Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Commanders at Eagles

Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Commanders at Eagles

This article is part of our DFS NFL series.

If sportsbooks are right, we're in for a lopsided Monday night matchup between the Eagles and Commanders. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the game total is 43.5 while the Eagles are 10.5-point home favorites. That leaves the Eagles with an implied team total of 27 and the Commanders 16.5. That certainly suggests that loading up on Eagles is the optimal play, but let's see what we can find with a deeper dive.

Quarterback

It won't come as a surprise to learn that Jalen Hurts ($12,200 DK, $17,500 FD) is the most expensive player on both sites. He doesn't possess the same upside as Lamar Jackson or Justin Fields (yes, really), but he has six rushing touchdowns this season. All of those came in Weeks 1-5, and he has only 60 rushing yards combined the last three games. All three of those matchups ended with relatively comfortable wins for Philadelphia, so perhaps the Eagles weren't interested in risking their quarterback with the game in hand. If you believe the sportsbook's projected game script and the pattern laid out above will continue, Hurts may not be in for a ceiling game. As for his passing, Hurts has similarly slowed — lending more credence to the game-script argument. After attempting more than 30 passes in three of his first four games of the season, he has done so only once in his last four games. This isn't to say he's incapable of delivering a ceiling performance, but he is reliant upon extreme efficiency to put up big performances. Washington is almost exactly league-average in DVOA, with a heavy split between pass defense (25th in the league) and rushing (second best). The matchup isn't a reason to shy away.

Taylor Heinicke ($9,000 DK, $15,000 FD) is priced aggressively on FanDuel, but is relatively cheap on DraftKings. He's started three games for the Commanders, scoring six total touchdowns as opposed to three interceptions. In those three starts, he attempted 28-33 passes. Heinicke has the ability to chip in some production on the ground, and we saw that in his Week 8 performance against the Colts. He would be viable on DK due to price, but the Eagles' defense is outstanding. They rank third in DVOA — second in pass DVOA — and have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

Running Back

Miles Sanders ($9,800 DK, $13,000 FD) is the most expensive running back available. Unlike past seasons, he's seen a consistent role as a rusher by earning at least 15 carries in seven of nine games. His usage as a receiver is less ideal, as he has no more than three targets in a game and has only one combined target across his last three games. Without that catch volume, Sanders will need touchdown variance on his side. That said, he's found the end zone in each of his last three games. Also lacking from Sanders' profile is big plays. He has only five rushes of 20 yards or more and none of 40. His track record says he's an OK play, but he'll be a very poor play without a touchdown. 

Kenneth Gainwell ($4,600 DK, $8,000 FD) and Boston Scott ($1,600 DK, $7,000 FD) have had a nearly identical role in terms of carries. On a per-game basis, that makes Scott more involved due to a few missed games earlier in the season. We can drill down a bit more, however. Gainwell has run 54 routes this season as compared to Scott's 11. Similarly, Gainwell has three touches inside the 10 and two inside the five, while Scott has only one in each range. Despite his higher price, usage dictates that Gainwell is the superior play. As was noted, Washington's run defense is strong, so an interesting play would be using Gainwell over Sanders while baking on involvement in the passing game. If the game is a blowout, Gainwell could get a garbage time score or just general work, so there are multiple outs for him to hit. 

To begin the season, the Commanders did everything they could to avoid giving Antonio Gibson ($6,800 DK, $10,000 FD) the ball, at least on the ground. On the other hand, he's had a consistent role as a pass catcher most of the campaign, tallying at least three catches in five of his last six games. Gibson's volume as a rusher has also returned in recent weeks, as he's recorded 10, seven and 11 carries in that span. Due to the nature of the Commanders' offense, his production has fluctuated quite a bit, but he seems like a safe bet for at least 12 touches. On DK, given both his price and scoring he's worth considering. The matchup comes into play next. The Eagles are roughly league-average against running backs on a point-per-game basis, and they have typically allowed at least one back to reach double-digit fantasy points. Gibson would be my bet to reach that mark of this group. If the Commanders get their offense going, it will likely be on big or broken plays, and Gibson is more likely to take advantage of those situations rather than Brian Robinson ($5,400 DK, $8,500 FD). Robinson remains the lead back in the sense that he gets the most carries on the team. However, he has a minimal role in the passing game, and without the prospect of sustained offense from the Commanders, he's very tough to justify rostering. If I were going to, it would be on FanDuel, as his price is less aggressive and his lack of involvement as a pass catcher hurts him less. 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

