The rare preseason shutout in this game – the Saints winning it 13–0. For the second time this preseason, I’ve noted how good the New Orleans Saints defense is/how much they’ve improved. We started noticing them in the second half of last season – but they were too devastated with injury to really pop consistently…they had moments last year, though. They are much healthier now with more talent added in 2017.
Also, note – if the Saints defense is much improved and that they are rocking an Adrian Peterson/Mark Ingram duo along with some Alvin Kamara mixed in…there’s going to be less passing plays because the team will not constantly be behind and in shootouts. At his core, I think Sean Payton wants to run the ball…this team is currently constructed to run and play defense.
You consider the running back trio here. Plus, consider the improved defense…and the loss of game breaker Brandin cooks. Plus, the loss of their key left tackle for at least half the season – there are pressures on Drew Brees that could bring him down…10-15%? for fantasy. I’m not saying anything about his talent – but this is a surrounding situation like he’s not seen.
I won’t read any of the coverage of this game in the media, but I’m guessing they’re not going to blame the Texans getting shutout on how awful a quarterback the Deshaun Watson is…not able to score on the backups for N.O., but they’ll rather blame Tom Savage and give Watson a pass.
Fantasy player notes…
— The pain of the loss of Brandin Cooks could be seriously mitigated by one Ted Ginn (3-26-0/4, 1-24-0). And I’ll tell you this, Ginn looked AMAZING in this game. There is no drop off in his speed. There was certainly no lack of getting him touches running the first team unit with Brees in this game and taking the very first play of the game for a jet sweep, highlight reel run cutting across the field over and over making people miss. If you had gone to sleep for the past 10 years and awoke to watch this game in your hospital bed and had no idea any of the back stories of the players in the offense or recent historical patterns…you would’ve watched this game and easily identified Ginn as the best player on the Saints offense…without even a 2nd choice to tussle with — better than any of the running backs and better than any other receivers.
Ted Ginn is going to matter a whole lot more for fantasy football in 2017 than any of the experts have projected – and they’ve been asleep on him for two years. This is his best situation of his career, and he looks fabulous. He’s going to drop at least two easy TD passes this year and you’re going to be pissed when you see it live – just deal with it. It comes with all of the other territory Ginn brings.
— Two things about the Texans linebacker situation…
(1) As we’ve been saying for a couple weeks now…UDFA IDP LB Dylan Cole (6 tackles) is a revelation. I’ll go on record right now and say he’s their most talented linebacker this very moment. Nice waste of a draft pick on Zach Cunningham. I tried to warn the NFL…
Cole was in the game ahead of Cunningham again, and he’s all but blown past the high draft pick guy. Cole is going to matter for IDP soon.
(2) Call me better a ‘hater’ or whatever, but just let me just say this – Brian Cushing needs to hang them up. If Cushing is going to stay in the middle for Houston, then ‘stock up’ for every running back facing the Texans this year. Cushing and his multiple injuries and age are killing the Texans interior defense.
— Adrian Peterson (6-15-0) got touches working behind and in/out with Mark Ingram. It wasn’t great for AP. It wasn’t a disaster, but father time could be catching up big time here.
How anybody is investing up front in Mark Ingram or Adrian Peterson for fantasy 2017 – is out of their mind for the price.
— If you are just waking up from that decade long slumber, and somehow watched this game instead of contacting loved ones — and was asked who the best receivers were for each team…you’d surprise the football minds of today. As mentioned prior, Ted Ginn was obviously the best on the Saints. Not even close. The best wide receiver in this game for the Texans, for the second week in a row – Bruce Ellington (4-29-0/5).
You would just assume from this game that Ellington is the top guy because Tom Savage is working with Ellington like they’ve been doing this for years. Braxton Miller has never had moments for Houston like Ellington has a right off the bat joining this team three weeks ago. I would not be shocked if Bruce Ellington wasn’t starting Week 1.
If Ellington is starting – it matters for FF not just because he’s the DeAndre Hopkins alternative…but the fact that Savage has some sort of trust/connection right away.
— Awaking from your long nap, you would definitely not believe Michael Thomas (4-27-0/5) was his teams top wide receiver. He has to be the most boring #1 wide receiver in the league. He’s a #2 possession receiver for a team now thrust to a #1 role – and I’m telling you he’s going to struggle with any high-end corners covering him… He just doesn’t have the breakaway speed it takes to dominate in this league. He’s reliable and works timing patterns well, but now he’s going to have a lot better athletes defending those timing patterns this year.
I’m slashing the projections on Willie Snead (1-4-0/2). It looks like he pissed off Payton-Brees pretty good and we’ve seen what happens to WRs who piss off the bosses.
— UDFA Rookie RB Darius Victor (8-30-1) made one more push to make the Saints roster with a solid performance in this game, but the number’s game is against him here. Really, this was just a showcase for other teams to pounce on him the moment the Saints release him. He’s a solid power runner that could walk right into a starting role if pushed by it via injury to the starters, and he would not let the team down. He’d be the Chargers #2 running back right now. Ditto the Buffalo Bills, among others.
…which means he’ll be released, go unclaimed, and sit on the Saints practice squad for the next couple years.
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