NO @ CIN – GAME TOTAL 54 (NO -5.5)
This contest between the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals features the highest implied total on DraftKings’ featured 11-game slate. Featuring a 54 point over/under, the Saints are favored by 5.5 points in this matchup and as a result, there are plenty of fantasy options to consider in this game.
Due to the positive matchups on both sides, there are a number of players that can be used to create a variety of roster combinations. What follows will hopefully help you comb through some of the data to make solid lineup selections.
Before reviewing the possible fantasy options in this game, just a couple of quick notes about the data included in this write-up.
All the data included in this article is provided courtesy of FantasyData.com. All points allowed, points scored, and pricing is based on DraftKings (DK) data. In addition, all positional rankings and rankings for points allowed to each position is based on a points per game basis.
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the fantasy relevant players in this game.
DraftKings Points Allowed to QBs – NO 27.5 (2nd); CIN 26.7 (4th)
New Orleans: Drew Brees, $6300 (QB5)
Drew Brees is this week’s 3rd highest priced quarterback on DraftKings. He’s coming off an impressive showing last week against the Rams in which he scored 34.4 DK points and completed 26 of 36 passes for 346 passing yards and 4 touchdowns.
On the season, Brees is averaging 26.6 completions, 34.9 attempts, 292.0 passing yards, 2.25 touchdowns, 0.1 interceptions, and 24.3 DK points per game. Brees also has two rushing TDs on the year which both occurred in Week 3 against Atlanta.
At the midpoint of the season, Brees has thrown at least 2 TD passes in six out of eight games and 3 or more TD passes in four out of eight. He also has four games with 30.0 or more DK points, but also has two with 8.6 or less.
While Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, his fantasy production has not been as good on the road as it has been at home within the cozy confines of the Superdome. The table below shows Brees’ Home/Road splits this season.
Although Brees is certainly talented enough to put significant fantasy points in any game, dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season, he has played eight games on the road in outdoor stadiums. In these games, he is only averaging 22.5 completions, 32.1 attempts, 240.2 passing yards, 1.25 TDs, 0.25 INTs, and 16.5 DK points per game. In addition, according to Sharp Football Stats, in the Saints four home games this season, their run:pass ratio has been 60.0% pass and 40% run. In their four road games, it has been 51.5% pass and 48.5% run.
Despite his poor track record on the road, luckily Brees is set to take on a Bengals defense that is currently allowing the 4th most DK points to the position at 26.7 DK points per game. On the season, they have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 23.5 or more fantasy points in seven out of eight games.
Cincinnati: Andy Dalton, $5800 (QB18)
At $5800, Andy Dalton is this week’s 8th highest priced quarterback. Coming off their bye, Dalton and the Bengals are set to face the Saints as 5.5 point home underdogs.
Over the first eight games this season, Dalton is averaging 23.1 completions, 36.5 attempts, 262.8 passing yards, 2.1 TDs, 1.0 INT, and 19.3 DK points per game. He has thrown for two or more touchdowns in six out of eight games and has scored at least 17.0 DK points in each of those contests.
However, after scoring more than 21.0 fantasy points in three out of the first four games, his production has recently dropped off and he has only reached 20.0 fantasy points one time in the Bengals past four matchups.
While Dalton’s season-long averages are respectable, the Bengals are currently dealing with a number of injuries on both sides of the ball. The one that may affect Dalton the most from a fantasy perspective is an injury to stand out wide receiver A.J. Green. Earlier in the week, it was announced that Green is dealing with a toe injury and although he will not need surgery, he has already been ruled out for Sunday. Pass catching running back Giovani Bernard is close to returning, but as of Friday he was listed as questionable.
The good news is that Dalton will be taking on the Saints pass defense which is currently allowing the 2nd most point DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks at 27.5 per game. This season, the Saints have allowed every quarterback they have faced to score at least 15.0 or more fantasy points and five have scored 24.5 or more. Dalton still has weapons such as Tyler Boyd at his disposal and wide receiver John Ross practiced fully this week and is scheduled to return after missing three of the last four games.
Although there are a few factors working against Dalton in this matchup (namely injuries), we probably shouldn’t remove him from consideration entirely considering the high over/under in this game and due to the fact that the Bengals will most likely need to pass quite a bit in this game in order to keep pace with a potent Saints offense.
DraftKings Points Allowed to RBs – NO 20.3 (26th); CIN 30.4 (7th)
New Orleans: Alvin Kamara, $8700 (RB3); Mark Ingram, $4500 (RB22)
Saints running backs, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, present two interesting options on Sunday. Compared to last week, Kamara’s price has increased by $1400 while Ingram’s has dropped by $500.
