NFL News & Analysis

Jahnke: Fantasy football reactions from the Raiders' win over the Saints

Monday night's game between the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints not only marked the 50th anniversary of Monday Night Football, but it was also the first NFL game to be played in the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

In a week that was heavy on injuries and light on upsets, this Monday night clash gave us the biggest upset of the week and didn't seem to have any major injuries.

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By far the biggest fantasy question heading into the game was how the Saints would handle not having Michael Thomas. Many believed that it would have to be a team effort, but one player ended up benefiting the most from his absence.

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints Las Vegas Raiders
Tre' Quan Smith – 53 snaps Henry Ruggs III – 49 snaps
Emmanuel Sanders – 47 snaps Bryan Edwards – 49 snaps
Deonte Harris – 31 snaps Hunter Renfrow – 40 snaps
Marquez Callaway – 13 snaps Zay Jones – 18 snaps
Bennie Fowler – 4 snaps Nelson Agholor – 15 snaps
Jared Cook – 39 snaps Darren Waller – 74 snaps
Josh Hill – 22 snaps Foster Moreau – 32 snaps
Adam Trautman – 8 snaps Jason Witten – 26 snaps
Alvin Kamara – 41 snaps Josh Jacobs – 53 snaps
Latavius Murray – 16 snaps Jalen Richard – 17 snaps
Ty Montgomery – 6 snaps Devontae Booker – 11 snaps
Total – 60 snaps Total – 80 snaps

Winner: TE Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

Waller was the recipient of 16 of the Raiders' 38 targets, leading to an impressive 12-catch, 103-yard, one-touchdown game. It was a career-high for him in targets, which is especially impressive given how much Las Vegas ran the ball. While other top-tier fantasy tight ends are either facing injury or not seeing enough playing time or targets, Waller is one of the few early-drafted tight ends to be paying off through two weeks.

Loser: WR Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

Ruggs had a fairly rough game, with just one catch on three targets for 4 yards. He was questionable coming into the game, but even without the injury, it seemed as though the Raiders were more committed to having their backup wide receivers see more playing time. Both Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor saw a higher percentage of snaps compared to last week.

Waiver Wire Target: WR Tre' Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints

Fantasy owners were hesitant to pick up Smith after Thomas went down with an injury — and for good reason. He had been the Saints' No. 2 wide receiver over the last two seasons, but prior to tonight's game, he had surpassed 60 yards receiving just twice in 30 games, and both of those games came in Smith's rookie year of 2018. 

Smith was Brees' most effective target tonight, with five catches on seven targets for 86 yards. He also led the Saints wide receivers in snaps while Emmanuel Sanders was held to only one catch.

Sell High: TE Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints

Cook's fantasy owners were likely satisfied with his performance thanks to his touchdown catch, but that was one of two catches in the game, and both of his backup tight ends ended up with more yards than him. While a two-catch performance might not necessarily be a high, this was supposed to be one of Cook's most favorable matchups, according to our strength of schedule tool. The Saints have the fifth-most-difficult tight end schedule for the rest of the season.

You've got the first pick with your finances. Western Southern Financial Group.

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