Week five in the NFL was pretty ridiculous. Isaiah Crowell popped off for 219 rushing yards against the Denver Broncos. That’s probably all you really need to know.
The chalk didn’t deliver as expected in a lot of spots, which serves as another reminder that you need to look for logical, contrarian paths to success. That, or you just need to enter a bunch of different teams you like into FanDuel tournaments.
The main issue is the possibilities seem endless in the NFL. You can pick 1-2 correct chalk plays, but then botch the rest. You can try and fail with five sleepers and then hit that one gem. Somewhere in the middle if the perfect combination and leaning on hindsight can drive you insane.
Going into Monday night’s battle between the Redskins and Saints, I’m just going away from the chalk completely. The Saints are at home and they’re supposed to win. Maybe this game is a shootout or maybe New Orleans wins big. Either way, you don’t need me to tell you Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara have amazing upside.
If you’re playing FanDuel’s Monday Night Football showdown slate, nine out of 10 lineups should have some combination of that trio, or pivot as needed and also consider cramming Mark Ingram (back from suspension) in. For tonight’s showdown lineup, however, I’m going full contrarian.
You don’t need to use this lineup as it stands. Just hear my NFL DFS strategy out and use my picks at your own leisure:
MVP (x1.5 points): Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins ($13k)
I am admittedly taking a big risk here, assuming that Smith can actually take some chances on the road in an explosive environment. This could be a huge statement game for the Redskins and if Smith isn’t conservative, there’s a chance he could blow up against a Saints pass defense that has really struggled in 2018 (31st against quarterbacks).
Smith has flashed the upside he offered in 2017 already, posting 17+ fantasy points twice in three starts. He’s yet to truly go nuts, though, and if ever there was a time to roll the dice on his potential, Monday may be it.
FLEX: Paul Richardson, WR, Washington Redskins ($9k)
Josh Doctson is either going to be out or limited for this one, so I love the idea of Smith attacking the Saints with two explosive slot weapons in Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder. Richardson can kill you over the middle or deep down the field and so far the Saints (dead last versus wide receivers) haven’t held opposing passing games in check.
Richardson has the big play ability to make the Saints play. Whether Washington strikes early and shocks everyone or ends up throwing all day en route to padde stats, I like their entire passing game.
FLEX: Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins ($9.5k)
You can also take a look at tight end Jordan Reed in this one, but he’s a little pricier and the Saints actually rank tops against tight ends on the year. You shouldn’t always fade guys just because of rankings, but that’s clearly a bit concerning. Reed is still a fine play, but I love the idea of just stacking both of Smith’s top two wide receivers with him tonight.
FLEX: Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins ($12k)
Chris Thompson is going to be a pretty popular play tonight, but FanDuel does not reward PPR production like DraftKings does. Because of that, this is more of a touchdown man’s game and if CT can’t find the end-zone, chances are he could be a bust tonight.
Peterson (3 TDs so far in 2018) can certainly do that and he absolutely will be out for blood as he takes on the team that signed and later traded him away in 2017. Peterson has displayed the ability to grind out tough yardage and short scores so far this year and I won’t put revenge out of his mind at all.
Is he going to come in and flat out dominate the Saints (6th vs. RBs)? I doubt it, but he’s a solid lock for 50-60 total yards and will get opportunities to score. If he can punch it in once or twice I think he’ll prove to be one of the better rushing options in this contest.
FLEX: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints ($15.5k)
I think there’s merit in stacking the Redskins in hopes they surprise the Saints, strike early and build an early lead and then hold on as Drew Brees and company rack up stats in a comeback. That, or we just get a shootout and Brees doesn’t connect with the usual suspects quite as much as some would hope.
One way or another, however, fading Brees at a discount compared to MT and Kamara feels like a mistake. I still don’t love the matchup (Washington ranks 2nd versus fantasy passers), but Brees is at home and usually wrecks here. He’ll get his numbers, regardless of how this game plays out.
I’m not saying this lineup will for sure win. If I knew that I’d enter thousands of games and race to the cash. Still, you need to take bold stances to win big in tournaments and I like this strategy.
Fading Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas doesn’t feel good, but Kamara has been banged up and could lose some touches with Mark Ingram back. Thomas has to deal with Josh Norman and Washington’s #1 pass defense, so at least for the moment, going against these guys isn’t totally crazy.
On the flip side, the Redskins have looked solid enough through three games and the matchup against a spotty Saints pass defense on turf opens things up for their speedy receivers.
This could go horribly wrong, or Monday could be a ton of fun. Feel free to slide in MT, Kamara or Ingram as you see fit, but I like this lineup for GPPs at FanDuel tonight.
I’m also looking at guys like Maurice Harris and perhaps Cameron Meredith. Injuries to the aforementioned Doctson and Ted Ginn Jr. could free those guys up for some solid production and in turn allow you to spend big on another stud for your team.