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Fantasy Football Picks: Patriots vs. Bills DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

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

Allow me to get this out of that way early: This is a rare NFL game where we have to at least acknowledge the weather. As you might expect in Western New York during the first week of December, the elements are going to be harsh for tonight’s battle between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills. Winds look like they’ll be sitting around 20-25 mph all game, with gusts over 40 mph. Sounds like fun.

How will all that impact each team’s passing attack? Let’s break things down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (NE vs BUF)




SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Josh Allen ($16,800 CP) - There’s a couple good reasons to fear paying this much for Allen in the Captain’s spot. Aside from the aforementioned weather, the Patriots D/ST ($4,000) has been a force against opposing quarterbacks, conceding the second-fewest DKFP per game to the position. Not surprisingly, New England entered Week 13 ranked second versus the pass according to DVOA. Still, I think it’s fair to note that the Patriots’ schedule has been a little soft. Dating back to Week 5, New England’s faced the likes of Davis Mills, Mike White and Sam Darnold. The few competent QBs they’ve faced haven’t exactly been at full-strength, either. Baker Mayfield’s shoulder could fall off at any minute, Ryan Tannehill didn’t have the services of Julio Jones or A.J. Brown, while Matt Ryan was without Calvin Ridley. The stats are the stats, but I remain unconvinced that this unit is as fearsome as some might believe. Allen’s also just a machine when it comes to Showdown. The former first-round pick is averaging an AFC-best 0.62 DKFP per drop back thanks to his dual-threat abilities, and across his last nine starts, he’s only registered fewer than 20.0 DKFP two times. He’s matchup proof. Fade him at your own risk.

Jakobi Meyers ($10,800 CP) - It’s difficult to find a viable option for the Captain’s slot on the Patriots. That’s not a reflection of the offense’s capabilities — New England leads the NFL in points per game across their past three wins (35.3) — but it is a statement on how balanced Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels’ approach is. Pretty much everyone not named Mac Jones ($10,000) is splitting snaps, with Meyers and Nelson Agholor ($3,000) the only two skill-position players on the roster to see at least a 70% snap share in last week’s victory over Tennessee. That being said, I don’t want to sell Meyers short. The wideout has been quite good so far in 2021, leading the Patriots in targets (90) and receptions (59) by a wide margin. In fact, here are Meyers’ target shares dating back to Week 6: 30%, 17%, 26%, 22%, 16%, 23% and 25%. That might not be as voluminous a workload as some No. 1 receivers, but it’s well-above average and relatively consistent. With the Bills D/ST ($3,800) now playing without Tre’Davious White (knee) in the secondary, Meyers could present a huge threat on Monday.


FLEX Plays

Dawson Knox ($5,400) - Knox hasn’t missed a beat since returning from a three-game absence, logging snap shares in excess of 90% each of the past two weeks. Though it is slightly daunting that the Patriots have allowed the fewest DKFP per contest to opposing TEs so far this season, Knox could be more involved than usual, with Buffalo’s short-passing game possibly taking center stage in the windy conditions. Also, even if that’s not the case between the 20s, we know definitively that Knox will be heavily involved in the Bills’ red zone game plan. Knox has seven receiving touchdowns in nine games, while his target rate inside the opponent’s 10-yard line is a notable 24.1%. Simply put, much like a cabernet with a good steak, Knox pairs well with Allen.

Patriots D/ST ($4,000) - While you could also try and save some salary with the likes of Agholor or N’Keal Harry ($200), the floor of New England’s defense might be too good to pass up at this price. While I’ve already outlined the case against this unit’s recent dominance, at the end of the day, we’re talking about a team that leads the NFL in fewest points surrendered per drive (1.44). We’re also discussing a defense that’s forcing an opponent turnover on a league-high 20.3% of drives, and one that owns the AFC’s highest adjusted sack rate (7.4%). In fact, this is a matchup that features the two best defenses in football according to DVOA, and it’s one that’s going to be played in an environment with gusty winds. Would anyone really be all that shocked if it’s a low-scoring affair?


Fades

Damien Harris ($9,800) - While it’s worth keeping an eye on the status of Brandon Bolden ($3,200; knee) leading up to kickoff, I just can’t envision the scenario where I’m paying up for the services of Harris. The running back hasn’t seen a snap share of even 40% dating back to the beginning of Week 9, with Rhamondre Stevenson ($5,600) essentially taking on an identical role to the former third-round pick. To wit, in the last three games both backs have been active, Harris has logged 38.2% of New England’s offensive snaps, with Stevenson sitting at a very comparable 31.7%. Stevenson has also seen five red zone rushing attempts to Harris’ six. As far as I can see, the only thing that differentiates these two assets is about $4,000 in salary.


THE OUTCOME

Aside from Buffalo’s defeat of Kansas City back in Week 5, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a truly impressive win on either of these teams’ resumes this season. That makes handicapping this contest a bit of a challenge. With that in mind, I lean towards the home field advantage and the more accomplished QB. The Bills are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games in Buffalo, and they’re also 4-1 ATS in their past five contests at home against an opponent with a winning record. Break out the zubaz and the folding tables, I guess.

Final Score: Buffalo 24, New England 17

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.25M Monday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry] (NE vs BUF)


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