Monday Night DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Texans at Saints

Sep 09, 2019
Monday Night DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Texans at Saints

It was an exciting Sunday of football that saw the likes of Lamar Jackson and the 49ers DST break the slate. We now turn our attention to the first Monday Night Football game of the season that sees the Houston Texans visiting the New Orleans Saints in what should be a high-scoring affair.

Let's break down the game and how we can find the edge that might get us at the top of the leaderboards.


It appears Coutee will play, but if he doesn't it's a bump to the volume of Will Fuller and newly acquired Kenny Stills.

Evaluation of Vegas Spread and Total

New Orleans -6.5 Over/Under 52.5

Vegas expects points to be scored in this game and also figures the home team Saints to win comfortably. Let's look at the likely game flow given this spread and total and assign some probabilities to each potential outcome.

  • Close, low-scoring game (<40 points) - 5%
  • Close, average-scoring game (40-49 points) - 20%
  • Close, high-scoring game (50+ points) - 20%
  • Blowout for the home team, low-scoring game - 5%
  • Blowout for the home team, average-scoring game - 20%
  • Blowout for the home team, high-scoring game - 20%
  • Blowout for the away team, low-scoring game - 0%
  • Blowout for the away team, average-scoring game - 5%
  • Blowout for the away team, high-scoring game - 5%

What Players Benefit Most From Potential Gameflow

Close, low-scoring game (<40 points)

Close, average-scoring game (40-49 points)

Close, high-scoring game (50+ points)

Blowout for the home team, low-scoring game

Blowout for the home team, average-scoring game

Blowout for the home team, high-scoring game

Blowout for the away team, average or high-scoring game

Pricing and Projections

These projections are taken from the industry-leading 4for4 DFS projections at the time this article was written. The prices listed are the default single-game prices on both sites. For the Captain spot on DraftKings, the price (and subsequent fantasy points awarded) are multiplied by 1.5.

DraftKings Showdown Prices and Projections
Name Team Pos DK Salary DK Proj Pts/$
Deshaun Watson HOU QB 11400 23.4 2.05
Alvin Kamara NO RB 10800 20.5 1.90
DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR 10600 22.1 2.08
Drew Brees NO QB 10200 22.2 2.18
Michael Thomas NO WR 10000 21.9 2.19
Will Fuller HOU WR 8200 12.8 1.56
Duke Johnson HOU RB 7200 14.6 2.03
Jared Cook NO TE 6800 11.1 1.63
Ted Ginn Jr. NO WR 5600 8.9 1.59
Keke Coutee HOU WR 5200 7.7 1.48
TreQuan Smith NO WR 4800 8.7 1.81
Latavius Murray NO RB 4000 11.4 2.85
Saints DST NO DST 3800 6.8 1.79
Kenny Stills HOU WR 3600 4.5 1.25
Will Lutz NO K 3400 9.2 2.71
Kaimi Fairbairn HOU K 3200 8.2 2.56
Texans DST HOU DST 2800 4.7 1.68
Carlos Hyde HOU RB 2000 4.3 2.15
Keith Kirkwood NO WR 1400 2.6 1.86
DeAndre Carter HOU WR 1200 1.7 1.42
Dwayne Washington NO RB 1000 1.3 1.30
Josh Hill NO TE 800 1.5 1.88
Jordan Akins HOU TE 600 3.1 5.17
Darren Fells HOU TE 400 3.9 9.75
Austin Carr NO WR 200 1.5 7.50
Zach Line NO RB 200 0.1 0.50

Roster Construction

The Captain Slot

There's a lean to the three main cogs of the Saints offense in Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas. If you think the Texans can keep it close, then Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are also in play. Duke Johnson and Will Fuller are fringe Captains, but the probability they outscore the other five are slim and we want to focus on those who are going to score the most fantasy points to maximize that 1.5 times multiplier.


