Kickoff Sunday, Nov 7th 1:00pm Eastern

Falcons (
18.25) at

Saints (
24.75)

Over/Under 43.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Falcons Run D
30th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
28th DVOA/15th Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D
26th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
20th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass
Saints Run D
1st DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O
31st DVOA/31st Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
4th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O
25th DVOA/16th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Jameis Winston is done for the year after suffering a torn ACL; Michael Thomas is done for the year after suffering a setback with his surgically repaired ankle.
  • Taysom Hill should return this week and should be the starting quarterback for the Saints for the remainder of the season.
  • Calvin Ridley’s absence means most Atlanta players are relegated to largely rotational pieces in this offense.
  • Not a ton to love here, and we’ll explain why in the DFS+ section (we’ll also take a moment to do some higher-level teaching surrounding range of outcomes projections).

How Atlanta Will Try To Win ::

The biggest story out of Camp Atlanta is the absence of Calvin Ridley for an unspecified amount of time, who is away from the team to address his mental health (again, kudos to him for taking the time to take care of himself). That is likely to have the biggest impact on the expected snap rates of Cordarrelle Patterson and Tajae Sharpe moving forward. Atlanta held a situation-neutral pass rate of 61% in Week 5 and Week 8, the two weeks Calvin Ridley has missed this season (compared to their season-long value of 63%). This indicates a coaching staff that has been slow to adjust to the offensive personnel on hand, further highlighted by the sporadic snap rates for one of their most dynamic playmakers in Cordarrelle Patterson. That said, both Patterson and Mike Davis have played over 60% of the offensive snaps in each of the past three games (two of which Ridley missed). I would expect that trend to continue moving forward. 

Interestingly enough, both Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson have scored double-digit fantasy points in all but one game this season, with only Patterson showing any semblance of a ceiling (even then, he has only two games above 20 fantasy points; 23.9 and 34.6). Both running backs should see 60% or more of the offensive snaps here, but the matchup is an extremely difficult one against the team allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backfields. The pure rushing matchup is also a difficult one, yielding a well below average 3.65 net-adjusted line yards metric. Overall, expect this backfield, one that has derived a large portion of its value from efficiency and touchdowns this season, to struggle here.

The heavy emphasis on 21- and 12-personnel alignments from the Falcons over the previous three games (a laughable 15% of their offensive snaps over that time have been from 11-personnel) means fewer snaps per week for the three-man rotation of Russell Gage, Tajae Sharpe, and Olamide Zaccheaus. Gage and Sharpe led the wide receivers in snap rate last week at 68% each, with Olamide checking in at 40%. Expect Kyle Pitts to land in the 70-80% snap rate range moving forward, with fellow tight end Hayden Hurst in the 55-65% range. As we’ve seen throughout the season, the weekly floor of every pass-catcher remains fairly low, with Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson holding the best chances at ceiling.

How New Orleans Will Try To Win ::

Sean Payton faces his toughest test of the season, not from an opponent perspective but from a game-planning perspective, as a lot changes with this offense with the shift from Jameis Winston to Taysom Hill. Regardless of the quarterback shift, this is still a team that is sitting at a 5-2 record and only half a game behind the Bucs for first place in the NFC South on the back of their defense. This is the biggest realization that we must come to in order to dissect how this team moves forward. The Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest points per game (18.3), third lowest drive success rate against (67.5%), fifth-lowest yards per drive (31.14), and have generated the third-best turnover margin in the league. From an offensive perspective, expect the Saints to continue to emphasize the run (highest situation-neutral rush rate in the league at 52%), with some of those rush attempts coming through Taysom Hill. The offense’s moderate drive success rate (16th-ranked 72.3%) is likely to take a slight step back as they transition to Taysom at quarterback, which is likeliest to lead to some ugly games over the coming few weeks.

Mark Ingram II rejoined the Saints prior to Week 8 and he immediately stepped into a normal change of pace workload (29% of the offensive snaps, six carries, and two targets). Of note, Alvin Kamara saw his normal 80-90% snap rate dip to 67% in Week 8, which should serve as a note of caution with respect to his workload moving forward. Running back/wide receiver hybrid Ty Montgomery continues to see meaningful snaps both out of the backfield, out of the slot, and split out wide but I’d expect his role to shift to more of a traditional wide receiver role following the addition of Ingram. After seeing 24-31 running back opportunities in every game outside of the hangover trouncing the Saints took against the Panthers following their Week 1 dismantling of the Packers, Kamara saw 23 running back opportunities on the decreased snap rate. The big picture here is Kamara is still Kamara, and he should remain the focal point of the offense moving forward. The matchup on the ground yields a slightly above average 4.345 net-adjusted line yards metric.

