Here we go with a two-game slate with the Texans-Saints and Broncos-Raiders on tap for Monday Night Football. We’ll highlight the top picks and best bargains to assemble a cash-inducing lineup. On top of that, the “additional notes” section will feature several tournament selections while adding context to the rest of this slate.
Deshaun Watson - QB - Texans
Watson doesn’t require much analysis to justify a spot among the top daily fantasy lifts of this slate. His passing and rushing upside puts him in a category above every other quarterback on this slate (even Brees). Making matters even better, he’ll face a New Orleans defense that ranked 22nd in DVOA to the pass last season. We have a high over/under (53.5) and the game script (NO -7) suggests that Houston will be throwing the ball to remain competitive. In short, fade Watson at your own risk.
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Alvin Kamara - RB - Saints
Kamara is another no-brainer in the top pick category. The all-purpose machine stands to benefit from being on the “plus side” of the game script mentioned in Watson’s write-up above (NO -7, 53.5 O/U). Houston was one of the best teams against the run last season, but that doesn’t scare me away from Kamara in this two-game slate. The Saints’ RB should get enough touches in space to rack up 100+ total yards with a score or two. He’s infinitely better than every other running back on this slate, checking in as one of the few players with secure volume from that position.
DeAndre Hopkins - WR - Texans
If Watson is a top pick, then you better believe his favorite receiver falls into the same category. As mentioned earlier, Houston will be slinging the ball around the field on Monday, and Hopkins finds himself in a winnable matchup against a Saints’ defense that ranked 31st in DVOA to WR 1’s last season. There should be enough value for you to squeeze these three stars into your lineup, as we’ll uncover some bargains in the next section.
Duke Johnson Jr. - RB - Texans
Johnson is ready for a full workload with Lamar Miller out for the season. His skillset should transition nicely into Houston’s offensive scheme, as Johnson has proven himself as a strong receiver out of the backfield to serve as Watson’s security blanket. He’s an agile runner as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Duke pushes for 80+ total yards in this contest. Hopefully he can fend off Carlos Hyde for goal-line touches, but Johnson Jr. is undoubtedly the guy you want from the Texans’ backfield.
Tyrell Williams - WR - Raiders
Antonio Brown is no longer with the Raiders - in case you haven’t heard. That really opens things up for Oakland’s passing attack, as WR Tyrell Williams, WR Hunter Renfrow, TE Darren Waller, and a few other pass-catchers will look to step up in his absence. Williams is arguably the most proven commodity within that, stepping up as the Raiders’ likely top receiver. I’m not sure if QB Derek Carr will have enough time to throw him the football, but Williams makes for an obvious DFS bargain while (probably) leading the Raiders in targets.
Hunter Renfrow - WR - Raiders
This one is a little less obvious. In order to make the aforementioned top picks work, you’ll probably need to get creative at WR3 or your FLEX spot. We aren’t really sure how Oakland’s receiving corps will shake out, but Renfrow is expected to start in the slot. That puts him on the daily fantasy map as a dirt-cheap filler regardless of the daunting matchup against Denver.
What should we do with the tight end position? Honestly, I’m assembling the rest of my lineup, then seeing how much salary I have left over at the position. Jared Cook (TE - NO) is the obvious choice against a Houston defense that ranked 23rd in DVOA to the position last season. However, Jordan Atkins (TE - HOU) is a respectable filler while serving as the TE1 for Houston. He’s a viable stacking extension of Watson too … Noah Fant (TE - DEN) has all the talent in the world, and he’s facing an Oakland defense that ranked 32nd in DVOA to tight ends last year. We don’t know what kind of role he’ll play in the Broncos’ offense, so he’s strictly a risk/reward tournament pick.
If you are looking a for sneaky tournament pick, Will Fuller (WR - HOU) is a big play receiver who benefits from the game flow discussed with Watson/Hopkins … It’s difficult to trust Courtland Sutton (WR - DEN) with Joe Flacco throwing him the ball, but we can’t ignore this matchup against an Oakland defense that ranked dead last in DVOA to the pass last season. Emmanuel Sanders (WR - DEN) is in the same category, but I’m looking towards Sutton (assuming the salary meshes) to step up in this juicy matchup.
Michael Thomas (WR - NO) is an easy cash game lift on this slate, but we can’t forget about teammate Ted Ginn Jr. (WR - NO) as a capable bargain selection. Houston ranked below average against the pass last season, and Pro Football Focus has their secondary ranked 22nd according to player grades.