I definitely expect the seven players mentioned above to dominate the ownership with Jared Cook also garnering significant ownership as he's the "sexy" pick this offseason (as attested by his ADP in season-long drafts). I expect to see a lot of two QB lineups which means there is going to be a need for some value options. That'll drive up the ownership of the likes of Ted Ginn, TreQuan Smith, Will Fuller, and Keke Coutee while suppressing the ownership of the stud RB's and WR's, but not enough that I think they won't be highly-owned (just enough that it'll be closer to 40-50% instead of 60% plus). The kickers will be popular savings options as well given they are expected to be kicking often in this high-scoring affair.

Potential Low-Owned Difference Makers

If Keke Coutee sits, I like Kenny Stills to outperform his projection and be a good value. The 4for4 projections see the two Houston TEs, Darren Fells and Jordan Akins as both being top point-per-dollar plays and if one of those two can find the end zone, they'll pretty much be a slate breaker at their cheap price tag. The only other potential difference-maker that I have my eye on is Carlos Hyde. If he gets the goal line work, all it takes is one TD for him to smash value.

I'm not sure what Latavius Murray's ownership will be. I think he'll be somewhere around 20-25% and I want to be about double that as I think he's the one player who could have substantial leverage on the field (if you really want to be unique, include him in lineups with Alvin Kamara, the Saints have proven in the past they can have two RB's put up a ton of points).

Optimal Lineup Construction

Using the 4for4 projections these are the optimal ownership numbers when running the numbers through a 300-lineup model:

DraftKings Showdown Optimal Lineup Construction
Name Team Pos CAPT FLEX
Deshaun Watson HOU QB 17% 62%
Alvin Kamara NO RB 19% 17%
DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR 10% 56%
Drew Brees NO QB 12% 64%
Michael Thomas NO WR 13% 62%
Will Fuller HOU WR 0% 3%
Duke Johnson HOU RB 5% 40%
Jared Cook NO TE 0% 2%
Ted Ginn Jr. NO WR 0% 1%
Keke Coutee HOU WR 0% 1%
TreQuan Smith NO WR 0% 11%
Latavius Murray NO RB 17% 49%
Saints DST NO DST 0% 4%
Kenny Stills HOU WR 0% 0%
Will Lutz NO K 3% 31%
Kaimi Fairbairn HOU K 1% 19%
Texans DST HOU DST 0% 1%
Carlos Hyde HOU RB 0% 10%
Keith Kirkwood NO WR 0% 6%
DeAndre Carter HOU WR 0% 3%
Dwayne Washington NO RB 0% 3%
Josh Hill NO TE 0% 3%
Jordan Akins HOU TE 0% 14%
Darren Fells HOU TE 0% 31%
Austin Carr NO WR 0% 8%
Zach Line NO RB 0% 0%

Some surprising takeaways from the optimal lineups in that it tells us to fade Jared Cook, Will Fuller, Ted Ginn Jr., and Keke Coutee. Essentially what the optimals are saying is that you're better off going to the likes of Darren Fells or a kicker and paying up at the other positions. There is also an argument to be made to be underweight on Alvin Kamara who shows up in only 36% of optimal lineups, but to be overweight on his new teammate Latavius Murray who shows up in 66% of optimal lineups. Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, Drew Brees, and DeAndre Hopkins all appear in over 65% of optimal lineups and Duke Johnson is in nearly half the optimals at 45%.

Where's the Edge?

From looking at the optimals it looks like the clear edge is playing Latavius Murray and being underweight on Alvin Kamara. I'm not 100% sold on fading Kamara completely, but I'd only be rostering him in one out of two lineups I made. If you want value, go to the kickers or one of the Texans TEs. It's a bit scary to pull the trigger on that one, but it's the only way you'll be able to get in the known volume of the big names playing in this game. If you do want to go a different direction, then I think the best approach is to just stack one side. For example, instead of having both QB's and both stud WR's, you could go Brees-Thomas-Ginn-Cook with two moderately priced Texans, or vice versa stack up some of the Texans players with some moderately priced Saints.

I tend to like this approach as the Vegas spread suggests the possibility of the score getting out of hand is there and that would lend itself to being overweight on one side of the ball.

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