The 2021 season is about to start, and so we start our DraftKings showdown coverage, starting with Dallas @Tampa Bay. 213 days after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in this very stadium, Tom Brady and the Bucs return to Tampa in this season’s curtain-raiser, hosting the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys. The two sides couldn’t have had much more different seasons last year, with the Cowboys losing Dak in Week 5 to a broken ankle, sliding to a 6-10 record, and finishing 3rd in the ever-underwhelming NFC East. Despite going 1-3 in the games Prescott played in full last year, he was having a solid season, with a 9:4 TD: INT ratio, and throwing for 450+ yards in 3 of those games. However, having not featured since 11th October last year, there is likely to be some rust in his game.
Tampa Bay enter this one as 8-point favourites, with the O/U sitting at 52, suggesting the bookies feel this should be a one-sided, high-scoring affair.
DraftKings Showdown 2021 Dallas @Tampa Bay Captain Picks
Mike Evans ($13,800/$9,200)
I feel like I spent the whole of last season saying this, but picking which Tampa Bay receiver is going to be optimal on each showdown slate is a nightmare. There are so many paths for any of them to score big on any night, but I’m rolling the dice and going with Evans. He has the shortest odds to score a TD, and Chris Godwin appeared on the injury report on Tuesday, so we’ll see what happens with that. It’s difficult to delve too much into snap counts, etc. given it being the first week of the season, but I think Evans has a nice matchup on the outside versus a questionable Dallas secondary.
Amari Cooper ($12,600/$8,400)
Constructing your team based on game script is really important on showdown slates. The bookies have Dallas playing this matchup from behind, meaning we could see a high amount of slinging from Dak as the game ticks on. Cooper has a very high ceiling with DraftKings PPR scoring, and I really like him here. There’s not much to love about this Cowboys offence coming up against the Bucs impressive defence, but Cooper is certainly a valid option here.
Ronald Jones II ($7,500/$5,000)
Strictly a GPP play here but there’s something about playing Jones in the captain spot that really intrigues me. Tampa Bay definitely has an RB committee, but Jones should see the majority of goal-line carries and at such a low price, allows you to fit a number of the other high-priced options in. He’s unlikely to see many targets with Fournette and Bernard in the picture, but he has the ability to gain some nice chunk yardage. As just mentioned, constructing with a game script in mind is important, and should Tampa Bay take an early lead, I can imagine them pounding the rock, which hopefully means Jones could do well. Again, there’s plenty of others on this slate with higher floors, but Jones has a nice ceiling in this one.
DraftKings Showdown 2021 Dallas @Tampa Bay Flex Picks
Tom Brady ($11,200)
I won’t be playing Brady in the captain spot due to his high salary, and zero rushing potential, but if you’re playing with a Bucs receiver in the captain spot, Brady is a must-have, in order to maximise upside. There really isn’t much else to say about this one.
Dak Prescott ($10,400)
Despite it being his first game back from injury, I still think it’s tough to fade Prescott on this one. As previously mentioned, I can see Dallas playing this one from behind, and imagine Dak is going to have to throw deep a LOT to keep them in this one. For that reason, I will almost certainly be fading Ezekiel Elliot ($9,600).
CeeDee Lamb ($8,200)
Lamb and Cooper are interchangeable in this spot and the captain spot in all fairness. Both have tremendous upside in a game like this, and I wouldn’t have any issues in playing either of them.
Antonio Brown ($5,600)
Brown wasn’t in my original player pool for this one, but with Godwin flagging up on the injury report as limited in Tuesday’s practice, Brown could see a lot of the ball on Thursday night. He’s nice and cheap here, and whilst sitting third on the Tampa depth chart, should see plenty of opportunities with TB12 under centre.
O.J. Howard ($2,200)
On a slate with plenty of high-priced options, Howard offers a nice bit of salary relief after missing the majority of last season through injury. In the 4 games he featured in last year he caught 2 TD passes and went for 146 yards across that span, with only Mike Evans and Scotty Miller posting higher receiving totals. He doesn’t need to do much at this price to hit value. Whilst Gronkowski is unquestionably the team’s TE1 heading into this, I think Howard could be in for a great season if he manages to stay healthy.
Giovani Bernard ($2,000)
Bernard looks to be Tampa Bay’s 3rd down back this year, and despite picking up a slight knock in preseason, he looks to be almost fully fit heading into this one, although it’s definitely worth monitoring the situation. He is my second-favourite value on this slate, just behind Howard.
Kickers and Defences
When a game has as high of an O/U as this one does, it makes both defences pretty unattractive. Whilst the Bucs certainly have enough quality on the defensive side of the ball to put up a nice score, at $4,800 they really need a TD or plenty of INTs and sacks to pay dividends. If you’re MME, then sure, sprinkle in some of them, but I won’t be playing them in single-entry GPPs or cash games.
What does have some appeal on high O/U slates is playing either kicker. Succop ($4,000) will likely be higher owned, but his high floor makes him attractive in cash games. Both him and Zuerlein ($3,600) are unlikely to be optimal, as their ceilings aren’t tremendously high, but their floors certainly warrant being rostered in cash games.
So, there are our DraftKings selections for the 2021 Showdown of Dallas @Tampa Bay! Remember any DFS questions, you can check out our articles here. Or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or jump into our Discord server
Image Credit: Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sport