Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Saints at Buccaneers

Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Saints at Buccaneers

This article is part of our DFS NFL series.

The Saints and Buccaneers take the field on Monday Night Football to close out Week 13. As has seemingly been the case most weeks, we have another uninspiring pair of offenses, though one is clearly more capable of putting up points than the other — at least on paper. The total on sportsbooks is 40.5 to 41.5, with the Buccaneers being home favorites between 3.0 and 3.5 points. That gives us an implied total of roughly 22.5 for Tampa Bay and 19.0 for New Orleans.

Quarterback

Tom Brady ($10,400 DK, $16,000 FD) is the more expensive of the starting quarterbacks in the game, so let's begin there. He is the highest-priced overall player on FD, with Chris Godwin curiously the only player carrying a higher price point than Brady on DK. After a slow start to the season, Brady has shown a consistent floor in recent weeks. However, that hasn't come with much ceiling, as he has surpassed 20 DK points only once in his last six games. In his last three games, he's scored 15.2 to 18.04 points.The case for Brady is that volume has been there for him to produce, but his efficiency has uncharacteristically failed him. That was buyable to begin the season, but is less so after 11 games. The Saints are roughly league-average against quarterbacks as measured by fantasy points allowed per game and pass defense DVOA. They've played the majority of the season with Marshon Lattimore, who could return Monday. As one could surmise from the numbers, the most likely outcome is that Brady puts up a passable fantasy point total, but not one that is likely to be a tournament winner. He's a strong cash game option.

Andy Dalton ($9,000 DK, $13,000 FD) doesn't have nearly the floor of Brady, as he's scored 12 or fewer fantasy points on both platforms in three of his last four games. However, he's also spiked a pair of performances since Week 7, with the exact totals varying by site. In his best performance of the season against Arizona, Dalton attempted 47 passes. It's not realistic to expect that volume to replicate itself Monday night. If we go strictly by the numbers, Dalton has shown a higher ceiling than Brady this season, but it's hard to give that as actionable advice with a straight face. Making Dalton more difficult to roster Monday is the stout Buccaneers' secondary, which has been tough against quarterbacks. There are a few key players questionable on the Tampa Bay defense, but I'm not willing to bet on that making a big difference for Dalton's outcome. He's relatively cheap for a quarterback, and it's always possible game script goes an unpredictable way. For those reasons, he's worth considering in tournaments, but I'd avoid him in cash games.  

Running Back

Things are a bit more complicated for both teams at running back. Alvin Kamara ($10, 000 DK, $15,000 FD) has the biggest name value and the most secure workload on either team. Particularly on DK, his utilization has been appealing due to his involvement in the passing game. For example, despite getting only seven carries in Week 12, Kamara still saw seven targets and made six receptions. On FD, he posted 4.0 fantasy points, while on DK he put up a more respectable 9.0. That's a disappointing score regardless, but it illustrates the notable difference in scoring across the sites and how it affects Kamara's outlook. In past seasons, we would have said that Kamara was one of the few players capable of posting a 100-yard bonus as both a rusher and receiver, making him appealing on DK. However, he's topped the century mark only once on the ground this season and never as a pass catcher. Similarly, all three of his touchdowns came in one game, a drawback to his path to consistent fantasy points on FD. The Buccaneers are a stout run defense as measured both by DVOA and fantasy points allowed. Overall, Kamara is always capable of posting a massive game, but neither the Saints' offense nor matchup suggests that will come on Monday night. Mark Ingram ($4,400 DK, $5,00 FD) is the backup but has seven or fewer total touches in each of the team's last three games. If I were to play him anywhere, it would be on FD, because if he posts a relevant fantasy performance it is likely because he fell into the end zone. Generally, I'd look elsewhere for salary savings.

In Tampa Bay, Leonard Fournette ($7,400 DK, $12,000 FD) is listed as questionable. However, he practiced all week and should reasonably be expected to suit up. His workload as compared to Rachaad White ($7,000 DK, $11,000 FD) is unclear. That's reflected in their very similar price points relative to each other on both sites. Fournette missed Tampa Bay's Week 12 loss to Cleveland, but when the duo suited up together against Seattle in Week 10 it was a near even split prior to Fournette's exit due to injury. If I were to guess at each back's role, it would be that Fournette gets more work near the goal line and in short-yardage situations. White proved himself capable as a receiver with nine receptions against the Browns, though Brady may prefer Fournette as a blocker in passing situations. Early down work could be fairly evenly split. Public perception and the fantasy community are pushing for White to take the lead in the backfield, which could provide nice leverage pivoting to Fournette assuming that he is active and is under no known workload restrictions. If Fournette is out, Ke'Shawn Vaughn ($200 DK, $6,000 FD) is a viable punt — particularly on DK. However, if Fournette is active and carries a normal workload, Vaughn will almost certainly be irrelevant.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

