Studs, sleepers and boom-bust picks for Monday Night Football

Two games on Monday night - one with an insomniac-friendly KO time of 3:20am - but if you're playing fantasy, you've got to consider these options


Maybe Sunday went well for you – Lamar Jackson, what a legend! – or did Tyreek Hill’s injury torpedo your chances of snaring a sizable return? At least you aren’t staring down the barrel of a lost season already if you played on Paddy Power Fantasy.

All I’ll say is that I’m grateful not to be chasing Terry McLaurin on waivers.

Instead, I can turn to Monday night and a two-game slate of Texans at Saints and Broncos at Raiders to finagle a fantasy payout from Week 1.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 29: A general view of CenturyLink Field before the preseason game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on August 29, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

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Deshaun Watson – Houston, QB

The Saints and Texans should be a high-scoring game, and while Drew Brees might seem the stand-out QB option based on his past, Watson looks a great option against a New Orleans team that is better defensively than, well, ever, but which is notorious for its slow starts to the season.

Houston have also traded their future to stock up on talent to support their star QB this season, with Larmey Tunsil strengthening a porous line and Kenny Stills making their receiving corps one of the deepest in the league – DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee were already terrifying to opposing secondaries. Add in that Watson can – and must because of pressure – make plays with his feet too, and he would be my pick of the QBs tonight.

Alvin Kamara – New Orleans, RB

Improvements on offence are offset by the likely decline of the Texans defence, with Jadeaveon Clowney now a Seahawk after holding out to force a trade away. That really hits their rushing defence and can only encourage the most dynamic back in the league.

Kamara will rip through this line on the ground and should see plenty of action through the air too and is the player I’d pick to score multiple TDs if my life depended on it.

Nov 11, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Thomas New Orleans, WR

There’s little that appeals about the Raider-Broncos match-up and that includes the top-end talent options at skill positions, so the third stud pick has to be one of the receivers from the earlier game, and Thomas just gets the nod over Hopkins purely because of likely higher volume of targets.

While the Saints’ image as a pass-crazy offence still lingers, they’re really a lot more balanced than they used to be, and aren’t especially loaded at receiver. That means Drew Brees tends to turn to Mike Thomas early and often, and the receiver is good enough to make catches more-or-less whenever the ball comes his way. The Texans defence is not going to be able to stop him tonight.

Boom-bust plays

Royce Freeman – Denver, RB

The 1B option in Denver last season after Phillip Lindsay’s emergence, Freeman has a point to prove this season after the broncos invested draft capital in him only to see him passed on the depth. He should see a similar workload to the preferred Lindsay, but come at a discount and offers big scoring potential especially if the Raiders are as bad as many expect and the Broncos are running down the clock.

Will Fuller – Houston, WR

Fuller’s a been perennial tease in fantasy football, but when he’s healthy and on-form he can put up huge points totals. With the Texans having deepened their receiving options this offseason, there are a lot of mouths to feed, but a lot of bodies to cover. With Hopkins grabbing most attention, the man on the other side of offensive sets could find himself breaking big plays in this shootout.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 20: Ted Ginn #19 of the New Orleans Saints makes a 43-yard catch against Lamarcus Joyner #20 of the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Ted Ginn Jr – New Orleans, WR

It’s kind of crazy that Ted Ginn is still plugging away in 2019 on a Super Bowl contender. It’s not a cool or clever pick, but the 34-year-old offers huge potential opposite Mike Thomas as a speedster who can take the top off a defence – especially one with as dubious a secondary as Houston’s. It literally takes one Drew Brees bomb to land (well, maybe two or three, as old Ted’s been known to have slippery fingers) and that could be the winning of a contest. Also, early in the season, his aged body won’t feel the years of hits he’s taken as it would in week 16, so cash-in while he’s fresh.


Noah Fant – Denver, TE

TJ Hockenson went off for over 130 yards and a TD last night for the Lions, so maybe it’s too much to ask that another rookie tight end makes a big splash on debut tonight, but Fant looks like a perfect risk-reward option for tournaments. Denver’s new QB Joe Flacco loves nothing more than dinking-and-dunking to his tight end when he feels pressure and his other likely targets don’t inspire much confidence, so it could be a big day for the rookie.

Latavius Murray – New Orleans, RB

While Kamara will deservedly get most of the looks and attention in the New Orleans backfield, Latavius Murray has the opportunity to carve out a role just like Mark Ingram did alongside his all-action RB partner. He comes at a discount and has multiple-touchdown upside in a game that should see a lot of scores. He’s worth considering for your Flex spot.

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What do you think?