Welcome to the Christmas Day Showdown Slate for NFL Week 16!
Before we start, please allow me to reiterate that while we all love having a little skin in the game, these showdown slates are basically lottery tickets. Sure, there are times when the chalk hits and everyone shares in the prizes, but more often than not, you need that random, differentiated yourself from the herd dart-throw to hit in order to claim that top prize. As a result, we are encouraged to play responsibly. Stick to the GPP contests (single-entry preferred), don’t blow your whole bankroll and understand that, unless you are a max-entry player, you should prioritize having fun.
OK, lecture over. Let’s get to today’s action.
Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans Saints
Spread: Steelers -7
Alexander Mattison, RB (concussion – OUT)
Kyle Rudolph , TE (foot – OUT)
Eric Kendricks , LB (calf – OUT)
Jalyn Holmes, DE (groin – OUT)
Armon Watts, DT (ankle – Questionable)
Todd Davis , LB (ribs – doubtful)
Tre'Quan Smith , WR (ankle – OUT)
Marcus Williams , S (ankle – OUT)
Nick Easton , C (concussion – OUT)
DVOA Defense Ranks
vs Pass: 12th
vs Run: 20th
vs Pass: 3rd
vs Run: 2nd
Please note that players not listed below do not mean they are a complete fade. All players listed can be used as MVP/Captain
Alvin Kamara , RB – Second most expensive player on the slate but the man does it all and should continue to see a high number of targets in the passing game against this Vikings defense that struggles against opposing running backs and will be without key defensive players this afternoon.
Adam Thielen , WR – Thielen is actually pretty affordable here an while the Saints defense has been better lately, they still tend to have issues against slot wide receivers. Thielen may have had just two catches for 11 yards last week but he found the endzone for his 13th touchdown of the season. Good value here.
Emmanuel Sanders , WR - Sanders had four catches on five targets for 76 yards last week against the Chiefs. He may trail Alvin Kamara in targets, but he is still the WR1 on the depth chart with Michael Thomas and Tre’quan Smith on IR. The Vikings pass defense has been decent this year, but I expect a good amount of volume from Sanders in this game.
Justin Jefferson, WR – The rookie WR has been outstanding this year in replacing Stefon Diggs and his big play upside makes him a great showdown play. I’d consider him as a potential captain/mvp play but he is expensive so it may be easier to fit him into a mid-tier spot.
Dalvin Cook , RB - Cook is the highest priced player on the slate. He is going to see a ton of volume and is largely matchup proof given his overall production in both the run and passing attack. The cost is really the only reason he is not a captain/mvp option for me today but if you put him there, I wouldn’t blame you. Just know it’s a tough matchup against a strong Saints run defense.
Jared Cook , TE – Someone needs to catch passes or the Saints and while Kamara and Sanders will get their targets so will Cook. The price is solid for Cook in this matchup against a Vikings team that is missing some key players on their defense. Cook is also a sneaky dart throw for your captain/mvp spot as a touchdown or two at low ownership could put you above the field.
Drew Brees , QB – Brees did not look sharp against the Chiefs yet he still managed to throw three touchdowns. Again, the Vikings are missing some key defensive players and I expect Brees to be throwing a lot in this game.
Kirk Cousins , QB – Similar reasons for playing Brees I would consider playing Cousins here as well. If the Vikings find themselves trailing, then Cousins will be forced into throwing situations. While I don’t think he is a great quarterback the weapons around him are explosive which gives the potential for solid upside.
Saints D/ST – The Saints defense has been on point for most of the season and the Vikings offense has had its own troubles at times. If the Saints get up big on the Vikings and force Kirk Cousins to beat them there is a high chance for turnovers and sacks here.
Wil Lutz /Dan Bailey – Both kickers fit into spend down spots for your lineups today. If you plan on using Kamara and Dalvin Cook you will need some cheap plays. Both present solid scoring upside given their big legs. If the offense stalls out we could see some decent points. It is worth noting that both kickers have had their issues however this season with accuracy.
Latavius Murray , RB - Murray hasn’t seen more than five carries in any of the last three weeks so that tells you all you need to know about his role right now but that also makes him a decent dart throw. He found the end zone last week via the passing game and is part of the team’s red zone offense with certain packages that sees both he and Kamara on the field together.
Irv Smith, TE – No Kyle Rudolph this week so Smith will start and see the majority of the snaps once again. He is averaging close to four targets a game and tends to make some big plays. He’s a dart throw due to volume and lack of consistency but could be a nice hit if he finds the end zone.
Lil'Jordan Humphrey, WR – Humphrey found the end zone last week on two catches over four targets. He is expected to take a bigger role this week with Smith out of the lineup. Very cheap dart throw that could actually have some ownership behind him this week.