Here's hoping these showdown slates have more than 13 points like the Bears-Packers did on Thursday night. Throughout the season, I will be looking at the Sunday Night and Monday Night Showdown slates to look for values, past matchup history, or anything else that I feel may be useful for you in making your showdown lineups. If you are looking for Thursday Night Showdown analysis, James Adams and I cover that each week in a weekly podcast that will be posted by Tuesday Night. Search for Fantistics My Fantasy Fix on podcast listening devices such as iTunes, Google, Spotify, Anchor, Stitcher, and others. If you have read my Wednesday Updates for Golf, this is going to be the format I use for these games. Simple notes, maybe an in-depth note once in a while, for each game. (All options I am considering are price-considered for a one-lineup approach).
Monday Night #1: Texans vs Saints
- Both teams were Top 3 (Houston #1, New Orleans #3) in DVOA Rush Defense, while both were bottom half against the pass in 2018. Finally, both teams struggled against the Top 2 opposing receivers, with both being in the bottom 3 against #1 WRs. Not that you need a reason to play Michael Thomas (10,000) and DeAndre Hopkins (10,600), but there you go.
- New Orleans was also Bottom 4 vs pass-catching RBs. Duke Johnson (7,200) would be an ideal play with that DVOA and pass-catching ability. I suspect he will be quite popular at this price, and wouldn't be surprised to see him as a popular captain.
- Houston was Bottom 10 vs the TE. Jared Cook (6,800) feels expensive to me, but matchup is nice.
- Drew Brees had 25 touchdowns in nine home games in 2018. We know he is really comfortable in the dome. Pricing is softer for this game than usual, so the 10,200 price on him is a little lower than I would normally think.
- I have no interest in either defense. Ka'imi Fairbairn (3,200) is my kicker of choice. He averaged nearly 11 points in the eight road games, giving him over 3x value. He makes a nice bargain player.
- If you are really looking to go cheap, you could look at Carlos Hyde (2,000), but think he will be popular and the Saints stinginess against the run is a potential reason for me to fade. You can always look at Taysom Hill (1,600) as you know he will get more snaps than anyone wants to see at QB. Finally, Jordan Akins (600) looks to be the pass-catching TE for Houston, and is cheap enough that you could punt that spot.
Texans I will Consider: Duke Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, DeShaun Watson, Keke Coutee (if he plays, much cheaper option than Will Fuller), Ka'imi Fairbairn, Jordan Akins
Saints I will Consider: Michael Thomas, Drew Brees, Ted Ginn (Upside at 5,200 may fill out a roster), Taysom Hill.
Sunday Night #2: Broncos vs Raiders
- The Denver side of this game should be popular, as we really don't know what the Raiders are going to be like after all of the drama during the preseason with Antonio Brown. The weakness for Denver last year was they gave up production to running backs. While Denver should focus to stop Josh Jacobs (9,200), he still should be able to produce enough on the ground and through the air that he may be the top Oakland player. The price is high, but this doesn't feel like a slate where price is going to matter a lot.
- Oakland was last against the pass, being very weak against WR3 and TE. Even as a rookie, Noah Fant (4,800) is my favorite value due to Oakland's history of struggling to guard the TE position, and Joe Flacco's (10,000) history of prefering to throw to TE.
- This is feeling like a 4-2 or 5-1 lineup build for me, in favor of the Broncos. Despite that, I am not interested in playing the Denver Defense (5,200). They are too pricy for me and didn't produce in the two games against the Raiders a year ago.
- I think I prefer the WRs for Denver over the RBs. DaeSean Hamilton (4,000) may be in the best spot as the WR3, a weak spot for Oakland to defend. Hamilton averaged 9.5 targets a game in the final four games of the 2018 season. I know it's a different QB, but I still think he is a tremendous value with everything considered.
Broncos I will Consider: Joe Flacco, Noah Fant, DaeSean Hamilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Philip Lindsay
Raiders I will Consider: Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow (1,800 cheaper than Tyrell Williams)
Sunday Night: Steelers vs Patriots
- One of the advantages of doing the Friday Night Injury Report for Insider Football is taking a deeper look into injury situations. One that may fly under the radar is the Patriots TE situation. Benjamin Watson and Lance Kendricks are suspended for this game. This leaves the Patriots with two tight ends: Matt LaCosse (2,800) and Ryan Izzo (200). LaCosse is Questionable for this game. He represents my favorite value play below 3k in this matchup, but if he misses, I will have interest in Izzo at 200, as the only tight end. We would likely need a few catches or a touchdown for him to be worth using on the showdown slate, but it would be a risk worth taking, especially as Pittsburgh was 2nd worst in DVOA vs the TE in 2018.
- When the two teams met in December in Pittsburgh, the Steelers won 17-10. With offenses tending to be a little behidn defenses this early in the season, I actually don't think the defenses (Patriots 4,400, Steelers 3,600) are bad plays, though they feel a bit overpriced. In last year's matchup, each scored 7 fantasy points, so they may be better used as last roster position in cash games.
- If going the kicker route, Stephen Gostkowski (3,400) may be the best value. He averaged 9.6 fantasy points in road games last year, and was between 8 and 11 points in the last four games of the 2018 season and playoffs.
- Tom Brady has only faced the Steelers five times in Foxborough (4 Regular Season and 1 Postseason): He has thrown for no fewer than 3 touchdowns in those five matchups, including throwing for four in the last three regular season home matchups. Granted, 2015 was the last time they faced off in Foxborough.
- In his 12 career games vs New England, Ben Roethlisberger has only thrown for 3+ touchdowns twice: 2010 and 2013. He does have a decent history or racking up 300+ passing yards though.
- The one weakness New England showed in 2018 was that they were 22nd in DVOA vs Pass-Catching RBs. Jaylen Samuels only had two catches in the meeting last year, but had 142 yards on the ground. I tend to think this could be a James Conner game and would be my favorite Steeler to build around.
Steelers I will consider: Conner, McDonald/Moncrief/Washington (factoring in price, I think they are all around the same value). Possibly Roethlisberger (don't like his history) and Smith-Schuster (worried that's who NE takes out).
Patriots I will consider: Brady, Edelman (7 for 90 on 11 targets last year), Michel/White (I like discount on White, but really like Michel TD upside), LaCosse/Izzo, Gostkowski
Monday Night Games to be posted by Sunday Night