New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Saints -1
- Total: 42
- Saints implied points: 21.5
- Falcons implied points: 20.5
Derek Carr: The fact that he emerges from the bye having completed over 70% of his passes in three straight games is encouraging, but not nearly enough to put him on the fantasy radar against a defense that is better than league average against the pass on a per-attempt basis.
Carr’s two most viable fantasy weeks this season have come when pushed to be aggressive, something that is unlikely against Arthur Smith’s bottom-10 scoring offense.
Alvin Kamara: The versatile Saints RB has over 6.0 fantasy points as a pass catcher in five straight games, usage that elevates his floor. Kamara may not have a 20-yard carry this season, but an 89.3% catch rate is nothing short of elite.
The Falcons haven’t played much in the way of pass-catching backs, but it’s worth noting that Rachaad White caught all six of his targets when playing Atlanta (65 yards) and that Brian Robinson Jr. caught a 24-yard TD in this spot.
Kamara is a solid bet to finish this week as a top-15 back for the seventh time in eight games.
Jamaal Williams: He doesn’t have a 10-touch effort since Week 1 and doesn’t need to be on fantasy rosters given Kamara’s usage and the threat of Taysom Hill when this offense is in tight.
Bijan Robinson: Did we as a community win in Week 10 when Robinson carried 22 times (essentially double his rate prior)?
It was certainly a step in the right direction, but one week doesn’t make a trend.
The strength of this Saints defense is defending the pass, something that could extend Robinson’s underwhelming usage as a receiver (11 targets for 19 yards over the past month). But it elevates his upside as a rusher in this conservative offense to a level where he’s unquestionably locked into all lineups (six top-20 finishes this season) — and considered for DFS!
Tyler Allgeier: Only three times this season has Allgeier finished as a top-30 RB, and he doesn’t have a game with 60 rushing yards since the season opener. His 10-13 touch role makes him roster-worthy in deeper formats, but if you’re in a roster pinch as you navigate injuries, Allgeier isn’t a player you’re ever going to start with confidence and can thus be cut.
Chris Olave: Slowly but surely, it would seem that Olave is rounding into fantasy form. He posted consecutive top-10 finishes going into the Week 11 bye after posting just two top-20 finishes before this recent run.
Olave is pacing for nearly 160 targets this season, and given his athletic profile, that makes him a starting option every single week. We saw Jameis Winston come in and flash his reckless aggression in Week 10, a style of play that would elevate Olave’s ceiling if Carr were to get banged up.
The Falcons own an opponent aDOT that is well above average, and I hope that the Saints used the off-week to find ways to get their clear-cut WR1 the chance to make some splash plays.
Rashid Shaheed: You don’t need me to tell you what Shaheed is. He has three top-12 finishes this season sprinkled in, alongside seven weeks in which he wasn’t a top-50 producer at the position.
I could tell you that Atlanta has surrendered some chunk gains through the air. But you need to be aware that the physical makeup of those playmakers (recently: Trey McBride, Mike Evans, and DeAndre Hopkins) was a little different than the 180-pound Shaheed.
By “different,” I mean the average weight of those other three was a tick under 232 pounds. I’m skeptical about Shaheed in this spot and have him ranked outside of my top 40. Still, I’ll admit that he’s an appealing profile for fantasy teams that can take on significant risks.
Michael Thomas: For the first two months of this season, Thomas was bizarro Shaheed — all floor, no ceiling.
He gave you 7-10 fantasy points in seven of his first eight games this season, and as unsexy as that was, it was comforting to know you had access to that production if you needed it. Acceptable, not exceptional — a lot like my glorious career as a high school point guard.
In Week 9, however, Thomas was shut out and earned just a single target on his 26 routes against the Bears. He earned a target on his first two routes in Week 10, showing early signs of putting the dud performance behind him, but he then exited with a knee injury and never returned.
The team put Thomas on IR Tuesday, and he can now be dropped in all formats where placing him on your IR is not an option. The upside simply isn’t high enough to justify burning a roster spot in the most important portion of the fantasy regular season.
Drake London: We can’t count on this offense to consistently hand the ball to the right player, so in what world are we comfortable in a below-average quarterback putting any pass catcher in a spot to give us the fantasy numbers we want?
No world. London has one top 20 (Week 6 vs. WAS) on his résumé this season and four finishes outside of the top 45.
Actuarial science is a discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to the systematic observation of natural events to assess the risk of events occurring and help formulate policies that minimize this risk.
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It’s a complicated field. I thought I wanted to major in it coming out of high school and took the basics during my freshman year at Penn State. Let me put it this way, I’ve never been more sure that my future was in analyzing fake football teams.
No, I didn’t do well in those classes, but I’m comfortable in saying that if my professors were to apply all of their fancy algorithms and theorems to this London situation against an elite defense, we’d get to the same evaluation:
London’s stock is too risky to invest in.
Taysom Hill: How volatile is his value? In Week 9 against the Chicago Bears, Hill played 29 snaps, threw a touchdown pass, and touched the ball 15 times. In Week 10 against the Vikings, Hill played 20 snaps and touched the ball three times (zero passes, 23 yards).
His fantasy value is hyper-fragile, and at any other position, that would make him a complete fade. But at the wasteland that is a tight end, any path to the upside has my interest.
Hill certainly isn’t a safe option. I rank him outside of my top 10 at the position but ahead of the streamers, which makes him a fantasy starter in deeper formats.
Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith: Over the past month, Pitts has less than 60 receiving yards in all five games, while Smith has been held under 40 yards four times.
If there was an option to start “ATL TE” and get all of the production from the position as a whole, I’d jump on it. However, in a committee situation where you have to pick one in a run-centric offense, it’s a pass for me.
Should You Start Ja’Marr Chase or Drake London?
The risk of Ja’Marr Chase makes this a conversation, but I’m still betting on this offense scheming him into the game, a benefit of the doubt I can’t give the Falcons. Chase has scored in three of his past four games and has six scores on his ledger over his past six games.
London has cleared 55 receiving yards just three times this season and I’m not overly optimistic that changes this week.
Should You Start Taysom Hill or Kyle Pitts?
Both of these tight ends come with a low floor, so I’ll side with the ceiling edge that lies with the versatile Hill. With 50 carries on his 2023 resume, there’s a floor built in that doesn’t exist with every frustrating Pitts outing (one game of 60+ yards this season).
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