Kickoff: Sunday, November 14th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Betting Odds: TEN -3, 44.5 total via Oddsshark
New Orleans Saints
Trevor Siemian (Sit), Taysom Hill (Sit)
After Jameis Winston went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 8, Trevor Siemian finished off the upset of the Buccaneers. Siemian has struggled to find consistent success since being drafted in 2015 in stints with Denver and the Jets before landing in New Orleans. Siemian was efficient against Tampa Bay with 159 passing yards and one TD but it seemed to be just a matter of time until Taysom Hill was cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol and would take over as a Top-10 QB option. But that’s not what happened. Siemian was named the starter ahead of the Saints’ Week 9 game against Atlanta and likely played well enough to earn another chance in Week 10. Hill saw only 13 offensive snaps but looked good when given the opportunity, completing both of his pass attempts and nearly scoring on a run near the goal line. There has been no indication who will get the starting nod officially this week although my guess would be Siemian would be given at least one more opportunity despite the loss last week (that wasn’t on the QB play). Neither Siemian nor Hill is an enticing option because of the presence of the other, but if Hill were to be named the starter he brings QB1 value to the table because of his rushing prowess. For Week 10, I’d advise passing on both but perhaps a preemptive acquisition of Hill if you have the roster space could pay off in the fantasy playoffs.
Alvin Kamara (Start, RB1), Mark Ingram (Sit, low-end Flex)
It’s been a bit of a deviation from the norm for Alvin Kamara this season as he’s on pace to shatter his career highs in carries while struggling to match his career average in terms of targets and receptions. Through eight games, Kamara has 146 carries (his previous career-high is 194) and 32 receptions on 44 targets (averages 81 receptions on 102 targets for his career) which have led to a slightly disappointing half-season for fantasy managers who drafted him among the top three players. Kamara is still an every-week starting option, but he’s trending closer to a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 than a solid top-five every week and a QB change to either Siemian or Hill might lead to defenses to key on Kamara more than in the past. Kamara can’t be benched because of the immense upside he provides every week, but keep expectations in check as to not be disappointed.
It’s a bit like a homecoming for Mark Ingram as he returned last week to the team he had the majority of his success with after a two-year hiatus. Ingram’s familiarity with the offense allowed him to essentially step in without practicing and be productive. In his two games since returning, Ingram has 22 touches for 116 yards and has been a nice addition to give Kamara some rest without sacrificing production. Ingram has a small role, seeing just one-third of the team’s total snaps, which stifles his appeal to fantasy managers. Unless Ingram starts to see his snap percentage and involvement creep up, it’s hard to justify him as a weekly option but injuries across the RB landscape might force some managers to turn to him this week and he has shown enough to still provide low-end RB3 value or be an emergency option for a Flex position.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tre’Quan Smith (Sit), Deonte Harris (Sit), Marquez Callaway (Sit), Adam Trautman (Sit)
Unfortunately for fantasy managers, there’s just not a lot to like when looking at the WRs for New Orleans. Marquez Callaway leads the position group in targets (39), receptions (22), and TDs( 4) but those numbers are simply bad when looking at them through the lens of fantasy football. Deonte Harris seems to be the preferred option for Siemian as he’s garnered 15 targets over the past two games but Harris has been able to convert them into just nine receptions for 87 yards. Tre’Quan Smith seems finally healthy after missing four of the team’s first five games but has been little more than an afterthought in the offense with no more than three targets in any game. Kamara is still the preferred option in the passing game and it’s hard to guess which, if any, of these WRs will provide enough production to warrant a spot in starting lineups. I’d give Harris a slight edge based on his involvement over the past two games as compared to the other two, but even that is a hollow endorsement. I’d be reluctant to start any of these guys in Week 10.
Except for a surprising two-TD performance from Juwan Johnson in Week 1, the TE position for the Saints has been bereft of fantasy production this season. Adam Trautman is the clear #1 on the team, but he’s still been able to garner only 26 targets so far this season and has 15 receptions for 151 on those targets. Trautman has flashed the athletic profile to be an effective weapon in the offense but hasn’t been given enough opportunity to provide it. Much like the WR position on this team, I’d avoid any part of it in your starting lineups this week.
