Matchup Analysis: New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Patriots 30, Saints 25

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

New England Patriots Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Patriots Offense27.0 (+6.8) (7)124 (+31) (9)247 (+26) (14)
Saints Defense29.0 (+8.8) (28)129 (+36) (27)341 (+120) (31)

New Orleans Saints Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Saints Offense19.0 (-1.2) (17)60 (-32) (23)284 (+63) (8)
Patriots Defense42.0 (+21.8) (31)185 (+92) (31)352 (+131) (32)

Patriots Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Saints defense.

There’s little “figuring out” the Patriots backfield in fantasy terms, but it was encouraging to see them commit so hard to the run in Week 1. Despite losing by 15 points, they registered 35 rushes – 49% of their offensive snaps. Their success was mixed – lead rusher Mike Gillislee managed just 3.0 yards per rush, but punched in 3 short touchdowns, while James White looked ho-hum while running from passing sets. It was nice to see them generate so many short-touchdown opportunities, but discouraging that they converted just five of their nine short-yardage chances overall. Still, this line remains solid, and there should be better days ahead. There will be more room on the weeks they’re able to stretch the field vertically and/or face tired defenses. When you’re forecasting this backfield, use Vegas for help – from 2014-16, LeGarrette Blount added 20% more yards per rush and saw a 10% higher touchdown rate when favored by 4.5 or more.

The New Orleans run defense is better than it’s given credit for. Still, the unit tends to suffer from the breakneck pace of Saints games, and like the pass defense it often gasses and falters late. That was never more apparent than in Week 1, when Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook rattled off 33- and 32-yard runs in the fourth quarter to essentially clinch the game. They tend to allow a lot of touchdowns on the ground as well, which bodes great fantasy-wise for opponents who find themselves in scoring position often. The Patriots likely won’t test their interior run defense much, but could find big lanes outside the tackle box – and find the end zone with regularity.

Patriots Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Saints defense.

Tom Brady certainly wasn’t at his most efficient in Week 1, melting down in the second half and completing just 16 of his 36 passes. Much of that was due to a phenomenal defensive game plan and effort by Kansas City, who steeled themselves to rush Brady effectively and slow Rob Gronkowski. But we shouldn’t overreact to what could’ve been a much bigger night for Brady and his weapons. Brandin Cooks’ debut went fantastically; he caught just three of his eight targets but had an enormously positive impact on the New England offense. He turned those 3 catches into 88 yards and drew four big penalties from Kansas City’s coverage unit – two of which set up touchdowns. His presence alone is a massive boon for Brady, and the fact that he’s winning matchups at this rate is encouraging for his own numbers. Furthermore, Gronkowski won’t often face an All Pro like Eric Berry going forward, and Chris Hogan will be able to find more room against less aggressive, dynamic defenses.

The Saints dreadful pass defense should help Tom Brady shake off his rough Week 1 more than they’ll prevent him. It’s as porous as they come, and dating back to the start of 2016, opposing passers have enjoyed a 35-yard boost against the Saints. Of their last 17 opponents, 10 have thrown for 296 yards or more, 13 have thrown multiple touchdowns. Without the services of occasional shutdown cornerback Delvin Breaux, who’s played in just 6 games since 2015, there’s little hope for the secondary to shut down functional passing games.

Saints Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Patriots defense.

Neither Mark Ingram nor Adrian Peterson was able to find any running room in Week 1. They combined for just 35 yards on 12 carries as the Saints abandoned the run early – a reminder of not only their inconsistency, but also that the wrong game scripts can doom their early-down outlooks. It doesn’t help a bit that both tackles, Terron Armstead and Zach Strief, are currently missing from the offensive line. There’s still plenty of value in Saints backs, though. Their pace and touchdown outlooks are elite virtually every week, and their receiving capabilities always provide a projection boost. Last year they produced seven RB2 weeks (and five RB1s) despite finishing middle-of-the-pack in rushing efficiency. In a high-paced matchup with scoring opportunity everywhere, all Saints runners get an appreciable boost in value – with attention paid to the fact that a game script gone awry can be disastrous.

