Eagles Run D19th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O32nd DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O31st DVOA/25th Yards per pass
Texans Run D24th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O1st DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Texans Pass D18th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O6th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 9 starts off with what projects to be a rather one-sided affair as the Eagles visit the Texans for a 45 total game with Philly favored by a whopping 14 points. That means Houston has just a 15.5 implied team total with Philly up at 29.5, so we can quickly see how the field is likely to be building. As an aside, this is a great week to play Thursday through Monday contests, as Philly’s massive team total is going to attract a lot of ownership, and while the Eagles are an awesome team, they have only put up a handful of GPP-worthy scores this season because they’re pretty quick to take their foot off the gas and pull their starters if they’re way up in the second half.
In the run game, the Eagles will primarily rely on Miles Sanders, backed up by Kenneth Gainwell, and then Boston Scott may get a handful of touches (Scott was also the one to clean up late in games if/when the Eagles pull starters). The matchup here is elite against a Houston defense that is dead last in DVOA against the run. The challenge for playing Eagles running backs is always volume as Miles Sanders has only seen over 20 carries in one game this year. He’s going to generally fall in the 15-17 carry range with 1-3 targets, which still gives him a strong projection in this elite matchup, but at $10.4k (his highest Showdown price of the season), Sanders is priced like a bell cow back, and he isn’t. Sanders is a reasonable play here, just recognize you likely will need him to get there on efficiency and touchdowns rather than volume. Behind him, Gainwell is seeing around 3-6 opportunities per game, but for a supposed passing down back, he only has nine targets on the year (and only one game of over two targets). At $5k, that really isn’t going to cut it for me. You can play him in MME and hope his workload ticks up or he scores a touchdown, but the whole “passing down back” role just doesn’t look very robust right now, possibly because of how the Eagles view Gainwell, or possibly just because the Eagles offense has been SO good that they haven’t found themselves in catch-up mode very often this year. I would prefer Scott to Gainwell, as their couches per game are pretty equivalent but Scott is $1,800 while Gainwell is $5,000. Gainwell has a slightly better passing game role, but you’re almost certainly going to need a touchdown for him to pay off, and Scott has very similar touchdown equity.
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, the primary receivers are AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, and Quez Watkins, with Zach Pascal mixing in a bit (some dude named Britain Covey got a few snaps last week and I suppose can be considered as an MME option at near-zero ownership). Brown, Smith, and tight end Dallas Goedert vacuum up most of the volume, with poor Watkins only averaging 1.5 targets per game, but he can house one from anywhere and can thus be considered as an MME option. Brown and Smith are both elite. Brown’s better but more expensive but both will be peppered with targets unless (until?) the game gets out of hand (i.e. if the game isn’t competitive, they’ll really have to get theirs on the way up in the first half). Goedert is my overall favorite pass-catching option on the Eagles when price is considered, as he’s only about one target per game behind Smith but comes in $1,600 cheaper. Goedert has just missed a couple of huge games, but it’s coming, and his price is attractive on a slate in which we have an $11.8k quarterback who we probably want to include in most of our builds. TE2 Jack Stoll is on the field a lot but primarily as a blocker with just four targets on the season, and he and rotational TE Grant Calceterra can be included in tourney pools. I also want to note something about Hurts himself: he only ran twice last game. That could just be an aberration because the Eagles absolutely dominated the Steelers from start to finish, but it would not surprise me if the Philly coaching staff is trying to hold Hurts back a little bit to avoid risking injury. They’re the only undefeated team in the NFL and they have clear Super Bowl aspirations, so in a game the Eagles should win handily, why risk your franchise quarterback on extra running plays? I also want to talk a bit about the Eagles defense, because they’re $7,000 (the second most expensive DST I can remember seeing in Showdown ever) and are likely to be very highly owned. The Eagles DST is extremely good. They’re one of the best in the NFL. But mega chalk defenses are really tough to play in Showdown because of the massive variance inherent in DST scoring. They’re a “good play” on paper and I won’t fault someone for playing them, but if you do, I strongly suggest you make sure your roster is clearly differentiated. For me, I’m just going to avoid them and hope they drag down ~40% of the field with a mediocre performance.
Chargers Run D29th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O4th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D10th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O17th DVOA/12th Yards per pass
Falcons Run D23rd DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O22nd DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D30th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O17th DVOA/26th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By papy324 >>
- Austin Ekeler is set up to succeed.
- The Chargers receivers are mispriced for their opportunity caused by injuries
- The Falcons backfield is likely to succeed cumulatively but it’s hard to predict how the work will be split
- The Falcons passing game pieces are all cheap
How los Angeles Will Try To Win ::
The 4-3 Chargers come into Week 9 off a much-needed bye as they struggle to get healthy. Despite battling injuries, Brandon Staley has kept his team in the hunt as they sit only a game back from division-leading Kansas City (KC holds the tiebreaker) and third in the wildcard spot. Staley must desperately want to make the playoffs, after losing a win-or-go-home game against the Raiders last year as time expired and receiving criticism for his decision making after the game. The Chargers are still well positioned to make the playoffs, but they are coming off an ugly home loss against a Seahawks team they were expected to beat. This group has had two weeks to chew on that performance and should be highly motivated in a type of game you have to win if you’re going to be a playoff contender.
The Chargers have played fast since Staley took over. They have the second fastest overall pace, playing quickly in all situations, and only slowing down slightly (11th in pace) when ahead. This is a team that wants to throw the ball (3rd highest pass-play percentage) and keep defenses off-balance with an up-tempo attack. Staley’s offense revolves around Austin Ekeler, who has found himself playing a unique position in the NFL. If Deebo Samuel is a “Wide Back,” then Austin Ekeler is a “Running Receiver.” Due to injuries at WR, Ekeler’s previously robust passing game role has expanded, leading to him seeing a plain silly 28 targets across his past two games. Rested off a bye, with more injury questions in the WR room, there is every reason to think Ekeler will remain the engine of this offense.
