Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- Difficult matchup on paper for the Packers due to the defensive personnel and scheme of the Saints
- Difficult matchup for the Saints if the Packers game plan appropriately for the Saints’ offense
- This game is a perfect example of preconceived notions and thinking we know more than we do before actually digging in: I personally found myself thinking “really?” a bunch while digging in and writing it up
- An interesting case where the field will be viewing this game from the lens of the tributary, and ownership is likely to reflect that
How Green Bay Will Try To Win ::
The biggest changes for this Packers team are along the offensive line and defense. The team lost a top-rated piece of that offensive line for the second year in a row with the departure of Corey Linsley, drafted rookie corner Eric Stokes to replace weak-link-in-the-chain Kevin King, look set to start the season with two rookies along the offensive line (center Josh Myers and right guard Royce Newman) while top interior linemen David Bakhtiari recovers from injury, and have a new defensive coordinator in Joe Barry. On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary should be this team’s strength once again, with newcomer Stokes, all-world corner Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage, and Adrian Amos forming one of the better secondaries in the league on paper. Expect defensive coordinator Joe Barry to continue a zone-heavy defensive scheme primarily utilizing cover-3 and cover-1, with heavy presnap movements and misdirections incorporated. We shouldn’t expect much to change from what we grew accustomed to from this offense over the last two season, with the one major adjustment being the likelihood of wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s development into a more complete wide receiver. I expect MVS to operate as a borderline every-snap wide receiver.
As mentioned, the offensive line is a legitimate question mark early in the year for the Packers which could spell trouble here against a New Orleans team that ranked third in the NFL in 2020 in adjusted sack rate and surrendered the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backfields. That said, the Saints will be starting three new members along their defensive line, but scheme and second-level coverage should serve to mitigate any drop off in production. Running back Aaron Jones should maintain a large portion of the running back opportunities from this backfield, which typically results in 20-22 opportunities in a standard week. The situation has become more murky than originally forcast behind Jones with the eruption of rookie running back Kylin Hill this preseason. I’d expect AJ Dillon to begin the season as the primary change of pace back with possible sparse goal line involvement.
Through the air, I fully expect corner Marshon Lattimore to be used in tight shadow on Davante Adams, with possible strong side safety help. Lattimore is typically used in shadow coverage on possession-style opposing ones and newcomer corner Ken Crawley brings 4.43 speed to the table on the other side of the field to handle the 4.37 speed of presumed every-down wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. With the back end primarily in man coverage the matchup should set up best for tight end Robert Tonyan, Jr. on the inside, but he had exactly two games all season in 2020 over a 63% snap rate (67% in Week 4 and 73% in Week 11). The Packers boasted the most efficient offense in 2020, so this should not be viewed as a matchup the Packers absolutely cannot win, it simply sets up as one of the more difficult matchups they will see all season.
How New Orleans Will Try To Win ::
The Saints bring a team into 2021 with a good deal of changes of their own. Drew Brees’ retirement leaves the Saints in the “W hands” of Jameis Winston. There are also three new members along their defensive line including the absence of top interior linemen David Onyemata through a six game suspension. I expect an offense largely built around Alvin Kamara to start the year, which sets up well for the path of least resistance against the Packers if they do not correctly game plan defensively.
The Saints ended 2020 with a top five offensive line and begin 2021 with a top five offensive line. With Jameis Winston now at quarterback, that is likely what they will be leaning on to win games to begin the year. Running back Alvin Kamara is one of the most dynamic backs in the league, capable of inflicting mass casualties with the ball in his hands either out of the backfield or through the air. With Michael Thomas out for at least six games, expect Sean Payton to design an offense to get the ball into his best playmakers’ hands, in basically any and all ways possible. The matchup on the ground is a good one as the Packers surrendered a whopping 27.9 fantasy points per game to opposing backfield in 2020 (fifth most in the league).
