Week 9 Sunday Night Football features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the New Orleans Saints. The Buccaneers are favored by 3.5 points and the game has a 50-point total. As with all of my NFL DFS Showdown Strategy pieces for DraftKings and FanDuel, you can find the data that backs the takes in this article with Nolan Kelly kicking off the breakdown in his own NFL Showdown piece. All showdown NFL DFS picks and trend data can be found in this sheet that will be updated after each full NFL week concludes.
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NFL DFS Picks: Sunday Night Football DraftKings Showdown + FanDuel | Buccaneers vs Saints
This shouldn’t come as a surprise but Alvin Kamara is shaping up to be the safest play at captain once again. The return of multiple Saints receivers may bring down his target total but he would be coming down from record-breaking numbers as a pass-catcher. He’s currently averaging 7.9 receptions for 79.4 yards to go along with 12.4 carries for 61.6 yards on the ground. Even a modest downturn in his targets would still leave him as the league’s best receiver out of the backfield.
Thomas projects as the No. 2 highest scorer of the non-quarterbacks but could follow the recent trend of fantasy studs to return from injury with reduced ownership. New Orleans comes into this game as an underdog which could keep them from rolling with their run-heavy approach. They are currently 19th in pass percentage.
Fournette is quickly taking over as the fantasy back to own in Tampa Bay. Over the past two games, Fournette has out-carried Ronald Jones 26-20 and out-targeted him 13-9. Running backs in the winning lineups have also been more common in games with higher totals. Fournette is the lead-back on a home-favored team and will likely go overlooked compared to his wide receiver teammates.
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Tampa Bay Receivers
It’s impossible to say anything about this receiving room with confidence but Antonio Brown did play one game with his current quarterback in 2019. He was targeted eight times in his only game with New England. He caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Brown’s snaps will likely be limited in his Buccaneers debut but he could use the field for a number of plays specifically designed for him.
Mike Evans has been reduced to a tertiary receiver when Chris Godwin is active. He’s averaging 7.3 fantasy points per game while scoring .75 touchdowns or game. If it weren’t for his touchdowns, Evans would look like Marvin Jones this year.
Godwin is the most interesting receiver of the bunch here. He’s averaging 6.3 receptions for 69.8 yards and a touchdown this year. When healthy, Godwin has been the No. 1 receiver in Tampa Bay. He’s the best option in captain or flex of the Buccaneers’ receivers.
Quarterbacks can struggle to be the optimal captain because they often elevate one of their pass-catchers ahead of them but Brady should be the exception. He now has three incredible receivers to throw and two rushing scores on the year.
NFL DFS Picks: Showdown Flex Considerations
If there were a quarterback to fade, it would be Brees. His top receiving options can make the optimal lineup through receptions which don’t help Brees directly.
Ever since O.J. Howard went down with a torn ACL, Gronkowski has been operating as a three-down tight end. He’s averaged a 4/53.8/.4 line over the past five weeks on 6.4 targets per game. He’s also played ok at least 70% of the offensive snaps for Tampa Bay over that same period. He makes for a solid leverage play off the more popular Tampa Bay wide receivers.
Murray will always be live for a touchdown and a tournament-winning outing as long as he remains at $2,400. With 15 red zone carries, Murray is only three rushes inside his opponents’ 20-yard line behind Kamara on the year. He has topped double-digit carries in every game but one this year. Murray has one of the largest discrepancies between his price and his upside on this slate.
Jared Cook and Emanuel Sanders
Cook has gotten more work recently but was with Sanders and Thomas out of the lineup. He already had a low ceiling with both out. Cook peaked at 52 yards while both were out. Sanders brought down 12 of 14 targets for 122 yards in his last game but that was without Thomas. He should act as the No. 3 pass-catcher for New Orleans with Kamara and Thomas slotting in ahead of him. He is a solid tournament pivot off either of those two but should likely be stacked with Brees if played in the flex or captain.
Defense and Kicker
Tampa Bay and New Orleans are allowing less than 1.5 sacks per game this year. Both offenses are also giving the ball away at a bottom-10 frequency. New Orleans is averaging 2.3 field goal attempts per game, eighth-most in the league. Will Lutz gets a slight lean at kicker but neither leg is desirable because of the high total on this game.
Low-Owned NFL Picks
Miller is set to operate as the No. 4 receiver behind Brown but could act as more of a 3b to Brown’s 3a role given Brown hasn’t played in over a year. He’ll be unpopular in tournaments but has the potential to get more work than expected.
Hill is rarely used more than a few times in a game but he did set a career-high mark of seven touches last week. Still, the return of Thomas and Sanders should push him back into the 1-3 touch range.
Smith has logged four receptions on five occasions this year but was only targeted once in the lone game that Thomas was healthy for. His $3,400 price tag should keep his ownership in check and lead lineups to a different construction.
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