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Fantasy Football Picks: Dolphins vs. Saints DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Dolphins and the Saints with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

I don’t think tonight’s contest between the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints was one many fans had circled on their calendar this season. Even at his best, Tua Tagovailoa ($10,200) isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing quarterback; while the Saints COVID-induced need to start Ian Book ($9,000) is bordering on Ben DiNucci levels of sad. Still, at least there’s only one underwhelming Monday Night Football game this week. That’s an improvement, right?

Let’s break things down from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Monday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (MIA vs NO)


Captain’s Picks

Jaylen Waddle ($17,400 CP) - Through the first 14 weeks of the season — prior to Waddle missing last Sunday’s content against the Jets due to being on the reserve/COVID-19 list — Miami’s rookie wideout was tied for the second-most receptions of any AFC wideout (86). In a full-point PPR setting, that type of volume can not go ignored, especially when that setting also includes a game total well below 40 points. Simply put, floor might be more important than ceiling in what should be a low-scoring affair on Monday, which puts Waddle in an envious position. Still, that’s not to suggest that the first-round pick doesn’t possess upside. Waddle’s made at least eight catches in four of his last five starts and he leads the Dolphins in both red zone target share (18.8%) and target share from inside the 10 yard-line (16.7%). His fifth receiving touchdown is not out of the question this evening.

Dolphins D/ST ($6,600 CP) - I wouldn’t be shocked is Miami’s defense is one of the three most-popular Captain’s Picks of the night. Well, count me amongst the sheep. This isn’t just about the aforementioned Book making his first-career start. The Saints are missing both Adam Trautman (health protocols) and Deonte Harris (suspension) at the skill-positions, while the team’s offensive line is leaking oil. Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and left tackle Terron Armstead is questionable with a knee injury after managing just a single limited practice this week. This is not the formula you want going up against a Dolphins’ unit that’s surrendering a league-low 3.9 yards per opponent play and averaging a league-best 4.7 sacks across their last three games. Miami’s heavy cover-zero scheme has given Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton and Zach Wilson fits in recent contests. I doubt Book will fare much better.

FLEX Plays

Alvin Kamara ($12,200) - Though I can’t bring myself to Captain any offensive assets on the Saints this evening — particularly if it would cost me north of $18K — Kamara is still more than viable in a FLEX slot. The running back is coming off his worst performance of the season in Week 15; however, that was still a contest where Kamara played on 60.7% of New Orleans’ snaps, all while racking up 11 carries and six targets. With the possibility of the Saints playing from behind in tonight’s contest, and with a rookie QB under center needing a security blanket, I could easily see a scenario where Kamara approaches double-digit targets. I think it’s also worth noting that prior to laying an egg versus the Buccaneers stout run defense, Kamara had averaged 26.1 DKFP over his last five starts. The man is a stud. If you can afford him, don’t hesitate to put him in a lineup.

Nick Vannett ($1,000) - Sifting through the value receiving options in this game is a slog that could eventually prove to be a fruitless endeavor. Yet, with Vannett essentially the last TE standing in New Orleans, I think it’s safe to assume that the veteran will be able to pay-off his modest price tag on Monday. Vannett was already seeing his role grow in recent weeks, as the 28-year-old logged as many snaps (35) as Trautman in the Saints’ 9-0 victory over Tampa Bay. Juwan Johnson (health protocols) also saw 22 snaps in that contest, which speaks to how tight end heavy New Orleans has been in December. In fact, since the beginning of Week 13, the Saints have used 12 personnel on 24% of their plays — among the highest marks in the NFL within that span. Heck, back in Week 14, it was Vannett that led the team in both targets (6) and receiving yards (44). Those figures aren’t eye-popping by any means and trusting any element of an Ian Book passing attack is nerve-wracking, but at $1K, I’m willing to plug my nose and get some exposure.


Myles Gaskin ($7,400)/Duke Johnson ($7,200) - Johnson was this week’s waiver wire darling after going off for 107 rushing yards, two touchdowns and 28.2 DKFP in Week 15. Still, there’s a couple things you need to remember about that performance. First and foremost, it was against the Jets, not a Saints team that’s conceded the second-fewest DKFP to opposing RBs so far this season. Secondly, Gaskin’s role was clearly diminished after not practicing in the lead-up to last Sunday’s win, whereas this week, he was able to practice in full. Add in the fact that Phillip Lindsay ($3,400) is also off the reserve/COVID-19 list and will be active on Monday evening, and I get the impression that Miami’s backfield will be a three-headed mess. That’s before we even factor in that the Dolphins’ offensive line is creating just 3.77 adjusted line yards per rushing attempt — the third-lowest mark in football. Best to avoid this situation entirely.


I’m not entirely sure how one is supposed to assess this game. With Book making his first-career start, the trends seem pretty meaningless, though Miami is 5-1-1 ATS in its past seven games. At the end of the day, for as hard as the Dolphins tried to trade Tua for Deshaun Watson all season, I’ll put my money on the team that didn’t call Drew Brees this week begging for him to come out of retirement. Call me crazy, but Sean Payton might not trust his rookie pivot.

Final Score: Miami 24, New Orleans 10

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Monday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (MIA vs NO)

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