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

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

You know what the best part of October is? After an insane sports day like we received on Sunday, there’s another one lined up just like it on Monday. The night cap for today’s sports nirvana is a contest between the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens. Needless to say, there’s some history between these two franchises.

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] (IND vs BAL)




SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Lamar Jackson ($18,900 CP) - We’re four years into the Lamar Jackson experience; however, while you think you might have a pretty good handle on Baltimore’s pivot, he appears to only be getting better. Allow me to explain. Jackson is obviously still doing all of the same things that made him a household name. He entered Week 5 leading all QBs in rushing yards (279) and, on top of that, he’s averaging a massive 0.68 DKFP per drop back — the fifth-best qualified mark in the NFL. What you maybe don’t know is that Jackson was also leading all quarterbacks in yards per completion through four games (14.4) or that Jackson is producing 269.3 passing yards per contest, which is over 60 yards per game better than in his MVP season in 2019. He’s evolving as a passer and he’s yet to really see the type of touchdown numbers he’s used to putting up. To wit, Jackson’s managed just a 3.2% touchdown rate in 2021, despite posting an 8.0% rate on his 777 attempts the past two years combined. When that begins to normalize — as it might on Monday against a Colts defense that ranks 26th in DVOA versus the pass — Jackson will be an almost perfect DFS asset. His ceiling will be unmatched.

Michael Pittman Jr. ($13,500 CP) - Pittman probably isn’t the first name you think of when someone mentions the Colts, yet the sophomore wideout seems to be coming into his own in 2021. With T.Y Hilton (neck) sidelined, Pittman has embraced his role as the No. 1 receiver on Indianapolis’ roster, leading the team’s WRs in snap share (91.6%), receiving yards (279) and targets (36). In fact, across the past three weeks, Pittman’s 32 targets not only lead the Colts, they lead all AFC wideouts. That’s a pretty enticing amount of volume for an asset that currently finds his price tag at a reasonable $9K. Considering Carson Wentz ($10,200) appears to have returned to near full-health after injuring both ankles back in Week 2, I could see Indianapolis having to lean on its aerial attack on Monday evening, especially as huge road underdogs.


FLEX Plays

Latavius Murray ($7,400) - After a couple weeks of working within a pretty complex time share, it appears that Murray has finally taken the starting running back job as his own. In last weekend’s 23-7 victory over the Broncos, the veteran logged 61.6% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps, finishing the contest with 18 carries and an 11-yard touchdown run. Murray is still far from a perfect fantasy asset in a full-point PPR setting — he’s yet to see a single target in the four games he’s played in 2021 — however, at this price point, the possibility of 20 touches isn’t easily ignored. Obviously Murray’s viability changes if Ty’Son Williams ($1,200) isn’t once again a healthy scratch, but there’s little to indicate that such will be the case on Monday.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ravens WR Rashod Bateman is out Monday vs. the Colts.

Rashod Bateman ($200) - Bateman is going to be extremely popular if he winds up active for this evening’s contest, but how could you blame prospective owners? While I’m sure the first-round pick will be on some sort of snap count limitation coming off a lengthy groin issue, Bateman’s been practicing for the past two weeks and all indications are he looks good to go. More importantly, he’s priced at the absolute minimum, meaning the bar for a productive performance is incredibly low. This is a really nice matchup for Baltimore’s receivers, too. The Colts come into Week 5 surrendering 7.9 yards per opponent pass attempt — the fourth-worst mark in all of football. When it specifically pertains to opposing wideouts, Indianapolis is allowing an eye-popping 9.6 yards per target, which is also the fourth-highest rate in the league. With corner Rock Ya-Sin ruled out once again and safety Khari Willis questionable, this secondary can be exploited.


Fades

Jonathan Taylor ($9,800) - The breakout performance is coming for Taylor, but I just don’t think it will be Week 5. The former first-round pick is definitely due for a trip to the end zone, as Taylor currently leads all running backs in rushing attempts inside the five-yard line (7); however, none of those touches have yet to result in a score. Still, Baltimore is not exactly a matchup where you expect big things from opposing RBs. First and foremost, most teams simply don’t try and run all that often against the Ravens, with opponents mustering an AFC-low 33.5% rush rate versus Baltimore so far in 2021. The reason for that is two-fold. One, the Ravens are conceding a paltry 3.53 adjusted line yards per carry. Two, Baltimore is usually so far ahead, the game script gets a little unbalanced out of necessity. Considering Taylor and Nyheim Hines ($5,600) are essentially splitting snaps 50/50, this feels like a contest where the latter might have more of an impact. Hines could end up the better dollar-for-dollar play on this slate.


THE OUTCOME

If you’re someone who believes in the merit of DVOA, this matchup isn’t even close. Baltimore entered Week 5 ranked as the sixth-best team in the NFL by Football Outsiders, while Indianapolis checked in at 23rd. It’s not like the eye test has been much better for the Colts, either, with the squad’s lone win coming against the lowly Dolphins. Meanwhile, the Ravens are 4-0 ATS in their past four home games and are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall. Simply put, Baltimore is the more talented side of this matchup.

Final Score: Baltimore 27, Indianapolis 17

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


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