Kickoff: Sunday, October 25th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Betting Odds: NO -7.5, 51 Total via Oddsshark
Teddy Bridgewater (QB2/Stream)
Teddy Bridgewater played pretty poorly last week against the Bears. He only threw for 216 yards and two interceptions. He added a surprising 48 yards on the ground which buoyed his fantasy points. Hopefully, none of you were forced to start him last week. But as we’ve seen so far this year, Bridgewater is a good option in the right matchups. He is 13th in completion percentage over expectation with a plus-2.1 (per NextGenStats). He is also 14th in air yards thrown (per airyards.com), which is much higher than most expected coming into the year. The Saints are 15th in pass defense by DVOA (per Football Outsiders) and the Panthers will be trying to keep up with the Saints offense. Bridgewater is a smart stream this week with QB1 upside.
Mike Davis (Start, RB2)
This may be the last week of Mike Davis, so be prepared. It is unfortunate because Davis has done an admirable job replacing Christian McCaffery and he gets a difficult finale against the Saints’ run defense (fourth by DVOA per Football Outsiders). He is fourth in elusive rating per PFF (minimum 24 rushing attempts) and is third among RBs in targets (even with CMC playing the first two games). The tough matchup but high floor from the usage puts Davis as an RB2 this week. Enjoy one last ride.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
D.J. Moore (Start, WR2), Robby Anderson (Start, WR2), Curtis Samuel (injured/sit) Ian Thomas (Sit)
Robby Anderson had been outperforming D.J. Moore to start the season. But if we look a little closer, Moore has had slightly better peripheral numbers, which led to a stronger performance last week. Moore was 14th in air yards last week and is 13th on the season (per airyards.com). Moore is also 13th in routes run in the NFL (per PFF). Anderson ranks 17th in air yards and 16th in routes run. They are tied in WOPR (weighted opportunity rating, which is a combination of team target share and team air yard share). Together, they have been one of the best WR duos this season. The matchup against the Saints is nothing to run from and they are both high-upside WR2s. Ian Thomas is eighth in routes run among TEs (per PFF) but has only turned that into a measly 10 targets (10!). He should not be rostered right now.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees (QB2/Sit)
Drew Brees has not looked the same this season. He only has a plus-0.5 CPOE (per NextGenStats) on the season (just got into the positives after last week). He is normally among the league leaders. Some of it has to do with the lack of Michael Thomas in the lineup but also has been inaccurate. Without any report on if Thomas will be playing this week, Brees should be on benches until we see a string of solid fantasy performances.
Alvin Kamara (Start, RB1), Latavius Murray (Start, Deep Flex)
Alvin Kamara has been the one RB from the preseason top-four to match his billing. He leads the Saints in target share, which is difficult to do as an RB. The Panthers have been gashed by backs this season and Kamara is primed for a strong outing as usual. Because the Panthers have been struggling against opposing backs, Latavius Murray is a decent deeper flex option if you are in a bind with bye weeks and injuries.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Michael Thomas (Start/WR1 if healthy), Emmanuel Sanders (Start, Flex), Tre’Quan Smith (Sit), Jared Cook (Start, TE1)
Michael Thomas will not have any further discipline handed down to him according to Sean Payton. As of writing this preview, there has been no update on Thomas’ status. Emmanuel Sanders has been the primary beneficiary of Thomas’ absence. Sanders is 27th in WOPR (per airyards.com). If Thomas continues to be held out. Sanders is a flex play, but continue to monitor Thomas’ status. Tre’Quan Smith is capable of spike weeks but has been inconsistent throughout his career. He is second in air yards on the team but is surprisingly down about 150 air yards to Sanders. He is a deep play without Thomas and a definite sit if he’s back. Jared Cook is 12th in WOPR and 13th in air yards among TEs (per airyards.com). Cook is a TE1 in the current TE landscape.
-Frank Costanzo (@FrankQBList on Twitter, Zzzonked92 on Reddit)