Kickoff: Sunday, September 27th at 8:20 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Betting Odds: GB +3.5, 51.5 total via Oddsshark
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers (Start, Low-end QB1)
The Saints were pretty mediocre against opposing quarterbacks last year, and they seem to be doing a bit worse so far this year, allowing Derek Carr and the ghost of Tom Brady to average 21.0 fantasy points over the past two weeks. Rodgers has been performing well over these first two weeks of the season, but it’s worth noting that he’s been exploiting rookie corners in each of his past match-ups. This game could turn into a shootout, and considering the Packers’ high-scoring offense over the past two weeks, I believe Rodgers is capable of low-end QB1 numbers this week.
Aaron Jones (Start, Low-end RB1), Jamaal Williams (Sit), AJ Dillon (Sit)
After his sensational Week 2 overall RB1 performance, Aaron Jones is on his way to another brilliant fantasy season. In fairness, Jones was going up against a Lions defense which allowed 22.8 fantasy points per game to fantasy running backs last year (fourth-worst in the league). This week Jones has to go up against the Saints, a top-four defense against the rush in 2019. Given the matchup, I’m not expecting another overall RB1 performance, but low-end RB1 numbers should be achievable for fantasy’s current best back.
Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon continue to be in the mix, but after Jones’ performance last week, it’s pretty clear the Packers’ RB2 and RB3 are mainly just there to spell Aaron. Neither Williams nor Dillon is startable yet.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Davante Adams (Start, WR1), Allen Lazard (Sit, WR3), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Sit, WR3), Josiah Deguara (Sit), Jace Sternberger (Sit)
Unfortunately, Davante Adams was sidelined last week with a hamstring injury. There have been mixed reports since then. Early reports said the Packers were not too concerned about Adam’s Week 3 status, and holding him out of last week’s game was just a precaution. Then Tuesday came, and Adams’ Week 3 status was suddenly “uncertain.” Assuming he’s good to go, it would be tough benching one of the league’s best receivers. Keep in mind this game in on Sunday night, so keep a close eye on Adams’ status.
I’m beginning to wonder if Allen Lazard is the guy to own on this offense after Adams. It could be his early-season numbers aren’t telling the full story yet, but it’s interesting that Lazard was on the field for more snaps than any other Green Bay receiver through two weeks, yet has the lowest target percentage of any Packers wide receiver. If those numbers keep trending in that direction, I fear Lazard will become quite touchdown-dependent. Still, Allen is a big target that Rodgers is bound to look to in the red zone. Lazard is a WR3 but could have an increased value into the flex range if Adams is inactive.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling could end up being more valuable than Lazard in a few weeks if the former can get on the right page with Rodgers. “MVS” has seen a 14.8% target share over the past two weeks, more than twice as much as Lazard with just 7%. Although he’s had some drops and miscues, Marquez continues to get looks from Rodgers (especially downfield). Based on his current opportunity, I’m ranking MVS slightly ahead of Lazard for now. That said, both of these receivers are still firmly in WR3 territory. Valdes-Scantling, like Lazard, could have some flex consideration if Adams is inactive. Even if Adams is inactive, both MVS and Lazard will still be risky plays since Rodgers spreads the ball around well.
Rookie Josiah Deguara has the largest target share of any Green Bay tight end. Unfortunately, with four different tight ends in constant rotation, Duguara and Jace Sternberger are unlikely to find fantasy relevance anytime soon.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees (Sit, QB2)
The Packers were top 5 against fantasy quarterbacks last year, but have been mediocre so far in 2020. Drew Brees has not put up more than 14.5 fantasy points so far this year and won’t have the infamous New Orleans crowd for support. I’m having a tough time trusting the current QB22 going up against a defense that’s much tougher on quarterbacks than his first two match-ups.
Alvin Kamara (Start, RB1), Latavius Murray (Sit)
Alvin Kamara seems as elite as ever with his pair of impressive RB1 performances to begin the 2020 season. Alvin was a perfect nine for nine in the passing game last week, and it looks like his target share received a slight boost in the absence of Michael Thomas. The Packers were poor against the run last year and don’t seem to be any better now. Kamara should be an easy RB1 this week.
With just a handful of fantasy points each week, Latavius Murray seems like a stash or handcuff option at best right now. At this point, it feels silly having Murray on a fantasy team without Kamara.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Michael Thomas (Should be inactive), Tre’Quan Smith (Sit, Wr3), Jared Cook (Start, Low-end TE1), Emmanuel Sanders (Sit), Deonte Harris (Sit)
Sort of an interesting point: Michael Thomas will go through an examination by a Packers’ doctor a few days before this week’s match-up. Though I imagine Thomas still has a rather slim chance at playing this week.
The only receiver to truly step up with Thomas gone was Tre’Quan Smith, who led the team with seven targets and 13.6 fantasy points. That was against a defense that was in the bottom eight in passing yards allowed in 2019. This week is a more difficult match-up against a Green Bay defense that was top ten in passing yards allowed per game last year. I can’t imagine Smith does any better than his performance in Week 2.
Jared Cook struggled to get on the same page with Brees last week, and his targets were inconsistent as the Saints struggled in the passing game. Cook still has a healthy 15.9% target share so far this year and should get more looks against a Packers team that was pretty mediocre against tight ends last year. If Thomas is out again, I believe the Saints will make sure Cook is more involved this time. Low-end TE1 territory should be achievable for Jared this week.
Emmanuel Sanders is beginning to look like a bust this year. He barely salvaged a mediocre fantasy performance in Week 1 with a touchdown on only 15 yards. Plenty of people were hopeful that Sanders could step up in the absence of Michael Thomas, but he was disappointed with only one catch on three targets last week. Heck, DeonteHarris had more targets than Sanders. These guys will need to step up and have an impressive week before I trust them.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse on Twitter)