The 2016 Fantasy Football season is here, and Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of *RotoExperts.com will be providing exclusive expert Fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com. Throughout the season, Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from Fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship.*
The New Orleans Saints are headed to the Big Apple for a matchup of big-time offenses against the Giants in Week 2.
Quarterback Drew Brees was electric in the opener, throwing for 423 yards and four touchdowns. Brees had little trouble exploiting the Raiders defense, finishing with a QB rating of 131.3 and 10.1 yards per attempt. Brees should see similar success against the Giants, as they had trouble stopping Dallas rookie Dak Prescott at times in Week 1. The Giants allowed 328 yards to an offense led by a quarterback playing his first game, which sets up Brees to be one of Fantasy's best quarterbacks again this week.
If Brees has another big day, that means more Fantasy Football glory for Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead. Both receivers had terrific Week 1 showings with Cooks scoring twice and totaling 143 receiving yards, including a 98-yard play in the third quarter. Snead had even more yards, as Brees peppered him with targets, leading to a team-high nine catches and 172 yards, which included a touchdown. It wasn't just Cooks and Snead impressing though, as rookie Michael Thomas enjoyed a solid NFL debut with six catches for 58 yards. Thomas is a good deep-league play this week in a game that has shootout potential. In addition to the receivers, while the Giants were able to contain Dez Bryant, they showed their inability to stop the tight end. The team allowed Jason Witten to reel in nine catches for 66 yards. Both marks were team highs for the Cowboys, and that presents Coby Fleener with a match up to exploit.
In the running game, Mark Ingram had 12 carries, but he was extremely effective with them, rushing for 58 yards and adding another 29 yards receiving. With the amount of scoring opportunities this offense has, Ingram doesn't need 25 touches every week to have RB1 value. He's a must-start in every league format. Travaris Cadet added deeper-league value with a touchdown on three catches and 14 yards and could be a nice sleeper for those needing running back help.
There could be a few Fantasy teams looking for quarterback changes or help after the first week. Marcus Mariota had a solid opener and has a great matchup against a Lions team that allowed 385 yards and four touchdowns to Andrew Luck in Week 1. The Cardinals defense is one of the best units in the league, but it's hard to ignore Jameis Winston's first game in which he threw four touchdowns. Matt Ryan showed great chemistry with new receiver Mohamed Sanu. With the Raiders allowing as many yards as they just did to the Saints, Ryan is an appealing fill-in, especially since that game could replicate the Raiders-Saints matchup from Week 1. Carson Wentz looked quite good in his first game and travels to Chicago on Monday night, where he could repeat his success against an exploitable Bears defense. Tyrod Taylor is a risky play on the short week and in a tough matchup with the Jets.
As with the quarterbacks, there are a few notable receiver matchups to take advantage of. Tajae Sharpe is clearly the Titans' top receiver, as Rishard Matthews saw a similar snap count to Andre Johnson and Harry Douglas. Those needing receiver help should pick him up immediately and even start him for Week 2. Mike Wallace looks reinvigorated in Baltimore, and given his deep-play ability, he makes for a nice upside play each week as he fights to break out from the collection of receiver options there. As mentioned with Ryan, Sanu looks extremely comfortable in the Falcons offense already and could be in the WR3 discussion before long. With the Patriots retooling their offensive roster, Chris Hogan appears to be the clear No. 2 option. He complements Julian Edelman well and gives Jimmy Garopollo another option in the passing game. No matter who the quarterback is in Minnesota, Stefon Diggs came out in Week 1 and made a statement that he is aiming for his breakout season.
At tight end, Week 1 magnified the inconsistency of the position, but we had some nice bright spots. Eric Ebron showed why fans and Fantasy owners were excited for his potential this year. Like Diggs, Ebron has the ability and opportunity to break out and should be in your lineup. Kyle Rudolph has been a steady presence at the position for years, and he's currently the Vikings second best receiving option. He's a nice Fantasy tight end in most leagues. Zach Ertz saw heavy use in his first game as he picked up where he left off in 2015. That's especially encouraging with a rookie quarterback, as Wentz will look to him as his check-down option often.
Spencer Ware was the big name in Week 1, but there were other important performances. Theo Riddick showed he has value in standard leagues as well as PPR thanks to a high involvement in the offense. He and Ameer Abdullah are a formidable one-two punch out of the backfield. Make sure Riddick isn't available in your league. Isaiah Crowell finished with 12 carries for 62 yards and score. It appears Hue Jackson is bringing his play style from Cincinnati (as expected) and is making Crowell his new Jeremy Hill. That gives Crowell plenty of potential this year. LeGarrette Blount saw a heavy workload in Week 1, and it appears he is the running back we can trust in New England. Thomas Rawls saw a bit more work than expected, so look for him to be more involved in Week 2 and potentially start for your team.
As mentioned, the Saints-Giants game has plenty of scoring potential, making Wil Lutz a nice option at kicker. The Cardinals should have no trouble putting up points again this week as they host the Buccaneers. Chandler Catanzaro is one of the better options in Week 2 as a result, as is Brandon McManus at home against the Colts. As mentioned with the Thursday night game, the Jets defense presents a tough matchup for the Bills and is a good Fantasy option this week. The Ravens played quite well in Week 1 and could be a sneaky defense on the road in Cleveland. While the Chiefs scored quite a bit in Week 1, the Texans defense is not one to shy away from in your league, as they will be a much tougher challenge and be a true test for the Chiefs offense.