The Falcons have been court jesters on defense, getting goofed on the ground (26th in DVOA), and assaulted in the air (30th in DVOA). The Falcons are giving up a generous 5.01 adjusted line yards (29th), but the Chargers are sporting a puny 4.04 adjusted line yards on offense (29th), which means they are likely to choose to attack the Falcons defense (that is nothing but least resistance) through the air. Staley has no reason to stray from his usual plan of attack, an up-tempo passing offense that relies on Ekeler as a WR1 by default, depending on the other healthy options. Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme has long been described as one of the most complicated in football, and while we should expect the Falcons defense to improve eventually, they are showing how many breakdowns are possible in a new scheme that isn’t yet fully understood by the players. Expect the Chargers to attack in their usual aggressive manner, even with injuries limiting their WR personnel.
How Atlanta Will Try To Win ::
Dolphins Run D9th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O12th DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D25th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O27th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Bears Run D29th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O14th DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Bears Pass D29th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O2nd DVOA/1st Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Miami was one of the most active teams at the trade deadline this year, shipping away Chase Edmonds and a first-round pick to the Broncos for the electric defensive end Bradley Chubb and bringing in Jeff Wilson from the 49ers to rejoin Mike McDaniel’s backfield.
- Bears GM Ryan Poles continued to perform as one of the league’s top general managers at the deadline, dealing away disgruntled defensive mainstays in Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn in exchange for picks and Chase Claypool. The fact that Poles continues to invest in his second-year quarterback reaffirms their commitment to his development.
- Both injury reports are relatively sparse, with the Bears continuing their uncanny ability to remain healthy and the Dolphins biggest appearance on the injury report being offensive tackle Terron Armstead to start the week.
How Miami Will Try To Win ::
Two of the most glaring issues with the Dolphins this season have been a largely underperforming run game and a defensive front that has struggled to generate pressure in the backfield. Miami’s 3.89 running back yards per carry this year ranks just 26th in the league while their blitz-to-pressure differential ranks bottom five in the league, with the likes of the Giants, Cardinals, Steelers, and Rams. Furthermore, their 14.8% pressure rate ranks 29th through the midpoint of the season. The good news is that they addressed both shortcomings at the trade deadline, landing defensive end Bradley Chubb for Chase Edmonds and a first and reuniting Jeff Wilson with Mike McDaniel’s backfield. That said, from an offensive standpoint, this is a team that is absolutely feeding their top options, with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combining for 56.2% of the team’s available targets, a 61.8% targets per route run rate, and a massive 67.3% of the team’s available air yards. Furthermore, the team ranks third in the league in pass rate over expectation (PROE) if we include only the four games in which starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa started and finished. All of that to say, Mike McDaniel is simplifying things on offense, knowing that his two most dynamic playmakers are his stud wide receiver duo, and feeding them the ball at a rate that matches their talent. Miami’s offense has run at a below average pace, ranking 22nd in overall pace of play, 17th in first-half pace of play, and 22nd in situation neutral pace of play this season.
With Chase Edmonds no longer in the fold, and with Jeff Wilson joining the team at the deadline on Tuesday, expect Raheem Mostert to serve as the unquestioned lead back (as he has been since Week 4), with Myles Gaskin and Wilson mixing in for change of pace duties behind him. With the state of the offensive play calling and design with a healthy Tua, we can’t confidently project more than 18-22 running back opportunities for Mostert even with the matchup clearly tilting expectations toward the ground. That matchup yields a well above average 4.56 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Bears defense allowing a solid 4.86 running back yards per carry (which also just shipped off two defensive mainstays in the middle of their defense with Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn dealt at the deadline). Comparing the offensive efficiency of Mostert to the aforementioned pass-catchers (Mostert ranks 63rd in fantasy points per opportunity and 32nd in yards per touch while Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill rank first and second in expected points added and eighth and third in fantasy points per route run, respectively) give us a good glimpse into why McDaniel has called such a pass-heavy offense with Tua at quarterback.
There’s honestly not much left to say about Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle that hasn’t been said. The pass-catching duo are two of the most dynamic and electric wide receivers in the league, which again reinforces the idea of getting the ball into their hands. The fact that Mike McDaniel is simply doing just that, as opposed to forcing things with an underperforming run game or forcing things to a dynamic pass-catching tight end (who is objectively less dynamic than Hill and Waddle), speaks volumes to his coaching ability, in my opinion. It doesn’t have to be difficult – find ways to maximize the talent on the roster, which, in this case, means getting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the ball in space to maximize their per-touch upside. Trent Sherfield is technically the WR3 but has maxed out at just a 67% snap rate this season, while tight end duties are split amongst the pass-catching Mike Gesicki and the blocking Durham Smythe and Hunter Long. That said, this offense goes as Hill and Waddle go.
How chicago Will Try To Win ::
Panthers Run D18th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O4th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D26th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O7th DVOA/16th Yards per pass
Bengals Run D14th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O10th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D12th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O30th DVOA/8th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
- Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard returned to limited practice Wednesday after missing Week 8 with an ankle injury.
- Ja’Marr Chase is likely to remain out for the Bengals after avoiding injured reserve with a hip injury; all four cornerbacks to play meaningful snaps this season are currently on the injury report, with Mike Hilton, Chidobie Awuzie, and Tre Flowers held out on Wednesday and Eli Apple returning to a limited practice after missing Week 8.
- The Bengals pass offense should be highly concentrated amongst Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, with the nickel position (Myles Hartfield) the clear path of least resistance away from Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson.
- This game environment very likely goes as Joe Burrow goes, considering the Panthers are highly unlikely to push the envelope on their own.
