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New Orleans Saints fantasy football preview for week 3

By Jake Ciely

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Throughout the season, Jake Ciely (@allinkid) will give you the expert take on New Orleans Saints players from fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which players will help you take home a championship. The Saints aim to bring home a win against the division rival Panthers in Week 3.

The Saints are back on the road for Week 3 and facing another division rival in Carolina after taking on Tampa Bay. For the second straight week, Drew Brees finished with one touchdown and one interception and has already thrown for 610 yards. Ryan Mallett and Blake Bortles both were able to find the end zone against the Panthers, which means Brees, providing he plays, should have no problem continuing his touchdown streak. He's now thrown for at least one touchdown in 41 straight games, including three playoff games.

The Cowboys defense looks much improved over the first two games, which means while Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is still a must-start, you shouldn't expect a Top 5 performance. New England quarterback Tom Brady is on fire, no surprise there, and faces the Jaguars defense at home in Week 3. He is a must start in every league and is rewarding owners who took the chance on drafting him. Sam Bradford has a tough matchup with a road game against the Jets. Arizona's Carson Palmer is another must-start quarterback and gets the 49ers at home in a matchup that shouldn't have you too concerned.

The Saints running game is performing well, as Mark Ingram looks great again this season. Ingram already has 180 total yards and and touchdown, and 11 receptions. Adding the receiving element to his game has made Ingram a top option in PPR formats too. Speaking of PPR cpntributors, you would think C.J. Spiller will be more involved in his second game back. The Saints offense has always made pass-catching running backs serious fantasy threats, and Spiller will continue in that tradition. Ingram is a locked-in RB1 option, and Spiller has RB2 upside in PPR formats.

Devonte Freeman will see the lead work for the Falcons against the Cowboys and has nice RB2 upside as a result. Broncos running back C.J. Anderson will have a full 10 days in between games, leaving him ready to have his best game of the season against the Lions on Sunday night. Don't bench him. Dion Lewis is clearly the new pass-catching option out of the Patriots backfield, as even fumbles haven't stopped Bill Belichick from using Lewis a ton. Don't forget that Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell returns this week; you must get him in all lineups. Carlos Hyde looks great through two games and is headed to a RB1 season.

Brees has a great trio of receivers, but now we have a fourth name worthy of our attention. Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks and Brandon Coleman were all in the mix again last week, but Willie Snead got involved too and was the one to find the end zone. Cooks is a great buy low candidate, as he's been Brees' favorite target so far but just hasn't had a breakout game… yet. Colston is still worthy of WR3 consideration, and Snead added his name to Coleman's as deeper league sleepers and DFS plays. With Spiller back, there is no way the Panthers can stop them all, strengthening Cooks' chance for his 2015 breakout game. Ben Watson continues to see more work than Josh Hill and is the preferred option if you are using a Saints tight end.

Travis Benjamin appears to be the top option for the Browns and is worth a look in deeper leagues given his big play ability. Allen Robinson proved he's always a threat for a big game and a must-own after dominating the strong Dolphins defense. With the Patriots on tap, you'll want A-Rob in all lineups. Carson Palmer hasn't missed a beat in returning to lead the Cardinals offense and showing his rapport with Larry Fitzgerald. Those who believed in Fitz and the Cards are smiling, as Fitzgerald could pace his way to a Top 20 finish this year. If you weren't sure whether to believe in Green Bay's James Jones, you should be 100 percent confident now. It's clear that Aaron Rodgers trusts Jones immensely. The Bears have a tough matchup in Seattle this week, making Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal dicey options.

It's clear that Tennessee's Marcus Mariota likes turning to his tight end, making Delanie Walker an every-week TE1 and Anthony Fasano a worthy streamer when filling in. Tyler Eifert has been impressive and is now a must-start option in all leagues. Jordan Reed is another tight end moving into TE1 territory given his ability and high usage. Zach Ertz is working his way back into heavy offensive use, and he has Sam Bradford's attention in the red zone. Look for them to connect soon.

The Panthers have just four touchdowns in two games, and they all involve Cam Newton. He's passed for three and ran for one, so the Saints' focal point will be stopping Newton. He's also only thrown for 175 and 195 yards, so if the Saints defense can limit Newton's scoring chances, they have an opportunity to limit the damage and put up a decent DST score. The Browns defense looks mighty good through two games and will have some turnover and special team scoring opportunities hosting the Raiders. Tyrod Taylor is dangerous on the ground, but gives the Bills limited passing offense, the Dolphins DST will look to rebound against the Bills at home. Zach Hocker will aim to have a game similar to Week 1, as the Saints offense usually presents their kicker with plenty of scoring chances. The Steelers and Rams are expected to score quite a bit in Week 3, making Greg Zuerlein a nice play at home. Chandler Catanzaro continues to be one of the better kicking options on a high-powered offense and is home this week.

All of the pieces are coming together for the Saints, and both the team's outlook and fantasy prospects are high heading into Week 3.

For more in-depth Fantasy Football coverage, visit Jake Ciely and the team over at RotoExperts.com. Saints fans get a special discounted rate on the RotoExperts Xclusive Edge premium package by *clicking here.*

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