lamar Jackson ($18,600 CP) - Remember how last season felt like a major step backwards for Jackson after winning the league’s MVP in 2019? Well, that’s a matter of perception. Yes, Jackson couldn’t sustain a league-leading 9.0% touchdown rate and he ended up averaging fewer than 200 yards passing per game; but when it was all said and done, the Louisville product still led all qualified QBs in DKFP per drop back by a considerably wide margin (0.77). He’s the ultimate Showdown asset because he generates so much of his production on an island, as Jackson’s rushed for 2,211 yards and 14 touchdowns across the past two years. With Vegas having surrendered a whopping 29.9 opponent points per contest in 2020 — the third-worst mark in the NFL — it’s hard to fathom not having any exposure to Baltimore’s pivot on Monday.

Derek Carr ($14,700 CP) - Playing it relatively safe with the other starting QB, but this does seem like a game where the Raiders could get pretty one-dimensional by the second-half. Josh Jacobs ($8,400; illness) is questionable and was dealing with a toe issue throughout the week, Vegas is a pretty sizable underdog considering the location of this contest and, most importantly, Baltimore induced a 62.5% opponent pass rate in 2020 — the highest mark for any AFC team. It’s also not as if Carr is a slouch at the position. The veteran averaged an eye-popping 29.0 DKFP across his final four full games of last season, while he managed to exceed 20.0 DKFP in nine of his 12 starts with 30-plus pass attempts. With the Ravens losing Marcus Peters earlier in the week, the Raiders best offense might just be attacking through the air.

FLEX Plays

Ty’Son Williams ($6,800) - It’s going to be crucial to see who is inactive for tonight’s game among Baltimore’s now overflowing stable of running backs, but I’ll be the square that listens to the reports we’ve been getting out of camp all week. While I doubt Williams sees anything close to an 80% snap share, he should get the bulk of the early-down work as the likes of Latavius Murray ($6,200), Le’Veon Bell ($4,200) and Devonta Freeman ($2,200) have all been on the roster for only slightly more than 72 hours. I’m far more bearish on Williams’ outlook as a season-long asset, but I think his experience is his advantage in Week 1. I’m projecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 13-16 touches, which should be more than enough volume against a Raiders defense that ranked fifth-worst against the rush by DVOA in 2020. Vegas also conceded the most opponent rushing touchdowns per game of any AFC squad last season (1.5).

Hunter Renfrow ($2,800) - Obviously, Renfrow is a low-ceiling DFS piece. His aDOT is underwhelming and he’s not much of a red zone threat. However, in the clear shadow of the justifiably priced Darren Waller ($10,800), it was Renfrow who finished second on the Raiders in receptions last season (56). It’s not like Bryan Edwards’ ($5,600) price point is insane by any means — especially with Nelson Agholor now playing in New England — but it’s hard to justify a man with 11 career catches being twice the price of his far more productive teammate. I’d look for Renfrow to flirt with 5x value this evening, thanks to his bargain basement price tag.


Josh Jacobs ($8,400) - Volume. That is the major issue when projecting Jacobs in this matchup. Even before we get distracted by his health issues and the presence of Kenyan Drake ($7,200), history has told us that RBs tend to struggle against the Ravens. Baltimore allowed the ninth-fewest DKFP per game to opposing backfields last season, the product of inducing the second-fewest rushing attempts per contest (23.3) and the second-fewest rushing touchdowns per contest (0.7). Also, let’s remember that this was a Ravens D/ST ($4,600) that was dealing with injuries and absences along their front seven all year long. That unit is healthy coming into tonight’s festivities, which is just another reason to dislike Jacobs, who saw his snap share and workload drop off in December last season.


It was a huge Sunday for underdogs in Week 1, but I think that magic fades on Monday. Sure, the public perception surrounding the Ravens is pretty negative right now — that’ll happen when you cancel a practice due to back-to-back season-ending injuries — but running back value is overrated and Baltimore’s secondary is among the deepest in the NFL. This team is still very good and it’s made a habit of stream-rolling opponents in Week 1. In fact, the Ravens are 5-0 ATS in their opening contest the past five seasons.

Final Score: Baltimore 34, Las Vegas 21

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.5M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (BAL vs LV)

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