In last week’s matchup with the Rams, Kamara went off for 33.6 DK points by posting a 19-82-2 rushing line and a receiving stat line of 4-34-1. Conversely, Kamara’s backfield partner Mark Ingram had his worst outing since returning from suspension. Against the Rams, Ingram only carried the ball 9 times for 33 yards and pulled in 1 reception for 3 yards which was good for a measly 3.6 DK points. To make matters worse, Ingram also lost a fumble in the second quarter and appeared to slightly injure his arm on the play.
Based on how last week’s matchup against the Rams unfolded as the game wore on, it’s hard to know whether Ingram’s poor outing was based on game flow, Kamara studding out, being put in Peyton’s doghouse for fumbling, or dealing with a minor injury. Truth be told, it was probably some mixture of all the above.
Nevertheless, this week’s game against the Bengals offers an opportunity for both Kamara and Ingram to put up decent fantasy numbers. This season, Cincinnati is allowing the 7th most points to running backs at 30.7 per game. They have allowed four opposing running backs to score 24.0 or more DK points. This group includes Christian McCaffrey (24.4), Kenyan Drake (24.5), James Conner (31.9), and Kareem Hunt (37.1). With the exception of Hunt, the first three backs in this list are all inside the Top 10 in total passing targets which bodes well for Kamara who is currently ranked third.
Based on Ingram’s price, however, he shouldn’t be overlooked due to the Saints propensity to score points. Ingram is averaging 14.5 touches per game and if New Orleans gets out to a big lead, the Saints could lean on Ingram in the rushing game. As was noted earlier, the Saints have a run-pass ratio of 51.5% pass to 48.5% run on the road compared to 60% pass and 40% run when at home which puts both of these backs into play this weekend.
Cincinnati: Joe Mixon, $7700 (RB10); Giovani Bernard Q, $4500 (RB17)
Prior to the Bengals bye last week, Joe Mixon had his best game of the year against Tampa Bay in Week 8. In that contest, Mixon scored 31.8 DK points while rushing the ball 21 times for 123 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. He also brought in three receptions for 15 yards.
Although Mixon missed two games with a knee injury, he has scored 18.0 or more DK points in four of six games and has scored a total of five touchdowns. He is also a factor in the passing game and averages 4.7 targets per game. With A.J. Green already ruled out for Sunday, perhaps Mixon can pick up a few additional targets in this game which would provide him with an opportunity to score fantasy points despite a tough matchup against a stout New Orleans run defense.
As has already been noted, Cincinnati is currently dealing with a number of injuries on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Although Giovani Bernard has missed the past four games with a knee injury, he is listed as questionable for Sunday.
According to Rotowire the Bengals currently have six players already ruled out for this weekend, and there simply isn’t room for Bernard on Week 10’s inactive list. While that might be the case, he is a high risk play given his injury status and Mixon’s predominant role as the primary ball carrier. That said, with A.J. Green already ruled out, if Bernard is active for Sunday’s game, perhaps he could offer some value in the passing game as a deep GPP flyer. However, if you are considering Bernard, you will definitely want to keep an eye on his availability prior to kick off.
Despite Mixon’s success this season, he and Bernard (if active) will have a tough test in front of them against the Saints defense which is currently allowing the 7th fewest DK points to running backs at 20.3 per game. This season, they have only allowed two 20.0 games and just held Todd Gurley to 19.9 DK points which was his lowest fantasy total of the season.
DraftKings Points Allowed to WRs – NO 55.5 (1st); CIN 45.3 (5th)
New Orleans: Michael Thomas, $8100 (WR2); Tre’Quan Smith, $4600 (WR88)
Last week, Michael Thomas exploded for 42.1 DK points and had the signature play of the game in the 4th quarter when he took a 72 yard pass to the house to help the Saints seal the victory over the Rams. Thomas finished the day with 12 receptions on 15 targets, 211 passing yards, and a touchdown.
Michael Thomas is the clear alpha in the Saints wide receiver corps and his situation might have just been solidified even further. Earlier this week, New Orleans signed former Cowboys receiver, Dez Bryant, to a one year contract. Unfortunately for New Orleans, Bryant’s season is already over before it began as it was reported that he tore his Achilles tendon at practice on Friday. To make matters worse, the Saints also placed Cameron Meredith on injured reserve on Thursday. At the moment, that pretty much leaves Thomas and rookie Tre’Quan Smith as the only real options on the outside. Both Thomas and Smith’s season-long averages can be seen in the table below.
