DraftKings NFL Picks & Optimal Lineups: Vikings vs. Patriots Showdown

Tom Brady James White

Getty New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and RB James White

The Week 13 NFL slate features multiple games which may wind up having playoff implications. While not both sides of every game are in desperate need of a win, one that stands out as an interesting matchup is the Minnesota Vikings against the New England Patriots. Although the Patriots sit at 8-3 and have a clear hold on the division, the Vikings (6-4-1) are hoping to continue pushing towards the postseason.

Playing on the road against Tom Brady is no easy task, of course, and due to the big game on Sunday afternoon, DraftKings is offering a showdown game for it. I’ll be offering my top picks, captain choices and optimal for the game, and while we typically cover primetime games, this was simply a great spot for daily fantasy football players.

If you’ve never played a showdown game, I’ll first lay out the basic rules and then dive deeper into the game.

– Six total players (one captain, five flex players)
– Captain selection costs 1.5 times standard salary but scores 1.5 times the standard points
– Can choose from any position (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, DST)
– $50,000 salary cap
– You can use more than one quarterback

There’s a lot of ways to build showdown lineups on DraftKings, especially with as many options as we have in the Vikings vs. Patriots game. Let’s start off with the top captain choices, all of which include their pricing of 1.5-times normal.

Favorite Captains for Vikings vs. Patriots Showdown

*Note: Stefon Diggs suffered a setback this morning and is questionable again. His knee swelled up and even if he plays he seems to be somewhat risky.

  • Adam Thielen ($15,900)
  • Tom Brady ($14,100)
  • Kirk Cousins ($14,400)
  • Julian Edelman ($13,500)
  • Rob Gronkowski ($12,000)
  • Dallvin Cook ($10,500)

I also like James White ($11,400) and Kyle Rudolph ($7,200) as an inexpensive option.

There are a few interesting matchups and spots to be able to attack here. Adam Thielen has the best matchup on the Minnesota side in terms of pass-catchers, as he will play out of the slot quite a bit. Tom Brady at home is always appealing, even in a tough matchup against a solid Vikings defense. The Patriots do a great job of game planning for weaknesses of their opponent and I expect that to be the case here.

Part of the thought process when it comes to Brady and Julian Edelman/James White is that the Patriots could opt to hit on quick passes and their run game. The Vikings have a strong secondary, so I think we’ll see quite a bit of work for Edelman, who should avoid Xavier Rhodes (assuming he plays).

Optimal Lineup for Vikings vs. Patriots

  • CAPTAIN: Adam Thielen ($15,900)
  • Tom Brady ($9,400)
  • Julian Edelman ($9,000)
  • James White ($7,600)
  • Dalvin Cook ($7,000)
  • Aldrick Robinson ($1,000)

Lineup if Diggs plays/safer option:

  • CAPTAIN: Dalvin Cook ($10,500)
  • Tom Brady ($9,400)
  • Julian Edelman ($9,000)
  • Rob Gronkowski ($8,000)
  • James White ($7,600)
  • Kyle Rudolph ($4,800)

Before you think I’m going crazy, there’s a thought process behind using Aldrick Robinson if Diggs is out, or even limited. I also opted to provide a secondary lineup for if Diggs plays as well, just to be safe.

But if Diggs is out for this game, it’s an interesting spot due to the fact that he was slated to see a lot of Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. If that’s not the case, Laquon Treadwell will start and many will likely jump at the chance to use him for cheap. But if Treadwell draws Gilmore’s coverage, which is likely, it could be Robinson who benefits in a big way. The Patriots secondary has shown they can be beaten by wideouts, allowing 1,795 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

There’s risk that comes with playing Robinson, but he’s shown a strong rapport with Kirk Cousins this season and I think he could be primed for a solid day. Even if Robinson doesn’t go crazy, it’ll take very little for him to hit value. And by using a player at just $1,000, it allows us to get the top players in there, including using Adam Thielen in the captain spot.

I referenced above the quick-passing approach that we can likely expect from the Patriots and the two biggest beneficiaries of that are Julian Edelman and James White. Although Rex Burkhead has been taken off injured reserve, it’s unknown if he’ll even see the field this week. For good measure on White, the Vikings have allowed 54 receptions for 536 yards and three touchdowns through to air to running backs. The upside is there and White should take advantage.

READ NEXT: Josh Adams Fantasy: Should You Start or Sit the Eagles RB?

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