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Saints vs. Buccaneers Week 15 Sunday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown & NFL DFS Picks




Chris Godwin's wife Mariah opened up on how difficult it was to receiver the news that the pro bowler would be out for the year after tearing his ACL

Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 15 Sunday Night Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 15 Saints vs. Buccaneers Sunday Night Football matchup.

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Week 15 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks

The Saints head to Tampa Bay to take on the world champion Buccaneers this Sunday night. New Orleans is a game under .500, has a point-differential of -108, and sits in third-place in their own division, and yet somehow, in the messy middle of the NFC, New Orleans is tied with Washington and three other teams for the seventh and final seed in the NFC playoffs. The Buccaneers have won four straight by a combined 46 points, but needed overtime to take-down the Buffalo Bills a week ago. This week, they’ll look to avenge their Week 8 loss, where Tom Brady played his most mistake-free football of the season. For New Orleans, their week has been complicated by head coach Sean Payton being placed on the COVID-19 list, but Payton and his assistants should have the Saints plenty prepared for this heated divisional matchup. With two game-breaking playmakers on the New Orleans offense, and a bevy of receiving options to choose from in Tampa Bay, this should be an excellent single-game slate, there is no shortage of great options for fantasy gamers to choose from when building lineups this Sunday.

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As is typical when these two squads square-off, the flow of the game will largely do with how successful the Saints ($3,200 DraftKings) are in slowing Tom Brady ($12,200 DraftKings/$17,000 FanDuel) and the prolific Buccaneers’ passing attack. In the midst of an MVP-level season, Brady ranks first in pass attempts, red zone attempts, and air yards, and has been as productive as ever with that immense volume, ranking first in passing yards and passing touchdowns as well. He’s top five in the NFL in true completion percentage, total QBR, true passer rating, total expected points added, and fantasy points per game, and while the Saints’ defense ranks second-best in the NFL via PFF’s team defensive grades, that doesn’t mean Brady won’t be able to poke holes in the New Orleans’ secondary when they face each other this time around. Brady will likely focus at least 75% of his targets towards his big-four playmakers, and Chris Godwin ($10,000 DraftKings/$12,500 FanDuel) tends to see the most opportunity of the bunch. Godwin, who ranks eighth in the NFL in targets and seventh in fantasy points per game, has seen a solid 24% of the team’s league-high 43.5 passes per game. In the games that they’ve played, Mike Evans ($8,600 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel) and Rob Gronkowski ($7,800 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) have typicality split 13 to 16 targets per game this season, which is plenty in a single game slate, and while many fantasy gamers will be considered about Evans getting the “Marshon Lattimore treatment,” it should be noted that it’s extremely rare for a cornerback to cover a single wideout on 100% of routes. Brady can still hit Evans for big plays even if Lattimore ultimately shadows Evans for much of the game.

Finally,  Leonard Fournette ($9,200 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) continues to see the vast majority of touches in the Tampa Bay backfield, earning a 79% snap share a week ago. With Giovani Bernard sidelined indefinitely, the Buccaneers will likely keep Fournette on the field in more situations than previous. While it’s always possible Fournette could lose snaps and touches to clear-backup Ronald Jones ($5,600 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel), there’s no evidence anything other than an injury would increase Jones’ playing time. Fournette ranks first at his position in total targets, second in red zone touches, and fifth in fantasy points per game. Despite averaging 18 touches per game, Fournette is averaging nearly 1.0 DraftKings fantasy points per opportunity this season, top-12 among all running backs this season. Elite efficiency on elite volume is typically a recipe for fantasy success, which is why we see Fournette in the optimal lineup way more than you might expect in our top plays tool.

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For New Orleans, their offensive attack will center-around the unique abilities of Taysom Hill ($10,400 DraftKings/$14,500 FanDuel) and Alvin Kamara ($11,400 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel). Since Hill took over the starting quarterback job in New Orleans two weeks ago, the Saints have called Kamara’s number (giving a target or rush) or rushed with Hill on 40% of their total offensive plays. Even with Mark Ingram ($6,200 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) activated from the COVID-19 list and expected to play in this contest, Kamara could command upwards of 25 total opportunities. While our projections don’t see Kamara as the best value option, he’s still featured in the optimal lineup in over a third of our simulations. Hill has been subpar as a passer and game manager, his 7.9 yards per carry of the last two games makes him a cheat-code at the quarterback position. Hill has a coinflip’s chance of being in the optimal lineup on both sites, and is an especially strong play on FanDuel.

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The Saints are still sorting out their receiving corps, and no player is expected to be utilized heavily, but it’s certainly worth noting that Nick Vannett ($3,400 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) led the team in targets and had just eight less air yards than team-leader Alvin Kamara. Marquez Callaway ($4,800 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) is likely in-line for three to five looks, as well. Fourth-year receiver Tre’Quan Smith ($5,800 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) wasn’t utilized heavily last week, but is tied for the team lead with ten targets since Hill took over a quarterback, and is the only other player on the Saints to play on at least two-thirds of team snaps. Lil’Jordan Humphrey ($2,000 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel), Juwan Johnson ($1,000 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel), and Kenny Stills ($400 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) are only likely to see roughly four to six targets combined, but if a large percentage of those targets go to any one, then they’ll almost certainly be a value play at their reduced salaries. None of them have seen a red zone target in the last two weeks.

For Tampa Bay, while much of the offensive production typically concentrates around Brady’s top weaponry, we’ll likely still see Tyler Johnson ($1,600 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) for enough snaps to be a viable tournament-play. Johnson has averaged an 38% snap share over the last two weeks, and has averaged two targets, per game during that span. Cameron Brate ($2,200 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) has played on less snaps during that same span, but has been targeted more, including twice in the red zone, and once in the end zone as well. Brate is playing well-ahead of O.J. Howard ($800 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel), who is averaging a paltry 7% snap share of the Buccaneers’ last two games.

The Bottom Line

With an array of strong receiving-game weapons for Tampa Bay, an excellent one-off player in Alvin Kamara, and two quarterbacks who excel at scoring fantasy points, DFS players have an abundance of high-quality options to roster whenever theses two teams meet. While the Saints have fared quite well against Brady and the Buccaneers over the last two seasons, these two squads are currently in very different places this season. The Saints, decimated by injuries throughout their offense, are hanging onto their 2021 playoff hopes for dear life, while the Buccaneers look to be cruising toward a first-round bye. There’s a massive discrepancy in offensive firepower between the two teams, and this time, the Saints’ defense likely won’t get the same turnover-help they had when these two squads last met. With a first-round bye to maintain, look for the Buccaneers to steamroll the Saints this Sunday.

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Week 15 Sunday Night Football Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Saints 14.

Check out all of the best NFL bets for this Sunday Night Football matchup over at OddsShopper, where you can find winning bets in 30 seconds or less.

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If you’re interested in other NFL DFS advice for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking. We also have FanDuel Single-Game slate tools and NFL DFS showdown ownership projections. View our DraftKings NFL rankings and our FanDuel DFS NFL ownership rankings. Take a look at our NFL depth chart list, inactive player list and NFL line-ups.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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