Saints vs. Panthers pick for tonight and I tend to agree. New Orleans is still playing for the top seed and home field advantage in the NFC playoffs, while nothing the Panthers have done to this point suggests they’re going to magically take down New Orleans.
This game does still have high upside from a DFS perspective, of course, so it’s a fun one for FanDuel’s MNF showdown contest. Let’s see my slant for tonight’s daily fantasy football action:
MVP (1.5x points): Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints ($15.5k)
There are admittedly numerous options you can consider sliding into the MVP slot, but Brees takes the cake for me. He and his Saints aren’t always quite as good on the road, but they are still so dominant and this Carolina defense isn’t one to be feared.
That’s been especially true through the air, as the Panthers coming in ranking 27th against fantasy passers, 27th against fantasy wide receivers and 30th against fantasy tight ends.
Brees has smashed in this matchup in the past and recently he’s been on point with 13 passing touchdowns against just three picks in his last five meetings with the Panthers. His last stop at Carolina also produced a solid 3-score day.
I have no issues with this matchup and if the only reason you don’t want to roster Saints players is the fact that they’re on the road, you might be doing it wrong.
FLEX: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers ($16.5k)
Cam Newton is also somewhat viable in this spot, but he’s got a bum shoulder and just hasn’t looked right. That’s led him to lean on McCaffrey quite a bite and while it hasn’t translated into wins, it’s helped with the offense’s production.
C-Mac has a brutal matchup here against one of the best run defenses in football, but he’s at home and his role is as good as anyone’s in fantasy football. That, and he is extremely involved in the passing game, so no matter how this game goes, he’s sure to see a lot of work.
That’s only aided by the fact that the Saints aren’t great against pass-catching backs. In fact, New Orleans has allowed the third most receiving scores to backs on the year.
I don’t think the matchup is great, but McCaffrey has been a monster all season. Due to his role and upside, he isn’t quite my MVP here, but he does feel like a must.
FLEX: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints ($13k)
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are also high on my list of Saints players I like tonight, but MT has one of the better matchups.
Much like the Saints, Carolina is actually pretty good against the run and due to New Orleans balancing their running back touches out more, their rushers don’t feel necessarily like a priority.
This feels like a game where Brees will dominate and that could lead to a big game from Thomas. He popped back up with 15 fantasy points in his last outing, but he’s still been much too quiet for way too long.
I expect him and Brees to get it going against a Panthers defense that simply hasn’t been good against the pass in 2018.
FLEX: Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers ($10k)
While I’m Team Saints tonight, I do like a little exposure to the Panthers just because they’re probably going to have to throw the ball a lot.
Carolina’s top receiver will draw Marshon Lattimore coverage, so I’m paying down a bit and hoping Samuel gets some underneath stuff and can do some damage after the catch.
Samuel and McCaffrey should be in for a ton of work to get things going in space and Samuel has actually been super consistent with 10+ fantasy points in four consecutive contests. I think he could be in for a blow-up outing tonight.
FLEX: Josh Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints ($5k)
Lastly, you will likely have to take at least one deep dive if you plan on rostering multiple studs like I am. Taysom Hill is interesting and if you can get to $6k for this last spot, I also like Tre’Quan Smith a decent amount.
Nobody is going to be on Josh Hill. If anything, they’ll pay up for Ben Watson or use someone else entirely. However, Hill could benefit from the plethora of options around him, as well as Carolina’s weak positional success against tight ends (30th vs. TEs).
This is a gamble, but Hill should be contrarian and he’s got a reasonable chance at hauling in a short touchdown.
I want to stack some combination of Brees/McCaffrey/Thomas/Kamara on this slate. Cam Newton was bad against the Browns in his last game and he hasn’t been elite over the last two weeks.
There is a narrative here for the Panthers, though. Carolina needs to win out for a chance at the playoffs and New Orleans does provide a solid matchup, at least in theory.
I’m not really buying it, though. The Saints have actually been quite good on defense for most of the year and the Panthers have regressed in that department. This is a game the Saints will want just as badly and I think they end up getting due to Brees and MT finally hooking up at an elite rate again.
McCaffrey is an elite piece of the puzzle, but you could consider dropping to Kamara or Ingram to put out an elite trio of Saints options. I just like C-Mac is the best overall fantasy weapon on this slate, so I definitely want to roster him in some regard.
That’s my take for tonight’s NFL DFS action. Whether you use this lineup as it stands or just a couple of my NFL DFS picks, I wish you luck. Enjoy the game!