NFL DFS Week 4 Showdown Playbook: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
Published: Oct 01, 2022
Updated: Oct 02, 2022
Sunday of the Week 4 NFL DFS slate kicks off with an intriguing matchup across the pond in London, England. The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints gift us with football at 9:30am ET to give us some entertainment, and an opportunity to make some money before the main slate locks at 1:00pm ET. There are plenty of injury concerns to be aware of. Jameis Winston was ruled out on Friday so it looks as if Andy Dalton will be under center and it shouldn’t surprise anybody if Taysom Hill gets a couple snaps as well. Additionally, Michael Thomas has been ruled out with a foot injury. On the other side, Dalvin Cook was a concern for most of the week but he appears to be a full go on Sunday. The Vikings are currently favored by a field goal and the over/under has been bet down to 41.5 points so the betting market projects this to potentially be a tight 22-19 or 23-20 type game. We have you covered with everything you need to construct your NFL DFS Showdown Lineups with our Weekly Match-Up Reports, our NFL DFS Tools, and the NFL DFS Lineup Generator if looking to build multiple lineups. Let’s dig into this game to deliver the NFL DFS Showdown picks for Sunday morning’s game.
I want to give insight into my though process for Showdown slates. Some of you know that I like to make 150 lineups and put them all in the mini-max contest on DraftKings. Thursday night the mini-max rewarded $10,000 to first place. For this game? First place is only getting $600. And across the board, the contests aren’t all that appealing given the size of some of the fields. I’m still hungry to get in on the action and certainly want exposure. But don’t force it with this game because the contests truly aren’t the greatest.
Here’s a brief summary of some rules and tips I tend to abide by when building multiple Showdown lineups:
- If playing a pass catcher (WR, TE, or elite pass-catching RB) at the Captain/MVP spot be sure to correlate that with their QB in the Flex.
- I never play D/ST’s or Kickers in the Captain spot, but I will make an exception for this particular game. I know of late, that method has worked out okay, especially during Sunday night’s 11-10 game. It’s rare a D/ST or Kicker is optimal at Captain. I would only recommend doing it in 5-10% of your builds for this specific game. Most of the time I never play these positions at Captain.
- Don’t go crazy with Quarterbacks at Captain. But again, this is a special slate where a starting quarterback is priced down and provides a lot of salary flexibility. Regardless, if quarterbacks don’t offer much rushing upside to break the slate, I don’t suggest playing them heavy at Captain.
- Don’t try to force every dollar available to you into your lineup. Feel free to leave some money on the table because that means you’re more likely to have a unique build.
Let’s take a look at how these London games have played out since 2017, keeping in mind no international games were played in 2020…
- September 24th, 2017 – Jaguars beat the Ravens, 44-7
- October 1st, 2017 – Saints beat the Dolphins, 20-0
- October 22nd, 2017 – Rams beat the Cardinals, 33-0
- October 29th, 2017 – Vikings beat the Browns, 33-16
- October 14th, 2018 – Seahawks beat the Raiders, 27-3
- October 21st, 2018 – Chargers beat the Titans, 20-19
- October 28th, 2018 – Eagles beat the Jaguars, 24-18
- October 6th, 2019 – Raiders beat the Bears, 24-21
- October 13th, 2019 – Panthers beat the Buccaneers, 36-26
- October 27th, 2019 – Rams beat the Bengals, 24-10
- November 3rd, 2019 – Texans beat the Jaguars, 26-3
- October 10th, 2021 – Falcons beat the Jets, 27-20
- October 17th, 2021 – Jaguars beat the Dolphins, 23-20
Not the greatest level of play. There have been blowouts and just low-scoring games in general. There was truly only one “shootout” over the last five years. But one thing I’ve always kept in mind when composing my lineups is that one team tends to struggle. Last year gave us a pair of competitive games with each team putting up at least 20 points. However, in those 13 games we saw a team post 16 or fewer points on seven occasions. I think it’s certainly possible we see a low-scoring game, but I won’t take that approach with every lineup I construct.
Lineup construction is huge for NFL DFS contests. You want the proper correlations to maximize the point potential and I’ll touch on some tips as I go through the player pool and give you my favorite plays and strategies. Let’s dive into Sunday morning’s NFL DFS Showdown top picks and plays!
Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
Spread: Vikings -2.5
Weather: Temperatures in the mid-50’s with partly cloudy skies and low chance of rain as of Saturday morning.
