Tom Brady will make his Thursday Night Showdown Picks debut this week. This time sporting the red, white, and pewter rather than the red, white, and blue we are accustomed to seeing. His opponent is Nick Foles, the last quarterback to best him in a Super Bowl. Both quarterbacks find themselves on different teams. Both find themselves having something to prove. And while we won’t be treated to a championship caliber game, it should still be entertaining.
Tampa comes in riding the hot arm of Brady and are 3-1 on the young season. Chicago is limping in after being handed their first loss of the year at the hands of the Colts. The Bears are hoping that Foles can manage a roster with massive potential that has yet to be fully realized. The Buccaneers are looking to keep their pistons firing as smoothly and effectively as they have been all season. These are two completely different teams with the same record, but should produce enough fantasy points to keep us interested.
As always, the players below are not meant to be considered a “core four.” These are simply players to consider as you are building your lineups. Play one, play them all, it is entirely up to you. Our job is to help you see the reasoning behind selecting these players and how they can help you win. We wish you luck on your DraftKings Thursday Night Showdown Picks.
DraftKings Thursday Night Showdown Picks
Ronald Jones II – Captain $11,000; Flex $7,400: RB Tampa Bay
When you look for the most valuable player on a team outside of the quarterback, you follow the touches. For the Buccaneers, the person who has touched the ball almost as much as Tom Brady is Jones. He has had at least 15 total touches in three of the first four games of the season. Last week, he clocked 26 which was his most this season.
Bruce Arians fed his back the ball early and often against the Chargers with some success. Jones was involved on each of the first four offensive plays of the game. He wound up involved in six out of ten total plays. All told on the eventual scoring drive, he accounted for 28 of the 75 yards gained.
The Bears defense that he is facing has been relatively stingy against the rush this season. Other than a huge game out of Adrian Peterson in week one, no running back has accounted for more than the 68 yards Jonathan Taylor hung on them last week.
Even with the rumors that Leonard Fournette has a shot at playing this week, Jones will be a major factor. This is especially the case given LeSean McCoy is out with his ankle injury. Brady will continue to lean on his back and that should be enough to make you lean on him also.
Jimmy Graham – Captain $10,200; Flex $6,800: TE Chicago
If you have played fantasy football long enough, you remember clamoring to get Graham into your Thursday Night Showdown Picks. Of course, that was when Drew Brees was throwing him the ball, or Russell Wilson, or Aaron Rodgers. Sadly, those days are long gone and these days Nick Foles is the one delivering him the ball. But, Graham has shown flashes of his old magic and still has enough in the tank to be a slate buster.
Two weeks ago against the Falcons, Graham was targeted 10 times. He caught six of them for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Downside though, he’s only managed to catch a total of four passes in the two games since that day. Despite that, he gets to face a Tampa Bay defense that is fresh off allowing Donald Parham to score his first career touchdown. The Bears are thin at pass catchers to say the least. They will need Graham to step up like he can if they want a chance to win.
Darnell Mooney – Captain $6,900; Flex $4,600: WR Chicago
Once you get past Allen Robinson at the receiving position for the Bears, it’s hard to be excited by anyone. Anthony Miller was hyped heading into the season, but has yet to break out. The ghost of Cordarrelle Patterson hasn’t produced. You get the point. That said, Mooney is a guy that might just give you some hope.
His numbers so far don’t leap off the page. In fact, they don’t even hop to the end of this sentence. But, last week with a full game with Foles under center, he had the best game of his fledgling career. Mooney was targeted nine times catching five of them for 52 yards. He was even given a carry on a jet sweep. While that play lost three yards, it showed the Bears are willing to get creative with him.
Foles will have his hands full this week against the Bucs and will need all the weapons he has to hang with Brady. He developed a rhythm with Mooney last week that could prove to carry over with another week of practice. The Tampa secondary will no doubt be giving Robinson his necessary attention. This leaves an opening for Mooney to once again back his way into a relevant option in Thursday Night Showdown Picks.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Captain $1,500; Flex $1,000: RB Tampa Bay
Putting Vaughn in your Thursday Night Showdown Picks has a shot at working even if Leonard Fournette suits up against the Bucs. Of course, it will work better if he is ruled out. Last week Vaughn saw minimal action, but found the endzone. Bruce Arians loves to frustrate fantasy owners. So, should he roll out Vaughn again in a goal-to-go situation, you might take down a tournament.
We still fully expect Jones to get the bulk of the work. As with anyone with his price tag, he carries a ton of risk. But, should Fournette miss another game, Vaughn remains the back up to Jones and has the potential for touches. He makes a great multi entry dart throw and an opportunity for a full Bucs stack.