The NFL always plays 2 games on the first Monday night of the season. This season, the 2 Monday Night Football games in Week 1 are the L.A. Chargers at Denver and New Orleans at Minnesota. Saints versus Vikings is the first game on September 11. Check out my NFL DraftKings Monday Night Showdown Team.
QB – Trevor Siemian, $5,000, Denver vs L.A. Chargers – The Saints Drew Brees is the high-cost quarterback. I'm not in love with Brees from a fantasy POV. I believe the Saints go into their game versus Minnesota rushing the football. Although the Saints' D is much improved, the offense doesn't want to wear out the D by playing too fast.
I can't add Sam Bradford or Phillip Rivers. Denver's D is at its best when it can rush the passer. Rivers should have a tough time on Monday night. That leaves Trevor Siemian. Siemian is easily the best quarterback on Denver's roster. Last season, he played well while crouching behind a suspect offensive line. Denver's O-Line should be much better at pass protection this season.
RB – Adrian Peterson, $4,500, New Orleans at Minnesota – I don't believe the Saints signed AP without assuring the future hall of fame back that he'd get plenty of touches. AP isn't as good of a pass catcher as Mark Ingram. No matter. The Saints are going to utilize their rushing attack much more this season than they have in the past. I think it's a good idea. AP will be counted on to punish his former teammates.
RB – Melvin Gordon, $6,600, L.A. Chargers at Denver – Denver was terrible versus the rush last season. They shouldn't be all that much better against the rush this season. Melvin Gordon could get over 100 yards and a couple of a TDs against Denver's D. That's how bad it was at stopping running backs in 2016.
WR – Stefon Diggs, $6,000, Minnesota vs New Orleans – Diggs is a flyer. He might not have a great game, but he's the best wide receiver that Minnesota's got. It's hard to see Diggs not getting involved. Plus, since I saved so much salary cap dollars by adding Siemian instead of Brees or Rivers, I can afford to put Diggs on the team.
WR – Michael Thomas, $7,400, New Orleans at Minnesota – Thomas figures to score at least 1 TD while racking up close to 100 yards receiving. The Saints do play against one of the best defenses in the NFL. No worries. AP is there to soften things up for Michael Thomas.
WR – Demaryius Thomas, $6,300, Denver vs L.A. Chargers – Trevor Siemian should have a good rapport with Demaryius Thomas. The big wide receiver is almost impossible to stop when he gets some space. The Chargers' secondary isn't anything to write home about. If the Broncos can keep the terrific Joey Bosa out of Siemian's face, the QB should connect with Demaryius on a few long gains and at least 1 TD.
TE – Hunter Henry, $3,400, L.A. Chargers at Denver – He's simply the best tight-end available. The Saints don't use their tight-end as much as they used to. Kyle Rudolph is a good tight-end, but Minnesota doesn't throw the football to Rudolph as much as they should. Henry could be the player that keeps the Bolts in this game on Monday night.
FLEX – Dalvin Cook, RB, $5,900, Minnesota vs New Orleans – Cook might not even start. Latavius Murray could get the start over the former Florida State star. No worries. Cook is easily the best RB (he might be the best skill player) on Minnesota's team. He could have a big game. Or, not. Still, he's electrifying in open space. That means Minnesota must use him.
DST – Saints, $2,400, New Orleans at Minnesota – I've got plenty of salary bucks left. I could add the Broncos defense here. I won't. I believe the Broncos and Chargers play a lights out, high-scoring, affair. Probably 24 to 21. Something like that.
I do feel that the Saints vs Vikings game goes under the total of 48. I believe it goes way under. I'm not sure either team garners more than 17 points in this one. Both squads are likely to play a ball control offense to protect their talented defenses.
I've written all offseason that the New Orleans Saints defense had improved. I'm putting my money where my mouth is. The Saints D is who I'm adding to the team. What it means is that I'm leaving $2,500 on the table. We'll see if my risk works out.