- Dalvin Cook, RB – Shoulder (Will Play)
- Za’Darius Smith, OLB – Knee (Questionable)
- Andrew Booth, Jr., CB – Quad (Doubtful)
- C.J. Ham, RB – Foot (Will Play)
- Eric Kendricks, LB – Toe (Will Play)
- Harrison Smith, S – Concussion (Will Play)
New Orleans Saints
- Alvin Kamara, RB – Ribs (Probable)
- Jameis Winston, QB – Back/Ankle (Out)
- Michael Thomas, WR – Foot (Out)
- Jarvis Landry, WR – Ankle (Will Play)
- Andrus Peat, G – Concussion (Out)
- Taysom Hill, TE – Ribs (Probable)
- Tre-Quan Smith, WR – Concussion (Probable)
- Marcus Maye, S – Ribs (Out)
Justin Jefferson, WR MIN
Might as well start off with the most expensive player on the slate and one that could certainly break the slate and help us cash easily. Last week’s performance will occasionally happen. Jefferson’s ceiling is what he did in Week 1. But even first-round draft picks have down weeks and while the matchup is challenging, I still believe he can go for over 100 yards and multiple scores. He’s just that good. However, the battle against Marshon Lattimore is a little daunting. Through three weeks, Lattimore has yielded just three catches for 23 yards. Rarely does the receiver he’s covering get targeted, but Jefferson is too talented to pass up on any Showdown slate. If playing Jefferson at Captain you definitely want to pair him with Kirk Cousins. Remember, if Jefferson has a big game then it’s likely Cousins is doing the same. You want that correlation in your build to maximize if these two connect for multiple scores.
Alvin Kamara, RB NO
I prefer my running back MVP/Captains to catch passes. We haven’t seen that too much with Kamara this year, but he missed one game but does have 11 targets from Jameis Winston. Andy Dalton is an experienced veteran. He won’t try to force the ball downfield if the defense is giving him short passes to Kamara. There will still be an effort to get Kamara the ball 15-20 times. I actually think the Saints will be forced into more short passes. For my reasoning, scroll on down to the Jarvis Landry section. The one concern is Taysom Hill is back this week and was a full participant in practice on Friday. Could he come in and snipe goal line carries? Yes. Do we want to see that happen? Obviously not. The matchup is good on paper for Kamara as the Vikings have allowed 413 rushing yards through three games. UPDATE: As of the 8:00am ET inactives for this game, Kamara has been ruled OUT with his rib injury.
Chris Olave, WR NO
Olave has come on strong the last two weeks with 13 targets in both games, but that was with Jameis Winston under center. I feel a little better recommending him as captain knowing Michael Thomas is out, but we don’t have as much certainty regarding his chemistry with Andy Dalton under center. Regardless, the Vikings don’t have the greatest defense and the secondary is suspect at times. Olave has emerged as a nice deep threat for New Orleans and I could see the Red Rifle trying to get him involved if the Saints are behind. If you play Olave at Captain, then correlate it with Dalton in the Flex.
Adam Thielen, WR MIN
With most of the attention being given to Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen will be a popular Flex play but could come in under 10% at the Captain/MVP slot. Thielen has 15 targets in his last two games and found the end zone last week. The difficulty in playing Thielen is you do it without a ton of confidence. The Saints have allowed just two passing touchdowns through three games. But Thielen excelled as Jefferson was held in check. If that happens again on Sunday then you can start a lineup with Thielen at Captain/MVP, then go with Cousins, Olave, and Dalton. From there you can find plenty of ways to get a unique build in there for a take down.
Mid-Tier Top DFS Picks
Dalvin Cook, RB MIN
I just can’t sign off on Cook at Captain or MVP. The volume will be there and if the shoulder is fine, then he’s going to be a decent play. But the Saints have surrendered over 400 rushing yards through the first three games so you can hang your hat on that fact. If Alexander Mattison sees a little extra work then we’re really limiting Cook’s upside. Because of the injury, and the overall mediocre performances we’ve seen from him in DFS, I’d rather just stick to using him as a Flex.
Kirk Cousins, QB MIN
Pretty basic analysis here. He’s been throwing enough to warrant obvious consideration as a Flex play. I don’t love playing him at Captain or MVP because he doesn’t have a ton of rushing upside. If he has a great game with multiple touchdowns and even the 300-yard bonus, then I anticipate one of his pass catchers is the optimal Captain/MVP. But Cousins has thrown it 40+ times in back-to-back games to little fanfare. But QB’s are among the safer scorers in fantasy so he makes for a fine Flex play even in a tough matchup.
