Welcome back to the Awesemo NFL DFS Single Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates. For each of the featured games, typically Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights we will be providing a free analysis for the Showdown slate action. This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments. With two games tonight, that means two different Showdown Slates.
Don’t forget to check out the Strategy Show with EMac and Nolan Kelly at 6 PM EST tonight!
Week 1 is always tough as we have limited preseason and training camp information to work with. Some of our analysis will be supposition and some will be based on last year’s data.
The other key to remember is that strategy and lineup construction are crucial to get that ever elusive edge on single game slates.
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For the Monday Night Denver at Oakland showdown article click here
Texans Passing Game
It doesn’t get much better than a dome matchup against the New Orleans Saints pass defence. They ranked third-last and second-last in DVOA to WR1s and WR2s, respectively last season. If things go according to plan, Eli Apple will lineup predominately against Will Fuller, while Marshon Lattimore will get DeAndre Hopkins.
In the slot, PJ Williams was the sixth worst corner in the NFL last season in Yards Allowed Per Snap. He should see some combination of Keke Coutee (questionable) and Duke Johnson Jr., who maybe be used frequently as a slot option in the passing game.
All three of these Saints DBs ranked in the bottom 13 in the NFL in Yards Per Snap last season, so juicy matchups all around for the Texans tonight. Cumulatively, the Saints allowed a league worst 29 fantasy points to WRs last season. That of course means, Deshaun Watson should be your number one QB on the slate. Pair him up with at least two Texans pass catchers. Of course everyone is going to do that, so make sure to differentiate elsewhere.
In large GPPs, Will Fuller is the perfect Captain play – he’s a boom-or-bust option that’s going to give you two scores and 140 yards, or 1 catch and an early injury exit. Kenny Stills is a wild card, who’ll get an uptick in snaps if Coutee can’t go.
Darren Fells should start at TE and is just $400 on DraftKings. The Saints however, were excellent against TEs last season and the Texans don’t use their TEs often. Fells is nothing more than a punt-and-pray touchdown play.
Texan’s Run Game
If you thought the Texan’s were bad in pass protection, wait until you see their run-blocking numbers. As a unit, this team was dead last in the NFL in PFF’s run-blocking grade last season (a paltry 43.3). It remains to be seen how this team will use recently acquired Duke Johnson Jr. With his prowess as a receiver, he’s a like-for-like replacement if Keke Coutee can’t go. That would mean some extra backfield touches for some combination of backups Carlos Hyde, Taiwan Jones and Buddy Howell.
Wait to see what happens with the Texans inactives tonight. It’s hard to get excited about any of these secondary options, unless you’re viewing them as low-owned GPP punts. Hyde is too expensive on DraftKings – I’d rather just punt-guess on some combination Jones or Howell if they’re active and Coutee is out. Sparingly.
Saints Passing Game
It’ll be interesting to see what Drew Brees’ ownership looks like tonight. The Saints have quietly become one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL and their fantasy value as a passing attack relies entirely on the ability to execute their offensive efficiently. Brees only averaged a single point per game less than Watson
Hopkins last season, but the Texans were banged up and without quiet a few of their weapons in 2018. Depending on how the ownership shakes down, Brees makes for a nice pivot off Watson Hopkins – the problem is imagining how the Texans are going to score TDs if not through the air – whereas it’s easy to imagine the Saints plowing into the end-zone on multiple occasions. Of course, you can always roster both quarterbacks – and with how well they correlate generally, that’s not a bad idea, the problem is it’s difficult to fit them in with multiple expensive pass-catchers if you do.
The Texans were 31st in DVOA allowed to WR1s according to Football Outsiders. Texans new RCB Bradley Roby was 9th worst in the NFL last season in Y/SNP. Both Tedd Ginn Jr and Tre’Quan Smith should get their share. Both, of course, have big game ability and should be uses extensively in GPPs. On DraftKings, Tre’Quan is $800 cheaper than Ginn. You have to like the savings.
Saints Run Game
Alvin Kamara had less than 14 PPR fantasy points just twice last season, but he’ll be in tough against the Texans and their 5th best defence against RBs from last season. They also ranked 3rd in DVOA against the run in 2018.
Latavius Murray feels mis-priced on DraftKings at just $4,000. With just 880 yards receiving in four seasons, he’ll likely be less involved in the passing game than Mark Ingram was, so I’d be wary about stacking him in any Brees lineups.
If you want to get contrarian, fire up both Murray and Kamara in the same lineups. You can also use these two in combination with a Houston passing attack stack and leave out Drew Brees. Craft yourself a game narrative and mix in some less obvious combinations with some chalk stacks.
With this game projected for a full 10 points more than the Denver vs. Oakland game, the Saints D/ST should fly under the radar tonight, especially in showdown. Yes, the Texans just added Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, but this is still a bad unit. DeShaun Watson held onto 3.6 seconds per play last season, the highest time in the NFL. That led to a league worst 11.6% adjusted sack rate, and a whopping 62 sacks allowed last season. On the other side of the ball, the Saints defensive line had the 4th best adjusted sack rate in the NFL in 2018, boasting elite edge rusher Jordan Cameron and up and coming Marcus Davenport. This game is going to shoot-out, but there’s a lot of sack/fumble potential here.