Monday Night Football
Washington at New Orleans -6.5 / 53.0
This should be an intriguing game as things will be a little bit cloudy with Mark Ingram returning to the Saints after his four week PED suspension and the Fightin’ Dan Snyders coming off their bye week with everyone seemingly healthy. Giddyup!
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Washington 23.25 implied team total
Quarterback – Alex Smith is not overly exciting as an option and while he is averaging just 6.87 air yards per attempt (31st in the league), he has not really been tested yet as Washington has controlled two of their three games so far with victories at ARZ and vs GB, with a little bit of a playing from behind uptick in a Week 2 loss against IND.
On the full slate, he will be an overlooked option that is in play on the full-slate as a fringe QB10-12 against the team allowing the third most passing yards per game at 311.0 on the season and checking in with THE WORST pass defense according to Football Outsiders DVOA.
Running Back – Adrian Peterson has been a welcome surprise, particularly with Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine and Derrius Guice all on the shelf. This is a fun “remember me?” game for Peterson who was traded mid-season last year from New Orleans to Arizona. The main fear with Peterson is that he does depend on a “positive” game flow with his teams not falling behind early so they do not abandon the run. The first two weeks of the season, the former Vikings stalwart had 6 targets for 5/100/0 but nary a look from his quarterback in Week 3.
That means the true “best” play from the backfield is likely Chris Thompson who will benefit from Alex Smith’s short passing proclivity.
Wide Receiver – This position is a crapshoot for as there is no real standout option as Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson have all but one target for this position on the year and they have combined for 39 targets, 23/258/2 with Crowder getting three rushing attempts for 35 yards. Newcomer Paul Richardson is the best deep threat, Jamison Crowder is the move-the-chains guy and Josh Doctson has just never had his talent equate to on the field results.
Tight End – Jordan Reed is still healthy at the moment and through three games he has 20 targets for 14/168/1 making him a fine option in all formats on the prime time slate. Vernon Davis has seen just four targets, but he has accumulated 86 yards and can be used as a dart throw option or an extreme salary saver on the DraftKings single game slate.
Defense/Special Teams – The Saints have allowed just five sacks through four games with four fumbles and no interceptions. This is a dart throw at best against Drew Brees at home.
New Orleans 29.25 implied team total
Quarterback – Drew Brees may not be asked to do quite as much through the air with the return of Mark Ingram from his performance enhancing faux pas. On the season, the Washington pass defense has been tabbed as the third best according to Football Outsiders and with their rushing defense checking in as a bottom three unit, we could see 30+ rushing attempts for the Saints. On the single game slate, it would be contrarian to NOT play either of the quarterbacks.
Running Back – Alvin Kamara may not see the same volume he has over the last month with 56 rushing attempts, 47 targets and a SHOCKING 35 red zone looks, the opportunities he sees should be of the “high leverage” varieties. Mark Ingram is going to be an interesting option because we do not know for sure how he will be utilized going forward. We know it seems that the team is not a fan of his, but he is a free agent after this season and can be used to do some of the “heavy lifting” to ease the wear and tear on Kamara for this team that has designs on a deep playoff run. The conventional thinking is that both will see 14-18 touches with Kamara seeing a few more targets in the passing game and Ingram seeing more rushing work.
Wide Receiver – Michael Thomas has been amazing this season with 44 targets for 42/445/3, though last week was a little worrisome with him seeing just four targets. He is the second most expensive player in the pool, but he has earned it as the only player who has performed better from a fantasy perspective this season is his teammate Alvin Kamara.
Ted Ginn Jr will be out for this game as he is dealing with a sore knee. Though the remaining New Orleans receivers not named Ginn or Thomas have combined for only 15 targets through the first month, we can consider former Bears WR Cameron Meredith and University of Central Florida rookie Tre’Quan Smith as fine punt options on DraftKings and Smith in particular on FanDuel at just $4,500.
Tight End – Ben Watson has been steady with no fewer than three targets in any game and 18 on the season with 13 receptions and 147 yards. Josh Hill has caught all six of his targets for 100 yards, but he is an extreme contrarian punt option only on DraftKings.
Defense/Special Teams – We can consider the Saints as a flier with upside as Alex Smith was sacked three times in each of the first two games – though he was not sacked at all in Week 3 against Green Bay and with Washington coming off a bye, they should have a fully healthy offensive line.
Summary – This should be a fun game as there is a high projected total and the return of Mark Ingram and the injury to Ted Ginn should really spread out the potential production for the Saints which also should diffuse their popularity. Washington has meh receiving options, but we can look to Chris Thompson to see workload if they are playing from behind and it almost seems preordained for Adrian Peterson to find the end zone against his former squad.
Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)
- Michael Thomas (hard to argue with having him as the top option with Ginn out of the picture and Kamara/Ingram in a timeshare)
- Drew Brees (hard to leave him off of our rosters and my first few hand built iterations have worked out nicely with the former Perdue signal caller and…)
- Alex Smith (yes, for the price/potential I am going to go with the former Utah Ute as it seems unlikely that Washington will be playing with a lead on the road for much of the game)
- Chris Thompson (pairs nicely with Smith as a synergy play or one his own – warrants consideration for the Captain slot on DraftKings at his reasonable salary – leads the team in targets)
- Alvin Kamara (yikes, this is terrifying to have him this far down the list – but it is unlikely I will have him on my rosters – this is where I am planting my flag and to be fair, his lofty price tag on both sites is making the decision for me)
- Jordan Reed (we know he has multi-TD upside in any game and he is healthy plus coming off a bye week and is second on the team in targets)
- Cameron Meredith / Tre’Quan Smith (preferred on DraftKings as they really help us work in the preceding players on this list – even worthy of Captain consideration for added flexibility)
- Wil Lutz (it is nice to see that he has had 3+ field goal attempts in three of his four games)
- Dustin Hopkins (the fifth year veteran from Florida State is not the most inspiring option, but that is what The Masses will see as well, making him a potential differentiator)
- Mark Ingram (remember, he was great last season – even with Kamara in HAM-mode)
- Adrian Peterson (hopefully he gets his production early as he has had 0, 3 and 3 receiving targets on the season)
- Ben Watson (steady but not spectacular, makes for a differentiation play)
- Paul Richardson Jr, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson (meh, not very enticing)
- Josh Hill (wild card)
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Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac