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Fantasy Football Picks: Saints vs. Cardinals DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Saints and the Cardinals with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Thursday Night Football, am I right?! It’s been two tough watches in a row on Amazon, and while the matchup looks better on paper this week, the timing of the game is having some massive ripple effects. In particular, the fact we don’t yet know the starting QB for the New Orleans Saints or if James Conner ($8,800; ribs) will be available for the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s a mess. Yet it really wouldn’t be a TNF Showdown slate without some headaches.

Editor’s Note: Saints QB Andy Dalton is expected to start tonight’s game vs. the Cardinals, per ESPN’s Ed Werder.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (NO vs ARI)


Captain’s Picks

Kyler Murray ($16,800 CP) - While we don’t know who’s starting under center for the Saints, we do know that Murray will be taking snaps for the Cardinals. It’s been an underwhelming start to 2022 for Murray — he’s thrown just six touchdown passes in six games — yet at the same time, an underwhelming Murray is still a fantasy force. By DraftKings scoring, the former first-round pick is QB6 entering Week 7, as Murray’s combined his rushing ability with just an insane amount of volume to this point in the schedule. After averaging a prolific 0.59 DKFP per snap in 2021, Murray’s sitting at only 0.43 DKFP through six contests. However, that lack of efficiency doesn’t matter as much when Murray also ranks second in the league in total drop backs (278). He’s basically hitting his floor producing 20-plus DKFP per start. With No. 1 option DeAndre Hopkins ($10,200) back from suspension, can you imagine if Murray flirts with his ceiling?

Chris Olave ($11,100 CP) - Olave cleared concussion protocol earlier this week and isn’t even listed on New Orleans’ injury report for Week 7. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Michael Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle) remain sidelined. It’s not like Olave is suddenly going to see the target share of three wideouts — as evidenced last week with nine targets, Alvin Kamara ($10,600) is going to be heavily involved — but it’s easy to speculate about double-digit opportunities in the passing attack for the rookie. Heck, he was already basically getting that level of volume anyway. From Week 3 to Week 5, Olave posted a target rate of at least 25% in every contest, not to mention an air yards share well above 40% for the three-game stretch as a whole. Regardless of whether it’s Jameis Winston ($9,600) or Andy Dalton ($9,400) trying to get Olave the ball, he’s obviously underpriced in his role as a WR1.

FLEX Plays

Zach Ertz ($7,000) - The addition of Hopkins to Arizona’s active roster is a new variable. However, the loss of Marquise Brown (foot) sort of makes the target math pretty simple, right? Over the last four weeks, Brown led the Cardinals in target share (26%) and air yards share (43%). That volume now falls to Hopkins, leaving the rest of the skill-position ecosystem unaltered. If that’s truly the case, load up on Ertz. The veteran tight end has seen at least 10 targets in four of his last five games, and as an obvious red zone threat, he’s sure to be a beneficiary when Murray’s career-low 2.4% touchdown pass rate starts to normalize. Saints D/ST ($3,400) has been stout against opposing TEs so far this season, but if that helps keep Ertz’s ownership low, I have little issue with the matchup.

Keith Kirkwood ($800) - With all the injuries the Saints are dealing with at wide receiver, I don’t think you need me to tell you that Marquez Callaway ($4,800) is viable after leading the position group in snaps against the Bengals. Making the case for Kirkwood is a different story. First and foremost, the wideout is questionable to suit up versus the Cardinals due to an ankle issue. Secondly, despite playing 51 snaps to Callaway’s 54 snaps in Week 7, Kirkwood saw just a single target. Still, if he’s active, it’s hard to ignore him at this price tag in a “stars and scrubs” build. Even with Olave back, Kirkwood should see a healthy amount of playing time and he’s one 14-yard reception away from 3x value. Just keep an eye on his status if you’re thinking of spending up on Murray in the Captain’s spot.


Taysom Hill ($7,200) - You didn’t honestly think I could write up a Saints’ showdown slate and not mention Hill, did you? Here’s the thing about this incarnation of the QB/RB/TE: He’s $7.2K. I’m old enough to remember when Hill was viable on these single-game slates due to his incredibly low salary and Sean Payton’s inclination to give the BYU product red zone touches. You were buying low and hoping for a huge return. Now you’re having to pay for all the upside up front. I’m not feeling it. Yes, Hill’s 37.1 DKFP performance in Week 5 looms large, but he’s an asset that’s totally reliant on touchdowns to be effective. The weeks where he hasn’t found pay dirt, he’s been a complete bust. The fact he’s basically the same price as Olave and Ertz is absolutely crazy.


I don’t think either one of these teams are especially good. Yet, when push comes to shove, I think the healthier squad is going to come out on top. I think it also helps that the healthier squad knows who they’re starting at quarterback less than 24 hours before the opening kickoff. The healthier squad is playing at home, too. The home team is 7-1 ATS the past eight times the Cardinals and the Saints have squared off.

Final Score: Arizona 24, New Orleans 20

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (NO vs ARI)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.