What’s up Karma Nation! Welcome back to another edition of my Monday Night Football Showdown Throwdown Article. I hope you had an amazing week 5 main slate. Let’s cap off week 5 with tons of green on this Monday Night Football slate! Make sure if you haven’t to subscribe to our NFL Core Plays. Showdowns are fun but make sure you get in on all our prop plays for these showdown slates. I usually run a prop cash play then GPPs for showdowns.
Showdown slates are different from normal slates and vary from site to site.
On DraftKings you have a CPT spot with a 1.5x multiplier, this is similar to FanDuel, the difference is the salary for the CPT scales 1.5x as well. On FanDuel, the MVP spot it does not. This will lead to more unique lineups and less ties for DraftKings compared to FanDuel. Which is one of the reasons why I prefer DraftKings showdown slates to FanDuel. On DraftKings you select five flex spots and one CPT, while on FanDuel you select four flex and one MVP.
The Saints are 7-point favorites tonight against the Bears. With a 49.5-point game total. There has been some line movement this morning. The Saints opened at 7.5-point favorites, moved to 9.5 mid-week, probably because Michael Thomas was supposed to play. Then Thomas gets ruled out and the line drops back to -7. The over/under opened at 52 and has moved to 49.5 points.
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Since Drew Brees has came back to San Diego/LA since leaving them in 2005, Brees has had the Chargers number in all three games. He is 3-0 in his career against the Chargers. While only being favorited in two of them. This will be the biggest spread he has going into the game against the Chargers with 7 points. Chargers rarely get blown out but they end up losing close games so expect the chargers to be able to cover tonight.
10/02/16: Saints: 35 Chargers: 34 Saints Spread: +3.5 O/U: 54
10/07/12: Saints: 31 Chargers: 24 Saints Spread: -3.5 O/U: 53
10/26/12: Saints: 37 Chargers: 32 Saints Spread: -3 O/U: 45.5
We have a battle between the young rising star and the old future hall of famer. Drew Brees was drafted by the Chargers in the second round of the 2001 NFL draft. He had a shoulder injury that forced him out of San Diego, leading to the Chargers drafting Philip Rivers. Since then Brees in 3-0 against the Chargers, while putting up over 30 points in all three games. Brees has averaged 305 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception in those games, while only being sacked five total times in three games. While Brees’ history has been amazing against the Chargers, he still will be coming into this game without Michael Thomas. He was able to take advantage of a bad defense last week against the Lions, but the Chargers lead to a much bigger problem to get this offense going. Week 2 he only had 189 air yards, week 3 168 air yards, and week 4 he had 235 air yards. While averaging 288 passing yards a game he is only averaging 197 air yards a game during the stretch without Michael Thomas. Last week was the first week we saw a high target share from the WRs compared to just throwing short to TEs and RBs. This correlates with the increase in air yards, but at the same time that was due to the defense they were playing against. He went from RBs and TEs having a 58% target share week 2, to a 61% target share in week 3, to only a 36% target share week 4. I am expecting this number to get back to 50%+ again tonight as Bress will struggle against the tough secondary for the Chargers. Normally you attack the Chargers in the short passing game and running game.
Justin Herbert has shown star potential in his short three game career. So far, he is averaging 310 passing yards a game, on a 72% completion rate. He has shown his rookie tendencies a lot. Only throwing 5 touchdowns, while throwing 3 interceptions and has taken six sacks. He has been able to get it done with his legs too, something Chargers fans aren’t used to. Averaging 15.7 rushing yards a game, on four attempts a game. He has already had to go up against two of the best QBs in the league, and matched their pace. Tonight, he goes up against another future hall of famer in Drew Brees. Starting 0-3 has helped his fantasy production as well. Game script has forced him to throw the ball more than Lynn probably would have liked. He is going up against one of the best run defenses and worst pass defenses in the league tonight, so he will be forced to throw the ball 30+ times again. Davenport, Lattimore, and Jenkins were all limited in practice this week, meaning I fully expect them to be back tonight. This will make Herbert’s job a little more difficult, but he will still have to do everything he can in the air to win this game.
The Saints have two options at running back, they are both heavily involved and both can be played in the same lineup. Alvin Kamara had a lot stolen from him last week. He was chalk and I am sure everyone was tilting the 64 yards and 2 touchdowns that Latavius Murray put up. Kamara has seen a lot more work in the red zone this season compared to last year and the year before, but Murray will always see a good amount of work in the red zone. The Chargers have been bad against running backs for the past three seasons and it looks like that won’t change anytime soon. Kamara only saw 4 targets last week, contrary to what everyone thought after being targeted 9 and 14 times the two games before without Michael Thomas. I am expecting him to get right back up to his 8+ target game tonight with the Chargers having a very stout defense. Brees could easily struggle to get anything going today and have to go right back to his old ways of dumping it off the Kamara in the back field and hope he can get something done in the open space. They are allowing the 5th most receptions to RBs a game with 7.5 receptions, on 10 targets a game. They have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, but I fully expect that to change tonight.
