FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 7 Monday Night (Saints at Seahawks)
Similar to Sunday night's contest, lousy weather is expected in tonight's bout between the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, with both rain and steady winds potentially mucking things up. Despite playing in a tough environment in Seattle, it's the visiting Saints who are favored by 4.5 points.
For those unfamiliar, single-game slates feature five flex spots with identical scoring to the main slate. However, kickers are included in these contests, and there is an "MVP" roster slot. The MVP receives 1.5-times his total fantasy points, making this spot crucial.
Our Brandon Gdula has done a deep dive on single-game strategy. It's worth checking out before you make your lineups.
Between the forecast and participants on Monday night, this projects as a lower-scoring game, and that's reflected by a middling 41.5 total.
Both teams prefer to run the ball and neither one plays at an especially fast pace. According to our Brandon Gdula, when pre-snap win probability is between 20% and 80%, the Saints rank 18th in pace and 28th in pass rate. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are 16th and 24th, respectively, in those metrics.
Defensively, New Orleans has the edge, ranking 11th in schedule-adjusted total defense, per numberFire's metrics, with solid marks against both the pass (13th) and run (9th). On the other hand, the Seahawks are more middle-of-the-pack, coming in at 17th in total defense, 20th versus the pass, and 13th against the run.
numberFire's model sees this game as practically a toss-up, projecting the Saints winning 54.7% of the time by a score of 22.8-21.4. The Saints are also coming off their bye week, which theoretically works in their favor despite being on the road.
Similar to last night's single-game slate, this is a rare occasion where numberFire's top projected player is a running back rather than one of the starting quarterbacks.
Of course, when that running back is Alvin Kamara ($16,000) and the quarterbacks are Jameis Winston ($16,500) and Geno Smith ($14,000), it all becomes far less surprising. Kamara's projected for nearly 20 FanDuel points, and no one else comes all that close.
Add in the poor weather we're expecting, and Kamara figures to be the most popular MVP choice tonight. Kamara's usage in the passing game hasn't been as consistent as in years past, but he's coming off a season-high eight targets, which is an encouraging sign moving forward. Overall, he's averaging 27.6 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets), a top-five mark this season.
Winston is the next best player in our projections, and he's a viable MVP pivot pretty much by default. Both Kamara and Winston will benefit from Taysom Hill being ruled out, as Hill is always a threat to vulture away touchdowns in the red zone.
Winston's had his ups and downs, but overall, he's actually tied for ninth in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back among starting quarterbacks and tied for sixth in adjusted yards per attempt. However, he does rank 25th in Passing Success Rate, demonstrating some of that inconsistency he's known for.
Smith figures to see the lowest MVP roster percentage of these first three guys, so he's worth considering for that reason, but it's also hard to back him with a ton of confidence. Among quarterbacks with at least 50 drop backs this year, Smith ranks third-worst in both Passing NEP per drop back and Passing Success Rate. Still, he rates as tonight's third-best option in numberFire's model.
D.K. Metcalf ($13,500), Tyler Lockett ($11,500), and Alex Collins ($12,000) are the next three players in our projections, and they're probably the only other ones who deserve to be in the MVP conversation unless you're mass multi-entering.
Metcalf and Lockett have continued to hog targets in the passing game with Smith under center, and we know the upside that they're capable of. Both the weather and their quarterback put a damper on their expectations, but that could also lead to them seeing less attention at MVP, too.
Collins might be the most intriguing in this group as a contrarian MVP. Collins is expected to play, but after being questionable all week, the public may be hesitant to roster him at MVP. Additionally, Rashaad Penny ($10,000) is coming off the injured list, and DeeJay Dallas ($9,000) and Travis Homer ($8,000) are still around. And as noted earlier, New Orleans is tough against the run, too.
That all goes against Collins having a big night, but if this does turn into an ugly weather game, then Collins could be the beneficiary. Over the past two weeks, he's averaged 21.5 adjusted opportunities with a 65.3% snap rate.
As for flex options on Seattle, you could take a chance on the aforementioned Rashaad Penny in case he sees a higher role than expected. In the passing game, given how concentrated their targets are between Metcalf and Lockett, it's hard to get super excited about their other pass-catchers.
But if you want to roll the dice on a value play, Freddie Swain ($6,000) is someone to consider. Swain has little to show in the box score, but his 68.8% route rate ranks third on the team this season, and that was up at 75.7% in last week's game, well ahead of tight ends Will Dissly ($6,500) and Gerald Everett ($6,000).
For New Orleans, Marquez Callaway ($10,500) is the top wideout, though his season usage doesn't jump off the page with an 18.3% target share and 28.7% air yards share. However, he was tied with Kamara for the team-lead in targets in Week 5, and the Saints have limited options.
Deonte Harris is out, leaving Kenny Stills ($5,500) and perhaps Tre'Quan Smith ($8,500) -- who is designated to return from injured reserve -- as the other potential wideouts in play. Adam Trautman ($5,500) is the top tight end and saw a respectable 65.6% route rate last game, but he hasn't been heavily involved in the passing attack since Week 1.