The snap rates amongst the secondary pass-catchers in this offense (remember, Alvin Kamara should be treated as the sole primary pass-catcher in a low-volume offense) have been somewhat all over the place. Expect Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith to operate as the “starting” wide receivers, with Deonte Harris and the aforementioned Montgomery operating as the “package” receivers, and Kevin White on hand to spell Callaway and Smith should they need a breather. Finally, Adam Trautman is playing heavy snaps (86% or more in three consecutive games) but has seen more than three targets only twice all year (six targets in Week 1 and Week 8). Considering the fact that the Saints average only 27.7 pass attempts per game this year and are now shifting their offense to one built around Taysom Hill, there shouldn’t be much volume to go around amongst the secondary and tertiary pass-catchers. 

Likeliest Game flow ::

The flow of this game is likeliest to be dictated by the defense of the Saints against a seemingly one-dimensional opponent. The absence of Calvin Ridley allows opposing teams to key in on rookie tight end Kyle Pitts to a point where the offense as a whole suffers greatly. The slow pace of the New Orleans offense (29th-ranked first half pace of play and 31st-ranked second half pace of play) means we should expect the Falcons to end this game below their season average of 64.4 offensive plays per game, even with them likely in catch-up mode. Look for the Saints to control the game in the trenches on both sides of the ball and lean on the run game through Kamara, Taysom, and Ingram.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • Somehow we are back in 2020 and Taysom Hill is getting his first start of the season against ATL once again
  • With this “2017 core” of Saints, NOR has gone 6-2 vs ATL, winning 5 of the last 6 and both matchups with Taysom Hill at QB in 2020
  • In the last three years (6 g), Ryan has been sacked 5 times per game!!
  • Arthur Smith’s Titans scored 28 pts vs NOR in 2019
  • Smith’s Falcons pt totals: 6 // 25 // 17 // 30 // 27 // 30 // 13
  • NOR pts allowed: 3 // 26 // 13 // 27 // 22 // 10 // 27

Matt Ryan:

  • Ryan’s W1 & W8: 164:0 // 146:1:2
  • Ryan’s W2-W7: 300.8 : 2.4 : 0.8
  • Ryan was sacked 6 times in W1 & W8, and 6 times in all of W2-W7
  • In the last three years (6 g), NOR has sacked Ryan 5 times per game!! (30 sacks)
  • QB pass yds vs NOR: 201 // 305 // 270 // 402 // 248 // 167 // 375
  • NOR ranks 5th in def pass DVOA
  • NOR has allowed 10 QB TDs to 11 INT
  • NOR has faced the 7th most pass att/g
  • Only 5 QBs have thrown more pass att/g than Ryan
  • Ryan’s last four vs NOR: 182:2:1 // 312:2:2 // 232:0:2 // 273:1:0

ATL WRs:

  • Presumably no Ridley for the time being (10.4 tg/g)
  • Targets w/o Ridley: Sharpe (5, 6) // Olamide (4, 1) // Gage (–, 0)
  • NOR has allowed the 7th lowest success rate to WRs, but the 9th highest yds/att
  • Nine WRs have 70+ yds vs NOR this season
  • Sharpe’s two games without Ridley: 4:53 // 4:58
  • Sharpe has 3 games of 70+ yds in 58 career games
  • Gage had 4:67:1 in his return vs MIA before being shut out last week
  • Gage has 4 games of 70+ yds in 51 career games
  • Total WR yds across two NOR matchups in 2020: Ridley (198) // Julio (133) // Gage (109:1)

Kyle Pitts:

  • Kyle Pitts is basically a WR: 261 snaps slot/wide vs 92 inline
  • Pitts is averaging 7.1 tg/g, and has 10 & 6 tg in the two Ridley has missed
  • Top WRs vs 2021 NOR: Adams (5:56) // Moore (8:79:1) // Meyers (9:94) // Golladay (6:116) // McLaurin (4:46) // Metcalf (2:96:1) // Godwin (8:140:1)
  • Arnold (55) & RSJ (41) are the only TEs over 40 yds vs NOR, as NOR has allowed the 6th lowest success rate to TEs
  • Physical freak TEs vs NOR in 2020: Waller (12:103:1) // Hock (2:9:1) // Fant (1:13) // Kelce (8:68:1)
  • Pitts has four games of 50+ yds already: 5:73 // 4:50 // 9:119:1 // 7:163
  • Hurst totaled 1 rec for 9 yds in two games vs NOR in 2020

ATL RBs:

