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Week 5 Start/Sit - Monday Night Football Matchup Analysis

Not all sleeps are created equal. There's the "I had six too many adult beverages" sleep, the "I don't have a thing to do tomorrow so I'm turning off any and everything that could possibly wake me up unnaturally" sleep, the "If I lay down now, I'll get... one.. two.. three... hours of sleep" sleep... Then, there's the Sunday night, "I have a comfortable lead in my fantasy football league" sleep. Which, in my humble option, is among the greatest of sleeps to be had.

The only problem with that last sleep is the fact that there's still one game left to be played -- Monday Night Football -- and if your luck is anything like mine, that comfortable lead usually vanishes by the eight-minute mark of the first quarter; leaving you begrudgingly watching the game while refreshing your fantasy app every three seconds, and in some cases, leading to the "I can't sleep because I had a comfortable lead in my fantasy football league last night but Kareem Hunt balled all the way out for no apparent reason and I now hate fantasy football because my team sucks" sleep.

... This sleep is the worst -- I may, or may not, be speaking from experience -- but let's all hit the hay at the conclusion of Week 5 as winners because losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and.... Go watch The Rock, or hit up YouTube, if you don't know the remainder of that quote.

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Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints

Date and Start Time: Monday, October 8th at 8:15 p.m. EST
Game Spread: NO -6.5
Over/Under: 51

Offensive and Defensive Rankings (per game stats through Week 4):

Redskins Saints
Passing Yards 18th 7th
Rushing Yards 5th 18th
Pass Defense 3rd 30th
Run Defense 7th 3rd


Must Starts

Top Players That You Should Have In Your Lineup

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

I know, Mark Ingram is back this week. So, the 72.7 percent of Saints carries which Kamara enjoyed for the first four weeks is likely to drop to somewhere into the 50-60 percent range... And?!

The Redskins have allowed opposing backs to pick up 4.81 yards per carry (sixth-most), and more importantly, they've allowed 42 receiving yards per game to opposing RBs. Having faced the Sam Bradford-led Cardinals, the Colts, and a less than 100 percent Aaron Rodgers, Washington has yet to see a QB-RB combo anywhere near as potent as Brees-Kamara. Yet, they've still allowed the 17th most receiving yards per game to opposing backs. Only Tom Brady and Philip Rivers have targeted their RBs more than Brees, and I believe Ingram's return -- while decreasing Kamara's carries -- is a positive in the grand scheme of things. Who's benching him at this point anyway?

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)

Like Kamara, you simply can't bench Thomas at this point. Yes, he was held in check last week against my Giants, but let's not overlook the fact that his 38 receptions through the first three weeks of the season are the most of any player in the history of the NFL. Washington has been one of the stingiest teams against the pass this season, but the Saints are at home in a game with an opening point total of 51. He might not match the 111.3 yards per game average he has to this point, but he's still a top-tier receiving option this, and any, week.

Jordan Reed (TE, WAS)

The problem with Reed has never been talent. It's the fact that he can't seem to stay on the field. However, he's now healthy and Alex Smith has targeted his tight ends on 25 percent of his passes (less than only Carson Wentz, Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, and Derek Carr). Having allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends (tied with New England), the matchup isn't the greatest. But, the Saints have faced just one Top-12 TE in terms of fantasy points per game (O.J. Howard - he put up two receptions for 54 yards on two targets against them) so the numbers are somewhat deceiving. Reed is averaging 6.93 fantasy points per game on the season (12th-most among TEs with at least five receptions) and he also figures to see more than two targets.


Must Sits

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup

Adrian Peterson (RB, WAS)

"Must" is a bit extreme in this case. If you're in a deep league, or devoid of options, well, you have no choice but to plug AP in this week. Just temper your expectations on his production. The Saints have limited opposing RBs to 2.96 yards per carry (third-fewest), a combined average of 53.25 yards per game (third-fewest), and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns on the season. Surprisingly, Peyton Barber's 69 yards against them in Week 1 are the most yards they've allowed to a single back this season - they held Carlos Hyde to 43 in Week 2 (though he found the end zone), Tevin Coleman to 33 in Week 3, and Saquon Barkley to 44 last week (he also found the end zone). Roll the dice on AP finding the end zone if you like, but if he fails, don't say I didn't warn you.

Mike Gillislee (RB, NO)

Should you be in a deep league, and have been trying to get by with Gillislee, the run is over. It never really started to be honest.

Paul Richardson (WR, WAS)

Only three Redskins wide receivers have caught a pass this season: Richardson, Josh Doctson, and Jamison Crowder. You can leave them all on your bench this week. I point out Richardson because his 14.6% target share leads the bunch... It also ranks 61st among WRs. In typical Alex Smith fashion, the RBs/TEs have seen the bulk of the action in this passing game, and I doubt that changes this week. Gun to my head, Crowder has the best game. But, I don't feel good about it.

Ted Ginn (WR, NO)

Ginn is about as boom-or-bust as they come, and the presence of Cameron Meredith only further tilts the needle towards the bust side of things. Ginn saw three targets in Week 4 -- he caught zero passes for zero yards -- and while I'm all for swinging for the fences, advising you play what appears to be the third option against a defense which limited opposing WRs to just 120.3 yards per game over their first three contests (third-fewest) seems a bit imprudent on my part.

Austin CarrTre'Quan Smith (WR, NO)

The talent might be there, but neither sees enough targets to be trusted in fantasy lineups at this point.

Josh HillBenjamin Watson (TE, NO)

There are so many reasons to avoid this headache, but I'll keep it brief:

  1. Neither has found the end zone this season.
  2. At 14.9% of his passes, Brees really isn't targeting them.
  3. Washington is allowing 36.7 yards per game to opposing TEs.


Solid Options/Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option – Alex Smith (QB, WAS)

I'm old enough to remember when the Saints defense was solid. You likely are too. It was last season. Call it the Stefon Diggs hangover, or maybe an extreme case of regression to the mean, but New Orleans has allowed more fantasy points to opposing QBs this season than every team not named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith should do enough here to finish in the QB12-18 range.

Solid Option - Drew Brees (QB, NO)

It's crazy to think we've made it this far without mentioning the guy who ranks third all-time in regular season passing yards. But, we've made it this far without mentioning the guy who ranks third all-time in regular season passing yards. Brees should still be considered a low-end QB1 at home this week, but facing a defense which has yet to allow a 275-yard passer, held Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers to a combined average of 15.6 fantasy points, and should be well rested/prepared coming off their bye... It's only right to lean on the side of caution.

Solid Option - Chris Thompson (RB, WAS)

Alex Smith dumps the ball off to his backs almost religiously, and as a result, Thompson has just 16 fewer targets than all of the Redskins wide receivers combined (23 to 39). He also has 20 receptions - Richardson, Doctson, and Crowder have combined for 23.

Solid Option – Mark Ingram (RB, NO)

If last season was any indication, Ingram and Kamara can both be productive fantasy running backs in this offense. Coming off a suspension (not an injury), Ingram is fresh. So, there's no reason to think he won't see a typical workload - making him a solid RB2 option against a team which has allowed opposing RBs to pick up 4.81 yards per carry.

Solid Option - Cameron Meredith (WR, NO)

Someone has to step up opposite Thomas, and it'll likely be Meredith in this one. His four targets tied Thomas for the lead at WR a week ago, and while the Cardinals have yet to allow a receiving TD to a WR on the season, his floor looks to be around four catches for 40 yards. You could do worse in PPR formats, but with Brees on the other end of his passes, the upside is Bradley Cooper in that movie where he takes that NZT-48 nootropic.

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