As we head into week 9 of the 2023 NFL season, the roster selections are getting trickier for fantasy leagues if you have some Saints players on your team. Injuries and now illness has seemed to have plague the locker room of the Saints. You sprinkle that with lackluster game play that seems to have a possible light at the end of the tunnel, the sit/start selections this week doesn’t get any better. Let’s take a look at who you could possibly suit up or warm the bench this week.
Note: This list is purely subjective and can definitely look different depending on who you have on your fantasy roster.
Thomas was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in the Saints’ Week 8 practice report. After suiting up, his workload was scaled back to four catches and 68 yards. In preparation for Sunday’s game against the Bears, Thomas still has some practices left this week. It’s a challenge either way to sit or start him this week. Could be a costly gamble on either side of the ball for points.
Due to an illness, Graham missed Sunday’s win over Indianapolis Colts, so seeing him limited for any reason to start the new week of practice is concerning. In order to avoid carrying an injury designation into the weekend, he will likely have to manage a full practice on Thursday or Friday. But since he hasn’t seen much playing time this season, I highly doubt he would start. IF you don’t have a healthy TE, I would go with Graham, but would recommend a better option in your lineup.
He notched nine carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns, hauled in him only target for 14 yards, and completed one of two passes for 44 yards despite a chest injury during Week 8 prep. In light of his new health concern, it will be important to monitor his status as the weekend approaches in order to see whether he will play Sunday. If you have a better option, I would exercise it.
Following two games in which Carr threw 50 or more passes, the New Orleans Saints offense found its rhythm. A short pass to running back Alvin Kamara brought the 32-year-old’s first touchdown to 18 yards. In the second quarter, Carr threw his longest touchdown pass of the season to wideout Rashid Shaheed. Despite having a significantly higher yards per attempt (11.5) than his previous two games, Carr eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the third time in a row. So far this season, he has not committed multiple turnovers in any game after committing his sixth turnover after being strip-sacked in the first quarter. A Week 9 matchup against the Bears will feature Carr and the Saints offense looking for another explosive performance.
In this Saints offense’s best scoring performance of the season, Olave didn’t score much. Over the last few weeks, Olave has only accumulated 199 receiving yards, as he has struggled to connect with quarterback Derek Carr on deep passes. To reach his fantasy ceiling this season, he’ll have to start reeling in more deep balls after catching just one touchdown on 44 receptions this season. Due to the fact that Michael Thomas is questionable and may not play this week, Olave can pull in some yardage and fantasy points this week.
During this season-best performance for the Saints’ offense, Kamara scored multiple touchdowns for the first time in 2023. Even though he was less involved in the passing game than he normally would be, the 28-year-old still recorded a touchdown on both the ground and air for the eighth time in his career. In comparison, backup running backs Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller each gained 40 yards on nine carries. A constant RB1 for fantasy teams, Kamara also rushed for over 100 yards for a third consecutive game. Assuming he gets 20+ touches against Chicago Bears on Sunday, Nov. 5, he should be in the running for at least one or two touchdowns.
On two long balls, Shaheed connected with quarterback Derek Carr, including a 58-yard touchdown catch in stride that he glided into the end zone in the second quarter. Furthermore, in the fourth quarter, the 25-year-old speedster caught a 51-yard pass down the left side of the field. In five of his eight games this season, Shaheed has accounted for the Saints’ longest plays from scrimmage. After catching 23 passes on 38 targets for 479 yards Sunday, Shaheed should remain the team’s top big-play threat behind Chris Olave since Michael Thomas is questionable this week.
Who do you have starting this week? Which Saints player has been the most points earner? Which player has been a bust for you this season so far?