NFL DFS Breakdown For DraftKings – Saturday Slate – 12/18/2021 (Part One)

NFL DFS Breakdown For DraftKings - Saturday Slate - 12:18:2021 (Part One)

We have football on a Saturday this week (yay!), which means a unique two-game stand-alone slate is available on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Both have huge GPPs and lots of money to be won, including a million-dollar up-top contest on DraftKings. FanDuel’s top contest is a lot smaller with 100K up-top. I will focus on DraftKings since the prize pools are more significant, but much of this applies to both sites. Let’s take a look at the slate.

How To Play Two-Game Slates

I wanted to start with some general strategy on how two-game slates vary compared to full Sunday main slates. You have to approach them entirely differently in large field GPPs particularly. Ownership gets exceptionally high on the best plays with fewer options to choose from. The most apparent roster constructions will be heavily utilized. It will be challenging to win first without leverage in your build. It isn’t that much different than a single-game showdown contest.

It is much more viable to play a lot of players from the same game in two-gamers. You can even play six, or even seven. If one game goes off and the other is a dud stacking the high-scoring one can be the best strategy. Negative correlations are less of a thing to avoid, such as two running backs from the same game, a running back with a quarterback, or playing offensive players against your DST. Just about anything goes, and the weirder it is, the better assuming the projected fantasy points are within a reasonable range. You can also leave considerable salary on the table, which is highly unadvisable on large slates. Let’s get into the first game of the slate. This analysis will also apply to an extent to single-game showdown contests for these games.

LV (20.75) @ CLE (16.25)

Las Vegas Raiders Overview

Here we have a shallow total game that is likely to be a bit of a slog-fest (no, not slug-fest, slog-fest). The Raiders enter the game on Saturday essentially healthy outside of star tight end Darren Waller. He will miss with an actual physical injury rather than COVID-19. Derek Carr is an attractive GPP option because he should get considerably lower ownership than the quarterbacks in the New England/Indianapolis game. Carr is the highest-priced quarterback on DraftKings, and this is perceived as the worse of the two games from a DFS perspective. Yet, Cleveland should have a hard time of it (we’ll get to that later) which could mean that Vegas should have a lot of opportunities to handle the ball and put up points.

Kenyan Drake remains on the IR, and Josh Jacobs should continue to function as a workhorse back for the Raiders. He’s getting more work in the passing game and is becoming a more reliable fantasy asset. He should be popular here, but not nearly as much as Chubb, and he’s considerably cheaper. The game script should most likely favor Jacobs, with the Raiders probably playing with a lead.

Unlike (most likely) Nick Mullens on the other side of the game, Carr at least has his number one wide receiver Hunter Renfrow good to go for this game. He’ll likely be close to 70%-owned if not over. There’s just nothing to spend up for on this slate, which will lead to remarkably high ownership on the top options. Carr’s ancillary receivers in Zay Jones, Bryan Edwards, and DeSean Jackson should go very low-owned and are good GPP dart options. We should also see low ownership on Darren Waller’s tight-end replacement, Foster Moreau. Spending down for lower-priced and lower-owned players on this slate and possibly leaving salary on the table will be a good strategy in big GPP contests.

The Raiders DST should be mega-chalk at close to 40% if not more ownership considering that they face the most inept offense on the slate in their current state. They are also the cheapest DST at just $3,000.

Cleveland Browns Overview

Cleveland is decimated due to a combination of COVID-19 and injuries, and this may get interesting. Baker Mayfield will miss the game with COVID-19, and his direct backup Case Keenum seems to have gotten the bug as well. That means they’re likely to start Nick Mullens, which does not bode well for their fantasy outlook. However, he is only $4,000, the stone minimum for quarterbacks on DraftKings, which could be interesting on this slate. Particularly if his projected ownership comes in very low. He would enable you to spend up profusely elsewhere in your lineups, not that you need much savings on this slate.

Kareem Hunt is out for the Browns with an ankle injury, which will lead to Nick Chubb being a workhorse back in this game. Particularly with the passing outlook being so bleak for Cleveland. His ownership should creep into the 70+% range, especially when there isn’t a lot to spend up for on this slate. Chubb is unquestionably one of if not the best play on the entire slate, but if he were to fail, a GPP fade would pay off in droves. D’Ernest Johnson could mix in but would likely be irrelevant unless Chubb were to sustain an injury. You never know though, this is a two-game slate.

On top of everything else, two of the most capable receiving options for the Browns will be out due to COVID-19. Without Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper, the already offensively hobbled Nick Mullens will have absolutely nothing to work with. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins, and Lawrence Cager (who?) will be his receiving corps. David Njoku (probable) and Harrison Bryant will likely mix into the plan considerably at the tight-end position. Peoples-Jones should be a very chalky option in GPPs, considering that he is priced at just $4,500 and will now take on a WR1 role for Cleveland.

The Cleveland DST is liable to be very popular because they are cheap. This is the game that most players will consider worse between the two for its offensive potential. It’s not pretty here. However, I think it could pay off in GPPs to be over the field on this game from a game-stacking perspective.

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