September 9, 2022, 3:42 pm
Saints (-230) @ Falcons (+5.5); Total of 43
The Saints kick off their season by visiting a Falcons team that had very few desirable options during redraft season. Sure, Kyle Pitts is one of the top TEs on the board along with Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews, but that’s where the top-end fantasy talent dried up. The Marcus Mariota-led Falcons are projected to win the fewest games out of the entire league along with the Houston Texans while the Saints are somewhat of a darling for many speculators. Look for the Saints to take advantage early and often in Sunday’s contest, a narrative that would lead to Atlanta playing catch-up in the second half.
After spending two seasons as a backup behind Derek Carr in Las Vegas, Mariota gets another shot as a starting QB after the Falcons embraced a rebuild by trading away Matt Ryan this offseason. Don’t be surprised if we see rookie QB Desmond Ridder at some point over the course of the year, although it will be all Mariota in Week 1. The lack of proven passing options limits the already limited passing ability of the former Oregon Duck (best overall fantasy finish was QB13 in 2016), and his rushing ability is not going to make up for that fact in Sunday’s affair. The only reason why there might be a glimmer of hope for him as a cheap option in DFS tournaments has to do with what will likely end up as a negative game script.
Marshon Lattimore remains of the league’s better lock-down corners and that’s unfortunate news for the debut of rookie WR Drake London (hamstring, questionable) who is projected to be the team’s No. 1 WR. For those who took a shot at London in the later rounds of fantasy drafts, this is not the matchup to test the waters for the rookie considering the talent of Lattimore.
He is listed as a tight end, but Kyle Pitts is more of a WR masquerading as a TE. One of only two players that 12-team managers can feel confident in starting on the Falcons, phenom Pitts should play all over the field on Sunday. As a rookie, he lined up outside 34% of the time and in the slot 44% vs. just 22% inline. Demario Davis performed very well as a cover linebacker in 2021 and that works against Pitts, but Mariota has to throw the ball somewhere and he’ll likely lean on his best talent early and often.
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