How Carolina Will Try To Win ::
It’s remarkable what the departure of Matt Rhule and the insertion of a competent NFL quarterback has done for these Panthers over the previous two games – a convincing 21-0 win over the reeling Buccaneers and an overtime loss to the Falcons mired by kicking miscues. Walker, a previous MVP in the XFL, has provided enough spark to this offense to remove the one-dimensionality shown over the first six games of the season. Look, all the jokes flying around the dark web about the team getting better without Christian McCaffrey are hogwash, this team improved from top to bottom once Rhule left town and Walker entered as the starting quarterback. That said, we should expect the Panthers to run a balanced offense for as long as they are able to do so, with the primary identity of this team stemming from the run game. Their offense has run primarily from 11-personnel over the previous two weeks PRE (post-Rhule era), with DJ Moore and second-year pro Terrace Marshall operating as the only near every-down players. Expect Laviska Shenault and Shi Smith to mix in at wide receiver in 11, with Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble splitting duties almost down the middle at tight end. Finally, running back Chuba Hubbard returned to a limited practice on Wednesday after missing Week 8, which should force a near timeshare at the position, even considering D’onta Foreman’s breakout performance a week ago – particularly since Foreman mustered a good-not-great 68% snap rate with only Spencer Brown to back him up.
As mentioned above, I expect this backfield to return to a timeshare once Chuba Hubbard returns to the lineup, something that could happen this week with Hubbard back to a limited practice following one missed game. The Panthers are completely comfortable running a run-balanced offense for as long as it is working and/or they are allowed, checking into Week 9 with a 24th-ranked pass rate over expectation value this season. Their 59.07% overall pass rate ranks 19th, while their ridiculously low 49.70% pass rate over the previous three weeks would rank 28th if extrapolated over the entire season. That should give us a projectable range of outcomes of 14-18 running back opportunities for Foreman and 12-16 for Hubbard, assuming Hubbard returns. The matchup on the ground yields a comfy 4.68 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Bengals defense allowing just 20.8 DK points per game to the position.
DJ Moore has experienced a season resurgence with PJ Walker at quarterback, putting up his two best games of the season with Walker over the previous two weeks. He saw target counts of 11 and 10 in those two games, scoring a touchdown in each and breaking 100 yards receiving courtesy of a 62-yard Hail Mary in the final moments of the game last week. From the perspective of fantasy utility, nobody outside of Moore is seeing enough volume on this run-first offense to be a reliable source of fantasy production. That said, second-year pro Terrace Marshall has been elevated to a near every-down wide receiver with the departure of Robbie Anderson earlier this season. Furthermore, he set a season-high with nine targets last week in the back-and-forth affair, meaning the upside is there in the right conditions considering his hefty snap rate. I’ll go out on a limb and say he will have one or two meaningful fantasy games over the rest of the season. Every other pass-catcher on this offense operates in a situational role. The Bengals pass defense is one that has overcome a relative lack of talent to hold opposing wide receivers to just 30.8 DK points per game, which ranks eighth in the league. That has primarily been due to the presence of defensive coordinator Lou Anorumo, whom I consider to be one of the top DCs in the league from both schematic and adaptability perspectives.
How Cincinnati Will Try To Win ::
Packers Run D32nd DVOA/29th Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O15th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Packers Pass D8th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O7th DVOA/6th Yards per pass
Lions Run D26th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O3rd DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D28th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O15th DVOA/21st Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Both Christian Watson and Allen Lazard have returned to limited practices after Lazard missed last week with a shoulder injury and Watson was forced from the game with a concussion after just six offensive snaps.
- Josh Reynolds got the dreaded mid-week downgrade on Thursday, going from limited on Wednesday to DNP on Thursday. D’Andre Swift returned to a limited practice Thursday after a DNP on Wednesday.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown was excellent against zone coverage last season, which the Packers primarily base their defense off of.
- The Packers are likely to succeed offensively here, leaving the primary driving force for the game environment in the hands of the Lions.
How green bay Will Try To Win ::
Brian Gutekunst watched yet another trading window pass him by without a major move. Add it to the list of head-scratching non-moves since 2018 as Packers fans everywhere grow increasingly tired of the organization’s malpractice (I say that as a diehard Packers fan). It feels as if the rebuild began in 2018 with his hiring, seemingly stretching a three-year plan into one that could take longer than a decade now. I digress. The current National Football League Packers have taken a keep away, game managing game plan to the extreme this season, playing at the league’s fifth slowest situation neutral pace of play, 29th-ranked overall pace of play, and 26th-ranked pace of play in the first half of games. They have paired that with the 12th lowest pass rate over expectation (PROE) and a middle of the pack overall pass rate (16th-ranked 60.12%). That has come together to have the Packers averaging just 62.4 offensive plays run per game. Green Bay allows 21.6 points per game defensively, which if you haven’t caught onto by now, ranks in the middle of the league (16th). Suffice it to say, Aaron Rodgers is basically the only thing holding this team together right now as most metrics paint the Packers as an average team across the board.
Aaron Jones continues to see 60-75% of the offensive snaps for the Packers but has scored just four total touchdowns this season with the offense struggling to sustain drives (19th in drive success rate and 26th in points scored per drive this season after being near the top of the league in those categories for the better part of the past decade). That said, this will stand as one of the top rushing matchups the Packers will see all season, with a net-adjusted line yards metric sitting at an elite 4.96 against a Lions defense allowing a robust 5.24 yards per running back carry to opposing backfields. AJ Dillon should mix in for 10-12 carries of his own behind Jones but has struggled to a 4.08 yards per carry mark this year.
The Packers appear to be getting healthier at wide receiver heading into Week 9, with both Christian Watson and Allen Lazard returning to limited sessions this week. Lazard is the clear top dog amongst pass-catchers, but he has yet to see double-digit targets in a game this season and has broken 100 yards only once. His red zone role remains elite, but the lack of volume is a tough sell at $6,000. The truth of the matter with this matchup is the Packers should be able to win in any way they choose, but volume is expected to be low for everyone not named Aaron Jones, and even then, Jones has just two games all season with 20 or more running back opportunities. Expect electric rookie Romeo Doubs to line up opposite Lazard, with Sammy Watkins and Amari Rodgers mixing in out of the slot in 11-personnel alignments. The Packers run above average 12-personnel rates, meaning any pass-catcher outside of Lazard, Jones, and Doubs should be expected to see minimal volume. This brings us to Robert Tonyan. Tonyan saw his highest snap rate of the season in Week 8, which is likely a combination of the dearth of available pass-catchers in that game and a continuing return to health following a lost season. His 25.5% targets per route run rate rank eighth at the tight end position this season, with the low 58.3% route participation rate holding down his fantasy value. As in, once he starts seeing more regular snaps, his upside should come more fully into play (which we might be seeing). Still a lot of uncertainty there, but it’s at least worth considering his lofty targets per route run rate as something that could bring upside to the table once his snaps increase.
How detroit Will Try To Win ::
Raiders Run D21st DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O20th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D32nd DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O6th DVOA/19th Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D11th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O6th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D30th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O16th DVOA/8th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- This matchup features two teams likely to be in rough shape this week and whose seasons may be at a breaking point.
- Jacksonville is playing without a week off after a game in London last Sunday.
- Las Vegas is playing its second consecutive game on the East Coast.
- Both offenses are middle of the pack in tempo, pass rate, and efficiency.
How las vegas Will Try To Win ::
The Raiders offense was absolutely embarrassed and exposed in their 24-0 loss last week to the Saints. They managed only 183 total yards of offense on 56 offensive plays, good for 3.3 yards per play. For comparison’s sake, on the season, the Steelers are worst in the NFL with an average of 4.7 yards per play. The Raiders offense had averaged 33 points per game in their prior three games, however, so this performance could have just been a dud (which every NFL team has from time to time), or there could be some other factors that came into play:
- First, the Saints had played on Thursday night in Week 7, giving them three extra days of rest and prep over the Raiders, while the Raiders were traveling across the country from the West coast and playing a game in the early window of Sunday games for only the second time all season.
- Second, the Raiders game planning likely had some hiccups due to personnel issues. Darren Waller had practiced all week but was ruled out on Sunday morning. Also, Davante Adams missed practice on Thursday and Friday last week due to an illness. Those are two integral parts of the Raiders offense. While there’s no way to know for sure what effect those situations had on the team, it certainly doesn’t help if you plan to have a weapon like Waller back on the field and then lose him, and then your top receiving option is not present to get reps and work through the game plan (and potentially still recovering from illness on gameday).
Whatever happened, the Raiders need to correct things quickly if they want to turn around their season as they currently sit with a 2-5 record. This week, they face a Jaguars defense that has been inconsistent. After looking like a stout run defense to start the season, they have softened somewhat of late, most notably allowing the Giants to run for 236 yards against them in Week 7. After abandoning the run early in the game and having a passing attack that looked completely out of sync, we should expect the Raiders to refocus their game plan around PFF’s #2 graded running game. We should also expect Davante Adams to be a centerpiece of the Raiders offensive attack, with a full week of practice and coming off his worst game since Week 3 of 2015. The Raiders had given the ball (through targets or carries) to one of Adams or Jacobs on 33 plays in each of their previous two games, which amounted to 60% of their total offensive plays, prior to giving them only 20 opportunities against the Saints (36% of their offensive plays). It is clear that from a game plan perspective, we should expect heavy doses of Jacobs as a runner and on screen passes and swing passes out of the backfield, as well as designed plays for Adams, who has not received double-digit targets in a game since Week 4.
How Jacksonville Will Try To Win ::
Colts Run D15th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O21st DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Colts Pass D13th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O25th DVOA/20th Yards per pass
Patriots Run D10th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O31st DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D3rd DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O32nd DVOA/31st Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Jonathan Taylor missed practice on Wednesday with head coach Frank Reich stating that he re-aggravated his ankle injury. Nyheim Hines was dealt to Buffalo and Zack Moss just joined the team after a trade deadline deal.
- Damien Harris (illness) and DeVante Parker (knee) missed practice Wednesday for the Patriots.
- The Colts have more moving pieces than just about any other team in the league when looking at their composition last week compared to this week.
- The Patriots are very clearly likeliest to lean on the ground game against a Colts defense ceding the second-lowest adjusted line yards and sixth-fewest yards per carry to opposing backfields.
- Not a ton to love here from a game environment likely to be fairly messy.
How Indianapolis Will Try To Win ::
Some might look to the 29-to-23 rush-to-pass ratio from the Colts in Sam Ehlinger’s first start and immediately assume their top-five pass rate is in jeopardy with Ehlinger at quarterback, but the top-level numbers are missing key context, in my opinion. First off, the Colts currently rank fifth in the league with an overall pass rate of 64.67%. Next, the Colts currently hold the highest expected pass rate in the league at just under 68%. Finally, the Colts were never pushed by the Commanders, down 7-3 at halftime and ultimately losing on a last-second Taylor Heinicke rushing score. Now consider that Jonathan Taylor reportedly re-aggravated his ankle injury last week, the Colts just fired their offensive coordinator (head coach Frank Reich still calls the plays), and Nyheim Hines was shipped off to Buffalo for a package including picks and Zack Moss (who joined the team on Wednesday following the trade deadline deal) and we’re left with multiple signs pointing towards a potential return to a pass-focused offense against the Patriots. The Colts have played at a top-10 pace of play this season, ranking ninth in overall pace of play and ninth in situation neutral pace of play. As for personnel utilization, we’ve seen Reich utilize fluid personnel groupings dependent on matchup and game flow, which typically has fluctuated between heavy 12-personnel usage in games where the Colts are allowed to stick to a more run-balanced approach and heavy 11-personnel usage in games where they are playing from behind (for example, we saw an offense almost exclusively run from 11-personnel in a Week 7 loss to the Titans where they were down 13-0 at the half, whereas the Colts utilized 12-personnel over 30% of the time in a close game in Week 8).
As alluded to above, this backfield could look different than we’ve grown accustomed to in Week 9, with Jonathan Taylor held out of practice on Wednesday, Nyheim Hines no longer in town, and Zack Moss joining the team on Wednesday. As things currently stand, waiver darling Deon Jackson could be in line for a massive share of the backfield opportunities against a Patriots defense allowing just 18.4 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields (second fewest in the league). Even if Taylor plays, the matchup (4.33 net-adjusted line yards metric) and uncertainty surrounding his health are difficult to get overly excited about — yet another sign pointing to a potential reversion to an aerially focused attack. Finally, Sam Ehlinger should be a larger part of the rushing game plan than his Week 8 box score would lead us to believe, as four of his carries were brought back via penalty against the Commanders. With an additional week of practice heading the offense, and with Reich getting an additional week to incorporate the mobile quarterback into his game plan, I would expect to see more designed quarterback runs, more run-pass options, and more pre-snap motions against the Patriots.
Considering both the matchup and expected game flow (Patriots favored by 5.5 points at home), it would make sense that we see an offense return to heavier rates of 11-personnel, which means rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce should return to a near every-down player after seeing 97% of the offensive snaps in Week 7 and just 57% in Week 8. The quarterback change did little to influence Michael Pittman’s route and utilization in Week 8, finishing the game with seven catches on nine targets for just 53 yards. Pierce’s connection was on full display as he led the team in yards on his modest snap rate, while Parris Campbell returned to Earth with just two targets after seeing a combined 32 over his previous two games. The largest per-touch upside very clearly resides with Pierce, while Pittman will likely need elite volume to return a GPP-viable score. Finally, the running backs combined for just three targets on 23 Ehlinger pass attempts a week ago, which theoretically should remain rather static considering both the Patriots and Commanders generate pressure at top-five rates, which Ehlinger should counter with escapes from the pocket as a young and mobile quarterback as opposed to checking it down to running backs in the flat.
How new england Will Try To Win ::
Bills Run D3rd DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O21st DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D9th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O25th DVOA/11th Yards per pass
Jets Run D9th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O11th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Jets Pass D6th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O2nd DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- We shouldn’t expect much to change for the Bills here, with an emphasis on improving with every possession from their head coach to their quarterback down to each special teams snap.
- We should expect the Bills defense to control the environment here, with the ultimate flow likely up to the Jets to dictate (as in, both defenses are performing at an elite level, while we know the Bills are likely to have success offensively – leaving the ultimate flow over to the Jets to decide via what they are able to accomplish offensively).
- It is unlikely to go fully mentioned around the industry this week, but there is a viable path where the Jets are able to disrupt Allen enough to stop drives and keep this a low scoring affair – something to consider at bare minimum.
- Defensive stalwarts Von Miller, Matt Milano, and Jordan Poyer have yet to practice this week for the Bills.
- Corey Davis has yet to practice this week for the Jets as he attempts to come back from a knee injury.
How BUFFALO Will Try To Win ::
The Bills are one of the few teams that we can expect to take every offensive possession as a chance to improve and score points as they push towards the top overall playoff spot in the AFC. That’s an important aspect to consider when you see they are favored by almost two full touchdowns this week against the Jets. For everything the Jets are not, we can be fairly certain their head coach, Robert Saleh, will have them prepared and ready to take on the AFC-leading Bills. The Bills continue to hold the top spot in pass rate over expectation and sit at 13th in overall pass rate at 61.98%. The Jets are turning heads, currently sitting at 5-3 off the backs of one of the league’s top performing defenses. The Jets currently rank eighth in both DVOA against the run and pass, and sport one of the top cornerback trios in the league with Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter II. That said, we can expect the Bills to find success here, because, well, they are the Bills – and they are awesome. Pair the league’s most dynamic dual-threat quarterback with one of the top route runners (Stefon Diggs), one of the top deep threats Gabe Davis, and above average tight end and slot wide receiver play (Dawson Knox, Isaiah McKenzie, and Khalil Shakir) and you’re left with a lot to cover on the football field – not to mention Devin Singletary continues to defy the haters on his way to a top-18 yards per touch value. The team also traded for their pass-catching back (finally), landing Nyheim Hines at the deadline (although unlikely to play a ton this week). Oh yea, and they boast the league’s top defense, so there’s that minute detail as well.
The backfield has evolved into a borderline workhorse situation with Devin Singletary averaging 75.75% of the offensive snaps over the previous four games. While the team added Nyheim Hines at the deadline this week, it is fair to expect another week or two of borderline workhorse usage out of Singletary, with Hines likeliest to impact the snap rate and production of rookie pass-catching “specialist” James Cook. The matchup on the ground is far from elite, combining to a below average 4.23 net-adjusted line yard metric against a Jets defense holding opposing backfields to 4.05 yards per carry. And while we don’t expect Hines to be fully up to speed, there is a chance that we see a slight dip in the routes run from Singletary, who currently has run the fifth most routes at the running back position. It’s also worth noting that even through the elite share of the backfield opportunities, Singletary has scored over a modest 14.7 fantasy points just once this season. Finally, quarterback Josh Allen leads the team in rushing scores with two.
The money is clearly made in the pass game with this team. Stefon Diggs’ elite usage and route running skills have translated to the seventh highest targets per route run rate and 10th highest team target market share amongst qualified wide receivers, with the only knock to his game this season being a non-elite 84.1% route participation rate. Gabe Davis is the type of player that can win you a GPP but can also sink a lineup, with a massive 15.8 aDOT (fourth in the league) but low 15.8% targets per route run rate (85th). His red zone target market share has also shrunk to just 6.9% this season. Behind the top two pass-catchers, slot man Isaiah McKenzie and tight end Dawson Knox are matchup specialists that see volume ebb and flow from week to week. Each is capable of putting up massive scores due to the offense they play on, but volume is difficult to predict on a weekly basis. Finally, rookie Khalil Shakir rotates in primarily in the slot at modest rates while WR5 Jake Kumerow sees modest usage in a situational role. As discussed above, the matchup is not ideal, but that almost doesn’t matter for the Bills. It is worth noting that Josh Allen holds PFF’s top ranking when under pressure this season, which has been the biggest knock against his play over his career. That said, he is still prone to forcing the issue, which could become a defining factor against an aggressive defensive unit.
How nEW YOrk Will Try To Win ::
- Look, Josh Allen is the top quarterback in the league and the top fantasy quarterback on this slate. I won’t argue against that. What I would like to highlight, however, is the fact that both of the defenses in this game have elite secondaries and are capable of generating pressure at top-five “rates over blitz,” which I just made to illustrate that both defenses are generating pressure at rates over 50% above their blitz rates. Organic pressure allows a defense to settle into blanket coverages behind a defensive line that disrupts a play. It’s the ole Al Michaels “that was a coverage sack.” And while Allen has been elite against pressure this year, the majority of the data we have is pressures created via blitz. Again, that isn’t to say “don’t play Josh Allen,” particularly considering he is the only elite fantasy quarterback on this slate – it’s simply to say there is a little more to think about with this game than the top-level stuff.
- The other side of that coin is a feel the field might struggle with who to stack Allen with, which might serve to keep his ownership in check. If that’s the case, we might have a situation where it’s just “play Josh Allen at lower-than-should-be ownership.” Time will tell how I personally will be handling this situation this week, but there are many layers that a worth consideration.
- With no clear path to the best pass-catcher play from the Bills, it is likely theoretically optimal to reserve any exposure here to team or game stacks. As in, stack up the Bills or stay away.
- In those game stacks, and it feels a bit “chasey,” Tyler Conklin and/or Garrett Wilson make the most sense as the players on the Jets who are simply on the field enough to see the requisite volume to provide GPP-worthy scores.
- I’ve been toying around with both defenses here, as pressure creates mistakes, sacks, turnovers, and the potential for D/ST points. Each defense generates organic pressure.
Vikings Run D19th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Commanders Run O29th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D26th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Commanders Pass O27th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Commanders Run D10th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O28th DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Commanders Pass D17th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O15th DVOA/20th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- Both teams have benefited from weak schedules to get to their current records.
- Taylor Heinicke has made the entire Washington offense more stable and predictable than they were with Carson Wentz.
- The Minnesota passing offense will be the engine of this game, and the ability of this game to produce high-scoring hinges on if they are able to air it out early.
- Differing tempos from these teams, with the Vikings pushing things and Washington slowing things down.
How Minnesota Will Try To Win ::
The Vikings are in control of the NFC North, with a 6-1 record and a three game lead while also holding the head to head tiebreakers with their closest competition (Bears and Packers). They have benefited from a relatively weak schedule, as only two of their seven opponents so far this year currently have a winning record. This week, they face a Washington team that is 4-4 and has won three straight games. The Vikings offense has been consistent, scoring 23+ points in every game this year except their Monday Night Football loss to the Eagles, who have one of the top defenses in football. The Vikings also just acquired another offensive weapon in TJ Hockenson via trade although it is hard to say how involved he will be in the offense in his first week with the team.
From a philosophical standpoint, the Vikings in their first year under head coach Kevin O’Connell have turned up the pace and pass rate, as they rank 6th in both pass rate over expectation and situation-neutral pace of play. The shift in offensive focus has actually made the Vikings more efficient in their running game as well, as they rank 4th in rushing offense DVOA behind a running game led by Dalvin Cook and complemented by Alexander Mattison. Staying true to O’Connell’s background with the Rams, the Vikings play primarily out of “11” personnel, with three receivers, one running back, and one tight end. This week, the Vikings face a Washington defense that has not been exposed recently, mainly due to their lack of competition from opposing passing games. Their last five games were against three teams (Bears, Packers, and Titans) who all arguably rank bottom-five in the NFL in receiving corps talent, and two teams (Colts and Cowboys) with backup quarterbacks and run-heavy game plans. Prior to that, however, the Commanders had been torched through the air by the Jaguars, Lions, and Eagles to start the season. Most notable was the Eagles game when Jalen Hurts threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. This Commanders defense currently ranks 2nd in the league in run defense DVOA, while ranking a pitiful 28th in pass defense. The Commanders also just released talented cornerback William Jackson due to a lack of “scheme fit” due to Jackson’s man coverage strengths and the Commanders preference to play heavy zone coverage. Justin Jefferson has destroyed zone coverage this season, with the 3rd highest PFF grade against zone among all NFL wide receivers. The result of all these data points suggests that the Vikings will be happy to continue or increase their tempo and pass-first approach against a very beatable opponent through the air.
How washington Will Try To Win ::
Seahawks Run D25th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O27th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D17th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O29th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D27th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O23rd DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D19th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O8th DVOA/24th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- This game is a rematch of a 19-9 Seahawks win from just three weeks ago, and the over/under is over 20 points higher than that game’s result.
- The Cardinals offense has looked rejuvenated with the return of DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore moving into his slot role.
- The Seahawks defense continues to improve and has given up only four touchdowns in the last three weeks.
- This game has huge NFC West implications, as a Seahawks win would put them squarely in the driver’s seat and basically knock the Cardinals out of contention due to a three-game deficit and losing both head-to-head matchups.
How seattle Will Try To Win ::
The Seahawks have won four of their last five games, and their defense continues to improve while Geno Smith keeps impressing with his ability to keep them in games and make plays when needed. They have been a balanced offense that has beaten teams both on the ground and through the air, with Kenneth Walker emerging as the clear lead back on the team who can grind out yards or explode for long runs. Lockett and Metcalf have been battling injuries but have yet to miss a game. Both are practicing this week, and we should expect closer to a full complement of snaps from each of them in Week 9 after they each played just under 70% of plays against the Giants.
Seattle’s pace of play is in the top half of the league, and they are top-10 in pass rate over expectation, as they’ve allowed Geno Smith to open this offense up when needed. We should expect a similarly balanced approach to what we saw in Week 6 against the Cardinals, but they may be more aggressive this week as the Cardinals offense has looked much improved from the unit we saw in that game. Basically, the Seahawks aggressiveness this season has matched the perceived threat of their opponent entering the game and as the game moves along. With the Cardinals offense coming alive, a proactive approach with the passing game being used to open up running lanes for Kenneth Walker seems like a prudent move. Part of the recent improvement in the Seahawks defense can be attributed to Seattle building early leads and letting their defense play from an advantageous position against more predictable opponents. A back-and-forth affair or when Seattle falls behind is when their defense has been most vulnerable, so we should expect the Seahawks offense to come out swinging to try and take control of this game.
How arizona Will Try To Win ::
Rams Run D7th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O30th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Rams Pass D20th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O11th DVOA/28th Yards per pass
Buccaneers Run D13th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O24th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D15th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O22nd DVOA/30th Yards per pass
Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- For better or worse, get ready to watch Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford throw the ball a lot.
- These teams played twice last season, combining for 58 and 57 points in the respective games, with the Rams winning both times.
- These teams have a combined 6-9 record, and this game has a total of only 42.5, which would have shocked pretty much anyone back in August.
- Cooper Kupp’s injury status will have a huge effect on how this game plays out and the ability of the Rams to pose a threat.
How los angeles Will Try To Win ::
The Rams continue to be a shell of themselves from last year, failing to score over 20 points for the 5th time this season in Week 8 against the 49ers despite coming out of a bye and getting healthier. The Rams defense has been adequate, but not dominant, this season, and the offense hasn’t been able to separate on pretty much anyone. Their core issues are their inability to run the ball and their inability to protect Matthew Stafford against competent pass rushes. Also, they have become pretty predictable in the passing game as their heavy focus on Cooper Kupp and inability to establish other explosive threats keeps them from putting fear in any defenses.
Entering this week, the Rams are in a tough spot from a game plan perspective. Their backfield is in absolute shambles and is completely unpredictable ::
- Ronnie Rivers (who?) started and played the most snaps for them last week, coming out of the bye, with little success.
- Darrell Henderson has consistently had a role of some sort, but either isn’t fully healthy or has fallen out of favor as he’s had double-digit touches just twice in their last five games.
- Cam Akers may be back with the team this week after not being traded (but who knows in what capacity)
- There has been talk about rookie Kyren Williams sparking things in his return from IR, but this is a 5th round rookie who hasn’t played in months – he’s not likely to immediately change things for them.
Overall, the Rams offense ranks 31st in the NFL in both yards per carry and rushing yards per game. This inability to run the ball is going to be a huge problem this week. They clearly don’t know who to run the ball with, and their scheme and blocking haven’t been getting things done, either. The Bucs run defense is not as good as years past, but it is not so bad that a bad running game is going to all of a sudden become strong because of the matchup.
The status of Cooper Kupp will ultimately determine the approach of the Rams in this game. As discussed in past weeks, the Rams are playing at a sloth-like pace this season after playing an uptempo game in 2021. This methodical approach will likely continue this week, and the Rams will rely heavily on their passing game if Kupp is able to play and is not significantly limited. However, if Kupp is out, then the potential of this Rams offense will be severely limited, and they may have no choice but to try to lean on their running game early in the hopes of keeping the game low-scoring and squeaking out a victory in the 4th quarter.
How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::
- This is an incredibly interesting game to me, as it’s hard to let go of the idea that “Rams vs Bucs” could feature a contest in which both teams right the ship and we end up with a shootout on our hands
- Of course, this is a low-likelihood outcome, given what we have seen from each team so far this year; but there’s a chance that it’s not as “low-likelihood” as ownership will indicate, which will likely make this a game through which I leverage late-week ownership projections to help me make my decisions
- Tom Brady // Mike Evans // Chris Godwin // Cooper Kupp // Van Jefferson // Tyler Higbee
- That’s my list of players from this game (with Matthew Stafford obviously in play as well — though given that Brady topped 30 DK points eight times last season, compared to only two such games for Stafford, I’ll feel relatively comfortable assuming that a game environment in which Stafford is worth rostering in tourneys is a game environment in which Brady is outscoring him)
- Van Jefferson played 53.4% of the snaps last week in his first game action, and is likelier to be in the 70% range this week; he averaged 5.2 targets per game last season, and — as explored last week — had games with DK scores of 16.0 // 21.0 // 14.3 // 18.3 // 16.1 // 14.8, giving him a really nice ceiling at his bottom-barrel price tag, against a defense allowing an uncharacteristic aDOT of 8.1 (closer to the “higher end” than to the “lower end”; for context, the Rams are facing the lowest opponent aDOT at 5.5 yards, while the man-coverage-heavy Patriots are allowing the deepest aDOT at 9.3), while also uncharacteristically ranking middle of the pack in pressure rate
- Obviously, Kupp comes with risk, but ceiling, while Higbee is suddenly A) underpriced on DK and B) probably likely to go a bit overlooked now that the shine has worn off this play with a couple disappointing games
- Summing up everything:
- Brady-led game stacks are in play for me here, as are one-offs of Kupp, Van Jefferson, and Higbee
- I’m not certain I’ll play any of this, but all of this is certainly in mind
Titans Run D2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O17th DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D27th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O1st DVOA/2nd Yards per pass
Chiefs Run D17th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O18th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D22nd DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O19th DVOA/13th Yards per pass
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Oh boy, Sunday night has the poor Titans visiting the Chiefs. This game has a 45-point total (awfully low for a Chiefs game) with Kansas City favored by 12.5 (ahhhhh, now it makes sense). The Chiefs are projected for 28.5 points, a nice healthy total, and what you would expect from them. The Titans are projected for . . . 16.5 points. Eek. But keep reading because there are some interesting angles here.
We’ll start with the Titans: things depend on the quarterback situation. Ryan Tannehill is questionable as I write this on Friday morning, having practiced Wednesday before missing Thursday. If he’s in, the Tennessee total should go up a bit, as Malik Willis did not look at all ready for the NFL in week 8. Facing the awful Texans, Willis only attempted 10 passes, completing six, and rushed five times. That’s 15 quarterback touches. He wasn’t asked to do a lot as the Titans leaned on their run game and cruised to a comfortable win, but if Willis starts, expect a lot of Chiefs-heavy rosters. Vegas expects Willis to start, so that’s how I’m going to write this one up, and then if Tannehill is in I will either update this article (if we know ahead of time) or share thoughts in our Showdown Discord channel (if we don’t get the news until Sunday).
