The New Orleans Saints (5-2) battle one of the NFL's best defensive teams in Week 9 as they travel to Raymond James Stadium to battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2). As the home stretch of the fantasy football season approaches and many are looking to make a playoff push, who to start from week to week can be a real trick or treat. This week, I will breakdown the New Orleans Saints players you should start and sit here in Week 9.
QB Drew Brees
Drew Brees will get some of his favorite targets back this week. Great timing because he will face a top blitzing Bucs defense on Sunday night.
Why is that important? Well, Brees has been masterful against the blitz throughout his career and particularly this season. Brees' QB rating against the blitz this season is 112.5. Despite battling one of the best defenses in the NFL in Week 9, Brees might have found his most favorable mismatch.
Now Fantasy Owners may be asking, “why start Brees? He was awful in the team's first matchup up”. Yes, 14.4 points are not what you are looking for, but since Week 2, Brees is averaging right around 20 points per game and has scored at least 2 TDs in each of those games.
Ranked as ESPN's 16th best QB performer of the season, Brees may not be a go-to option in a lot of leagues, but as Brees has begun to heat up, now is the time to move him back into your lineup. Against a blitz-happy defense with the return of some of his favorite receiving threats, it is a good week to feel a cool Brees.
TE Jared Cook
Jared Cook has been a touchdown machine over the last three weeks for the New Orleans Saints. Despite not posting a game of more than 5 receptions this season, the two-time Pro-Bowl selection has been a steady fantasy play in 2020, scoring in four of the last five games he has appeared.
With the Saints gaining some much-needed reinforcements in Week 9 at the WR position, some would initially think that would hurt Cook's value, while I find it does the exact opposite. As Sanders, Callaway, and Thomas return to the gridiron giving headaches to defensive backs on the outside, the middle of the field should open up against safeties and linebackers for No. 87. And that is a fantasy owner's dream once those matchups occur in the red zone.
Yes, Kamara and Thomas will get theirs this week. If you're looking to get a solid 10+ points from your TE in a PPR league this week, I will look no further than Jared Cook.
RB Latavius Murray
Week 1 was not kind to the Saints on the ground. Between Murray and Kamara, the Bayou Backfield only produced 64 yards, but Murray looked to be the bell cow earning 15 carries for 48 yards. Those 15 carries were a season-high for Murray, and against the Buccaneers top-5 defense, the Saints will need a steady workload from their running backs to keep the defense honest but do not expect big numbers from Murray this week.
Murray has yet to eclipse the 70-rushing yard mark this season, and doing that against the Buccaneers front-seven will be a tough ask. Tampa Bay is allowing just over 3 yards per carry this season and ranks as the NFL's top rushing defense allowing 70.4 yards per game.
Unfortunately for Murray owners, the 2016 Pro-Bowl selection has not proved to be a reliable pass-catching option during his NFL career and does not help his value in a matchup like this. In a year where Murray has been a true week-to-week option, there is no better week to look to another option as the Saints face one of their toughest tests of the season.