Saints @ Lions
The Lions started this game off great, scoring two quick touchdowns in the first quarter on two Matthew Stafford touchdowns. The Saints scored 35 straight points after that and held on to their second win of the season. The Lions scored 15 points after that point but it was too little, too late. It was curious to see the Lions running the ball frequently mid-way through the fourth quarter down by multiple scores. After that scoring drive, they wound up not getting the ball back.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees: 19/25, 246 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int, 2 Sacks | 3 carries, -3 yards
Drew Brees did exactly what we thought he would today. He didn’t throw the ball deep but connected on most of his intermediate throws. He hit 8 of 12 passes between 10 and 25 yards down the field. Brees was working without his top receiver in Michael Thomas and top tight end, Jared Cook. Brees wasn’t asked to do a ton as the Saints relied on their ground game in this one. They had 42 rushing attempts to 27 dropbacks. Brees was not under any duress in this one, as he was pressured on only 5 of 27 dropbacks. He also hit Tre’Quan Smith on a couple of beautifully thrown touchdown passes in the second quarter. He will be a low-end QB1/QB2 going forward. The Saints will get the Chargers next week, who just gave up five touchdown passes to Tom Brady.
Alvin Kamara: 19 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 36 yards
Latavius Murray: 14 carries, 64 yards, 2 TDs | 2 targets, 1 reception, 19 yards
It was clearly in the Saints’ gameplan to run the ball early and often as they tallied up 164 yards on the ground. Alvin Kamara had a nice game, although it was surprising to not see him garner more targets with the other passing game weapons out for the Saints. He is a top-three option at the running back position right now. Latavius Murray had a couple of short red zone touchdowns and had some nice inside rushes for the Saints. He got more work than I was expecting but showed why he is the number one handcuff in fantasy football. Murray can’t be trusted on a weekly basis but should be owned in all leagues in case anything were to happen to Kamara. The Saints running game has a solid matchup against the injury-depleted Chargers defensive front.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Emmanuel Sanders: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 93 yards
Tre’Quan Smith: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 54 yards, 2 TDs
Emmanuel Sanders stepped in nicely to the number one receiving role this week. He racked up several chunk gains on his six receptions. He will be a WR 2 as long as Cook and Thomas are out. Tre’Quan Smith connected with Brees for a couple of touchdowns in this one. He shows flashes but hasn’t been able to consistently produce in this offense. No other receiver had more than one reception and can be ignored for fantasy purposes.
Matthew Stafford: 17/31, 206 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int, 3 Sacks | 3 carries, 21 yards
Matthew Stafford started this game off hot. He had two passing touchdowns on the first two Lions drives in the first quarter. He didn’t do much else until late in the third quarter when the Lions were squarely in garbage time/comeback mode. He had a short goal-line touchdown pass in the third quarter and led the Lions to one more scoring drive but it was too little too late. It was a bit disappointing yardage game from Stafford with the Saints missing their top-two cornerbacks and the Lions at full health in their receiving corps. Stafford and the Lions have a bye next week and he is a low-end QB1/QB2 going forward.
Adrian Peterson: 11 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD | 2 targets
Kerryon Johnson: 3 carries, 9 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 3 yards
D’Andre Swift: 4 carries, 22 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 30 yards, 1 TD
The Lions may have the worst running back situation for fantasy owners. Once again it was a three-man committee. D’Andre Swift is clearly the most talented in the backfield but is being relegated to mostly a passing-game role at the moment. He only has 12 carries through four games. Adrian Peterson is getting the bulk of the rushing work but this is a poor offensive line and he is not very involved in the passing game with just six targets through four games. Kerryon Johnson gets a little bit of work in the run and pass game but doesn’t receive enough volume to matter in fantasy. As long as all three are healthy, none of them can be relied on in fantasy above a desperate flex play.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Kenny Golladay: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 62 yards, 1 TD
Marvin Jones: 2 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards
Danny Amendola: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 57 yards
T.J. Hockenson: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards, 1 TD
Kenny Golladay now has 10 receptions on 15 targets and two scores in his two healthy games this season. He looks healthy and had a couple of nice catches against this depleted Saints secondary. The bye week will hopefully get him to 100% health and he is a WR1 going forward. Marvin Jones once again had a poor showing. He just isn’t very involved in this offense right now, with 19 targets on the season through four games, even with Golladay missing two of those games. Jones should be viewed as WR4 at the moment. Danny Amendola is a low-upside slot receiver and has caught less than half of his passes so far this season, deserving WR4/WR5 status with everyone healthy. T.J. Hockenson caught a nice goal-line fade in the third quarter. He isn’t getting a lot of work, averaging only five targets per game and less than four receptions per game. He does have two touchdowns, though, and is more of a touchdown or bust low-end TE1 right now.
-Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918 on Twitter)