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Fantasy Football Picks: Falcons vs. Packers DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 9:00 p.m. ET contest between the Falcons and the Packers with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

This wasn’t supposed to be the second game of a Monday Night doubleheader, but I don’t think anyone will be complaining about the five hours of football they just experienced when Falcons-Packers wraps up. Well, maybe everyone expect for Atlanta fans. After blowing back-to-back seemingly insurmountable fourth quarter leads, the Falcons will now be tasked with handing Green Bay its first loss of 2020. Good luck.

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

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $500K Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (ATL vs GB)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Aaron Jones ($16,200 CP) - Jones was a bit of a disappointment in Week 3’s win over New Orleans. Yes, he finished the game with 86 scrimmage yards and a touchdown; but, with Davante Adams (hamstring) on the shelf, it was supposed to be Jones, not Allen Lazard (core), that was Green Bay’s No. 1 weapon in the passing attack. Well, he’ll have another chance to hit his massive ceiling on Monday and, this time, I expect we’ll see more than four targets. We’re just dealing with such a massive hole when it comes to this Packers’ offense without Adams, who had been targeted on a higher percentage of his routes than any other qualified receiver in the NFL to begin 2020 (31%). Add in Lazard’s injury and Jones almost becomes the last man standing in terms of skill-position players that Aaron Rodgers ($11,400) trusts. Essentially, in a contest where Green Bay’s implied total is well over 30 points, I’m expecting Jones to flirt with 25 touches. That’s always going to be an enticing scenario.

Calvin Ridley ($14,400 CP) - For as odd as it is to see Julio Jones ($8,600) check-in below $9K on a Showdown slate, I’m just not sure I can recommend the former All-Pro wideout before his teammate. According to a Sunday morning report, both WRs are anticipated to play through injuries on Monday, meaning you shouldn’t have to sweat too much about Ridley’s status. With that uncertainly taken care of, what else is there not to like about the third-year pro? Ridley comes into Week 4 having registered double-digit targets in all three games he’s played in 2020, while also leading all skill-position players in air yards (460) and all wide receivers in red zone targets (7). Would it shock me if Matt Ryan ($10,000) ended up favoring Jones on Monday? Not really. However, until I see it, I’m going to lean towards the 25-year-old.


FLEX Plays

Todd Gurley ($8,200) - While it’s easy to lament how non-existent Gurley’s role in the passing attack has been through three games, this is a pretty fair price to pay for a running back in this position. Atlanta comes into Monday averaging 4.0 red zone scoring drives per contest, which has translated to Gurley getting more high-leverage touches than most so far this season. In fact, the Georgia product entered Week 4 with 14 carries inside the opponent’s 20-yard line — a figure that placed him behind only the likes of Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott. These opportunities aren’t getting spread around, either, as Gurley’s received 80% of the Falcons’ rushing attempts inside the five. He’s clearly the goal line back and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him flirt with the 100-yard rushing bonus considering the Packers are surrendering a whopping 5.09 adjusted line yards per carry.

Robert Tonyan ($4,600) - It’s unlikely that Tonyan is going to be able to repeat his herculean showing from last Sunday’s win over the Saints, but, at the same time, it’s now very apparent that the 26-year-old is Green Bay’s No. 1 TE. Tonyan has logged at least 60% of the Packers’ offensive snaps in all three weeks and, while four different Green Bay tight ends saw the field in Week 3, it’s crucial to note that Tonyan’s role could grow on Monday with Marcedes Lewis ($1,800) doubtful to play with a knee issue. There’s also the matter of Tonyan’s tantalizing matchup with a susceptible Atlanta defense that’s conceded the second-most targets to opposing TEs in 2020 (33). Not a bad opportunity for someone averaging a respectable 22.3 routes per game.

Darrius Shepherd ($200) - Last weekend, in a game where the aforementioned Lazard was active, Shepherd out-snapped Malik Taylor ($1,200) 23-to-4, with 10 of his 15 routes run in the slot. Even in a world where I assumed Adams would be ready to play on Monday, I was going to have some exposure to Shepherd at the absolute minimum price point. Now? I think you’d almost be crazy to not get a piece of this asset. It’s simply one of the unique quirks of the Showdown format. While Taylor will also likely be a factor in this matchup — one where the Falcons have surrendered an eye-popping 10.2 yards per target to opposing wideouts — Shepherd is a sixth of his salary. He just makes so many top-heavy builds possible. Tyler Ervin ($800) could be in the mix for a few targets as well, but I’m going to mostly focus on Shepherd’s viability this evening.


Fades

Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($7,000) - There’s certainly a scenario where Valdes-Scantling sees an insane amount of volume in a perfect matchup and translates that to fantasy gold, but I’m inclined to fade the inconsistent WR in a spot where he’s sure to be chalk. At least, that’s what history dictates we should be doing. Going back to the beginning of 2019, MVS has played five games with Adams inactive. In those opportunities to shine in a “bigger” role, Valdes-Scantling has averaged 3.0 targets and 1.4 receptions. In fact, in three of those contests, the former fifth-round pick has held below 20 yards receiving. Obviously tonight’s circumstances are a little more dire, yet it’s still not enough to make Valdes-Scantling an appealing DFS asset. I’ve been burned too many times before.


THE OUTCOME

This is a matchup where points are expected to be scored in bunches, but I’m the slightest bit hesitant to guarantee that the injury-plagued Packers can keep up with the Falcons. Atlanta’s propensity to trip over its own feet in the fourth quarter is going to keep me from taking a chance on the moneyline; however, if you’re planning to bet this game over at the DraftKings Sportsbook, I’d give some serious thought to taking the points. It’s not like the Falcons haven’t at least been competitive in 2020, right?

Final Score: Green Bay 31, Atlanta 28

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $500K Showdown Special [$100K to 1st] (ATL vs GB)


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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.