The Saints begin the season with a starting wide receiver corps consisting of Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway, two situational/role wide receivers until this season. Callaway absolutely showed out in preseason and should be this team’s lead receiving option to start the year. The matchup with the Packers is a poor one through the air. The fantasy prospectus of this side of the ball ultimately come down to how the Packers approach their game plan defensively. Tight end Adam Trautman escaped major injury two weeks ago but is listed as questionable a week out.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
This game will likely be decided by the Saints’ ability to sustain drives with Jameis at quarterback and influenced by the Packers’ ability to dedicate additional personnel to the interior. I expect Green Bay to begin the game in Cover-1 and single-high safety in an attempt to gain an extra body in the second level. They would do well to dedicate nickel coverage out of this alignment to Alvin Kamara, but it remains to be seen if they will approach the game in this fashion as Joe Barry is somewhat of an “old school” coordinator. The Saints played from 11-personnel only 54% of their offensive snaps in 2020 and will be without Michael Thomas, meaning a forward-thinking defensive game plan would involve additional attention to Kamara, but this is all pure conjecture at this point. If the Packers can effectively remove Kamara from the game and neutralize Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith with their athletic corners, it is likely the Saints struggle to move the ball. This would directly lead to a game script in which both teams struggle early to put up points, and the end score would depend on how each team adjusts as the game moves on. Also of note, this game will be played in Jacksonville as opposed to New Orleans after hurricane Ida passed through the gulf last week.
The first two or three possessions from the Saints will likely decide how this game ultimately unfolds. If the Packers do not dedicate additional attention to Kamara, they could be in trouble here, which would place them in increased pass mode for the duration of the game. Adams would see increased volume in this scenario and has a path to the top wide receiver score on the slate if left in single coverage.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
Writing this game up just about flipped every idea about this game I thought I had coming in. A lot of the time in the NFL, how a team should approach a specific game plan and how they do are far from equal. Since we have a very clear picture of how the Packers should approach this game defensively, but it remains in the purely conjecture realm, we are left with a wide range of outcomes from each side. Davante Adams always carries one of the highest “volume and red zone role-driven” range of outcomes on the slate, but it would likely require the tributary game flow to materialize here. Aaron Jones could take advantage of a defense missing key players up front, but the New Orleans defense typically schemes well enough to take away what the opposition does best. Again, wide range of outcomes. The best play on paper from the Packers is tight end Robert Tonyan, Jr., but again, he comes with a fairly wide range of outcomes based on his expected snap rate. All in all, a whole lot of “dunno” emoji when projecting likeliest outcomes here.
From the Saints (and from the game overall), Alvin Kamara is the piece most likely to be of utility. His range of outcomes is simply extended on the “low” side due to the “how the Packers should try and win this game defensively” piece. Both Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith will have their hands full with this Packers secondary and would require connecting on a deep shot or two to provide a GPP-worthy score, which is actionable information considering the likely high ownership on Callaway, in particular.
Both quarterbacks are relegated to “bet on outlier” status and should be used in only the very specific instance of the tributary scenario developing. Ensure lineups that use either are correlated correctly. Both defenses are questionable bets at best but would come with a great deal of leverage based on the expected ownership from the offensive pieces in this game.
Beautifully said here.
The temptation is always strong to “not overthink it, and just play” guys like Davante Adams (“he can beat any matchup, he almost never disappoints, and he sometimes blows up big enough to make even his hefty price tag feel like a bargain”). This can feel like a strength in the moment (“I didn’t overthink it; I took the clearly-rock-solid play and added it to my roster”), which can mask the fact that we’re actually just scared to miss out on one of the eventual high-owned explosions. This can lead to us failing to assess the true likelihood of one of those explosions occurring in the game at hand (and to underrate the possibility of a disappointing outcome for that player), and to miss an easy opportunity for an edge over the field.
When we look at Davante, Rodgers, and Aaron Jones this week, the chances of them falling shy of price-considered needs/expectations are actually higher than the chances of them posting a “price-considered, had-to-have-it” score. Said differently: they’re good enough to smash; but in this spot, it’s actually likelier that they fail to truly live up to their salary than it is that they prove to have been underpriced on the week. I’ll never make a case against these guys being able to succeed, but I can make a case for more +EV options existing.
