In the NFL, while you want to win every game, the ones you absolutely must win are divisional contests. With the NFC South’s top three teams separated by a single game, Week 7’s matchup for the New Orleans Saints as they host the Carolin Panthers will have a massive impact on their season. Dealing with multiple players, including a plethora of wide receivers out for this game, the New Orleans Saints RB, WR, QB, and TE depth chart will be put to the test, creating opportunities for savvy fantasy football managers to take advantage of in their pursuit of a coveted win.
For the Saints, this is virtually a must-win, which we generally aren’t saying before the halfway point of the season. However, the division is extremely difficult. Their main competition, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just got a lot better after adding WR Antonio Brown, though it remains to be seen when or if he will see the field.
The Saints know they are a win-now team. Drew Brees has lost a step (or three), and the window to compete with the roster is closing fast. A win this week won’t happen without every member of the Saints depth chart stepping up, and that starts with relying on one of the best running backs in the NFL.
New Orleans Saints RB Depth Chart: Could Alvin Kamara be the top-scoring fantasy player in Week 7?
Alvin Kamara, RB
Simply put, yes, he certainly can, and he is my RB1 this week, and it isn’t really close for fantasy. Heading into his bye week, the number one option on the Saints RB depth chart, Alvin Kamara, was the top running back in PPR formats by 34.3 points, which is absurd given it was only through five weeks. Coming out of his bye, he’s still the top running back by a full 23.9 PPR points.
In Week 7, he gets to feast on a Panthers defense that gives up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs at 32.30 PPR points per game. Not only is he getting help from the matchup, but he is also getting help from his own team due to Michael Thomas’ absence.
When Thomas is out, Kamara’s numbers go through the roof. His points per game go from 23.7pts (379 per 16 games) to an astronomical 30.98pts (496 per 16 games). Receptions go from five per game (80 per 16 games) to 8.25 per game (132 per 16 games). His targets shoot up to almost ten per game, and his receiving yards go from a respectable 51 yards(816 per 16 game pace) and rise over 30 yards all the way to 86 receiving yards (1,376 per 16 games).
Take away every single rushing yard from Kamara, and at this pace, he would have been the WR2 in fantasy, only behind teammate Michael Thomas with 317.6 PPR points. His 29.5 ppg average through six weeks is higher than the pace Christian McCaffrey was on last year when he shattered every record.
Kamara is an elite RB1 against a team that’s allowed 39 running back touchdowns over their last two seasons. Start him in fantasy and DFS, and win the week.
Latavius Murray, RB
Behind Kamara on the Saints’ RB depth chart is Latavius Murray. You would think with a player like Kamara in front of you, there wouldn’t be anything but scraps left over, but for Murray, in the words of the American hero Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.”
Murray has had at least 13 touches in three of five contests this season, with two of those games coming against teams that struggle to stop the run, which we know he is facing again in Week 7. Murray should receive at least 10 to 12 carries in this game, and he’s seen ten red zone carries compared to Kamara’s 14, so he should have a decent shot to find the end zone as well. I have him as an RB3 this week and someone who I would have no issue playing as a flex player.
Dwayne Washington and Ty Montgomery, RB
When looking at the Saints RB depth chart, neither Washington nor Montgomery carry any fantasy value and would need injuries ahead of them to find any snaps.
New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Depth Chart: Which receivers might get more volume?
Tre’Quan Smith, WR
Tre’Quan Smith should be a big part of the Saints passing game Sunday against the Panthers, as fellow wideouts Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (reserve/COVID-19) won’t be able to play in Week 7. The Saints wide receivers will need to dig deep this weekend to find production.
With Thomas out of the lineup for the past four games, Smith averaged 3.8 catches for 47.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns while averaging five targets. That’s not exactly prolific, but Sanders saw 7.8 targets per game over the same stretch, accounting for 22% of the team total. Smith now finds himself in an excellent position to take on the lions share of the targets, though Kamara and TE Jared Cook also figure to see plenty of work. Smith carries WR3 status in fantasy this week.
Deonte Harris, WR
Harris missed the Week 5 win over the Chargers, but he utilized the bye week to get back to full health. Now off the injury report, Harris looks to see an increase snap count, but how effective those will be is hard to tell. Harris has less than 100 yards on the season and has spent most of his work serving as the team’s primary punt and kick returner. Given his speed, Harris could see some work in the slot, but I would look elsewhere on the Saints wide receivers depth chart to find fantasy value.
Marquez Callaway, WR
One of the Saints wide receivers that you can use to get a little more creative in fantasy would be WR Marquez Callaway, the UDFA out of the University of Tennessee. Without the benefit of an offseason, Callaway has had to learn on the fly while climbing up the Saints depth chart.
Over the last two weeks, Callaway has caught five of his seven targets for 50 yards along with 126 return yards. At Tennessee, Callaway caught 91 passes for 1,646 yards and 13 touchdowns. The guy is getting noticed by fellow players, and even HC Sean Payton is commenting on his performance. In Week 5, Callaway was second on the team in offensive snaps played at 68%, only behind Smith. He could see six to seven targets, and for someone that is out there in nearly every league, it’s worth a look.
New Orleans Saints TE and QB Depth Charts: Will both Drew Brees and Jared Cook thrive with Thomas out in Week 7?
Drew Brees, QB
The Saints QB depth chart is pretty simple – without an injury, it will be Brees playing on Sunday. I was hoping that the bye week and having Thomas back would get Brees back on track, but that won’t be the case. With Thomas out, we have seen just how much Brees has regressed over the years that his star wide receiver was able to mask with his abilities.
Teams have been beating the Panthers on the ground, not by throwing the ball. Allowing just 13.89 points per game to quarterbacks, they give up the fourth-fewest per game while also allowing a league-low 6.08 yards per attempt. I have to downgrade Brees as a mid-to-low-end QB2 this week. You can find several players on waivers with much higher ceilings than he offers.
Taysom Hill, QB/TE
One of the more talked about options on the Saints QB depth chart is Taysom Hill. Depending on the fantasy platform you use, Hill could have either QB, TE, or dual eligibility. It doesn’t matter, don’t do it. If Sean Payton wants to make the mistake of playing him, that’s fine, don’t compound that mistake and do it yourself.
Jared Cook, TE
He returned in Week 5 only and only saw three targets for the second consecutive game. So far, Cook has seen target totals of seven, five, three, and three. The Panthers have allowed just 4.70 yards per target to tight ends through six games and only 10.5 PPR points per game to the position. It’s all going to come down to scoring chances as other than Kamara, Cook will be the primary endzone target on the Saints depth chart. He will be a low-end TE1 in Week 7 that carries touchdown upside.
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