Oakland’s already below average OL was coming into this one missing starters, and it nearly got QB Matt Flynn killed. In total against all Raiders QB’s the Saints tallied an insane 7 sacks, so what’s even a little more nonsensical is that somehow Flynn finished with a statline of 12 for 16 for 124 yards and a TD. I don’t believe Flynn is a fantasy starter unless you’re in a league of 15 or more, or you start 2 QB’s….but I will say after privately making fun of this guy’s weak arm…that the rest of his body must be made out of steel to take this kind of abuse and still get something done.
WR Denarius Moore caught the TD from Flynn, and may be the only semi-reliable weekly player in this passing offense. But the guy standing out over the 1st 2 preseason games is rookie WR Brice Butler. Butler is 6’3 and 213 and in this one he got a lot of playing time with the starters. In 2 preseason games Butler has 5 catches for 108 yards and a TD. I don’t think many Raiders will be very valuable this year, but this guy has me at least watching to see how much he’s involved in the 3rd preseason game. In re-draft leagues he’s undraftable right now, but in dynasty leagues it is time to put this guy on your radar.
RB Darren McFadden started, got 5 carries, and didn’t get hurt. That is all you want to hear about him – his draft stock in all formats is lower than it’s ever been, but if he plays even 10 games this season he could win you a league. Risk/reward thy name is McFadden.
New Orleans was its typical “spread the love and the scoring” offense that fantasy players have come to love and hate. The players leading the touches with the starters in this one: RB Darren Sproles and RB Mark Ingram.
Sproles got his typical balance 5 carries for 9 yards, and 5 catches for 35 yards. The numbers aren’t standout “fall in love” with, but it speaks to his involvement in so much of the Saints offense. Some people see the Saints RB’s as a mess – Sproles, Thomas, and Ingram should all cannibalize each other right?
I see opportunity, and Sproles leads that vision. Sproles is the one with the most unique skill threat of the 3. He’s fast, catches the ball well, and blocks, and he’s tougher than he gets credit for… sure at the end of the year he’s gotten his numbers atypically for a RB, but if at the end of the season he has 900 total yards and 8-9 Td’s he’s well worth taking a flier on as a RB2.
The real problem here is for anyone who wants to select one of the 2 remaining Saints RB’s: Mark Ingram to me has looked like a grade A (or F really) dud since he hit the league. But he claims he’s healthier this season than ever before and he is still getting those little goaline carries in the preseason. It seems once again he’s been given the opportunity to lead this backfield- while poor Pierre Thomas- one of the most underrated RB’s in all of football has to settle for scraps. My usual advice is to pass on Ingram, and then see about a flier on Pierre very late in your drafts- in case Ingram gets hurt – Pierre would then represent RB2 value as well…
WR Kenny Stills 4 catches for 64 yards and a TD – is a rookie looking for that WR3 job. He ran with the starters and looked pretty good, a productive college player he’s in quite a fight with WR Nick Toon. Toon – a 2nd year player, caught a 56 yarder in this one to state his case – but it was his only catch. Both guys got reps with Brees so the battle will continue – redrafters and dynasty players alike should keep their eyes on these 2 to see what develops. One of them may even have a chance to move up to the WR2 position this season as Marques Colston’s foot injury (chronic plantar fasciitis) has him as a good bet to miss some playing time in 2013.