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 3 drafters instead of 6 (constant shift from 3 to 4). Due to consistent tweaks from Underdog, we are back to a more top heavy payout structure.. For this week, we get the Ravens (-1.5) traveling to New Orleans to take on the Saints with a 46 o/u and a division matchup with the Falcons (-2.5) traveling to Carolina to take on the Panthers with a 42.5 o/u.
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 9/10 Monday and 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. Rashod Bateman, Mark Andrews, and Mark Ingram have already been ruled out andGus Edwards is doubtful. Not only are the Ravens severely shorthanded, the Panthers benched PJ Walker yesterday midgame and brought in Baker Mayfield. The offense runs entirely differently depending on who is under center. Adding in confusion is the fact that the offenses aren’t condensed and make more players viable. The Saints, Falcons and Panthers are bottom 5 (5th, 2nd, and 4th, respectively) in PROE the last 4 weeks and the Ravens are around league-average at 20th, leaning more toward the run. With injuries to their #1 WR and TE, we would expect the Ravens to run even more in this game. This leads me to temper expectations for the Saints Ravens game. Although it has a higher ou, the Ravens should try to slow the game down and win with their defense (just acquired Roquan Smith) and will only be forced to throw and speed up the game if they are pushed by the Saints (which also runs at a high rate). Divisional games typically end-up being more defensive focused so overall, you will need to find all the touchdown scorers since they are so important in half ppr.
These contests have been shuffling between 3 and 4 man drafts, for this slate we get 3-man drafts. At first glance, this should make it a bit easier to get different but you will be sacrificing points from a projection standpoint. This can get tricky as you need to navigate drafts without providing unique & optimal combinations to your opposition. On this slate, that isn’t true. These offenses are so spread out that it will be easier to get lower-owned players that have higher probabilities of cracking the optimal due their projection on Underdog.
With the significant change to 3 person drafts, it personally makes me underrate the QB position. For this particular slate though, I don’t. We continue to get top 5 QBs on the two game slates and in this instance, Lamar Jackson provides a significant ceiling and a safe floo due to his designed rushes and his role as a ball-carrier in the red-zone. After Lamar, it becomes a total crap shoot with Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, and the aforementioned Panthers dilemma.. Dalton doesn’t really push the ball down the field. However, he has been producing when he has a clean pocket. The Ravens are generating the 7th least amount of pressure in the league. Mariota has been fine from a fantasy perspective due to his rushing floor. He is the safest option outside of Lamar, but with how run heavy the Falcons are, will struggle to top 25 pass attempts lowering his ceiling. An added wrinkle to the Panthers is that Sam Darnold was activated off IR today (11/7), since we won’t have any inside reports, I would steer toward drafting Baker and Sam if you wanted to mix them in at QB but both come with extremely low floors (0-5 points even if starting).
I will continue to hound on the fact that the reduction to 3 drafters really limits the player pool in terms of roster percentage. This is truly important in terms of pass catchers. Ownership will naturally (and deservedly) condense around Chris Olave, DJ Moore, Drake London, and Devin Duvernay. Since there will be at least 6 WRs selected, this means due to the uncertainty, it will be easy (for once) to get different. I would expect most of the ownership to land on Demarcus Robinson due to him being the WR2 for the Ravens and Jarvis Landry in hopes he is activated. If he is healthy, that will downgrade Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway. Neither of which inspire much confidence, but if I had to choose one, I would be on Smith. Other interesting names include DeSean Jackson and Rashid Shaheed both can provide big-play ability and only need 1 touch to crack the optimal lineup. I really like scrolling down a bit to select Terrace Marshall Jr.. He was a second round pick by the Panthers last year and has seen his snap% rise to 85+% the last three weeks. The Panthers should be determined to see what they have from their roster and should continue to utilize Marshall moving forward. Shi Smith is playing as the 3rd WR over Laviska Shenault. If one decides to get off the board, I would prefer Smith who is playing 80% of the time to Viska’s 10%.
On the RB end, Alvin Kamara is in a world of his own. He comes with 100+ yards and 2-TD upside and is the focal point of the offense (with Dalton under center). The Ravens have seen their fair share of RB injuries. With Gus Edwards doubtful and J.K. Dobbins on IR, the lionshare of work should be given to Kenyan Drake with Justice Hill mixing in. Cordarrelle Patterson returned in week 9 to score 2 TDs, yet only played 39% of snaps. It was a clear 3-headed committee with Tyler Allgeier (38%) and Caleb Huntley (21%). CPat should see his workload increase as he is the most talented, but Allgeier played respectively and will continue to rotate in. D’Onta Foreman carried the load to start the game in week 9 but since the Panthers got blown out, Raheem Blackshear rotated in down the stretch. Foreman was not very effective after back-to-back 100 yard games and could start to see his snap counts decrease due to the Panthers being in evaluation mode. Chuba Hubbard was close to returning last week from an ankle injury. My assumption is he is going to play on Thursday and potentially lead the team in snaps. He is available in the 6th round of drafts.
The TE slate is OK. With much of the ownership landing on Isaiah Likely, Kyle Pitts and Taysom Hill. Hill carries significant upside as the wildcat QB in the red-zone and could even become the starting QB if Dalton suffers an injury (unlikely with Jameis healthy). Likely has been the main beneficiary when Andrews is injured. He should be the primary pass catcher for the Ravens on Monday. Kyle Pitts is the generational talent TE who is like a WR in a TEs body. His ceiling is limited since the Falcons don’t throw often. His previous week’s box score would look better if Mariota didn’t overthrow him on a would be 60-yard TD. Juwan Johnson gets overlooked. He is the primary pass catching TE for the Saints. He just doesn’t carry the same upside Hill has but should be involved if the Saints are playing from behind. The Panthers run a rotation at TE with Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble. Neither are very involved in the passing game but due to snap counts, I would prefer Tremble.
Top Plays for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale Drafts
- Lamar Jackson – Great floor/ceiling combo
- Chris Olave – #1 WR on the slate
- Alvin Kamara – Unreal rushing/receiving combo
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Terrace Marshall Jr – #2 WR for the Panthers will be on field but bad projection.
- Chuba Hubbard – Potential starting running back available in last round
- Juwan Johnson – Pass catching TE for the Saints
- DeSean Jackson – Should be elevated from PS with injuries to their receiving core, expect him to be involved as a veteran presence
*IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT PJ WALKER IS EXPECTED TO START AGAIN ON THURSDAY*