Optimal Lineup for Monday Night DraftKings and FanDuel Contests

Chris Lollis

For the first time in over a decade, the first Monday Night Football slate of the season includes only one game. However, it is a game full of headlines and both FanDuel and DraftKings have a million-dollar contest available for this matchup.

The DraftKings contest includes $2.5 million in total prizes, with a top prize of $1 million, while FanDuel's million-dollar contest includes a $1 million total prize pool and $200,000 top prize.

We prefer the DraftKings format, adding a sixth player and the salary multiplier at the Captain spot requires more strategy and creates more variance between lineups. That being said, the FanDuel payout structure is much more balanced and pays out 20% more entries, making it easier to cash.

In addition to our picks for these GPP contests, here are our favorite over plays from the selection of player prop contest at PrizePicks:

Must-Start Players for This Slate

As is always the case for these articles, we are taking a single-entry approach to these lineups. If we have to build an optimal lineup, what would it look like? With this in mind, you have to start both quarterbacks.

Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr

Clearly, every entry in this contest is likely to have a share of Jackson, but we actually feel just as good about Carr tonight. Carr was extremely impressive last season, averaging over 270 passing yards per game despite a three-game stretch in the middle of the season that saw him average just 143 passing yards per game. Each of those three games came against weak rushing defenses, which clearly the Ravens are not.

If you take that three-game stretch out, Carr averaged over 300 passing YPG last season. With Marcus Peters out, the Ravens' secondary suddenly looks beatable, with Marlon Humphrey likely to have to move from the slot to the outside. It's also worth noting this was a very average pass rush last season, that was below average during the second half of the year and well below average on the road.

If you look at Jackson's fantasy production from last season, he was actually better against stronger teams as the Ravens were more likely to allow him to run the ball more often. The majority of his low rushing totals from last season came against bad defenses. That being said, this is Monday Night Football and we are not betting against Jackson putting on a show here.

Ty'Son Williams

With more talent, experience, and depth, we expect the Raiders defense to improve in 2021 but will need to see it first. This was a unit that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, surrendering 4.6 YPC and 24 rushing touchdowns on the year.

While we think Latavius Murray could end up being the guy here, the Ravens love Ty'Son Williams and will give him a chance to be the bell-cow this week. Given the spot Williams is in, you have to have him in your lineups tonight.

Henry Ruggs III

Clearly, Darren Waller is going to be the highest-owned pass-catcher tonight, and with good reason. He finished 2021 on an absolute tear, with over 650 receiving yards in the final 5 weeks of the regular season.

With that in mind, you have to take risks if you are going to take down a GPP like these million-dollar contests. Assuming the Ravens elect to have Marlon Humphrey shadow Waller, which seems highly likely given Humphrey's ability to line up in the slot or on the outside, it is Ruggs' upside that makes him the must-play receiver tonight.

With Nelson Agholor out of town, there are 82 targets, 900 yards, and 8 touchdowns up for grabs in this offense. Certainly, Bryan Edwards is going to take a chunk of those, but Ruggs is much more explosive and a better fit in GPP contests like tonight's million-dollar single-game contests.

Our Favorite Dart Throw for Monday Night DFS Lineups

While our Thursday night single-game lineup cashed on both FanDuel and DraftKings, our dart throw (Giovanni Bernard) was a disaster. We are going back to the well with another change-of-pace back tonight.

Kenyan Drake

While the injury to Josh Jacobs is certainly a factor here, Drake likely would have been our pick either way. You simply can not line up against this Ravens defense and try to run the ball against this front 7. The Raiders were a top 10 fantasy defense vs opposing running backs despite giving up 600 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns to backs in 2020.

Drake's dual-role as a change-of-pace back to Jacobs as well as Jalen Richard replacement on passing downs is a better way to attack this matchup. Gruden has also stated that the team plans to use Drake as an inside receiver with Jacobs on the field, giving him even more opportunities to catch the ball tonight.

Priced $1,200 below Jacobs on DraftKings and $4,000 below Jacobs on FanDuel, we see Drake as the Raiders running back to target on Monday night.

Here is a final look at how we are putting together our optimal lineups for tonight's GPP contests on FanDuel and DraftKings, and as a bonus, a lineup for the $50,000 contest at SuperDraft which features their unique salary-free multiplier format:

monday night football dfs lineups

Chris Lollis

Chris has over a decade of experience in the DFS and sports betting industry. He was named the most accurate NFL DFS analyst each of the past two seasons by a third-party site tracking weekly picks. He covers the NFL, CFB, and sports betting legislation for EatWatchBet. @_chris_lollis

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