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NFL DFS Showdown Spotlight: Monday Night Football DraftKings & FanDuel | Dolphins at Saints

Eric MacPherson

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For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, this column will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 16 Monday Night Football slate featuring the New Orleans Saints hosting the Miami Dolphins.

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NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 16 Monday Night Football

Miami has several players on the COVID-19 reserve, including receivers Albert Wilson and Lyn Bowden Jr., offensive linemen Solomon Kindley, Robert Jones and Greg Mancz, tight end Cethan Carter and linebacker Duke Riley. New Orleans is in a similar situation with quarterbacks Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian, tight ends Adam Trautman and Juwan Johnson, receiver Deonte Harris, running back Dwayne Washington, offensive linemen Ryan Ramczyk, James Carpenter and Jordan Mills, linebackers Kwon Alexander, Demario Davis and Kaden Eliss, defensive linemen Christian Ringo and Carl Granderson, and defensive backs J.T. Gray, Jeff Heath, and Malcolm Jenkins.

Miami Dolphins: 20.0 Points

Quarterback

New Orleans is missing half of their defense, including all of their key reserve linemen and three of their four core linebackers. Currently their defensive backfield is mostly intact, with only Malcom Jenkins missing from the top eight. Though they are at home, it is hard to give much credence to their top run DVOA and their No. 6 pass DVOA.

Tua Tagovailoa has led the Dolphins to four straight wins, and in this stretch he is averaging 25 completions on 33 attempts for 235.8 yards, seven touchdowns, three interceptions and three fumbles. On a positive note, he has only been sacked five times, though he has just 26 yards rushing on 16 attempts. In the limited player pool Tagovailoa is going to be one of the best options, though he has only two performances of 20 or more fantasy points, and those were all the way back in Weeks 6 and 7 in Jacksonville and against Atlanta.

Running Back

Duke Johnson seemingly came out of nowhere to take over the Miami backfield, with 22 carries for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Myles Gaskin had missed most of the prior two weeks on the COVID-19 reserve and was not ready for a full workload, getting 10 carries for 54 yards. It is likely that this duo will share the backfield again, as it seems that Gaskin is never quite able to take over the lead role. Phillip Lindsay is out of the health and safety protocol, though he has only been with the team a couple weeks after being released by Houston and has played in one game. Patrick Laird is on the injured reserve, but Salvon Ahmed is still lurking and making this a hazy forecast.

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Wide Receiver

Albert Wilson is in the health and safety protocol, though Jaylen Waddle is back. DeVante Parker will be working the intermediate routes and is a solid option alongside Waddle. Some combination of Mack Hollins, Preston Williams and Isaiah Ford will be filling in as the alternative options.

Tight End

Mike Gesicki is really a tight end in name only, as he lines up the majority of the time in the slot or split out from the line. Currently he is second on the team in targets with 97, trailing only the 116 of Waddle. Durham Smythe is the more traditional tight end, and he and Hunter Long each have two targets over the last two weeks.

Defense/Special Teams

This unit is absolutely in play against a rookie quarterback stepping under center for the first time. Miami has all of their defense starters available, and they are missing only two key reserves. Though New Orleans is likely to roll with a very conservative game plan, the Dolphins should be able to stack the box and force some third-and-long situations.


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New Orleans Saints: 17.0 Points

Quarterback

Ian Book is likely someone only Notre Dame fans are aware of, as he had a relatively nondescript college career despite starting for most of his final three seasons. Book was a fourth-round selection in the most recent draft, and New Orleans also signed Blake Bortles to serve as his backup. After losing his gig in Jacksonville at the end of the 2018 season, Bortles played in only three games for the Rams, with two passing attempts in 2019. Since then Bortles has been with Denver, back with Los Angeles, and this season he has been on and off the Green Bay practice squad. Though he has been with the team only three days, it would not be a complete shock to see him play tonight if Book has a mid-game meltdown.

