Week 1 Monday Night Slate
New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings (Saints -2, O/U 47.5)
BEST: Michael Thomas; Mark Ingram
Michael Thomas is going to get the Vikings number one corner back, Xavier Rhodes, but I am not too worried. Thomas is the go to receiver now for Drew Brees and will be littered with targets tonight. He got 115 last season and that was with Brandon Cooks there. Mark Ingram should still get a heavy workload even with Adrian Peterson joining the mix. I am concerned about who will be getting the goal line work. However, Ingram should still be effective catching the ball out of the backfield.
WORST: Adrian Peterson
I am hesitant to use Adrian Peterson tonight without really knowing his role in the offense. In addition, he has slowed down and did not look very good last season. He is still one of the greatest running backs of all time, so I won’t fault you if you play him.
HIGH RISK/HIG REWARD: Ted Ginn
Ted Ginn was already going to be the number two wide receivers in this offense. But now that Willie Snead is out of the mix with a suspension, he has it completely locked up. I liked Ginn last season as he did well in spots. He will be Drew Brees’s new favorite deep threat, in an offense that loves to throw the ball. I could see him having a big game tonight.
BEST: Stefon Diggs; Kyle Rudolph
These are my two favorite plays of the night for the Vikings. Diggs showed us what kind of ceiling games he can have last season scoring 21, 22, and 32 DraftKings points three weeks in a row in November. He should be able to get some chunks of yards against the Saints defense and will be peppered with targets. Rudolph will be the most popular tight end on the slate for a reason. He had 11 games last year with double digit DK points. In addition, he got 124 targets and scored 7 touchdowns as Bradford’s favorite weapon.
WORST: Minnesota running backs
Rookie Dalvin Cook makes his debut tonight versus the Saints. I think he will be more popular than he should be, especially with the success of other rookie running backs this past weekend. Although he is in a good spot versus the Saints defense, I am in a wait and see. He is $5900 on DK, over $1000 more than C.J. Anderson or Ingram. I would prefer to pay down for one of them and spend elsewhere. I have no real interest in Jerick McKinnon either.
HIGH RISK/HIG REWARD: Adam Thielen
Thielen had some good games last year, including a 12 catch, 202-yard performance with two touchdowns at Green Bay at the end of season. The problem is he also disappeared for several games. I think he is in a good spot and should have lower ownership than Diggs. With receiver being the most volatile position, it is a good place to be different on short slates.
Denver Broncos vs L.A. Chargers (Broncos -3, O/U 42)
BEST: C.J. Anderson
Anderson is only $4600 on DraftKings tonight after coming back from season ending injury. This seems very low to me, as his price got up to $7200 at one-point last year. He should see a healthy dose of carries even with Jamal Charles lurking behind him. I don’t see Charles taking too much work from him.
WORST: Tight Ends
Virgil Green and Jeff Heuerman are the two Broncos tight ends. I don’t see any reason you need to go there tonight with better options on the board. Even though on short slates it is good to get different in spots, I don’t see either one of them outscoring Rudolph, Hunter Henry, Antonio Gates or Coby Fleener.
HIGH RISK/HIG REWARD: Emmanuel Sanders
If using only one of the Broncos receivers I would rather play Sanders than Demaryius Thomas. He is $1000 less expensive with the same upside. I don’t hate Thomas either, but I don’t see the Broncos slinging the ball around if they can get the running game going.
BEST: Melvin Gordon
The Broncos defense were better against the pass than the run last season. If the Chargers stick with the running game, they should be able to move the ball against them. Gordon proved last year he is a work horse back. He had 240 carries in only 11 games last season to go along with eight rushing touchdowns. This should be a close game and Gordon will be a big part of the plan to keep it close.
WORST: Philip Rivers and the passing attack
The Broncos defense however is very good against the pass. They should be able to control the passing game at home in Denver. Unless you are really trying to go off the board for lower ownership, the Chargers passing attack is not one I will be targeting.
HIGH RISK/HIG REWARD: Hunter Henry
It is only a matter of time before Henry becomes the full time tight end in LA. The thing that concerns me is Antonio Gates still only being one touchdown away from the record. Gates may get more goal line work than he deserves at this point in his career, usurping from Henry. But Henry will be the main target for Rivers, especially if the Broncos shut down the outside.
Drew Brees and Sam Bradford are the two main quarterbacks to use tonight. Maybe Mark Semien if you want to get weird. I would pair them with at least one wide receiver if not two. You can also pair Bradford with a wide-out and Kyle Rudolph.
It’s mostly the Broncos defense for me. Though I don’t mind the Chargers defense some. If you believe in the “opening of the new stadium” narrative, maybe the Vikings defense will be pumped and get a return td or a pick six versus Brees.
Playing single entry and three max entries are your best bet. Contests with 150 max entries are extremely hard to win alone on a two-game slate.