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 Patriots (-1) traveling to Arizona to take on the Cardinals with a 43.5 o/u on Monday Night and the 49ers (-3.5) traveling to Seattle to take on the Seahawks 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 14/15 Monday + Thursday Night Football Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale
The main takeaway from looking at this slate is that the slate will be won by navigating the injuries in the Thursday Night game. Deebo Samuel, Kenneth Walker, Brock Purdy, and DeeJay Dallas are all questionable with some easy exploitatives we will touch on later. The Monday night game will have an average if not a bit slower than normal pace with both the Cardinals and Patriots around league average at PROE the last 4 weeks (15th and 13th respectively). Meanwhile, OUR Seahawks rank 2nd in PROE but the 49ers rank 20th in PROE the last 4 weeks. The 49ers will try to slow down the pace of that game with Brock Purdy (most likely) at the helm and Kyle Shannahan’s great rushing scheme.
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. Kyler Murray, and Geno Smith come with very similar floor/ceiling combos. Kyler comes with a raised floor due to his rushing upside. Since both options are in the borderline elite category, it causes me to wait until someone takes their preferred selection.. After them, Mac Jones and Brock Purdy are in a similar tier as both should struggle to top 250 passing yards and multiple passing TDs. Purdy will be very low-owned in the contest, so drafting him and exceeding expectations is an easy path to the top of the leaderboard. He is my preference over Mac as the 3rd QB in drafts. Both the Patriots and Cardinals have generated pressure at elite rates, 3rd, and 1st, leading to an increased scramble rate for Kyler and a downgrade overall for Mac.
For pass catchers, the ownership will naturally condense around DeAndre Hopkins, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Deebo Samuel (it shouldn’t), Marquise Brown, Jakobi Meyers and Brandon Aiyuk. First and foremost, Deebo Samuel suffered an ankle injury in week 14. He is NOT expected to play with a high ankle sprain. He may not play until the playoffs. DO NOT DRAFT HIM. Instead, boost up Aiyuk and his expected replacement in Jauan Jennings. Jennings is undrafted in most drafts and should increase to an 80+% snap rate. For the Cardinals, Rondale Moore has already been ruled out and Greg Dortch appears ready to reenter the lineup after missing last week. It will be interesting to see who becomes the primary WR3 between Dortch, Robbie Anderson, and AJ Green. My money would be on Dortch who has played an integral role for the Cardinals this season. The Patriots continue to run a rotation with their WRs. Although, when healthy the one staple seems to be DeVante Parker and Jakobi Meyers in 2WR sets. Nelson Agholor, Tyquan Thornton, and Kendrick Bourne are all risky FLEX plays but all carry big-play ability. Thornton remains my favorite of the bunch as he is a rookie and ran a 4.21 40 at the combine. The Patriots have tried to get creative and give him the ball in space to showcase that game-breaking speed. Marquise Goodwin was involved early and often in week 14 against the Panthers. The Seahawks were in a negative game script (behind 17-0 early) so do not expect a repeat. He does ave game-breaking speed and can cause a house-call at any moment.
On the RB end, Christian McCaffrey, Rhamondre Stevenson, Kenneth Walker and James Conner headline the slate. They all come with 100+ yards and 2-TD upside. KENNETH WALKER IS CURRENTLY PROJECTED FOR 0 POINTS. He has the questionable tag and is a free swap if he is ruled out, but if he plays, he is an easy way to gain leverage on the field. If he can’t go, Travis Homer or DeeJay Dallas will see the bulk of the work with the preference being Homer. Damien Harris is battling another injury and is doubtful. Rhamondre should play nearly every play. His receiving and rushing floor in that scenario is as safe as it comes.
The TE slate is George Kittle and then the rest. Most of the ownership will fall on Hunter Henry and Noah Fant otherwise as they are the primary TEs for their teams. They are serviceable pass catchers with little competition behind them. Both Patriots TEs, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are interesting as the Cardinals are a pass-funnel to the TE position. They could see increased volume. Trey McBride should see 80+% of snaps. He hasn’t overtaken the Ertz role yet, but could against a strong Patriots secondary.
Top Plays for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale Drafts
- DeAndre Hopkins – Top 5 WR since he returned from suspension.
- Christian McCaffrey – Deebo injury helps to further unlock his talent.
- Rhamondre Stevenson – Damien Harris is doubtful.
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Hunter Henry- Cardinals are a TE funnel
- Brock Purdy – Low-owned QB.
- Greg Dortch – Consistent pass-catcher
- Kenneth Walker – Projected for 0 points.