With such a short list of healthy bodies at the wide receiver position, Smith may see more targets coming his way but head coach Sean Peyton may opt to continue using Alvin Kamara in the passing game as well. Surely, the Saints will be back in the wide receiver market following this game, but for now, they are certainly thin at the position.
That said, this week’s matchup provides a good opportunity for Thomas and Smith as Cincinnati is currently allowing the 5th most points to opposing wide receivers at 45.3 DK points per game. Through the first eight games, the Bengals have allowed seven different wide receivers to score more than 20.0 DK points. This group includes Julio Jones (29.3), Calvin Ridley (21.5), Mohamed Sanu (20.1), Antonio Brown (24.5), JuJu Smith-Schuster (23.1), Tyreek Hill (20.6), and Mike Evans (32.9). The team totals for each of the Bengals opponents is shown in the table below (players are listed in order from most to least DK points scored in each game).
Thomas is certainly on par with these receivers and could be in line for another big day. Smith is also in play due to the lack of other options on the Saints roster at the wide receiver position but is best suited for GPPs.
Cincinnati: Tyler Boyd, $7500 (WR12); John Ross, $3900 (WR107); Alex Erickson, $3400 (WR144)
Much like the Saints, the Bengals are dealing with a number of injuries in the passing game and are down to only a few players at the wide receiver position. As was noted earlier, earlier this week the Bengals announced that stud receiver A.J. Green would be out for at least one to two games while dealing with a toe injury. On the season, Green has averaged 9.5 targets per game which opens the door for the remaining healthy wideouts to earn an opportunity to step up and fill this void.
The Bengals will most likely need to pass frequently in this game if they hope to keep pace with the Saints potent offensive attack. Of the remaining wideouts on the Bengals roster, the most obvious fantasy consideration is Tyler Boyd. This season, Boyd has seen an average of 8.3 targets per game working out of the slot and has scored 21.0 or more DK points in five out of eight games.
Other options for this weekend will also include speedster John Ross and Alex Erickson. Although Ross has missed three of the last four games due to injury, he practiced fully this week and is expected to play on Sunday. Erickson’s normal role is as a special teamer, but he has seen an average of 2.8 targets over the past five games and will also be asked to run routes this weekend. The season-long averages for each of these players is shown below, but both of these receivers are best suited for use in GPP contests.
Over their first eight games, the Saints pass defense is giving up the most DraftKings points to opposing wide receivers at 55.0 per game. They have allowed some huge individual performances to opposing wide receivers this year. This group includes DeSean Jackson (34.6), Mike Evans (30.7), Calvin Ridley (43.5), Sterling Shepard (25.7), John Brown (29.4), Stefon Diggs (30.9), Adam Thielen (26.8), and Brandin Cooks (26.4). To help illustrate this even further, the table below shows the team totals for each of the Saints opponents (players are listed in order from most to least DK points scored in each game).
DraftKings Points Allowed to TEs – NO 9.2 (26th); CIN 17.9 (3rd)
New Orleans: Benjamin Watson, $3400 (TE21)
One week after logging a 0.0 point performance against the Vikings in Week 8, Watson turned around and put up 15.2 DK points against the Rams while pulling in 3 receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. Other than the contest against the Vikings, Watson has received at least 3 targets in every game and has six games with 4 or more. Over this same span, Watson has scored 8.4 or more DK points in four games and over 12.1 in three of four. Watson’s season long averages can be seen in the table below.
On the season, the Bengals are allowing the 3rd most points to tight ends at 17.9 per game. Given the Saints injury woes at the wide receiver position, Watson could be asked to play a slightly larger role and offers some upside given the positive matchup and high implied point total in this contest.
Cincinnati: C.J. Uzomah, $3700 (TE33)
On the opposite side of the field, C.J. Uzomah finds himself with a difficult matchup this weekend as the Saints are allowing the 7th fewest points to opposing tight ends at 9.2 per game. Although Uzomah is the Bengals only healthy pass catching tight end, he is a significantly more risky play than Ben Watson. Uzomah’s season-long totals are shown below.
While the Saints have defended opposing TEs well this season, given the target volume vacated by A.J. Green’s injury, perhaps a few more targets could come Uzomah’s way. That said, Uzomah is only averaging 5.9 DK points per contest and is only seeing an average of 2.9 targets per game. Furthermore, in the Bengals eight games, Uzomah has only received more than two targets in three of those contests. As a result of his sporadic target volume, Uzomah is best suited for use in GPPs.
GAME STACK CONSIDERATIONS
New Orleans: Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith (GPPs), and Ben Watson
Cincinnati: Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard (If Active – GPPs), Tyler Boyd, John Ross (GPPs), Alex Erickson (GPPs), and C.J. Uzomah (GPPs)
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