As we head into Week 4 of the 2023 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints took some blows in Week 3. It feels like the injury cycle for players has begun. Alvin Kamara returns just as Jamaal Williams suffered a hamstring injury. Quarterback Derek Carr is out with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder and is on a week-to-week basis. With last week’s Miami Dolphins game blowing fantasy roster point out the water last week, you just never know who will produce or flop. The phrase “Any Given Sunday” is real. But if you have any of the New Orleans Saints players on your fantasy roster, let’s look at who you should sit/start this week.
Note: This is purely opinion based. Make the best decision for your fantasy team as you see fit.
Dennis Allen said his starting quarterback was week-to-week with an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder two days ago. As a result of Carr’s early exit, Jameis Winston was left in charge of the Saints’ final five drives, in which four punts and one missed field goal were produced. It is expected that Winston will make at least one start while Carr recovers from a shoulder injury, and he ranks among the league’s best backups, if not the best.
After Derek Carr sustained a right shoulder injury on a sack in the third quarter, Winston took over at quarterback. With less than a quarter-and-a-half left in the game, the Saints turned to Winston to protect their 17-0 lead. On his first three drives of the second half, Winston did not pass his team’s own 40-yard line; however, he completed four of six passes for 45 yards on the Saints’ final offensive series, setting them up for a game-winning field goal before kicker Blake Grupe missed wide right at 46 yards. During his first three seasons with the Saints, Winston started 10 games, and his experience should help the Saints stay afloat if Carr misses a substantial amount of time.
Having completed his three-game suspension, Kamara is expected to rejoin the Saints backfield against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. In Week 4, Kamara is likely to step into a key role with Jamaal Williams on IR and set to miss at least three games. Fellow running backs Tony Jones and Kendre Miller could also log touches with Williams out.
On his first target of the 2023 season, Graham caught an eight-yard pass in the end zone for a vintage red-zone touchdown. TE2 Foster Moreau (ankle) was inactive Week 3 resulting in a larger role for the 36-year-old. Although Graham logged three fewer targets than starting tight end Juwan Johnson, he also saw as many targets as hybrid tight end/quarterback Taysom Hill. Unless Moreau remains sidelined, Graham is unlikely to see significant or consistent playing time this season despite Graham’s touchdown. Although he is an ok option, I would substitute Graham for a better TE option this week.
On Sunday, Miller was New Orleans’ second running back on the field. On the Saints’ second offensive series, the third-round rookie had three carries after veteran Tony Jones opened the game with the first rushing attempt; however, as was the case throughout most of the game, he failed to make any significant impact. In the second half, Miller saw just two carries while Jones saw four. Taysom Hill logged four carries of his own while the duo combined for 65 yards on 17 carries. As Alvin Kamara returns from suspension Week 4 and Jamaal Williams (hamstring) remains on IR until at least Week 7, Miller should replace Williams as New Orleans’ RB2. Even though Miller is coming back off injury, if he all you have on the roster, then play him.
After tweaking his hamstring against the Panthers on the Monday Night Football premiere, Williams hadn’t practiced the entire week, but it was believed he would miss just one game. However, after moving to injured reserve, Williams will now be sidelined for at least four games, with the Saints’ Oct. 19 contest versus Jacksonville representing his earliest return date.
Following two targets in the first half, Thomas caught six passes from backup quarterback Jameis Winston, who stepped in for injured starter Derek Carr (shoulder). All six of the veteran wideout’s receptions came during the fourth quarter as the Saints tried to defend the 17-0 lead, they carried over from the first half. Winston consistently used Thomas as a short-to-intermediate target, while Chris Olave stretched the field vertically. Winston, if he steps in as QB1, may see Thomas get more targets as a short-yardage security blanket behind Olave in the coming weeks.
Olave displayed the most offensive energy for the Saints combatting Sunday’s loss. Despite missing out on a seven-yard touchdown pass towards the end of the first half, the second year wideout caught four of his five targets. He also caught all but one of his six targets from quarterback Derek Carr. In total, Olave and Thomas were targeted on 20 of Carr and Winston’s 34 passing attempts, and Olave had two more receptions than Thomas. It is likely that Olave will remain the primary receiver for New Orleans moving forward, even if Carr misses time.
Who would you sit? Who would replace in lieu of the injured Saints for your fantasy roster? Leave your comments below.