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Monday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Seahawks vs. Saints

Did you see the weather in that San Francisco-Indianapolis game from Sunday night? The weather here probably won't be that bad, but a similar theme of persistent rain and pesky wind could apply here as the Saints head to Seattle. As the 30-18 result Sunday shows, it's still possible to score points in bad conditions. The turnovers increase and it generally becomes more difficult to conduct passing plays that might otherwise be routine, but rain can be perilous for a defense too, especially the longer a play goes on. Perhaps the rain and wind will make the ball flutter or fly inaccurately, but a wet field can also make a defender lose his footing more easily, especially if has to cover a wide receiver for more than a few seconds.

With that said, the over/under here has gone from 44 (NO -3.5) to 41.5 (NO -4). For the Saints the rain is the only especially novel detail about this game, but the Seahawks are navigating the additional complication of Russell Wilson's absence, which leaves them with Geno Smith as starter and explains their home underdog status here.

QUARTERBACKS

Jameis Winston ($11800 DK, $16500 FD) might be gaffe-prone and he's not tested in inclement weather, but he warrants serious consideration even at his high cost simply because the pickings might be so slim elsewhere on this slate. That and the fact that the Seattle defense just doesn't have good corners, especially other than D.J. Reed. As long as Taysom Hill is out with injury then Winston has notable fantasy upside, and to whatever degree he might be turnover-prone in this matchup it's not as high of a risk as his opponent Geno Smith ($9400 DK, $14000 FD).


Like with Winston you don't need to convince yourself Smith will be good to justify including him on your roster. The alternatives are few and obscure, and it's possible that relatively low-scoring players might end up on the cashing lineups just because of the game's quirks. With that said, this looks ugly for Smith. He might need a little luck in general and in specifically the form of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett making contested catches, creating big yardage after the catch, etc. Smith is limited to start with before considering weather, and let's not forget that the Saints defense is tough, or at least much better than Seattle's.

RUNNING BACKS

Alvin Kamara ($12800 DK, $16000 FD) might be mega-chalk on a one-game slate with its options trimmed further by weather considerations. He might be necessary all the same, because he might see twice as many touches from scrimmage as any other player in this game. It's not just that Chris Carson (neck) is out for Seattle – Alex Collins ($7400 DK, $12000 FD) is questionable with a groin issue, and even if he plays he might see his workload complicated slightly by the potential return of Rashaad Penny ($2600 DK, $10000 FD). The Saints have no viable backups to Kamara, ensuring he very rarely leaves the field, and the usually fruitful Seattle backfield might see a horizontal distribution of usage rather than one or two clearly optimal targets.

If Collins is out then it's possible that Penny takes the lead in the Seattle backfield. At his price he figures to be quite popular, though those looking to fade Penny might to then consider another Seattle running back or two, because Pete Carroll won't be eager to air it out in this one. Deejay Dallas ($5200 DK, $9000 FD) gets most of the base passing formation snaps over Travis Homer($2400 DK, $8000 FD), but Homer is capable in his own right and is likely the better pure runner of the two.

Devine Ozigbo ($1400 DK, $5000 FD) appears to be the only backup to Kamara, so he's worth some thought regardless of whether he's any good. It's bleak to think about but if Kamara misses any snaps, Ozigbo might get them. It might have to be him or Ty Montgomery ($1200 DK).

WIDE RECEIVERS + TIGHT ENDS

DK Metcalf ($15000 DK, $13500 FD) is worth serious consideration despite the weather. As Michael Pittman showed Sunday, it's not necessarily easier to cover a big jumpball receiver in the rain. It's harder to turn and look for the ball while maintaining your footing as a defender, and it's harder to jump or even reach without losing the ground underneath you. Metcalf is a huge target and one who can easily run for a long touchdown if a defender slips even slightly. Tyler Lockett($13500 DK, $11500 FD) probably carries more risk due to his smaller build, which limits his downfield effectiveness in the context of inaccurate quarterback play. Lockett does have a kick returner background and shouldn't be written off as a YAC threat, though. On a day where we expect the Seahawks to simply the offense and stick to the ground as much as possible we might have more interest in Seattle's tight ends than Seattle's secondary wide receivers. Freddie Swain($3000 DK, $6000 FD), Penny Hart ($900 DK, $5500 FD) and Phillip Dorsett ($300 DK, $5000 FD) don't need to do much to justify their prices, but they all carry the goose-egg risk, especially the latter two. Gerald Everett ($6600 DK, $6000 FD) should rarely leave the field as the Seahawks prepare to run, and both he and Will Dissly ($5100 DK, $6500 FD) could slip past the defense for a timely big play off the playaction. They both can run after the catch a bit, too. Their cost anticipates their utility in this setting, but don't just scroll past Everett or Dissly.

On the New Orleans side it might be more difficult to capitalize on the pass catchers. The Saints seemingly remake their depth chart at receiver each week, and aside from Marquez Callaway($12900 DK, $10500 FD) it's not clear who might play especially much at receiver, let alone actually produce. Deonte Harris is out, creating more room for a downfield target like Kenny Stills ($2400 DK, $5500 FD), and Stills could indeed be a worthwhile pick as a result. The tight end committee of Juwan Johnson ($3300 DK, $7000 FD) and Adam Trautman ($2700 DK, $5500 FD) are probably the safer bets, though, because like the Seahawks the Saints know they need to be able to run the ball in this game, and putting both Trautman and Johnson on the field gives the Saints more bulk at the point of attack. Ty Montgomery ($1200 DK, $6500 FD) could get involved at receiver too and is interesting for the fact that he is an open-field specialist if nothing else. But we should also remember Montgomery is a former running back – perhaps the Saints add someone other than Ozigbo at running back, but if Kamara or Ozigbo miss any snaps then the Saints might need to make Montgomery the next running back in line. Lil'Jordan Humphrey ($200 DK) is someone to consider if active, if only because he provides so much cap relief in what might be a low-scoring slate. Humphrey might be something like Johnson's backup, however, so understand the goose egg is likely.

KICKERS

The rain and wind is not a welcome development for kickers. It makes kicking tougher, and it generally makes coaches more hesitant to call in the field goal team, especially the longer the distance of the kick. Still, Joey Slye and Michael Badgley were able to nail a couple good-looking field goals yesterday, so it's not impossible for a kicker to pay off in these conditions. It should be noted, though, and Slye and Badgley both stopped at the six-point mark in Sunday's tsunami game. Jason Myers ($6000 DK, $8500 FD) is the guy for Seattle though for New Orleans it's not clear whether it will be Will Lutz ($5700 DK, $9500 FD) or Brian Johnson ($5700 DK, $8500 FD). The Saints have to activate Lutz from IR to use him here, so if they don't activate him then it will have to be Johnson who handles the kicks for the Saints.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

The Saints ($8700 DK) would have been a conventionally attractive single-slate pick just from the Wilson absence alone, so throwing in the weather conditions might make them more appealing yet. Geno Smith is turnover-prone and unlikely to offset his turnover tendency by threatening the Saints much from scrimmage. If the Saints can just contain DK Metcalf there's reason to believe they can shut down this Seattle offense and send it spiraling downward with sacks and turnovers if forced to play catch-up.

The Seahawks ($4200 DK) would be less appealing if not for the weather – they're bad against both the run and the pass, and there isn't much pass rush or turnover potential to speak of. The Saints offensive line generally plays well, so if the Seahawks get turnovers from Jameis Winston it might have to occur by great coverage or a slipped throw rather than the pass rush hurrying Winston.

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