Ownership updates automatically
Regardless of who’s in at QB, we know the Titans will lean on Derrick Henry to the greatest extent possible. Henry’s workload has been ticking up, after averaging just shy of 20 carries per game in the first four weeks. He’s seen 28, 30, and 32 carries in his last three games, that’s more like the Henry workload that we’ve come to expect. As long as the game is close, we can expect something similar here. The Chiefs defense ranks 24th in overall DVOA and while they have been slightly better against the run than the pass, this is not an imposing matchup. I think you can play Henry on any type of roster, but if you’re going to captain him, you need that roster built around the idea that the game remains competitive throughout. Behind Henry, backup Dontrelle Hilliard has a modest backup role. He’s averaging about two carries and two targets per game, and while he’s also averaging 9.4 Draftkings points per game, that’s buoyed by three touchdowns on his 31 total opportunities this season, clearly an unsustainable rate. Hilliard is fine as a tourney option, and if the game gets out of hand we could see more of him in a passing-back role. If it gets REALLY out of hand, we could potentially see Hassan Haskins get some garbage work, but that’s drawing very thin and only for large-field MME play.
In the passing game, we can expect to see Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Cody Hollister get most of the wide receiver snaps, possibly with Chris Conley as the WR4 (he was active last week, but it’s bounced around this season). This is a very low passing volume offense and an overall bad passing offense. Woods, the WR1, is averaging just 7.5 Draftkings points per game (all three of the Chiefs primary WRs are ahead of that). At tight end, Geoff Swaim is playing most of the snaps but is primarily a blocker with just nine targets on the season, Austin Hooper is the primary receiving tight end but that has led to two targets per game on average, and Chig Okonkwo will get some receiving work and is a kind of interesting punt play at what I expect to be sub-1% ownership. This is such a low passing volume offense that Tannehill has only exceeded 30 pass attempts in one game! The entire Titans passing game, to me, falls into the “tourney only play, mostly MME” bucket . . . these guys are all super fragile. Woods is the strongest on-paper play, but the most expensive. My favorite plays are probably Cody Hollister, Chris Conley, and Austin Hooper, in that order, because they’re all cheap. Hooper has decent red zone equity, Conley has good per-target upside if his role grows, and Hollister should get some high catch-rate targets, but every single one of these dudes is thin and a real threat for a zero. Good luck.
Ravens Run D7th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O22nd DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D11th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O19th DVOA/7th Yards per pass
Saints Run D21st DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O2nd DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Saints Pass D11th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O16th DVOA/17th Yards per pass
⚠️ LAST DAY ⚠️
NBA Props Insider is bumping up to $499 on Tuesday 11/8.
Today is the last day to secure your spot at $299.
NBA Props Profit ::
Straight bets: $2,802
Coin Flips: $535
3 Week Total = $4,099(!!!)
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 9 closes out with the Ravens visiting the Saints for a 47.5 total game in which Vegas has Baltimore favored by 2.5. Baltimore came out of the gates hot this season but has scored between 19-27 points in five straight games, while New Orleans has been somewhat surprisingly playing in shootouts (and keeping up for the most part even if they eventually lose), scoring 24+ points in six of eight weeks including every week in which Andy Dalton has started. The Saints defense has collapsed this year. Outside of last week’s shocking shutout of the Raiders, the Saints D has allowed 20+ points in every single game this year, including to such elite offenses as Carolina and Atlanta. This game features one elite offense that has been playing down, one offense that only looks decent on paper but has been playing up, and two defenses that were both expected to be better than this coming into the season. What that says to me is that this game has a wide range of outcomes, which makes it a super interesting one to attack in Showdown.
We know that the engines of this offense are Alvin Kamara on the ground and Chris Olave in the air (more on him later). Kamara is playing around 70% of the snaps and averaging a healthy 15 or so carries per game to go along with an absolutely elite-for-a-running-back 7.5 targets. Kamara is the single best skill position player in this game. Duh. He’s been putting up solid fantasy scores without getting into the end zone and we’ve kept saying “when the touchdowns come.” Well, they came last week – three of them – and the result was 42.8 Draftkings points. Mark Ingram is now hurt, so the RB2 role goes to Dwayne Washington, who is a wholly uninspiring option, but at $200 his floor is reasonable even if the ceiling is likely nonexistent without a lucky touchdown. Ingram being out might benefit Taysom Hill more than Washington, as Taysom saw a season-high 10 carries last week after Ingram departed while Washington only had four. Taysom’s floor is scarily low, but his ceiling is awesome for his price and he can get there in a bunch of different ways. I hate to say this, but he’s actually a pretty strong play this week.
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, rookie Chris Olave has become the clear alpha receiver, leading the team in every receiving metric. The dude’s awesome and he’s succeeded despite having a backup quarterback. At $8,600, he’s somewhat underpriced for his role, and I’m really into him here. After Olave, it looks likely that the Saints will get Jarvis Landry back this week. It’s not certain, but if he plays and resumes his full normal role, he’s underpriced at $5,200 and a really solid value option. Landry’s return would likely spell the end of Marquez Callaway’s role, which was already diminished last week in favor of Kevin White of all people. Callaway has been legitimately awful this year, catching just 12 of 24 targets for 128 yards and a score, and he might be one of the rare players I completely X out of my player pool. Past this, we get into uncertain territory. I think the way this plays out is that Tre’Quan Smith keeps his role when Landry is back (he’s been fairly solid), and then White and Rashid Shaheed play rotational roles and can be used as punt options. Or, maybe White or Shaheed pass Smith? Based on snap counts last week, I’d guess White, but I don’t think we can know for sure. Basically, everyone here past Olave and Landry falls into the MME-only pool. At tight end, it’s Juwan Johnson as the main guy, and he would be my #4 option on the Saints behind Kamara, Olave, and Landry. Johnson has established himself in a very real role this year, averaging just over four targets per game. Nick Vannett can also be included as a punt option, though it’s unclear if his increased role the past couple of weeks will diminish if Landry is back.