The first game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader is going to be in New Orleans. The Saints kickoff the year against a promising top AFC team, and both of these offenses should light up the scoreboard. The Saints were once again making a push for the Super Bowl and ended up being eliminated on an unfortunate ending. Houston won the AFC South last season, and are heavy favorites to do so now with the Andrew Luck retirement. Both teams will get an immediate test for Week 1, but the Saints are touchdown favorites at home, where they went 6-2 last season. For odds line movement, and full matchup history, see the Houston Texans At New Orleans Saints Matchup Page.
Date: Monday, September 9th, 2019
Time: 7:20 ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, NO
Houston Texans: Keke Coutee (Q), Tytus Howard (Q),
New Orleans Saints: None
Houston Texans Analysis
Houston has been a team to follow this offseason, as trades and injuries piled up. The big acquisition was Duke Johnson, who is coming over from Cleveland. Johnson has been extremely productive when given touches, and projects to have a career high workload in Houston. The Texans did just trade for Carlos Hyde, who continues to try and derail touches from guys who deserve them far more over him. Don’t expect him to cut into the workload too much. Will Fuller and Keke Coutee have both battled injuries to start their career, but are gearing up to play Week 1. Fuller is off the report, while Coutee is still dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered early in preseason.
This Houston defense will have their hands full against one of the best offenses in football. The Texans were a great rush defense last season, but had a leaky secondary. They ranked 19th against the pass, and 1st against the run last season. The Texans also ranked 3rd against pass-catching backs. While it presents a tough matchup for Alvin Kamara on paper, he was tough to slow down last season. Houston has a mismatch to deal with against Michael Thomas, as they ranked 31st against WR1s. They also ranked 23rd against tight ends, allowing over 71 receiving yards per game.
Houston Texans Depth Chart
New Orleans Saints Analysis
Much like the Texans, the Saints were excellent against the run, ranking third, but struggled against the pass (22). New Orleans was 30th in the league against WR1s, meaning the DeAndre Hopkins show could headline the season for Houston. The Saints ranked 31st against WR2s, allowing 80.4 yards per game. This will be an exploitable matchup for Will Fuller if this secondary hasn’t changed from last season. The Saints also struggled against pass-catching backs, who saw on average 7.5 targets against them. This is no surprise as teams were in pass mode against the Saints. The same defensive mismatches present themselves equally on both sides, and both teams have top end talent to exploit them.
New Orleans will bring in a few new names to the offensive side this year. Signing Jared Cook gives Drew Brees a reliable deep threat tight end, who produced a strong year in Oakland despite their struggles. The emergence of a WR2 in New Orleans has not really occurred, as Ted Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith both flashed potential, but have not taken a stronghold. Ultimately we just need to look at Alvin Kamara as a WR2, given he has seen over 100 targets over the last two seasons. He had 194 attempts last season, and should fall around the 175 mark with Mark Ingram out, and Latavius Murray in. He continues to be one of the more efficient backs in the league, helped by a balanced Saints offense.
New Orleans Saints Depth Chart
Betting Pick: Saints -7
One of the highest over/unders of the week belongs in the Superdome at 53.5. Given the spread, New Orleans has an implied total of 30.2, and the Texans are at 23.2. Vegas is high on the Saints, and so is our Lineups odds, giving them a win probability over 70%. Both teams were below average ATS last season, however both teams combined for a 4-1 record on turf when it came to the over. It is hard to see the Saints running away with this one, especially by two scores. The Lineups Bet Predictor is backing Houston to cover the spread at +7. I am in agreement there, as this one should be close.
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Daily Fantasy: A Likely Shootout
After reading the analysis, you can probably figure out where you can go with confidence. As mentioned above, Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins both have strong matchups as both teams ranked inside the bottom five against opposing WR1s. Both dominated target shares and fantasy production, and we should expect nothing different this season. Both backs are also in a similar spot as the defenses are tough on the ground, but the versatility of Johnson and Kamara puts them in play still. Both carry more weight in this matchup on DraftKings where you have the PPR scoring. The home run threats will be with Will Fuller and Jared Cook, who also have enticing matchups. DeShaun Watson ranks over Drew Brees with the rushing upside he brings that Brees does not. The Saints also allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks last season (25.2).