We only need to look back to Week 8 to see what A.J. Brown ($10,600 DK, $14,500 FD) is capable of, when he destroyed the Steelers for three touchdowns. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, he's run fewer routes than DeVonta Smith ($8,000 DK, $11,000 FD), but he has been so efficient (27.4 percent target per route run, 2.85 yards per route run) that it doesn't matter. The primary concern with Brown is that the Eagles jump out to a huge lead and turn to a run-heavy approach in the second half. Conversely,  if that happens, there's a good chance Brown is involved in a major way to get the Eagles to that point. Smith is an interesting case. Through the first six weeks, he outscored Brown half the time. In the past two weeks, he's been far less involved and not playable. As we've discussed in past weeks, we can get too confident in recent samples, so I actually like Smith quite a bit in this spot. He has the most consistent role in the offense from a route run perspective, he just needs targets. I wouldn't play Smith alone, but I do like him as part of an  Eagles' stack and also as direct leverage off Brown. Smith's price relative to Dallas Goedert ($7,800 DK, $11,500 FD) — particularly on FanDuel — adds to my interest in Smith. Goedert has produced as a TE1 (top 12) in six of eight games this season, and worse than a TE2 (top 24) only once. That's more of a redraft stat, but it shows he's been a reliable producer. Unlike both Brown and Smith, Goedert has a consistent role, so in large field tournaments, I'd be plenty willing to stack Hurts, Smith and Goedert to leverage off Brown.

After a relatively lackluster start to the season, Terry McLaurin ($8,200 DK, $12,000 FD) has gotten a bump from Heinicke. In the six games with Carson Wentz, McLaurin averaged 9.22 half PPR points and 11.05 PPR points (the respective FD and DK scoring systems). In the three matchups since Heinicke has taken over, those marks have jumped to 11.05 and 15.17. The primary problem is the aforementioned Eagles' defense, which has suffocated the likes of Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb this season. Even so, McLaurin is priced softly for his role and remains a good play. Curtis Samuel ($6,600 DK, $9,000 FD) has gone the opposite direction with Heinicke under center, commanding only 16 targets across his last three games combined. He remains involved as rusher, which makes him more intriguing than his usage in the passing game suggests. Similarly to Smith, Samuel is much closer to McLaurin in terms of level of production than many may believe on the surface based on what has happened in recent weeks. Samuel is a fine play as a result, but I'd only play one of McLaurin and Samuel due to the muted projected nature of the Washington offense. Jahan Dotson ($5,000 DK, $8,000 FD) is the wild card of the group. He'll suit up for the first time since Week 4. In his first four games, he was generally sitting between four and five targets. He had one spike week, but I wouldn't expect him to pop in his first game back. His biggest effect could be stealing targets from McLaurin and Samuel. The early-season sample says it will be McLaurin who is hurt, but that was with a different quarterback and in an extremely small sample. 

Things are pretty thin from there for each team. Logan Thomas ($2,600 DK, $7,000 FD) and Quez Watkins ($4,200 DK, $6,5000 FD) are both worth mentioning due to their relatively strong presence on the field, though both have been limited to wind sprints of late. Of the duo, I'd turn to Thomas as a potential punt play. Watkins is a potential home-run hitter, but he's priced highly on DK and more importantly has only two catches of more than 20 yards. He's a better punt play on FD, but we can point to lack of production once again. If the game gets out of hand, Zach Pascal ($1,400 DK, $7,500 FD) is the more reasonably priced option on DK, but he's also a very thin play.  

Kicker

Both Jake Elliott ($4,400 DK, $9,500 FD) and Joey Slye ($3,800 DK, $9,000 FD) have been limited in recent weeks for very different reasons. The Eagles' offense has efficiently turned drives into touchdowns, while the Washington offense has struggled. Betting on the team projected for more points is always the safe bet on the surface, but Elliott has made multiple field goals in a game only once this season. Slye has two multi-field goal efforts in six games, but he remains a thin play due to the projected total for Washington. It's not a great week for kickers, but if you believe Washington can overperform, Slye enters the conversation.

Defense & Special Teams

Typically, it's okay to get contrarian with D/ST, but this isn't the week. The Commanders ($3,200 DK, $8,500 FD) have a decent defense but Hurts and the Eagles have been so efficient it's hard to make a reasonable case for them. Hurts does get sacked at an above-average rate, but he has only three turnovers for the season. The Eagles ($6,400 DK, $9,500 FD) are a good play but are priced aggressively, particularly on DK.  On FanDuel, Samuel, Dotson and Gainwell are all cheaper options.  

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Dan Marcus plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: marcusd91 DraftKings: dmarcus87.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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