The schedule makers over at the NFL have been spoiling us with two games on Monday night. That all comes to an end next week, so we’d better make the most of it while we can! Tonight we’ll set our focus on the matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams. With fantasy glory and a whole lotta bread on the line, it’s crucial to assemble a winning DraftKings lineup that can dominate the competition. In this DFS article, I’ve dissected key players for your lineups, offering insights on who should take the coveted captain slot, which core player should anchor your player pool, a value gem that can boost your salary cap flexibility, a sleeper pick with breakout potential, and one player to steer clear of – the dreaded bust. Strap up, as we dive into the tactical choices that could lead you to DFS victory in this Monday Night Football primetime battle!
*Disclaimer: These picks have been constructed with the mindset of building a single lineup. When building large field/multi-entry tournaments, if the player sees the field you’ll want to have a piece of him somewhere, my “busts” included.*
DraftKings Monday Night Football Showdown Picks
DraftKings Captain Salary- $15,000
Finally! Today marks the first time this season that I’m telling you to captain a player who does not have the highest DraftKings salary of the night. The 15k that it’ll cost you to slot in Puka Nacua as your captain leaves you with more than enough cheddar to spread across the rest of your lineup. Nacua has been the favorite target of QB Matthew Stafford so far this season. Following yesterday’s slate of games, Puka now sits fourth in the NFL in terms of targets. His 35 targets on the season (2 games) is only four behind Keenan Allen’s (3 games) 39.
— K Ivy (@Ivyman_FF) September 18, 2023
When looking for a player to roster in your captain slot you want a player at a good price point, who will be heavily involved in their team’s game plan. Not only is Puka being fed, he’s eating. Nacua will be entering tonight’s matchup with 25 catches already under his belt. With 10 catches in Week 1 and 15 more in Week 2, Puka would have eclipsed double-digit DraftKings points in both matchups had he simply caught the ball and fell down. Nacua has been special for fantasy so far this season and he’s done it all without scoring a touchdown, yet.
Captain to consider: Kyren Williams ($9,000)
DraftKings Salary- $9,000
384, that’s how many rushing yards the Bengals DST has already given up this season. Nick Chubb dragged them for 106 yards on 18 totes in Week 1, while Gus Edwards took them for 62 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. That should make for a great Monday Night Football matchup tonight for Kyren Williams, whose stellar play this season afforded the Rams the ability to trade Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings. After proving himself in Week 1 against the Seahawks, Williams went from a 65% snap count to a whopping 95% in Week 2.
Kyren has been a jack of all trades in the early going. He’s been uber-productive, scoring 3 times on the ground on 29 carries. I’m no good at math, but even I know that this equates to about 1 touchdown every 10 carries! Williams also reminded us of his prowess as a receiver by catching 6 out of 10 targets last week. Those receptions went for 48 yards and another touchdown. If the struggles on offense continue for the Bengals, Williams could find himself in the driver’s seat of this game.
Core play to consider: Joe Mixon ($8,400)
DraftKings Salary- $7,000
Am I going to mention a single Cincinnati Bengal? Perhaps, but not in this section. This section belongs to Tutu Atwell. Atwell’s performance thus far has been a breath of fresh air. After barely seeing the field last season, Atwell has cemented himself as a valued part of this LA Rams offense. His game breaking speed has been on display as head coach Sean McVay continues to find ways to scheme his players open. Atwell’s DraftKings salary and consistent involvement make him a solid value play on MNF tonight.
While Puka gets all the love let’s not forget Tutu Atwell had 119 yards on the day too
This explosion off the line and raw speed is exactly what the Rams offense needs with a healthy Kupp pic.twitter.com/gpujLzDe0i
— Rob (@Quintorris_) September 17, 2023
With seemingly every Matthew Stafford pass intended for Puka Nacua, you might be surprised to find that Atwell got 8 targets in Week 1 followed by 9 targets in Week 2. That’s not too shabby for a player priced at 7K DK dollars. Like his counterpart Nacua, Atwell has done plenty of damage through the air (196 yards in 2 games), but hasn’t found the end zone yet. With his game-breaking speed, if he and Stafford can take the next step, Atwell might find himself atop the leaderboards tonight.
Value to consider: Brett Maher ($4,000)
DraftKings Salary- $4,200
The Cincinnati Bengals have work to do if they’re to start clicking on offense. It starts with the health of their quarterback Joe Burrow (calf). If the Bengals do get the ball moving again, I’m not convinced that it magically looks like the 2022 Bengals again. As trash as this offense has been, it’ll probably take some time to get everything ironed out. Luckily for the Bengals, they don’t have to pull a complete 180 to get points on the board, they have a secret weapon.
A stagnant offense isn’t the greatest environment for a kicker. Neither is the rainstorm that Evan McPherson played in during the Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Nonetheless, McPherson still notched a 40+ yarder in the slop. Week 2 was a bit more productive as the Bengals got acquainted with the end zone. McPherson would finish 3-3 on extra point attempts as well as a measly 27-yard field goal. McPherson has crazy range that he hasn’t been able to showcase yet, but in a MNF matchup where the Bengals are going to need to put up points anyway they can, his number may be called more often than not.
Sleeper to consider: Tyler Boyd ($5,200)
DraftKings Salary- $11,400
Trust me. This hurts me more than it hurts you. I love me some Joey B, but my man is not right. Sure, we can blame the calf, which is 3-4 feet below his throwing arm. Or we can blame the vanilla play calling. Wherever we decided to assign the blame the fact of the matter would remain the same, something is wrong in Cincinnati. Burrow enters this game with a questionable tag due to a nagging right calf strain. Red flag #1. After handling all of the first team reps in a walk-through yesterday, it appears that Burrow will give it a go tonight.
“I’m a firm believer that if you limp into the season, you’ll limp out of it… How many guys have ever got healthier during the football season?"
Shannon Sharpe is worried about Joe Burrow’s calf and the Bengals’ 0-2 start 😬
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 18, 2023
If you want to roster the highest-priced player on DraftKings with a Q-Tag, then you be my guest. Just in case you missed the disclaimer (who reads those?) at the start of this article, let me remind you that these picks are formulated with the mindset of building one lineup. If I only have one lineup to build, there is no way that I can justify spending $11,400 on a QB who hasn’t eclipsed 17 fantasy points this season. With Burrow’s health concerns, I would not be shocked to see the Bengals attempt to get the ground game going.
Bust to consider: Jake Browning ($8,000)