With Sunday NFL Main slates about to fall off a cliff after the next three weeks, there will be increasing attention on Showdown NFL slates, especially with more featured primetime games leading up to (and through) the postseason.
And Monday Night Football, for those of you not as versed in Showdown Single Game entries, is an excellent platform to begin making a winning opportunity out of this particular game type. With playoff seeding implications on the line for the New Orleans Saints, along with the prayers of Indianapolis faithful on the outside looking into the postseason picture, there’s plenty of reason for both sides in this matchup to play fired up on every down.
Let’s take a look at a few plays we can forge our roster construction around from a variety of angles anticipatory of game flow…
Jacoby Brissett, QB, IND ($9,000/$13,500 Capt.)
The Colts have a very slim chance of eking their way into the playoffs this season, but if they’re going to have any semblance of a shot at doing so, it’s going to go through Jacoby Brissett. Having a three-to-one touchdown/interception ratio for the season is a promising start to the stance of playing him, though he could have a difficult time with a New Orleans defense ranking ninth overall in Defensive DVOA (ranking via Football Outsiders).
Brissett has only thrown for over 300 yards on three occasions this season (all home games: ATL, HOU, TEN) and rushed for 167 yards year (15th overall of any starting quarterbacks). To literally and proverbially add insult to injury, the Colts receiving corps is beat up to the tune of a Questionable status for T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron essentially walking away from the team mid-season. This leaves Zach Pascal, Jack Doyle, and a battered Marlon Mack.
However, this Saints defense stacks up equally against the rush in comparison to the pass, sitting 10th overall in DVOA per Defensive Efficiency Rankings. And despite a lack of consistent quality targets for the Colts on a weekly basis, Jacoby Brissett would almost assuredly be necessary under the given circumstances in order for the Colts to make this competitive and keep their playoff hopes [slim but] alive.
Latavius Murray, RB, NO ($5,600/$8,400 Capt.)
2019 has seen a slight decline in production for Alvin Kamara, while his volume is pretty much what it was from last season on a per game average. Yet Latavius Murray has exceeded expectations and proving he’s still very much got it.
Part of the reason for this expectation for level of output was that people were uncertain of whether Murray would fill in as change-of-pace to the extent of Mark Ingram in his Saints tenure. Fast-forward to Week 15, where Murray is receiving 50-70% of the total number of Kamara’s carries, and much of that stemming from the necessity of the matchup.
The Colts are 20th against the rush per DVOA rankings and fare worse against power backs as opposed to passing-play running backs. With a discounted price in contrast to Kamara’s salary, vulture goal line touches, as well as [in all likelihood] less ownership, Latavius Murray is a great pivot option for those of us electing to fade Kamara at all.
Marcus Johnson, WR, IND ($5,200/$7,800 Capt.)
For several of you out there, I’m almost positive there’s at least a handful of you who hadn’t hardly known of Marcus Johnson all but maybe once until now. And no offense to the guy, but rightfully so.
With T.Y. Hilton potentially sidelined once again, Marcus Johnson may be in for a much bigger workload as he saw in recent weeks, where in Week 14 he was targeted seven times and chalked up 105 receiving yards and a touchdown on three receptions.
The Colts will likely be playing from behind and should be throwing the ball a larger number of times. Pascal may be contained early and often but Marcus Johnson stands in line to gain here, and not just by default.
Taysom Hill, QB, NO ($2,000/$3,000 Capt.)
Although he’s listed as a quarterback by cause of the positional depth chart, he’s much more so the Swiss Army Knife of offensive gadgetry for New Orleans, and as of late he’s be getting worked into the mix at a significantly higher rate. And thankfully for the Showdown format on DraftKings, everyone is technically a Flex player, so you’re able to roster two quarterbacks from the same team each time (when in actuality he functions on the field like a WR/RB/TE)
His targets have risen year-over-year from seven in 2018 to 17 in 2019 and four touchdowns this season to none last year. For such a cheap price and low ownership in combination with his versatile upside that can hit value from a variety of angles, Taysom Hill may be a Captain candidate as well.
Drew Brees, QB, NO ($12,000/$18,000 Capt.)
And now for the actual quarterback who should be starting for the Saints the majority of the time (unless Sean Payton has something else in mind, which who in the hell knows with him), Drew Brees has been picking up a lot of steam as of late having just come off a five-touchdown/no-interception performance against a Niners secondary ranking in the top two teams against the pass per DVOA.
While I could see the Saints smashing the ball plenty with Murray and Kamara in this outing, I believe a raucous home crowd and the need to retain the best seeding possible in the NFC Playoffs is enough added incentive for the veteran Saints quarterback to fire the ball himself more than enough times to achieve value.
The one deterrent here is if this game starts to blowout and we see more of the Taysom Hill/Lat Murray/Kamara gadgetry just to tack on the points for a night cap, but that’s just a minimal outlier risk. And even if said instance did happen, there’s a high potential that it was in part to Brees’ arm that they got to a blowout in the first place.