On the whole, New England is stingy from a fantasy standpoint; they allowed the third-fewest rushing yards and the fewest rushing touchdowns in football last year. But a degree of that success has been dictated by game flow. The Patriots tend to lead their games comfortably for long chunks of time, erasing opponents’ desires to pound the ball. Furthermore, with their shaky secondary a liability, they rely on a lot of backloaded sets, with extra defensive backs replacing linebackers and linemen on the field. That’s a Bill Belichick trademark – in Super Bowl XXV his Giants defense famously “ignored” Thurman Thomas’ rushing attack in favor of slowing Jim Kelly’s electric passing game. Kareem Hunt took this advantage to the max in Week 1, ripping off 148 yards on just 17 rushes against little front-seven resistance. The Patriots retain a generally strong run defense, with a stout nose tackle in Malcom Brown and capable pursuers. But they’ll abandon all semblance of run-plugging when the situation demands it, so they’re always susceptible to big plays and big stat lines. Dont’a Hightower injury is something to watch in this game as if he is unable to go, the linebacking group of this team gets weak pretty quickly.

Saints Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Patriots defense.

After a virtually inconsequential Week 1, Drew Brees will be happy to see the Superdome. Brees’ home/road splits come with a lot of history: over the past 6 seasons, he’s averaged home boosts of 64% in touchdown rate, 13% in yards per attempt, and 31% in standard fantasy scoring. He’ll be happy to see this Patriots secondary, as well. They’ve been torn apart by the deep ball since the start of the preseason, and Alex Smith thoroughly worked them over downfield in Week 1. Brees no longer throws to Brandin Cooks, but his receivers possess plenty of downfield polish and will certainly make plays on his pinpoint throws. He’s also loaded with underneath targets, including Coby Fleener and entrenched passing-down back Alvin Kamara, that extend plays and drives. He’ll certainly miss Cooks, who now suits up across the field. But his outlook is roughly as stable – especially at home – as it’s been any other week in recent memory. One concern is that Brees will be contending with a patchwork offensive line missing both tackles in this game as Zach Streif and Terron Armstead are unlikely to play.

The New England secondary was roasted on and off throughout the preseason, then absolutely shredded in Week 1 by Alex Smith, who completed deep-ball touchdowns of 78 and 75 yards. Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore had shaky debuts, but their lack of depth is glaring, and the toothless pass rush isn’t helping the secondary at all. A Bill Belichick defense should always be expected to tweak and improve, but for the time being, it’s fairly safe to boost opposing passing games up a notch from week to week. Shootouts like last week’s should be close to the norm for much of 2017.

Saints vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)28 (+11.2)28 (+11.2)28 (+10.6)29 (+12.7)
1Sam Bradford652732346302-3029.029.025.528.5

Tom Brady (FanDuel: $9200, DraftKings: $7900)

1vs KC8116362670020013.413.410.710.7
2PROJ-Dodds28393242.30.6240.125.825.825.8 (H=60)25.8 (H=70)
2PROJ-Tremblay20352771.81250. (H=42)21.1 (H=49)
2PROJ-Bloom23302982.70.5110.125.925.925.9 (H=60)25.9 (H=71)

Saints vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+0.5)21 (+0.8)21 (+0.8)21 (+3.3)
1Dalvin Cook512212705310013.716.715.219.7
1Jerick McKinnon11350333203.

Mike Gillislee (FanDuel: $6700, DraftKings: $5700)

1vs KC2415453000022.522.522.522.5
2PROJ-Dodds13530.60008.98.98.9 (H=13)8.9 (H=15)
2PROJ-Tremblay1351100011.111.111.1 (H=19)11.1 (H=22)
2PROJ-Bloom1661100012.112.112.1 (H=22)12.1 (H=26)

James White (FanDuel: $5700, DraftKings: $4000)

1vs KC4310380533006.
2PROJ-Dodds7310.23190. (H=13)9.8 (H=26)
2PROJ-Tremblay9360.33280.18.811.810.3 (H=19)11.8 (H=35)
2PROJ-Bloom9400.34310.310.714.712.7 (H=28)14.7 (H=52)

