Who to start? Everyone? Because that’s what it’s shaping up to be against one of 2015’s worst defenses, one that hasn’t done nearly enough to address its vast shortcomingsover the offseason. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree not only have fabulous matchups, but likely having to keep up with a high-flying Saints offense may force them to keep airing it out. Furthermore, the Saints allowed fewer than two touchdown passes in just three of their 16 games in 2015, making it hard to justify benching any of these options.
Latavius Murray also has the benefit of facing a front seven without Sheldon Rankins and an aging linebacker unit. Murray’s biggest enemy is game script, which could shift to pass-heavy in a hurry if the Saints continue to put up points as usual. There’s still RB1 upside to be had here, but fantasy owners have to prepare for a downside as well.
Clive Walford also has a great matchup against a Saints defense that allowed the second-most yards to tight ends in 2015, and he deserves to be considered for owners who need a replacement for Rob Gronkowski.
DeAndre Washington was a popular sleeper pick in drafts, but he is too far down in the pecking order to be considered to start yet.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is a mainstay in lineups, and he’s taking Brandin Cooks with him after a terrific finish to the 2015 season. Mark Ingram was also a revelation in 2015, and his heavy usage makes him a must-start as usual for fantasy owners now that he’s healthy.
Coby Fleener is new in town, but the track record of success for tight ends in Sean Payton’s offense make Fleener worthy of a start in Week 1 despite many unknowns. Fleener has TE1 appeal.
Michael Thomas generated worthy preseason hype, but there have been several instances over the years where the Saints offense hasn’t housed many viable fantasy options despite its gaudy offensive totals. Fantasy owners who went heavy on running backs should consider Thomas and fellow receiver Willie Snead as WR3/Flex options with upside, but there’s a low floor here as well.
C.J. Spiller remains in prove-it mode despite an encouraging summer. Keep him benched.