MIA (20) @ NO (17)
After a jam-packed Holiday weekend of NFL football, we get a Monday night matchup between the Dolphins and Saints. This should be pretty close and defensive-minded based on the total and spread. This is a crucial game for both sides, and while likely to lack in offensive fireworks, it should be an interesting real-life game. Let’s dig in from an NFL DFS showdown perspective and see what we’ve got here.
Miami Dolphins Overview
The Dolphins are riding a seven-game win streak and come in as three-point road favorites. They are an extremely pass-happy team that doesn’t dial it back too much even when playing from ahead. The Saints have arguably the best rush defense in football outside of Tampa Bay. This means we should certainly expect plenty of passing from the Miami offense. This bodes well for Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, and he should be one of the more popular options on the slate.
As mentioned, it’s challenging to get excited about the run game considering the Saints’ number one DVOA run defense. With Duke Johnson and Myles Gaskin sharing work and Phillip Lindsay and Salvon Ahmed lurking behind, none of these guys are great options. Still, the run game could pay off with a single touchdown in a low-scoring affair. I wouldn’t consider Lindsay or Ahmed outside of outright punt savings plays. Gaskin and Johnson should be fairly low-owned, considering the timeshare and the bad matchup, and could be decent GPP plays.
In the passing game, Jaylen Waddle has cemented himself as a legitimate WR1 and should be one of the most popular options on this slate despite his hefty price tag. DeVante Parker is firmly in play as a WR2, and both can certainly be paired with Tua. Mike Gesicki is one of the more fantasy-relevant tight-ends in the NFL and a great option at $6,400. Isaiah Ford may get a few looks at just $2,800. You can always consider outright punting with the $200 Mack Hollins, Tommylee Lewis, or Preston Williams and hoping for a big play. Be sure to check the inactive report when considering these fringe WR options.
Kickers and defenses will stand out here, with this game likely to be very low scoring. Jason Sanders and the Miami DST are excellent plays, but this should also be highly reflected in ownership. We should especially consider the Miami defense. They will be going up against a highly questionable fill-in quarterback in Ian Book, which could mean turnovers.
New Orleans Saints Overview
With Ian Book under center, we really don’t know what we will get at the quarterback position. We can, however, essentially assume that he is not a genuinely NFL-caliber talent. The Saints may well be without two of their starting offensive linemen. Add that to the feeble Saints wide receiver corps. This may be a situation where he has difficulty getting anything going outside of sacks and turnovers. He is, however, cheap for a starting quarterback that will have the ball in his hands and should come at reasonable ownership due to the substantial question marks.
Alvin Kamara should be the highest-owned player on the slate. It wouldn’t be surprising to see his ownership get over 90%. With Ian Book at QB, we have every reason to believe that the Saints will take every opportunity to rely on Kamara in the ground and short passing games. This might be chalk worth eating, but any time you have a player that will draw that kind of ownership on a single game slate, fading is in consideration in GPPs. Mark Ingram II should mix in behind Kamara. He isn’t the worst play, even paired with Kamara since the Saints should try to limit Book’s involvement in the offense.
The Saints’ wide receiver situation is terrible, particularly with Book at the helm, and no one can be recommended. However, we should see low ownership on these guys. Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith are the most viable options among them. Guys like Ty Montgomery, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Kenny Stills are pure GPP dart throws. It doesn’t get much better at the tight-end position. However, Nick Vannett is very cheap at just $1,000 and projects similarly to New Orleans’ top receivers (which isn’t saying much).
With the scarcity of options, we will have to take a long look at Brett Maher and the New Orleans DST. Maher may be one of the better plays if rostering a Saint outside of Kamara since they should have a hard time finding the end zone, and no one projects well outside of Kamara. I would be higher on the defense, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see their inept offense make it difficult for the Saints’ DST to pay off.
It is hard to see anyone on the Saints gaining much traction outside of Alvin Kamara. We should see mostly Dolphins-heavy builds with Kamara and possibly a savings piece from New Orleans. The GPP move would be to play a more Saints-leaning team. That or simply fade the extremely chalky Kamara and hope New Orleans is utterly unable to get anything going offensively. Besides that, if playing a Dolphins-centric team with Kamara, you’ll want to get different with an unusual captain, low-owned plays, odd roster construction, and leaving salary on the table.