Rex Burkhead (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3900)

1vs KC10315031802.
2PROJ-Dodds4180.14270. (H=13)9.7 (H=26)
2PROJ-Tremblay3130.121803.75.74.7 (H=5)5.7 (H=10)
2PROJ-Bloom260.13280. (H=9)7.6 (H=17)

Dion Lewis (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3400)

1vs KC629000000.
2PROJ-Dodds290.11602.13.12.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=4)
2PROJ-Tremblay280.10001.41.41.4 (H=0)1.4 (H=1)
2PROJ-Bloom270.10001.31.31.3 (H=0)1.3 (H=0)

Saints vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29 (+20.5)29 (+27.2)29 (+24.0)29 (+29.7)
1Stefon Diggs58879321-6020.727.724.227.7
1Adam Thielen65109157000015.724.720.227.7

Brandin Cooks (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $8200)

1vs KC67738800008.811.810.311.8
2PROJ-Dodds6760.600011.217.214.2 (H=25)17.2 (H=33)
2PROJ-Tremblay5830.500011.316.313.8 (H=23)16.3 (H=30)
2PROJ-Bloom4710.500010.114.112.1 (H=19)14.1 (H=23)

Chris Hogan (FanDuel: $6200, DraftKings: $5600)

1vs KC73518031702.
2PROJ-Dodds4660.516010.214.212.2 (H=24)14.2 (H=35)
2PROJ-Tremblay3540.431509.312.310.8 (H=19)12.3 (H=27)
2PROJ-Bloom5660.600010.215.212.7 (H=26)15.2 (H=39)

Phillip Dorsett (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3900)

1vs KC181000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds2250.10003.15.14.1 (H=4)5.1 (H=8)
2PROJ-Tremblay1160.10002.23.22.7 (H=2)3.2 (H=3)

Danny Amendola (FanDuel: $6100, DraftKings: $5100)

1vs KC32761000000101613.019.0
2PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Saints vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)22 (+2.1)18 (+0.8)21 (+1.4)18 (+0.7)
1Kyle Rudolph55332618.611.610.111.6

Rob Gronkowski (FanDuel: $8100, DraftKings: $6900)

1vs KC78623303.
2PROJ-Dodds5720.610.815.813.3 (H=21)15.8 (H=34)
2PROJ-Tremblay5640.6101512.5 (H=19)15.0 (H=31)
2PROJ-Bloom5810.913.518.516.0 (H=30)18.5 (H=45)

Dwayne Allen (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs KC272000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds2230. (H=5)5.5 (H=15)
2PROJ-Tremblay1130. (H=2)3.5 (H=7)
2PROJ-Bloom2210. (H=6)5.9 (H=17)

Saints vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)23T (+4.0)23T (+4.0)22T (+4.0) (+0.0)
1Kai Forbath3323111112.00.0

Stephen Gostkowski (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $--)

1vs KC2233999.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1. (H=21)10.2
2PROJ-Tremblay2.433.23.210.410.412.1 (H=29)12.1

Saints vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2T (-6.4)2T (-6.4)4T (-6.6)4T (-6.6)
1Minnesota Vikings1934410000112.02.0

New England Patriots (FanDuel: $4300, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs KC42.0053730100551.01.0
2PROJ-Dodds24.404082.10.80.600.3777.0 (H=13)7.0 (H=23)
2PROJ-Tremblay24.753802.71.20.600. (H=18)8.4 (H=31)

Patriots vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+16.9)30 (+16.9)30 (+16.1)30 (+18.2)
1Alex Smith6928353684053034.734.731.034.0

Drew Brees (FanDuel: $8700, DraftKings: $7700)

1@ MIN6227372911000018.618.615.615.6
2PROJ-Dodds28423161.81.112022.122.122.1 (H=48)22.1 (H=55)
2PROJ-Tremblay27422841.81.200020.220.220.2 (H=41)20.2 (H=47)
2PROJ-Bloom23342482.31110.121.321.321.3 (H=45)21.3 (H=51)

Patriots vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+33.6)30 (+33.9)30 (+31.9)30 (+35.4)
1Kareem Hunt401714815598242.647.643.149.6
1Charcandrick West24121111408.