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Running Back

Alvin Kamara had an amazing Week 16 last year when he had 22 carries for 155 yards and six touchdowns against Minnesota. Sadly, he is not even projected for one-third of that production, with the Awesemo algorithm assigning him 18.2 carries for 64.68 yards and a 40% chance of a touchdown. In the passing game he is projected for 4.9 targets, 3.6 receptions and 29.8 yards with a 12% chance of reaching the end zone. No matter how it works out via the play calling, the Saints’ best chance is to get the ball in Kamara’s hands as often as possible tonight.

Mark Ingram II is definitely in play as well and should see around 12 opportunities spelling Kamara. In all likelihood, with the focus being on the running game tonight, it would not be a surprise for both Tony Jones and Ty Montgomery to be active. They are not very enticing options and really only have purpose in large-field tournaments as differentiation options.

Wide Receiver

Tre’Quan Smith is dealing with a shoulder issue, though he is expected to play. Last week he was on the field for 66% of the snaps, and Marquez Callaway led the position with an 85% share. Lil’Jordan Humphrey worked in on 26%, while Easop Winston had one snap. Deonte Harris is still serving his suspension while also on the reserve-COVID list. It is hard to get excited about anyone for the Saints, though the first three options referenced here work on a mathematical basis.

Tight End

Nick Vannett is the only healthy tight end, as both Adam Trautman and Juwan Johnson are in the health and safety protocol and Garrett Griffin landed on the injured reserve prior to the last game. New Orleans will likely be utilizing a create-a-player to back up Vannett, though he should be on 75-80% of the snaps and becomes a very interesting option.

Defense/Special Teams

Half of the defense is in the health and safety protocol, which makes them a lottery ticket at best.


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Monday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

Week 16 Monday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Alvin Kamara: New Orleans is squarely in the NFC Wild Card race, and they desperately need a win. Expect Kamara to see at least two dozen touches tonight.
  2. Tua Tagovailoa: Decimated defense balances out this road matchup. His recent game logs are still terrifyingly bad from a fantasy perspective.
  3. DeVante Parker: Take the discount over Waddle and do not think twice.
  4. Mark Ingram: Red-zone looks will likely go to Kamara, but he is still in the mix for a run-heavy script.
  5. Jaylen Waddle: Did get in a couple practices after clearing the health and safety protocols. Should be back returning punts and kickoffs.
  6. Ian Book: It is a stretch to expect more than 15 fantasy points. Maybe he will scramble a few ties.
  7. Mike Gesicki: Seven weeks since his last touchdown; at least he has an experienced quarterback.
  8. Miami D/ST: Rookie quarterbacks make a lot of mistakes.
  9. Brett Maher: Nine field goal attempts in five games with New Orleans; they may not get many red-zone trips tonight.
  10. Jason Sanders: Perfectly league average.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Miles Gaskin and Duke Johnson: This feels like whichever player is chosen will be the wrong one. Go ahead and play them together on lineups to capture all of the backfield work.
  2. Nick Vannett: Rookies and inexperienced quarterbacks often use the tight end as a safety valve option, and he is the last man available for the Saints.
  3. Marquez Callaway: No salary discount for rookie quarterback; will return kickoffs and punts with Harris out.
  4. Tre’Quan Smith: Shoulder issue keeps him below Callaway and Vannett.
  5. Lil’Jordan Humphrey: Troll Touchdown King.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. New Orleans D/ST: Missing too many players to be a cohesive unit worthy of trust.
  2. Isaiah Ford: What if he channels his inner Isaiah McKenzie tonight?
  3. Durham Smythe: DraftKings only; he is just $600 and could get a target or two.
  4. Mack Hollins and Preston Williams: $200 on DraftKings; just a paltry seven targets in his last five games for Hollins. Williams’ last target was in Week 12, and his last reception was in Week 5.
  5. Salvon Ahmed, Ty Montgomery and Tony Jones: Things are getting thin with the third-string running backs.
  6. Blake Bortles, Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Lindsay, Adam Shaheen, Tommylee Lewis: A perfect ending to Week 16 would involve one of these afterthoughts.

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If you’re interested in other NFL DFS tools for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and NFL stacks. View our FanDuel NFL rankings and our DraftKings DFS NFL ownership rankings. Take a look at our NFL starting lineups, inactive players and NFL depth charts. We also have showdown projections and NFL single-game ownership projections.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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