Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans (-3.5)
The Cowboys will travel to NRG Stadium after defeating the Detroit Lions last weekend. Houston’s defensive line poses a serious threat to the weak O-line of the Cowboys. Can Deshaun Watson rip apart the Cowboys defense that is missing Sean Lee?
Dak Prescott ($5,300 on Draftkings) has been largely ineffective so far this season. He showed some signs of life last week against Detroit, but still only managed to post 18.4 Draftkings points. The Houston secondary isn’t too challenging but it is the defensive line that worries me if I am playing Dak.
One positive development for Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is his greater role in the passing game this season. Dallas lacks so many viable weapons that it makes sense for them to want to try and get the rock in Zeke’s hands in as many ways as possible. If you want to roster Zeke on this slate you will have to fork over $8,300 of your $50,000 salary. The D-line does pose a serious threat to Zeke’s production, but his new reception floor could be valuable on the short slate.
Outside of Dak and Zeke, there is not too much to be excited about on Dallas’ side. There is one player that interests me though and that is newly signed Brice Butler ($3,000 on Draftkings). Butler was signed by the Cardinals in the offseason but was eventually released. He has found a way back into a Cowboys receiving corps that is lacking playmakers across the board. The main reason I like Butler is his built-in familiarity with the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott. It seems unlikely that he does anything of substance in this game, but he does possess big-play ability.
On the other side of the line of scrimmage stands Deshaun Watson ($6,300 on Draftkings). The Texans have struggled, but Watson’s production has not wavered aside from a mediocre week one performance. He is averaging 26.0 Draftkings points per game and will now face a Cowboys defense that is missing Sean Lee. To say the splits for the Cowboys without Sean Lee is ugly would be an understatement. Look for Watson to do his usual damage.
Currently, Texans running back Lamar Miller ($3,900 on Draftkings) is questionable for this contest. If he were to miss, Alfred Blue could turn into a solid value option. The Texans haven’t been able to get much going on the ground given their poor offensive line play, but Blue’s $3,900 price tag could be too cheap to pass up.
At receiver, the Texans still have one of the best wideouts in the league in Deandre Hopkins ($7,800 on Draftkings). Will Fuller ($6,400 on Draftkings) is questionable as of now for Sunday night which is a bit concerning as of now for Watson’s outlook. With that said, Hopkins will see his usual batch of targets and right now it looks like he is the best receiving option on the slate.
Tight end looks like it will be a toss-up, so I do like Ryan Griffin ($2,500 on Draftkings) as a cheap option. Griffin could see an increased target volume depending on the status of Fuller and Keke Coutee ($4,800 on Draftkings) for this game.
Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints (-6)
The Redskins will travel to New Orleans off of their bye for an early season primetime matchup with the Saints. The Redskins currently sit at 2-2 which includes an impressive win against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Saints will also be welcoming a familiar face back into the fold as Mark Ingram returns from suspension.
Under center for the Redskins will be Alex Smith ($5,600 on Draftkings). At first glance, you may think this is not an ideal spot for Smith. He and the Redskins may actually be in line for some increased scoring here as they will face an underachieving Saints defense and will be playing in a dome. I am not against using Smith in this spot as it may be necessary to save on quarterback a little bit. I think stacking Smith with somebody like Jamison Crowder who operates in the slot would be wise here.
At running back, the Redskins have developed a solid one-two punch with Adrian Peterson ($5,000 on Draftkings) and Chris Thompson ($6,000 on Draftkings). People may forget that last year Peterson was a member of the Saints for a short while, so there is a little bit of a revenge narrative for him coming into this game. I prefer Thompson given his massive receiving role. If the Redskins end up behind, which the line indicates, then Thompson easily has 5+ reception upside.
The receivers for the Redskins aren’t anything special. There is one guy though who has an exploitable matchup and that is Jamison Crowder ($4,500 on Draftkings). The Saints have been beaten up pretty bad in the slot to start the year. With Marshon Lattimore playing on the outside, I would expect more targets to be heading Crowder’s way.
Jordan Reed checks in as the highest priced tight end ($5,400 on Draftkings). I expect him to be somewhat popular given the lack of any real options at tight end on this slate. The ownership could be warranted as Reed is one of the better tight ends in football when healthy.
Drew Brees ($6,500 on Draftkings) is one of the best quarterbacks we have seen and he is even better when playing at home. He will get an underrated Redskins defense on Monday night, but that still might not be enough to fade him on this slate. He and Michael Thomas have been playing on another level to start the year and will look to keep things rolling.
The Saints will also be welcoming back Mark Ingram ($5,200 on Draftkings) into the mix to go along with Alvin Kamara ($9.700 on Draftkings). Kamara has been a monster in Ingram’s absence and it will be interesting to see how his role is scaled back now that Ingram is here again. A route that I think some will take on this slate is stacking both backs to capture all of the points they put up. Strategies like this are almost never viable, but on a small slate, it makes sense. Last year when both backs were going, they truly were a 1A and 1B rotation.
At receiver Michael Thomas ($8,500 on Draftkings) has started the season at a breakneck pace. Not only does he have the targets going for him, but he also has an insane catch rate on the year. Monday night might be his toughest matchup so far as he will probably see a heavy dose of Josh Norman. It might be smart to try and stack Brees with an alternative receiver in the Saints passing attack. Ted Ginn Jr. has been ruled out for this contest so there will be some cheap options in the Saints offense at receiver. Some names to keep in mind are rookie standout Tre’Quan Smith ($3,200 on Draftkings), Austin Carr ($3,000 on Draftkings) and free agent acquisition Cameron Meredith ($3,600 on Draftkings).