The Tampa Bay receiving corps is particularly interesting to pick apart based on the difference in scoring and pricing across the sites. On DK, Chris Godwin ($10,600 DK, $12,500 FD) is the most expensive player. On FD, Mike Evans ($9,600 DK, $14,000 FD) has a considerably higher price point. This is rooted in the scoring system and roles of each receiver. Godwin has double-digit targets in five of his last six games. However, he posted a high of only 19.1 DK points in that span until he popped a 32-point effort against the Browns. The reason for that is pretty clear, as Godwin has a paltry 6.2 aDOT. Meanwhile, Evans is more of the big-play threat and perceived red-zone target. He has seen more targets than Godwin inside the 20, but only by an 11-9 margin. The big-play threat narrative has been more accurate as Evans has an aDOT of 12.8. The obvious breakdown is to play Evans on FD and Godwin on DK. I'd be willing to play Evans on DK as well — particularly if Lattimore remains out — because of his greater potential to both score and pop the 100-yard bonus as compared to Godwin. Julio Jones ($5,400 DK, $7,000 FD) has seen four or five targets in all but one of his games this season. His routes run suggest his role isn't increasing in the offense, so you're banking on either a big play or touchdown by rostering him on either site. Meanwhile, the return of Cameron Brate ($3,000 DK, $5,500 FD) has cratered the role of Cade Otton ($1,800 DK, $7,500 FD) in the Tampa Bay offense. Brate is second on the team in targets inside the 5 on a per-game basis, a particularly notable stat for FD users. Make sure Brate suits up, as he's questionable due to illness. If Brate is out, Otton is an easy play on DK, but is priced very aggressively on FD. Russell Gage ($4,600 DK, $7,000 FD) could be poised to play for the first time since Week 7. He's likely to be on a snap count if active, and no depth option has emerged as a consistent contributor to the Buccaneers' offense. If forced to pay down, I'd prefer to look to New Orleans.

Shifting gears to New Orleans, there's one consistent contributor to the pass offense in receiver Chris Olave ($8,400 DK, $13,500 FD). To put things in perspective, he's accounted for 42.4 percent of the team's air yards this season and has a 26.1 percent target share. For large-field tournaments, I'd be fine rostering Olave as captain. If New Orleans is going to win, or even just score, it will almost certainly be through either Olave or Kamara. The condensed nature of the Saints' offense is its primary draw as opposed to the Bucs, despite the pretty clear difference in quality of quarterback play. Jarvis Landry ($5,200 DK, $13,500 FD) is also back in the mix after a lengthy layoff during the middle of the season. His price is outrageous on FD, and he can pretty much be ignored on the platform. The case is a little stronger for him on DK, but he's run routes on only roughly 60 percent of the team's snaps in the last two games and has only 78 combined air yards in those games. Four targets per game isn't enough to sustain a wide receiver with an aDOT of 9.5 (this is another indication of how much of an outlier Godwin's 6.2 aDOT is). 

The rest of the Saints' receiving corps has largely faded into obscurity, but there are a few names specifically worth mentioning. Juwan Johnson is out for Monday's game, leaving Adam Trautman ($1,200 DK, $5,000 FD) as the top tight end. He's largely failed to deliver in that role this season, but he's at a punt price on both sites and is a nice option to free up salary. Rashid Shaheed ($1,400 DK, $6,500 FD) is at a similar price on DK and is still relatively cheap on FD. He doesn't get many touches, but he is a threat to hit a home run each time he gets the ball in his hands. He has the potential to be the low-salary player who is the "must have" of the slate. The final name we have to mention is Taysom Hill ($6,400 DK, $10,00 FD). He's probably the most overpriced player on a point-per-dollar basis, but the Saints insist on continuing to use him. If he finds the end zone a few times, he'll obviously be worth rostering. However, his salary is such that it's nearly impossible to project him as a good play with any reasonable range of outcome.

Kickers

I don't often advise ignoring a kicker because it's a volatile position that can be a nice source of salary savings. Wil Lutz ($3,800 DK, $8,500 FD) will be an exception. He's attempted no more than two field goals in any of his last six games and has made eight of his last 10 attempts. He's only 7-for-11 on field-goal attempts from more than 40 yards away on the season. Between his own problems and the Saints' offensive issues, it's difficult to see him putting together a big performance.

Ryan Succop ($4,000 DK, $9,000 FD) is a volatile option but is attached to the better offense and has made three or more field goals in four of his 11 games this season. For the slight price jump, I'd much prefer rostering him as compared to Lutz.

Defenses

Tampa Bay ($4,800 DK, $9,500 FD) is the better on-paper play. It has the fourth-highest sack rate in the league, while New Orleans has been a roughly league-average offensive line as measured by sack rate allowed. Dalton has a mediocre 2.6 percent interception rate and only one lost fumble this season, so he hasn't been particularly turnover prone. That could prevent the Bucs from having a ceiling game.

Brady has no interest in being sacked, taking them at a league-low 3.48 percent clip. He's also turned the ball over only four total times this season, limiting the potential for the Saints' ($4,200 DK, $8,000 FD) defense to put up a good fantasy performance even if they can keep the game close.  

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Dan Marcus plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: marcusd91 DraftKings: dmarcus87.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NFL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NFL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
Will Bill O’Brien Help The Patriots Super Bowl Odds In 2023?
Will Bill O’Brien Help The Patriots Super Bowl Odds In 2023?
What Offseason Changes Will Mean For 2023 Patriots Super Bowl Odds
What Offseason Changes Will Mean For 2023 Patriots Super Bowl Odds
Early Look At Super Bowl 57 Spreads, Totals, And Moneylines
Early Look At Super Bowl 57 Spreads, Totals, And Moneylines
Target Breakdown: 2022 Season in Review for NFL Wide Receivers
Target Breakdown: 2022 Season in Review for NFL Wide Receivers
Dynasty Watch: Olamide Zaccheaus Free Agency
Dynasty Watch: Olamide Zaccheaus Free Agency
NFL Reactions: Conference Championship Weekend
NFL Reactions: Conference Championship Weekend