The Chargers will be without Austin Ekeler for the foreseeable future. The Chargers have always been known for having amazing backup running backs. I don’t expect the running game to halt too much with Joshua Kelly and Justin Jackson. They also signed Kallen Ballage, but I’m not expecting him to have much of a role though. Joshua Kelly has really taken over as the number two on this team instead of Justin Jackson. After Ekeler went down with a hamstring injury last Sunday against the Bucs, Kelley and Jackson had a 60/40 split in snaps; 30 for Kelly and 21 for Jackson. Neither was used as a true ball carrier or pass catching back. Jackson saw 9 routes and 6 rushes, while Kelley ran 13 routes and 9 rushes. Against the Saints I will probably be avoiding this mess at running back. If I had to guess, I would put Jackson as more of the passing down back and Kelley more as the running downs. For that reason, I would much rather have Jackson at $4400 than Kelley at $8200. The Chargers are 7 point underdogs tonight, and with how good the Saints are defending the run I expect Jackson to potentially outscore Kelley tonight.
Saints Pass Catchers
With Michael Thomas out, we have seen three guys step up; Tre’Quan Smith, Emmanuel Sanders, and Deonte Harris. Unfortunately, Harris has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. So, with Harris and Thomas out they will be looking for that third WR. We should expect to see an increase in snaps for Marquez Callaway and Bennie Fowler. The Saints ran 50% of their snaps with 3 WRs out there. Smith and Sanders have been splitting time in the slot so expect whoever gets more run to play a lot outside. Which is why my guess would be Callaway gets more run. You don’t need to force either of these guys if you don’t want to but they provide great salary relief if you wanted to fit Kamara in the cpt spot.
Jared Cook should be back tonight. TEs are another thing the Chargers have trouble dealing with. Mainly because they are so good on the outside, they force people to look at the TE and the short passing game. Which that is something Drew Brees will love. Cook seems to be overlooked every year, but always has sneaky fantasy upside. The Chargers are allowing the 10th most fantasy points to TEs this season (15.3).
Chargers Pass Catchers
Mike Williams has been limited in practice since not practicing on Thursday. He is questionable but I expect him to be able to play. Mike Williams should go back to his normal deep threat role and try to get behind the defense, similar to how Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson were about to do against the Bucs. Herbert hasn’t used his deep ball a ton but has connected on 5 of 12 attempts over 20 air yards for 172 yards and 4 touchdowns. While he doesn’t throw a ton deep, 12th in the league over the past 3 weeks, it does seem like when he does connect it is for a touchdown. Over the last two weeks they have allowed a 50 yard+ catch. Saints have allowed a couple completions deep every game except the Raiders game, so watch out for a deep ball to Williams. If Herbert can connect it could lead to a big game for Williams. Williams ranks 12th in the league in aDOT this year at 16.82 yards per target. He is a risk reward play tonight.
If you are looking for the safest option on the Chargers tonight, look no further than Keenan Allen. Allen has been the number one on this team basically since he was drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft. Since Herbert has taking over the reigns at Quarterback, Allen is averaging almost 13 targets a game. Leading the league during this three week stretch, with 28 receptions on 38 targets. He is also 6th in the league in receiving yards. Allen ranks 5th in the league for both red zone and end zone targets over the last three weeks as well. Only OBJ and Cooper have more fantasy points then him over this stretch. Allen lines up in the slot over 44% of the snaps, splitting time with Jalen Guyton. He should avoid Marshon Lattimore for a majority of this game. I have yet to see Lattimore follow anyone into the slot, so there is no reason to see him do it tonight. The chargers O-line allows the most pressures in the league at a rate of 33%, but only allow 5% of those to be converted into a sack. With Davenport probably back and the Saints secondary getting healthy, we could see a good amount of pressure for Herbert. He will have to throw it out quick leading to higher targets for lower aDOT players like Keenan Allen.
You can’t forget about Henry Henry, who has had a quiet season this year. Putting up only 18 receptions on 26 targets. Ranking him 7th in targets and 6th in receptions among TEs this year. What he is lacking is the touchdown. He is one of three TEs with at least two end zone targets to not have a touchdown, among 23 total TEs. He has way too many targets and end zone targets to go another week without a touchdown. The Saints have allowed the most targets per game to TEs (11), most receptions per game (8), second most touchdowns per game (1.2), the most fantasy points per game (25). This is the perfect spot for Henry to get to his fantasy dominance tonight.