XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 7 kicks off with the Jags visiting the Saints for a 39.5 total game in which the Saints are favored by a point. There are some important questionable tags for this one, so I’ll just start by noting that I’m assuming Trevor Lawrence and Chris Olave will play, as they got in limited practices on Tuesday, while I believe Zay Jones (who did not practice on Tuesday) will miss another game. We also have Jamaal Williams, who was designated to return from injured reserve and got in a limited practice on Monday. With a short week and a lengthy absence, I’m guessing Williams will sit in this one and come back in Week 8. Finally, Saints tight end Juwan Johnson looks likely to miss another game as he has not yet returned to practice. As always, if we get news that tells us something different with sufficient time to publish an article update, I’ll do that, but if we don’t get it until Thursday afternoon, make sure you’re in the OWS Discord for any updates.
We’ll start with the Saints, who have found some success this season leaning on an absolute elite defense while their offense has floundered. The Saints defense has allowed just 16 points per game this season (though to be fair they have not exactly faced a murderer’s row of offenses: TEN, CAR, GB, TB, NE, and HOU), while offensively they have scored . . . 16 points per game (plus an additional two defensive touchdowns). They are fifth in the league with only 278.3 opposing offensive yards allowed per game, but again, consider the matchups they’ve faced. The Jags, meanwhile, have allowed 345.7 opposing yards per game and 19.3 points while scoring 23.6 points per game themselves on offense. After a slow start with 24 combined points in Weeks 2 and 3, the Jags have put up: 23 against Atlanta, 25 on Buffalo, and 37 against the Colts. So, we have a matchup of a good offense against a good defense, and a bad offense against a bad defense, which makes this a really interesting game that could go a bunch of different ways. Let’s dig in.
Ownership updates automatically
For the Saints, Alvin Kamara is in a bell cow role with Jamaal Williams on IR. He’s played 75%, 63%, and 80% of the snaps in his three games this season while seeing opportunity counts of 25, 25, and 27, including a whopping 25 total targets and scoring at least 17.4 DK points per game despite only finding the end zone once. Not shabby! Dude’s still good and New Orleans is really leaning on him hard right now. You don’t need me to tell you that he’s the best skill position option in this game (but I will for the sake of thoroughness). The matchup is solid, the role is absolutely elite, and the talent is solid. Behind Williams, Kendre Miller has seen opportunity counts of 2, 16, and 4, but note that the 16 came in a 34-0 blowout of the Patriots with most of that work coming in the second half. In a competitive game, single-digit opportunities are the much more likely outcome. You can play him as “RB2 in Showdown and hope he lucks into a touchdown,” but especially with Taysom Hill around to also take some rushing and red zone work, there just isn’t much to like here. Speaking of Taysom, he’s still handling some gadget work with at least one carry and one target in each game. He had eight targets last week out of nowhere but my best guess is that had more to do with an opponent specific game plan and that we should not count on that kind of volume as the norm. He’s always in play in tournaments, though at $6,200, he’s almost certainly going to need a touchdown to have even a shot of paying off.
The passing game centers around Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Rashid Shaheed at wide receiver, backed up by Keith Kirkwood and Lynn Bowden. Olave has yet to have a really huge game this season but it’s certainly coming and the volume has been there with at least ten targets in four of six games (and five of six competitive games if you throw out the 34-0 beatdown of New England in which their defense won the game and the passing game didn’t have to do much at all). This is just the second really favorable passing game matchup that Olave has had all year, so while he’s been solid so far, I like the chances of him really busting out against a Jacksonville defense that is allowing the second most opposing passing yards per game. Michael Thomas mans the WR2 role, and at long last, he looks to be fully healthy. He’s seen at least six targets in every game this year, though they’re not deep targets (10.8 ADOT, 50th in the NFL) and he has very little ability to gain yardage after the catch (he’s not very fast, just 55 YAC on the season). At $7k, Thomas is either going to need a ton of PPR volume or to find the end zone. Shaheed is more of a boom/bust play as the Saints primary deep threat, but he’s immensely talented and we’ve already seen him “boom” twice with a 5/89/1 line against the Titans in Week 1, and a 2/85/1 line against the Texans last week (plus a kick return touchdown). He’s an extremely volatile play as he’s averaging just 4.5 targets per game, but at $5k, his ceiling is something you have to consider in tournaments. Kirkwood and Bowden play extremely limited snaps and are just punt options, with Kirkwood seeing more of the field in every game and thus being the preferred play of the two. Tight end is manned by Taysom, Foster Moreau, and the ancient Jimmy Graham. We’ve already talked about Hill, but Moreau is kind of interesting at just $3,200 – he saw just one target against the Patriots in the blowout, but then four last week against the Texans. He’s a reasonably capable pass catcher, and while this offense has a lot of mouths to feed, $3,200 is a very favorable price for a guy who should be on the field plenty and is more than just a blocker. He’s not an especially exciting play, but we’re always interested in viable options that are priced below the kickers. Graham is barely there with two targets on the year (though one of them went for a touchdown – the whole “backup tight end in Showdown” thing is still strong!).