Ryan Tannehill (Start, low-end QB1)
Last week, I suggested we might see an uptick in Ryan Tannehill’s passing attempts with Derrick Henry sidelined for the majority of the remainder of the season, but a somewhat surprisingly stout defensive performance allowed Tennessee to exit SoFi Stadium with a relatively easy victory in Week 9. Tannehill had his worst statistical game of the season with a meager 143 passing yards but he did account for two TDs, including a one-yard run at the end of the first half. Tannehill will have opportunities this week as New Orleans ranks 27th in passing defense, surrendering an average of 273 yards per game. Tennessee still has a run-first mentality despite the loss of Henry, which limits Tannehill’s upside somewhat. New Orleans leads the NFL in rushing defense which could force Tannehill into more attempts than normal pushing him to the bottom of the QB1 tier. Tannehill is right on the QB1/QB2 line for me, but given how good the Saints defend the run and the absence of Henry I’m giving Tannehill the benefit of the doubt and placing him above the line and recommending fantasy managers to start him in Week 10.
Adrian Peterson (Sit, possible Flex), D’Onta Foreman (Sit), Jeremy McNichols (Start, RB2)
The loss of Henry has made this section a bit more demanding and the distribution of snaps and opportunities last week didn’t provide a ton of clarity. So, let’s start with what we know. Jeremy McNichols has the most familiarity with the offense, saw the most snaps of the three last week with 26, and led the group in total yards with 35. Adrian Peterson had the best fantasy day thanks to a late TD that pushed him to just under 10 PPR points. D’Onta Foreman showed glimpses of the ability that made him a third-round draft pick and led the team in rushing yards (29) and yards per carry (5.8). What does that mean for fantasy managers heading? It means McNichols is the best option this week simply because of his role in the passing game, Peterson looks like the best long-term option based on the volume he received with less than a week’s worth of practice, and Foreman is a potential bench stash if age catches up with Peterson. New Orleans has been stingy against the run this year but has allowed an average of four receptions per game to RBs. For Week 10, I’d say McNichols has the most upside and could end up as an RB2 and Peterson could provide Flex appeal as his role in the offense grows. Foreman is best viewed as Peterson’s handcuff right now but could see his role grow if Peterson begins to show signs of decline.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
A.J. Brown (Start, WR1), Julio Jones (Sit), Geoff Swaim (Sit)
In the Tennessee WR room right now, it’s A.J. Brown and then everybody else. Brown lapped the field in targets last week as he soaked up 11 from Tannehill while the rest of the team had 15 combined. The final stats were underwhelming last week (5 receptions, 42 yards) but the volume is what we’re chasing here. We’ve already mentioned how New Orleans has a defense that funnels offenses into a passing game, which just means more opportunities for Brown. The Saints have surrendered five TDs to WRs the past two weeks and 10 on the season, so that’s just another positive in Brown’s favor. Fantasy managers can trust Brown as a solid WR1 this week.
It’s been a difficult season for Julio Jones on the health side of things as he has struggled through various leg ailments this season, limiting him to six games and sapping him of the game-breaking ability he showed while with Atlanta. With the attention Brown has received from Tannehill, the leftovers just haven’t been enough to propel Jones into a reliable role for fantasy managers. Jones has just one game this season in which he eclipsed four receptions or 60 yards and he’s more valuable to the Titans right now than fantasy managers. Unless Tannehill is forced into a 35+ attempt game, I don’t see enough volume or production from Jones to suggest him as a starting option. Keep Jones on the bench this week.
I mentioned last week how it was difficult to draw a definitive line between any of Tennessee’s three TEs but it looks like Geoff Swaim is starting to separate from the group. Swaim has scored a TD in each of his last two games and has seen his role in the offense grow as he led the team in snaps at the position with 42 last week. It’s still a low-volume passing offense so far, but Swaim is getting high-value targets inside the red zone which makes him a bit more appealing. If Tennessee becomes more reliant on Tannehill with the trio of RBs replacing Henry, Swaim might creep into low-end TE1 territory but for now, he’s a dart throw option and isn’t reliable enough to be trusted in most lineups.