Underdog released the THUNday Night Knockout 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 Bills (-3.5) traveling to New England to take on the Patriots with a 43.5 o/u on Thursday Night and the Colts traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys (-10.5) with a 43.5 o/u on Sunday 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 13 Thursday + Sunday Night Football Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale
The main takeaway from looking at this slate is that the slate will be won through the TE position as the options are a bit thin and it is only a 3-person draft. The Sunday Night game may be a bit slower than we expect with both the Cowboys and Colts (like most of the league) preferring the run (12th and 14th least in PROE the last 4 weeks, respectively). The Thursday game may be a bit faster with the Bills being 6th in PROE the last 4 weeks and Patriots 12th. 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. It is important to note there are going to be 10-15 MPH sustained winds with 25-30 MPH gusts in the first half limiting the ability to push the ball down field. This could cause teams to play more conservative and have lean on their run games.
These contests have been shuffling between 3 and 4 man drafts, for this slate we get 3-man drafts. The teams have some top-heavy talent so it is hard to find a team you don’t like. However, it will be important to SCROLL DOWN to get different. You need to be comfortable getting uncomfortable and sacrifice some projection.
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. Dak Prescott is the clear second option in drafts. He is going in the top 5 picks and typically in the first round. He doesn’t offer as much floor due to a decrease in rushing floor from Allen, but does provide a similar ceiling. After them, I consider Matt Ryan,, and Mac Jones to be in a similar tier since their ceiling outcomes are similar. They should all struggle to top 250 passing yards and multiple passing TDs. I prefer Mac over Ryan since the Patriots play the Bills and should get pushed. The Cowboys are really good at generating pressure which has caused Ryan fits this year. He ranks 31st in pass grade while under pressure (per PFF).
For pass catchers, the ownership will naturally condense around Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Pittman, Gabe Davis, Jakobi Meyers, and Michael Gallup. 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. Parris Campbell saw only 3 targets on Monday due to an explosive game from TE, Jelani Woods, he soaked up the targets over the middle that Campbell had routinely seen. With Woods not practicing early in the week, one would expect those targets would go back to Campbell. Noah Brown continues to play the WR3 role for the Cowboys. He saw a significant reduction in snaps on Thanksgiving (75% -> 45%) but in games the offense is playing from behind he will be involved.
On the RB end, Jonathan Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson, Tony Pollard, Ezekiel Elliot and Devin Singletary headline the slate. They all come with 100+ yards and 2-TD upside. Damien Harris is battling another injury and has been ruled out. 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 headliners 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. When it comes to the Cowboys, I tend to lean toward Zeke. He has the hyper-valuable goal-line role and although he is losing snaps and touches to Pollard, can easily outscore him due to falling in the end-zone.
The TE slate is TD or bust. Most of the ownership will fall on Dalton Schultz, 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. I touched on Woods in the WR breakdown, but since he has not practiced yet, Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson should resume their normal work despite Woods’ breakout performance. My preference would be with Granson. An 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.
- CeeDee Lamb – Elite WR that can break the slate anytime he’s on a football field.
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Kylen Granson – 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.