Once as high as eight-point favorites, the Saints are down to -6.5 on game day, with the total sitting at 49.5. Some key absences open up strong fantasy spots in this one, particularly at RB. Let’s break down Chargers-Saints from an MNF DraftKings Showdown perspective.
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Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are 0-3 since making the unexpected move to Justin Herbert ($10,200) at QB, but in classic Chargers fashion, all three losses have been by one possession. The Saints’ defense is banged up and extremely undisciplined when it comes to penalties, putting the Chargers’ offense in a good position to score some points. Averaging 23.3 DKFP heading into a matchup against a defense that ranks 29th in DKFP allowed to QB, Herbert feels like a quality play. If game script holds, the rookie has the potential to be slinging it from behind.
After missing Week 4 with a hamstring injury, Mike Williams ($5,000) is questionable to return for this one. Williams was targeted just five times in two games with Herbert, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to roster him if he does suit up. If Williams is ruled out, we can start to consider Jalen Guyton ($4,200) or Tyron Johnson ($1,800), but neither would be reliable. Both put up numbers last week, but their entire production was on long touchdowns, which each of them accomplished on their lone target of the game.
I’ll probably pass on all that value and look to pay down elsewhere. Target monster Keenan Allen ($9,400) is where I want to invest. Since Herbert took the reins of this offense, Allen has been targeted 40 times in three games, hauling in 28 for 290 yards. The Saints will almost certainly struggle to defend him.
If I play a second pass-catcher on the Chargers, it’ll be Hunter Henry ($7,800). Henry’s averaging over 10 DKFP, and the Saints have been the second-worst team defending the TE position. But Henry’s likely a tad too expensive.
I’d rather pay $400 more for Joshua Kelley ($8,200), who should take on a massive role with Austin Ekeler (hamstring) out. Kelley played an unexpectedly large role to begin the season and even saw 25 touches in Week 2. In the last two games, he has just 22 combined touches, likely because he’s lost a fumble in each game. But the Chargers don’t have much of a choice here. Kelley will play a lot, with Justin Jackson ($4,400) worth some GPP exposure as the change of pace back.
New Orleans Saints
It looked like we were going to see Michael Thomas (ankle/personal) return for this game from an ankle injury that he suffered back in Week 1, but locker room issues will get in the way of that. Thomas got into a fight with a teammate, and the Saints will not be activating him for this game.
That means Alvin Kamara ($12,000) will probably continue to be the team’s RB1 and WR1, packaged into one. I don’t really need to go over the numbers, you see everything in his game log. The Chargers are just about average against the RB position, but regardless, Kamara is an impossible fade on this slate. The only way you’re not rostering him is if you want to build a super contrarian GPP lineup. That almost certainly means you’re rostering Latavius Murray ($4,800) as a pivot play. Murray was actually impressive against the Lions last week, slightly outscoring Kamara with 21.3 DKFP, thanks to a 14-64-2 line.
With Kamara locked in and three pay-up spots I prefer on the Chargers, Drew Brees ($10,400) is going to have a difficult time fitting into lineups. Maybe that’s more of a reason to get him into some GPP lineups if his ownership is going to take any kind of hit. Brees has been pretty average thus far, but he is indoors and the Chargers have allowed the second-most DKFP to QB this season. I can’t talk you out of the upside here. I think I may just prefer other options.
Even with limited targets, Tre’Quan Smith ($7,000) has stepped up nicely over the past few weeks with Thomas out. He’s hauled in 13-of-17 targets for 182 yards and two touchdowns, with both scores coming last week in Detroit. However, we do need to be cautious of overreacting to Smith’s big game in Week 4, as it came with Jared Cook ($6,200) out of the lineup. Cook is expected to return on MNF and is in a good buy-low spot at his lowest salary of the season facing a below-average defense against TE.
Emmanuel Sanders ($5,600) is still my preferred option out of the trio with Smith and Cook, regardless of price. Sanders seems to have finally found his stride these past couple of weeks, scoring 15 DKFP in consecutive games. No Thomas leaves him in a strong spot to continue that success and without any true punt play value on this slate, he becomes even more valuable.
There isn’t much value on this slate, so in what could be a shootout, you may want to give consideration to rostering one of the kickers (I’d fade the defenses). I’m pretty down on the Saints this season and while I want to take the Chargers outright, they have coaching issues of their own and a rookie QB on a big stage. I think the Saints get it done in a tight, but sloppy game. Unless you want to captain a kicker, we’re probably going to have to punt on one play that makes you a little uncomfortable to roster. Emmanuel Sanders ($8,400 CPT) feels like the best value on this slate, so I’ll lean toward him at captain.
Final Score: Chargers 27, Saints 30
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.