  • Rush att first four games: Davis (15 // 9 // 12 // 13) // CPatt (7 // 7 // 7 // 6)
  • Rush att last two games: Davis (13 // 4 // 9) // CPatt (14 // 14 // 9)
  • Davis has yet to top 75 yds on the season
  • NOR ranks 2nd in defensive rush DVOA, but has allowed the 8th highest yds/att to RBs through the air (16th in def success rate)
  • Lead RB rushing vs NOR: Jones (5:9) // CMC (24:72:1) // Harris (6:14) // Saquon (13:52:1) // Gibson (20:60:2) // Collins (16:35) // Fournette (8:26)
  • The best RBs vs NOR thus far were CMC, Saquon, Gibson, and they still combined for just 184 yds on 57 att in 13 quarters
  • RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22, 29.6) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26, 24.7) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7) // Gibson (21.2)
  • That’s 13 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 60 games
  • 13/13 scored a TD /// 6/13 scored 2 TDs /// 9/13 had 5+ rec /// 12/13 had 6+ DK rec pts
  • Of the four without 5 rec, one had 82 yd TD, one caught a deep WR pass TD, one had 28 rush att, and all four scored 2 TDs
  • 2021: CMC & Saquon combined for 10 rec, 29.9 DK rec pts vs NOR
  • 2021: CMC, Saquon, & Gibson combined for 5 TDs vs NOR
  • CPatt has 7 TDs on the season, with two multi-TD games
  • CPatt has 5+ rec in 5/7 games (2 // 5 // 6 // 5 // 7 // 2 // 5)
  • His rec yds in the games with 5+ rec: 58:1 // 82 // 82:3 // 60 // 37:1
  • CPatt’s floor since W2 has been 14 DK pts (23.9, 16.2, 34.6, 18.4, 14.1, 18.2)

Taysom Hill:

  • QB passing vs ATL: 264:3 // 275:5 // 266:0 // 290:3 // 192:0:1 // 291:4:2 // 129:0
  • QB rushing vs ATL: Hurts (62) // Jones (39) // Heinicke (43) // Tua (29) // Darnold (66)
  • Taysom passing in starts: 233:0 // 78:0:1 // 232:2 // 291:2:1
  • Taysom rushing in starts: 10:49:2 // 10:44:2 // 14:83 // 5:33
  • ATL ranks 29th in def pass DVOA
  • Taysom had Michael Thomas (albeit hobbled) & Emmanuel Sanders for all four of his 2020 starts
  • Those two received 54 of his 114 passes in those games
  • NOR is currently trotting out Tre’Quan Smith, & undrafted Harris & Callaway as its top 3 WRs

NOR WRs:

  • With the Saints low pass volume, the only WRs over 70 yds have been Harris (2:72:1 // 1:72:1) & Callaway (2:74 // 4:85:2)
  • NOR had four WRs between 30-40 rec yds in W8
  • After one target in Taysom’s first two starts, Smith saw 6 each in the second two
  • Evans & McLaurin are the only two WRs with 20+ DK pts vs ATL, and both scored 2 TDs
  • Smith, Evans, McLaurin, Waddle are the only WRs with 70+ rec yds vs ATL

NOR TEs:

  • Targets in the Taysom starts: Cook (1, 2, 5, 4) // Traut (1, 1, 3, 1)
  • TEs vs ATL: Ertz (34), Goedert (42:1) // Gronk (39:2) // Engram (21) // RSJ (19) // Gesicki (85:1) // Tremble (18)

Alvin Kamara:

  • Kamara’s rush att: 20, 8, 24, 26, 16, 20, 19
  • Kamara’s targets: 4, 6, 4, 0, 8, 11, 4
  • Kamara’s total touches: 24 // 14 // 28 // 26 // 24 // 31 // 23
  • Ingram got 6 rush att & 2 tg in his first game back in NOR
  • RB touches w/ Taysom in 2020::
  • AK: (13 att, 1 tg) // (11, 2) // (15, 3) // (11, 10)
  • Lat: (12 att, 2 tg) // (19, 1) // (5, 2) // (4, 1)
  • RBs with 10+ touches vs ATL: Sanders (113), Gainwell (43:1) // Fournette (76) // Saquon (94:1) // Gibson (75:1), McKissic (59:1) // Carter (58:1) // Gaskin (77:1) // Hubbard (91:1), Abdullah (66)
  • Kamara’s total yds vs ATL in career: 27 // 90 // 190 // 98 // 74 // 84 // 45:1 // 97:1
  • Kamara had his first 2 TDs vs ATL last year, as Taysom/Brees have combined for 6 rush/rec TDs vs ATL since 2018
  • AK has just 1 TD on 6 rush att inside-5 this year, and 12 att inside-10
  • AK converted 12 att into 9 TDs inside-5 in 2020
  • Taysom scored 3 rush TDs in first four games, and scored 8 rush TDs in 2020 (4 as starter)
  • NOR scored 8 rush TDs in Taysom’s 4 starts: (4 Taysom, 2 AK, 2 Murray)