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Week 2 NFL DFS Thursday Night Showdown Preview: Bengals at Browns

The NFL DFS season continues with the Thursday night showdown, and we’ve got the breakdown to help you win big money in the Week 2 NFL DFS contests!

Introduction to Single-Game Showdowns

DraftKings calls them “Showdowns,” and FanDuel doesn’t really have a name for them other than “Single-Game Contests,” but whatever we call them they require an understanding of game narratives and game theory – which means we need to target low-ownership players that will give us the best opportunities within the narratives and game outcomes we’re expecting.

My picks will focus almost exclusively on finding GPP-winning combinations that have a chance at taking down the contests you’re entering, be they single-entry or MME. While we can’t cover all the possible combos or provide full lineups for you to deploy, the goal here is to give you the tools to win and highlight some names that will help make for profitable results.

If I enter five lineups in a large-field GPP, at least three of those lineups will focus on the most likely game outcome (based on Vegas odds, props and totals), with one or two contrarian builds. As we know, late-breaking news can have a significant effect on full slates, and that’s just amplified with single-game contests. If you have any questions leading up to lock, please get in the game with a gold account and consult our NFL DFS experts in Discord.

Let’s get to the game!

Week 2 NFL DFS MVP candidates (1.5x points)

Some notes on the differences between MVP on FanDuel and DraftKings: The 1.5x point boost on FD comes with no salary penalty, while DK also bumps the salary to 1.5x – a crucial factor in deciding who we can and cannot afford on both sites. We can use this to our advantage on FD by occasionally targeting non-QBs to establish more variance and more unique lineups, and on DK it allows us to build more hearty overall stacks when we punt the MVP position with a cheap but high-upside player.

Chalk: Joe Burrow (DK $16,200, FD $14,500)

Pivot: Baker Mayfield (DK $15,300, FD $15,000)

Contrarian #1: Joe Mixon (DK $12,900, FD $13,000)

Contrarian #2: Tyler Boyd (DK $10,500, FD $10,000)

Contrarian #3: Nick Chubb (DK $11,400, FD $13,500)

This is a pretty straight-forward Showdown slate, and I’m leaning toward using Joe Burrow as my MVP based on his ability to score on the ground or via the air with both his WRs and RBs.

I think the most ownership will end up with Burrow as the top guy, though I understand the contrarian pivot to Mayfield or a guy like Joe Mixon – the player likely to have the most touches in this game.

Both defenses are pretty banged up, and while the total is just 43.5, I’m expecting a higher-scoring game. If you have to play a defense in the top spot, make it the Browns (because of their pass rush) and fill in the rest of your lineups accordingly based on that narrative.

I’d steer clear of using a kicker in the MVP slot in this game because we probably don’t need to go there.

Week 2 NFL DFS Utility options (and some DOs and DON’Ts)

Remember to build your team based on a narrative that makes sense.

DO: Build a trio (or quartet) of offensive weapons for a team that makes sense together

DON’T: Use Joe Burrow as your MVP with no Bengals position players and the Browns DST.

DO: Use the projected team totals to shade one way or the other with your selections.

DON’T: Use players with almost no shot of seeing the field, regardless of their salary.

Now that we’ve established some narratives and MVP candidates, the best way to round out this piece is with a list of my favorite options in descending order, based on overall value (a combo of salary and projected points):

  1. Joe Burrow
  2. Joe Mixon
  3. Nick Chubb
  4. Tyler Boyd
  5. A.J. Green
  6. Odell Beckham, Jr.
  7. Baker Mayfield
  8. Jarvis Landry (questionable, hip)
  9. Austin Hooper
  10.  Kareem Hunt
  11.  C.J. Uzomah
  12.  Reggie Bullock
  13.  Cody Parkey (make sure he’s starting)
  14.  Browns D
  15.  Giovani Bernard
  16.  Bengals D
  17.  John Ross III
  18.  Rashard Higgins
  19.  Auden Tate
  20.  Harrison Bryant


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