DraftKings Monday Night Football Special: Lineup, Tips & Picks

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Getty New York Jets QB Sam Darnold

With Week 1 of the main NFL DraftKings slate now in the books, it’s time to look ahead to … Monday Night Football. It’s become a bit of a tradition for the league to hold two games on Monday night in the opening week, and this year is no different. Fortunately for fantasy football players, that means another night of intense action with big games.

DraftKings is offering up a massive game with $1,111,111 guaranteed which features $200k to first place. There are also plenty of single-entry games and multiple other options, but we’re going to offer up some insight on the slate by giving a lineup and some potential pivots to consider.

Let’s dive in with the top lineup on a slate featuring the New York Jets and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold against the Detroit Lions first. To follow that up, it’s a West Coast matchup of the up-and-coming Los Angeles Rams against the Jon Gruden-led (and Khalil Mack-less) Oakland Raiders.


Top Monday Night Football DraftKings Lineup

  • QB: Matthew Stafford ($6,800)
  • RB: Todd Gurley ($9,600)
  • RB: Marshawn Lynch ($5,300)
  • WR: Golden Tate ($6,900)
  • WR: Kenny Golladay ($4,900)
  • WR: Quincy Enunwa ($4,500)
  • TE: Jared Cook ($3,800)
  • FLEX: RB Kerryon Johnson ($4,500)
  • DST: Los Angeles Rams ($3,700)

Analysis

Yes, I’m stacking the Lions in a pretty big way. While using four players from one team’s offense is pretty drastic, it’s worth noting that you have to be bold when playing huge contests with 150-max entries. Using four players from a team capable of putting up massive points in their season opener at home is something I can see working out beautifully. Doing so also allows me to fit Rams running back Todd Gurley in without much issue.

As far as the specific players go, the Jets allowed 234.3 passing yards per game last season, ranking them No. 21 overall in the NFL. Attacking them with a safe duo of Stafford/Tate and then adding a huge-upside player like Golladay makes sense. The selection of Kerryon Johnson is one I’m hoping will be somewhat low-owned, but it’s tough to gauge. My thought is that if/when the Lions get a big lead, they’ll let the talented rookie dominate the workload.

Three names you’re likely curious about are Lynch, Enunwa, and Cook. While the Rams have a very good defense, they actually struggled against the run last year, giving up the fourth-most yards per game on the ground (122.4). Lynch has slimmed down and I’m expecting him to be good for at least one touchdown. At $5,300, he’s more than worth getting in lineups.

The reason I went with Enunwa over the more expensive Robby Anderson is partially due to the matchup. Anderson is likely going to draw Darius Slay, leaving Enunwa to be the safety blanket for the rookie in Darnold. It’s not far-fetched to think the duo could link up 5-8 times on Monday night.

The Raiders passing game could be scary to target (or brilliant) and while I don’t want to go crazy, I’m a fan of the rapport Derek Carr and Cook showed last year. The veteran tight end had the second-most receptions and yards in a single season, and this came in a horrible offensive gameplan. Cook will also receive some red zone targets as well, and I think he has the upside to post a strong statistical night but will have high ownership as the most expensive tight end.


Pivots

Quarterback

  • Jared Goff ($7,000)
  • Sam Darnold ($5,600)

I’m not buying into the new-look Raiders defense, but Goff’s price tag of $7,000 isn’t appealing for a team with a run-heavy offense. I’m open to using him in a few spots, but I’d much prefer Stafford or the intriguing rookie in Sam Darnold, who’s incredibly cheap. Using Darnold has plenty of risk involved, but at $5,600 it allows you to get quite a few expensive other players in with him and the Lions defense allowed 243.3 passing yards per game last season. The upside is certainly there.

Running Backs

  • Isaiah Crowell ($5,000)
  • Bilal Powell ($4,800)

How the running back situation with the Jets plays out is tough to gauge currently. It seems likely Powell will handle the pass-catching duties, while Crowell will be the primary rusher. Pick your poison, I guess, but Powell catching passes is slightly more appealing.

Wide Receivers

  • Marvin Jones ($6,700)
  • Robert Woods ($6,400)
  • Robby Anderson ($5,900)
  • Brandin Cooks ($5,800)
  • Jordy Nelson ($5,300)
  • Seth Roberts ($3,200)

The top four names all have big-play upside, without question. I’ll likely scatter them throughout lineups to get some exposure to each, but I’d say Jones (major upside) and Anderson (price) are my favorite plays from the top. Nelson has touchdown upside for the Raiders, and I’m more than happy to punt Roberts at $3,200 in a game where Oakland should be behind most of the time.

Marvin Jones

GettyDetroit Lions WR Marvin Jones has home run-hitting upside.

Tight Ends

  • Luke Willson ($3,100)

Willson is a very interesting play on Monday. He’s Eric Ebron’s replacement for the Lions and flashed plenty of upside this preseason. I’m hopping on the bandwagon as a nice pivot off Cook.

Defense

  • Detroit Lions ($3,500)
  • New York Jets ($2,500)

The Lions are a solid play if you don’t believe Darnold will go nuts in his debut (highly unlikely he does). They should get a few sacks and likely pick off the rookie once or twice. As far as the Jets defense goes, it’s a total flier. I expect very, very little but if you need the salary elsewhere, just tossing a defense out there at $2,500 who could get an interception and a few sacks is fine as a cheap filler option.

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