Mark Ingram (FanDuel: $6200, DraftKings: $4900)

1@ MIN266170555407.112.19.612.1
2PROJ-Dodds8390.34280.29.713.711.7 (H=22)13.7 (H=37)
2PROJ-Tremblay9400.24310.18.912.910.9 (H=20)12.9 (H=34)
2PROJ-Bloom9390.32150. (H=13)9.8 (H=21)

Adrian Peterson (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $4700)

1@ MIN9618010001.
2PROJ-Dodds9340.211005.66.66.1 (H=7)6.6 (H=11)
2PROJ-Tremblay6200.21703.94.94.4 (H=4)4.9 (H=6)
2PROJ-Bloom7310.30004.94.94.9 (H=5)4.9 (H=6)

Alvin Kamara (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3500)

1@ MIN317180642003.
2PROJ-Dodds3150.13230.1586.5 (H=10)8.0 (H=20)
2PROJ-Tremblay7270.24280.17.311.39.3 (H=20)11.3 (H=38)
2PROJ-Bloom9410.23220.39.312.310.8 (H=26)12.3 (H=44)

Patriots vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+9.3)27 (+13.0)26 (+11.3)27 (+15.5)
1Tyreek Hill5087133125019.826.823.329.8
1Chris Conley65424300004.

Michael Thomas (FanDuel: $8000, DraftKings: $7500)

1@ MIN58854500004.
2PROJ-Dodds6700.40009.415.412.4 (H=19)15.4 (H=30)
2PROJ-Tremblay6730.500010.316.313.3 (H=22)16.3 (H=33)
2PROJ-Bloom6650.600010.116.113.1 (H=21)16.1 (H=32)

Ted Ginn (FanDuel: $6100, DraftKings: $4800)

1@ MIN42545301505.
2PROJ-Dodds4580.30007.611.69.6 (H=16)11.6 (H=29)
2PROJ-Tremblay4530.31507.611.69.6 (H=16)11.6 (H=29)
2PROJ-Bloom4550.51809.313.311.3 (H=21)13.3 (H=36)

Brandon Coleman (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3300)

1@ MIN48321300001.
2PROJ-Dodds3380.2000586.5 (H=11)8.0 (H=22)
2PROJ-Tremblay2250.20003.75.74.7 (H=6)5.7 (H=12)
2PROJ-Bloom2210.20003.35.34.3 (H=5)5.3 (H=10)

TommyLee Lewis (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3000)

1@ MIN11325200005.
2PROJ-Dodds1120.10001.82.82.3 (H=1)2.8 (H=3)
2PROJ-Tremblay2290.20004.16.15.1 (H=7)6.1 (H=15)
2PROJ-Bloom2290.10003.55.54.5 (H=5)5.5 (H=12)

Patriots vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26T (+5.4)26T (+8.1)26T (+6.7)26T (+8.0)
1Demetrius Harris26221517.

Coby Fleener (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $3100)

1@ MIN326554111.416.413.916.4
2PROJ-Dodds4530. (H=17)11.1 (H=41)
2PROJ-Tremblay4400.46.410.48.4 (H=15)10.4 (H=37)
2PROJ-Bloom4410. (H=17)11.1 (H=41)

Josh Hill (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $2500)

1@ MIN250000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1140.1232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=5)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Patriots vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15T (-1.0)15T (-1.0)12T (-2.0) (+0.0)
1Cairo Santos0066666.00.0

Wil Lutz (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $--)

1@ MIN4411131314.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1. (H=19)9.2
2PROJ-Tremblay1. (H=20)9.4

Patriots vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8T (-4.4)8T (-4.4)10T (-5.6)10T (-5.6)
1Kansas City Chiefs2737130000333.03.0

New Orleans Saints (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2100)

1@ MIN29.0047010000110.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds30.704231.90.70.400. (H=5)4.1 (H=10)
2PROJ-Tremblay31.254052.310.400. (H=9)5.5 (H=18)