Happy Thanksgiving all! Sorry for the hiatus. Underdog released the MNFxTNF Melee contest with a $10 price point, 5,652 entries and $7.5k top prize. It is the same format as the Main Slate contest but with only 3 drafters instead of 6 (constant shift from 4 to 3). For this week, we get the Sttelers traveling to Indianapolis to take on the Colts (-2.5) with a 39.5 o/u on Monday Night and the Bills (-5) traveling to New England to take on the Patriots with a 43.5 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 12/13 Thursday + Sunday Night Football Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale
The main takeaway from looking at this slate is that the slate will be won with the WR and TE positions as they are deeper than normally and it is only a 3-person draft. We just need to hope that the Patriots and Colts pass more than expected. They are 14th and 10th worst in PROE the last 4 weeks. Meanwhile, the Bills are 4th in PROE over the last 4 weeks and the Steelers are 8th. The Colts rate is a bit untelling as it includes the two weeks of Sam Ehlinger, they have been slightly more pass happy with Matt Ryan under center albeit league-average.
These contests have been shuffling between 3 and 4 man drafts, for this slate we get 3-man drafts. It is relatively easy to get different on this slate as the teams are not very condensed leaving the player pool deep.
With the significant change to 3 person drafts, it personally makes me deprioritize the QB position. However, whenever Josh Allen is on a slate, he becomes a main priority. He has the ability to put on a slate-breaking performance every time he steps on a football field. He carries the most upside in terms of floor and ceiling among the QB and is the top fantasy QB. After him, I consider Matt Ryan, Kenny Pickett, and Mac Jones to be in a similar tier since their ceiling outcomes are similar. Pickett at least carries some rushing upside but is inefficient as a passer. They should all struggle to top 250 passing yards and therefore I am most likely waiting until the last round if I fall to get Allen.
For pass catchers, the ownership will naturally condense around Stefon Diggs, Michael Pittman, Gabe Davis, Jakobi Meyers, Parris Campbell, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. We will see Isaiah McKenzie get steamed due to his near 20 point explosion on Thanksgiving. Meyers suffered a shoulder injury on Thanksgiving and we saw Nelson Agholor and DaVante Parker see the bulk of the work. Kendrick Bourne also saw an increased run as the WR3. Meyers returned to the game, so we should expect to see Agholor, Parker and Meyers primarily in 3WR sets. Alec Pierce has seen his role expand as the year has moved on. The exciting 2nd round rookie is averaging 15 yards per reception and is used down the field. If he connects with Ryan on a deep touchdown, he can easily break the optimal.
On the RB end, Jonathan Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson, Najee Harris, and Devin Singletary headline the slate. They all come with 100+ yards and 2-TD upside. Najee benefits from Jaylen Warren having a hamstring injury and should see nearly every snap. Damien Harris is battling another injury and if he misses, Rhamondre should play nearly every play. His receiving and rushing floor in that scenario is as safe as it comes. The biggest risk of the big 4 would be James Cook usurping Devin Singletary as the lead back. He has seen his role increase over the course of the year but still hasn’t broken 30% of snaps. It seems unlikely for him to become the primary back, but since rookies see their roles grow throughout the year, anything is possible.
The TE slate is TD or bust. Most of the ownership will fall on Pat Freirmuth, Dawson Knox, and Hunter Henry as all 3 are the primary TEs playing 60+% of snaps for their teams. They are serviceable pass catchers with little competition behind them. Freiermuth has seen his passing role increase since the trade of Chase Claypool and is the safest bet. An interesting name is Mo Alie-Cox who should see an increased role with Kylen Granson doubtful, although TEs aren’t really involved in the Colts passing game. Another interesting name is Jonnu Smith. He saw his role decrease last week, but the Patriots try to get him the ball in space and he has long-play ability.
Top Plays for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale Drafts
- Josh Allen – Best QB option
- Stefon Diggs – Allen’s #1 WR
- Rhamondre Stevenson – Receiving floor is unrivaled at the RB position.
- Jonathan Taylor – Trade of Nyheim Hines has unlocked his potential.
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Mo Alie-Cox – Colts #1 TE with TD upside
- Alec Pierce – Colts deep threat
- DeVante Parker – Has developed chemistry with Mac Jones, could post a 6-100-1 line.