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Fantasy Football Picks: Broncos vs. Jets DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Broncos and the Jets with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

You know how there’s that philosophy in the world that things will always find their balance? That life will somehow find a way? I’m sort of getting those vibes from tonight’s Thursday nighter between the Broncos and the Jets. Due to COVID, we weren’t supposed to get any preseason games in 2020, yet, here we are in Week 4, preparing to watch Brett Rypien ($10,200) take on what’s left of the Sam Darnold ($10,600) and New York’s offense. It certainly feels like August to me.

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

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$300K to 1st] (DEN vs NYJ)


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Captain’s Picks

Jamison Crowder ($12,300 CP) - How bad does a game have to be for you to consider Captaining a player that’s technically carrying a questionable tag? About as bad as this contest projects to be. Still, Crowder is expected to suit up in Week 4 and his presence would be a massive boost to a Jets WR corps that’s already without Breshad Perriman (ankle) and Denzel Mims (hamstring). In fact, the last time we saw Crowder, he garnered 13 targets and 27.5 DKFP in New York’s Week 1 loss to Buffalo. Was the 69-yard bubble screen touchdown he scored a little fluky? Definitely. However, those are the types of things that can happen with an insane amount of volume and Crowder’s now averaging 8.6 targets in the last 14 Darnold starts where he’s been active. That should play against a Broncos secondary that’s surrendered the most opponent passing yards per game in the AFC (277.7).

Editor’s Note: Jets WR Jamison Crowder is active for tonight’s game vs. the Broncos.

Noah Fant ($13,500 CP) - There’s a couple of ways to look at the potential of Denver’s passing attack on Thursday. On the one hand, the aforementioned Rypien is a former UDFA that’s only registered nine total pass attempts in his NFL career. On the other hand, the Jets allowed 9.4 opponent yards per throw last week in their loss to the Colts and come into this matchup with the 31st ranked passing defense according to DVOA. Someone wearing a Broncos’ uniform is going to have a decent fantasy day, and it seems likely that that person will be Fant. The second-year TE currently leads his team in catches (14), receiving yards (184), receiving touchdowns (2) and red zone target share (23.1%) through three games. If that wasn’t enough, New York has also conceded three TDs to opposing tight ends in the last two weeks. Look for Fant to be his inexperienced QB’s security blanket on Thursday.

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Value Plays

Chris Herndon ($5,400) - It’s incredibly frustrating that Herndon’s only been asked to run 67 routes in the Jets’ first three games of the season, but this is still someone who averaged 9.0 yards per target back in his rookie campaign. He has the potential to be a dynamic play-making tight end, he just needs the opportunities. Strangely, that’s where the health of New York’s offensive line comes into the mix. It appears that George Fant will be active in Week 4, while first-round pick Mekhi Becton was able to log three limited practices and is questionable to suit up. If he’s able to go, it’s possible Adam Gase will feel more free to not have Herndon block on passing snaps, especially with the Broncos owning the third-lowest adjusted sack rate in football (3.4%). It would be a nice change of pace, with Denver also allowing 9.3 targets per game to TEs — the fifth-most in the league.

KJ Hamler ($4,800) - Honestly, you could make the case that Tim Patrick ($5,000) is just as enticing in this price range, as the Jets’ secondary looks most susceptible outside the numbers. Basically, I trust Brian Poole in the slot a whole lot more than I trust either Pierre Desir or Blessuan Austin, who is one of Pro Football Focus’ worst graded corners through three weeks. Hamler put up a dud in last weekend’s loss to Tampa Bay, but his snap share was higher than other wideout on the Broncos’ roster (92.1%) and this projects to be a much easier matchup. It’s unclear if Hamler ever did run the 4.27 40-yard dash as he claims, but his elite speed elevates his ceiling in a contest where I expect Denver to be trailing. That’s a solid game script.

Jets D/ST ($4,000) - Obviously Broncos D/ST ($5,600) also has a chance to be viable, but I’m a little curious as to why the unit is so much more expensive than New York’s. As mentioned above, the Jets are getting healthier coming into this matchup, while Denver will be without both their starting quarterback and their No. 1 wide receiver. It’s the Broncos’ offensive line that possesses the third-worst adjusted sack rate in the NFL; it’s the Broncos starting Rypien, who managed to throw an interception and fumble in his 10 drop backs last week; and it’s the Broncos that are averaging a paltry 1.29 points per drive — the second-worst mark in football. I would seriously give some consideration to Captaining this unit. That’s how little I believe in Denver’s offensive potential.


Melvin Gordon ($11,000) - Maybe I’ll end up regretting not getting any exposure to an asset that could easily finish this game with 20-plus touches, but it’s just so hard to see this version of Gordon being worth $11K under any circumstances. Yes, Gordon is clearly a more appealing fantasy play with the news that Phillip Lindsay ($6,200) is unlikely to be active for tonight’s contest as he continues to deal with a toe issue; but what has the former Charger done to impress with that same opportunity in weeks past? Gordon is averaging a mere 4.1 yards per touch and 13.6 DKFP per game despite somehow lucking his way into two touchdowns this season. It’s not like the Jets are a poor rushing defense, either. New York’s only surrendered 2.91 adjusted line yards per carry in 2020 and that’s translated to having the third-best run unit by DVOA. Toss in the possibility of a negative game script on the road and I’m pretty bearish on Gordon’s value on this slate.

Editor’s Note: Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay is inactive for tonight’s game vs. the Jets.


I’m a little worried with how confident I am in Sam Darnold this evening. As currently constructed, these could be the two worst offensive teams in football, but I’ve at least seen Darnold do a few positive things on an NFL field in recent years. I’ve also seen him take advantage of a cupcake schedule, with the Jets going 6-2 down the stretch in 2019. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the former first-round pick is a better QB than Brett Rypien. Sometimes, that’s all you need to know to make a pick.

Final Score: New York 24, Denver 10

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$300K to 1st] (DEN vs NYJ)

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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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.