The Monday night Showdown slate on DraftKings gives us an NFC West battle between the Rams and 49ers that suddenly presents us with some challenging lineup decisions on the Rams’ side. Let’s look at some players to target in DraftKings’ Monday Night Millionaire Showdown slate — with a prize pool of $2.25 million, an entry fee of $20, and a $1 million first-place prize — and who to use in the critical Captain slot:
Cooper Kupp, WR Rams ($18,000):
Kupp was the obvious Captain play even before Robert Woods injured his knee and was lost for the season. Now, Kupp is the unquestioned No. 1 target in this passing offense and could easily surpass his season-high of 13 targets. He is going to be close to 100-percent owned on this slate, so the leverage is to play him in the Captain and be the 30-40 percent who earns the extra 50 percent of points, or fade him entirely and hope he has a terrible game as the top focus of the 49ers defense.
Matt Stafford, QB Rams ($16,200):
My hunch here is that Stafford’s ownership in the Captain role is going to be depressed by the Woods news, on the assumption that with Kupp his only “reliable” receiver and Odell Beckham still learning his new offense, Stafford’s ceiling is capped. I think that makes Stafford a solid contrarian play, as he does have Kupp, Beckham should be a factor, and there are still guys like Higbee and Jefferson who can make plays. And even Darrell Henderson has had receiving touchdowns recently. Playing Stafford at Captain and using Kupp and another receiver in the flex is a solid alternative lineup tonight.
George Kittle, TE 49ers ($11,700):
Recency bias is going to keep folks away from all the 49ers pieces, especially with the dangerous Rams pass rush looming. Kittle has not been the problem, however, and he smashed last week, despite all the destruction that befell his team’s offense last week. He provides a nice discount off the chalky Rams options, and if the game script gets flipped, a 49ers-heavy lineup could walk away with the slate.
Ben Skowronek, WR Rams ($200):
If he gets cleared to play tonight (thigh), the rookie from Notre Dame is expected to take Woods’ place in the starting lineup. With Beckham’s immediate role and volume a total unknown tonight, taking a flier on this minimum-priced receiver is a worthwhile gamble that allows you to jam pretty much anybody you want into the other five spots. He had three catches for 30 yards in mop-up duty two weeks ago. A line like that tonight more than justifies the minimal investment.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR 49ers ($6,600):
With Mohamed Sanu out, all the passing targets are going to flow to Kittle, Deebo Samuel ($9,000), and Aiyuk. I will happily take the discount here, especially since Jalen Ramsey is more likely to shadow one of the other two. Aiyuk had his best game of the season last week (8-89-1), so he brings some nice momentum into this one.