Underdog released the MNFxTNF Melee contest with a $10 price point, 6,816 entries and $12k top prize. It is the same format as the Main Slate contest but with only 4 drafters instead of 6 (constant shift from 3 to 4). For this week, we get the Commanders traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles (-10.5) with a 43.5 o/u on Monday and the Titans traveling to Green Bay to take on the Packers (-2.5) with a 41 o/u on Thursday Night.
Reminder that you can also user our FREE Rankings for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale “Showdown” tournaments to help aid in your drafts alongside this article. They are updated for every new slate each week (3x per week).
Let’s dig in.
Draft Strategy for Week 10 Monday Night Football + Week 11 Thursday Night Football Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale
The main takeaway from looking at this slate is to win you will need to navigate the utter chaos. The player pool is very top heavy and since these drafts are 4 players, you are forced to take some stands early. The Titans, Packers and Commanders are bottom 10 in PROE the last 4 weeks (last, 6th worst, and 10th worst respectively). Meanwhile the Eagles are 4th in PROE over the last 4 weeks. It is important to note that the Eagles have routinely got out to early leads and tend to play slower and score less in the second half of games.
These contests have been shuffling between 3 and 4 man drafts, for this slate we get 4-man drafts. It will be easy to get different and provide unique lineups as the player pool is top-heavy and is full of dart-throw options. It will be difficult for super teams to get formed due to the format, which allows you to feel comfortable sacrificing projection later in drafts to reduce duplicates.
With the significant change to 4 person drafts, it personally makes me prioritize the QB position. First and foremost Jalen Hurts is far and away the best play on the slate. He carries the most upside in terms of floor and ceiling among the QBs (and skill position players). He is a top 5 fantasy QB and barring a blow-up game from the others, is expected to be the optimal QB. After Hurts, I consider all 3 QBs (Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill, and Taylor Heinicke) to be in the similar tier since all of their teams prefer to run the football. This leaves all of them to have limited TD upside which is important in ceiling outcomes. They all will struggle to top 250 passing yards and therefore I am most likely waiting until the last round if I miss out on Hurts.
For pass catchers, A.J Brown (like Hurts) is far and away the best option. I doubt there will be a Brown-Hurts pairing, but if it happens it will be the odds-on favorite to win the slate. Otherwise, the ownership will naturally condense around Allen Lazard, DeVonta Smith, Terry McLauren, Curtis Samuel, and Robert Woods. Since there will be at least 8 WRs selected, this means due to the uncertainty, it will be easy to get different. Due to his 3TD explosion yesterday, Christian Watson will scream up draft boards. He filled in as the #2 WR with Romeo Doubs hurt, playing 84% of the snaps. He saw 8 targets and finally looked healthy. He should be a priority due to the second half bump rookie WRs see (on an offense with plenty of opportunity). It is important to note that with Watson seeing an increase of snaps, it came at Sammy Watkins expense. He only played 33% of snaps and is a distant WR3. Another player getting overshadowed in drafts is Treylon Burks. He returned to the lineup yesterday and saw 75% route participation and tied for the team lead with an 18% target share. The Titans want to get their 1st round pick involved. Jahan Dotson appears ready to return to the lineup this week against the Eagles. I would temper expectations as he will be eased in as the WR3 for the Commanders. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine shined with Ryan Tannehill back in the lineup. He tied Burks with a team leading 8 targets and operated as the WR2 in the offense. Due to the ineffectiveness of Robert Woods in the passing game, Nick may see an expanded role moving forward. However, Woods does provide strong run-blocking which is important to how the Titans play football (through Derrick Henry). Boom or bust players include Quez Watkins, Samori Toure, and Dyami Brown all have deep-play ability and only need to catch one pass to crack the optimal.
On the RB end, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, and Miles Sanders headline the slate. They all come with 100+ yards and 2-TD upside. All carry risk with Henry being phased out in negative game-scripts, Jones being phased out in positive game-scripts and Sanders playing second fiddle to Hurts. Based on this, direct leverage off Henry is Dontrell Hilliard who plays ~40% of snaps and is the primary pass-catching back and direct leverage off Jones is AJ Dillon. Sanders is not really involved in the passing game. That role belongs to Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott is typically the garbage-time RB. If you play scripts where the Eagles are playing from behind (Gainwell) or the Eagles blow the doors off the Commanders and are up by 20+ points (Scott) the other RBs could be better plays. With JD McKissic out, Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson will split the work. The Commanders will run a hot hand approach with the two backs, but expect Gibson to be more involved in negative game-scripts due to him being a converted WR.
The TE slate is Dallas Goedert and a bunch of TD or bust candidates. Most of the ownership will fall on Robert Tonyan, Logan Thomas, and Austin Hooper as all 3 are the primary TEs playing 60+% of snaps for their teams. They are serviceable pass catchers (all being TE1s in the past) with little competition behind them. An interesting name is Chigoziem Okonkwo who is only playing 35% of snaps but is used down the field (40+ yard receptions the last two weeks). If he can break one into the end-zone, it won’t be difficult for him to crack the optimal.
Top Plays for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale Drafts
- Jalen Hurts – Best overall option
- AJ Brown – Highest ceiling and best talent on a weak WR slate
- Derrick Henry – The big dog should eat against the Packers D-Line
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Treylon Burks – Titans want him to be involved
- Chigoziem Okonkwo – Deep-threat TE
- Nick Westbrook-Ikhine – WR2 for the Titans with a 3.5 point projection.
- Kenneth Gainwell – Receiving back for the Eagles.