New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has announced that Trevor Siemian will start in Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons. What is Siemian’s fantasy football outlook in a rivalry that has seen its fair share of points over the years?
Trevor Siemian has an opportunity to keep the starting job
When Siemian signed with the Saints, few expected him to do much more than hold a clipboard. Yet, when Taysom Hill suffered a concussion in Week 5, it moved Siemian up a step on the depth chart. Still, the odds were against him seeing the field.
Everything changed last week, though, as starting quarterback Jameis Winston left the Week 8 divisional matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a torn ACL. With Winston’s season over, Siemian was suddenly thrust into the spotlight.
Facing the Super Bowl champions, nobody would have blamed Siemian if he had crumbled and the team had fallen. It was the expectation. But that’s not what happened.
While it wasn’t a relief effort that will go down in history, Siemian looked composed. He passed for 159 yards and a touchdown as the Saints beat the Bucs 36-27.
Should I start Siemian in Week 9 fantasy?
While Siemian has been named the starter, it looks as if Hill will be active. That could limit Siemian’s upside. Head coach Sean Payton loves to use Hill in the red zone, taking the ball out of Siemian’s hands.
Payton was willing to do it with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and was ready to do it with Winston. Thus, it would be a surprise if there weren’t occasions where Payton sent Siemian to the sideline for some of the game’s most valuable plays.
Further muddying the waters is how Payton will use his options in the backfield. With new trade acquisition Mark Ingram joining one of the league’s most talented playmakers, Alvin Kamara, the Saints could turn to the running game.
If that does happen, Siemian could then have an efficient and effective game without putting up fantasy points.
Saints get a struggling Atlanta Falcons defense
The Saints play the Falcons on Sunday, and there aren’t many matchups that are more appealing for quarterbacks. The Falcons are currently allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Unfortunately for Siemian, his strengths don’t necessarily align with the Falcons’ weaknesses. Only the San Francisco 49ers are allowing more rushing yards per game to quarterbacks than the Falcons.
Siemian prefers to play from the pocket. While he could exceed his career average of 6.6 rushing yards per game, it’s unlikely that he’ll be adding too many of those valuable fantasy points with his legs.
In the passing game, the Falcons have one of the top young cornerbacks in the NFL in A.J. Terrell. Terrell is taking wide receivers out of the game and forcing quarterbacks to target the other side of the field. On the other side of the field, Fabian Moreau is improving every week. Nevertheless, it’s Terrell’s ability to eliminate one of the offense’s top weapons that will cause problems.
Siemian is in a great position
Siemian is in just about the best situation that a backup QB could hope for. He has an offensive genius as a play-caller, a strong offensive line, a dynamic running back, and faces a bad defense. Though the Saints’ wide receiver group lacks difference-makers, the Falcons have struggled to defend the run. This could lead to Kamara, the RB5 in our Week 9 running back rankings, being the primary beneficiary.
The Saints could opt to play tough defense and employ a conservative, complementary passing game. This could lead to Siemian performing well without producing the fantasy points that managers would like to see. There are likely better options on your waiver wire.
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