Andy Dalton, QB NO
We’re getting a starting quarterback for just $6,000 on DraftKings so he’s an easy Flex play assuming he can even throw for 200 yards and two scores. That’s not great at the Captain/MVP spot but easily a lock for most lineups. I would only play him at Captain/MVP in Cash games.
K.J. Osborn, WR MIN
I would be much more interested in Osborn if he didn’t score last week. He’s the third or fourth pass catching option in this offense most weeks and he needs to find the end zone to be optimal. He’s coming off a week where he was targeted eight times and if the Saints keep Jefferson in check then it’s possible he and Thielen can have productive games.
Taysom Hill, QB/TE NO
Hill missed last week, but doesn’t carry an injury designation heading into Week 4. He’ll be active and could vulture some touchdowns from Kamara. If making 20+ lineups maybe throw Hill in at Captain/MVP in 5% of your builds in the event Dalton gets injured or benched (highly unlikely he gets benched though). I’m sure they’ll run some plays with him at quarterback and he’s a threat to snipe touchdowns from Kamara. This is strictly a GPP play, do not play him in Cash games.
Jarvis Landry, WR NO
He’s questionable for Sunday’s game after logging limited practices this week. If he’s active he’s a very nice play and one I wouldn’t rule out at Captain/MVP. But the injury is still concerning. With Michael Thomas out, his veteran presence out of the slot would be a welcome sign. He had a huge game in Week 1 but was quiet the last two weeks especially after leaving with injury in Week 3. But if he’s active he’s a great Flex option to open up salary and should see at least six targets. What I like about Landry is that Harrison Smith is back this week which means the Vikings could blitz more than they did last week allowing Harrison to be played in single-high coverage. That means shorter and quicker passes with the defense bearing down on Andy Dalton and that’s beneficial to players like Landry and Alvin Kamara.
Irv Smith Jr., TE MIN
If playing Smith at Captain/MVP you’re going to need multiple touchdowns. He’s seen 14 targets the last two weeks but as is the case with the tight end position, he needs to score to be fantasy relevant. The Saints have been great at defending tight ends. They’ve allowed a total of nine catches for 63 yards and no touchdowns through three games to the tight end position. The outlook isn’t great for Smith so I don’t blame you if you fade him in this spot.
Top Bargain DFS Picks
Tre’Quan Smith, WR NO
TQ has left early last week with a concussion but he’s cleared for action on Sunday. He missed the team’s first two games but is always a deep threat that can break a slate if he can find the end zone on a deep toss. Last week he had four catches on five targets for 105 yards. If Landry is active on Sunday that should push ownership down to TQ a bit. I don’t like him for Cash games but love him in GPP’s because of his ceiling and it helps that Michael Thomas is out.
Juwan Johnson, TE NO
Gonna throw it to Andrew Cooper to explain why Johnson is a solid play this week at a very friendly price tag for our Showdown lineups…
I could see a scenario where too many folks aren’t playing Johnson because of the lack of production so far. That’s fine. That’s leverage for us and he’s a high upside play, perfect for GPP’s. The shorter passes that could benefit Kamara and Landry could also benefit Johnson in this game.
Marquez Callaway, WR NO
With Michael Thomas out it’s a guessing game between Tre’Quan Smith, Callaway, and Deonte Harty as to who gets more run. Callaway is listed behind Michael Thomas on the depth chart. He didn’t see the field much last week, but with Thomas ruled out that should change and if Landry is for whatever reason inactive then that’s huge for Callaway’s value since the Saints would basically roll with four wide receivers and Juwan Johnson.
I don’t love writing these positions up with great depth. As mentioned earlier a lot of people will play these guys at Captain/MVP and it can work especially in a game like this. We had a lot of travel for both teams, plenty of injuries to monitor. It could be a very one-sided game where maybe a D/ST at Captain works. I likely won’t go that route because I like my Captains/MVP’s to have a lot of upside. But these options will be great Flex options, but only use one. Correlate your kickers with the quarterback if you’re putting the QB at Captain/MVP. Don’t play the Vikings D/ST in a lineup that has a Saints player at Captain/MVP and vice versa. Make sure the lineup structure makes sense and properly correlates. All are obviously in play and are easily salary relief targets.
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