FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 16 Monday Night (Dolphins at Saints)

Is Alvin Kamara a lock for the MVP slot tonight, or do his workload concerns push us elsewhere?

We've seen some low-scoring games across the NFL recently, and Monday Night Football's tilt between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints is set to be yet another.

The total, per FanDuel Sportsbook, is 37.0 points (the lowest of any game this season). The spread is pretty tight. The Dolphins are favored by 3.0 on the road.

New Orleans is starting rookie quarterback Ian Book -- which explains the low total and Miami's status as the favorite.

Before we dig in more, don't forget to brush up on some single-game perfect lineup trends and leverage our Sharpstack single-game optimizer for correlated lineup plays.

High-Level Simulation Results

I simulated this game 10,000 times -- using numberFire's projections -- to see some high-level takeaways. Here's what I found.

Alvin KamaraRBNO$16,50015.70.9530.8%71.7%
Tua TagovailoaQBMIA$15,00015.61.0429.3%72.8%
Jaylen WaddleWRMIA$13,00011.00.856.3%48.2%
Ian BookQBNO$12,00010.70.899.9%47.5%
DeVante ParkerWRMIA$10,5009.10.864.1%35.2%
Mark IngramRBNO$9,5008.70.925.0%35.0%
Myles GaskinRBMIA$11,0008.50.774.9%33.3%
Jason SandersKMIA$8,5008.20.961.0%24.2%
Duke JohnsonRBMIA$11,0007.50.683.4%27.9%
Brett MaherKNO$9,0007.10.790.3%14.3%
Mike GesickiTEMIA$10,0007.10.712.4%24.1%
Tre'Quan SmithWRNO$7,5006.00.800.6%14.8%
Albert WilsonWRMIA$7,0004.70.680.1%4.3%
Adam TrautmanTENO$5,0004.10.820.1%6.3%
Malcolm BrownRBMIA$5,0002.20.430.2%4.1%
Ty MontgomeryRBNO$5,5002.20.400.2%4.2%
Nick VannettTENO$7,0001.80.260.0%1.1%
Isaiah FordWRMIA$7,0001.60.220.0%0.5%
Phillip LindsayRBMIA$6,0001.20.210.0%2.2%
Durham SmytheTEMIA$6,5001.00.160.0%0.8%
Mack HollinsWRMIA$6,5001.00.150.0%0.2%
Hunter LongTEMIA$5,0000.90.170.0%0.6%
Tony Jones Jr.RBNO$5,5000.70.130.0%1.8%
Juwan JohnsonTENO$5,5000.70.130.0%0.6%

Slate Breakdown

Across 11 slates in my database (I know -- small sample) with totals under 40.0 points and spreads of 5.5 or tighter, we have seen an optimal lineup MVP allocation of four running backs, three quarterbacks, two wide receivers, one tight end, and one kicker.

Translated with some context, it means quarterbacks are less likely than usual to lead slates in scoring in games that shape up like this and that it's more likely that touchdown scorers among flex-eligible players get there.

That or there are just so few points that some field goals actually put a kicker into play. At least one kicker made it into 45.5% of optimal lineups in games with totals under 40.0 and spreads of 5.5 or tighter in my database. The full-sample kicker rate is 33.8%.

This all makes sense for this game, too, as rookie Ian Book doesn't profile for many FanDuel points, and Tua Tagovailoa faces a tough Saints defense.

New Orleans ranks 12th in adjusted pass defense on the season, per numberFire's metrics.

In three full games against top-half adjusted pass defenses, Tagovailoa has averaged just 14.9 FanDuel points per game on the strength of 212.3 yards and 0.7 touchdowns. He's been efficient on a per-play basis, per our metrics, yet has not been very productive despite that.

Though Book was solid at Notre Dame in his final season and showed some promising results in his limited preseason work, the projections for him are understandably low in what is likely to be a run-heavy script for the Saints.

So, it's not Book but rather teammate Alvin Kamara rating out as the most likely player to lead the slate in FanDuel points. Kamara fits in terms of the running-back-friendly historical game comparison as well as being a majority back. Last week, Kamara handled 11 carries and 6 targets on a 61.7% snap rate.

He lost the lone red zone carry to Mark Ingram, who played on 48.3% of snaps with 9 carries and 2 targets.

As for the pass-catchers, only one -- Marquez Callaway -- ran more than 65.5% of pass routes last week; Callaway ran 86.2% of routes and drew a team-high 9 targets (nobody else had more than Kamara's 6, and after that, it was Tre'Quan Smith with 3 targets).

It's a low-volume, diversified passing offense tied to a rookie passer in his debut. We should be sparing with Saints pass-catchers unless playing the angle of a Book-as-MVP lineup.

As for the Dolphins, there is expected to be a competition in this backfield, making it hard to build around any Miami back as a primary MVP play.

While, yes, we could see another big workload for Duke Johnson, numberFire's model projects a split between he and Myles Gaskin.

In Week 15, Gaskin played on 36.2% of snaps soon after returning from the COVID list. It was Johnson, then, leading the way with a 58.0% snap rate that led to 22 carries and 2 targets for 127 total yards. A closer competition makes either viable for an MVP play in a low-scoring game but not MVP priorities.

In games with Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki healthy, Waddle leads the team with a 23.3% target share; Parker (21.5%) and Gesicki (18.8%) are close behind. We should rank them in such an order.

Waddle makes for an intriguing game-theory pivot at MVP instead of Kamara or the quarterbacks and is my preferred way of being different without being reckless at MVP. Parker figures to see more coverage from Marshon Lattimore than Waddle, as well.