I’m a Callaway fan boy (maybe it’s all those 15th to 18th round Best Ball shares I nabbed in the Underdog Best Ball Mania 2!), and he’s cheap enough (I had to peek) that I won’t argue against him if you’re feeling strong conviction and you don’t mind differentiating your roster elsewhere. This is, however, a less than ideal matchup, making this likelier to yield a respectable price-considered score than to yield a “had to have it” score. Five catches for 70 yards wouldn’t kill your roster, but wouldn’t win you a tourney either. Though again: 7-110-1 is within a reasonable range for him, if you want to hope he overcomes the setup.
With our first 17-game season on tap, there’s always a slight risk that a coach thinks long-term in his early-season decision-making; but it’s relatively safe to assume that Sean Payton will be more focused on beating a key conference opponent than on keeping Kamara fresh for December, so I don’t mind betting on 20+ touches for Kamara (with 25+ within range), making him the play that stands out the most to me from this game.
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- In the first 3 weeks of each season, Dennis Allen’s NOR defense has allowed point totals of: (35, 16, 45) // (29, 36, 13) // (41, 18, 37) // (28, 27, 27) // (23, 34, 37)
- GB led the NFL in pts in 2020
- QB DK pts vs NOR in Week 1 of those seasons: 25.4 // 28.5 // 45.3 // 31.7 // 22.5
- Rodgers in Week 1 since 2015: 23.1 // 23.6 // 20.5 // 24.9 // 12.9 // 33.8
- NOR allowed the 5th fewest QB DK pts in 2020, including zero 300yd passers, however each QB in the first five weeks scored 20+ DK pts
- Of the 28 pass TDs NOR allowed in 2020, 15 came in the first 5 weeks
- Rodgers led the league in pass TDs in 2020, including 3 vs NOR in Week 3
- GB had the second highest pass rate inside the 5 yd line, and Rodgers broke the record for 1-yd TD passes in a season
- Davante Adams only career matchup with Lattimore was with Brett Hundley at QB
- Adams received 9+ targets in 14/16 total games last year, with the two short being an injury-shortened game and the other a Week 17 blowout
- In two years with Lafleur, Adams is averaging 10.6 tg/g that he’s turned into 91.2 yds/g
- Adams caught 20 TDs in his 16 games last year
- NOR will start the year with outside CB questions following release of Jackrabbit
- In three career seasons, MVS has five 100-yd games and five games of 5+ rec
- MVS best scores by season: 16.1, 16.3, 19.8 // 21.9, 24.3 // 17.1, 19.3, 19.6, 20.5, 27.9
- NOR allowed the 7th most explosive pass plays to WRs in 2020
- Absent from this NOR Dline compared to last year are starters Onyemata, Brown, Rankins
- No team allowed fewer DK pts to RBs than NOR in 2020, with only DAL & PIT allowing fewer RB rec yds
- Aaron Jones played 70+% of snaps in just 4/16 games in 2020, and averaged just 13.8 att in those 16 games
- Jones received 51% of GB’s RZ rush att & 60% of att “inside-5” (11th highest) in 2020
- Touches (att,tg) in two games without Jamal Williams in 2020 (both blowout wins): Jones (15,5 // 10,3) // Ervin (8,5 // –) // Dillon (– // 21,1)
- RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7)
- That’s 10 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 53 games (18.9%)
- 10/10 scored a TD /// 4/10 scored 2 TDs /// 7/10 had 5+ rec /// 10/10 had 6+ DK rec pts
- Of the three without 5 rec, one had 82 yd TD, one caught a WR pass TD, one had 28 rush att, and all three scored 2 TDs
- Jones as Road Fav since 2018 (DK pts): 5.7 // 44.6 // 3.9 // 7.1 // 19.3 // 13.1 // 12.9 // 9.5 // 18.5
- GB allowed the 3rd fewest QB DK pts in 2020, but did switch to new DC Joe Barry
- Barry’s 4 previous defenses allowed the 2nd, 6th, 8th, & 8th most pass yds; only one finished top 20 in pass TDs allowed
- Jameis has been announced the starter, but it is yet unclear what the size of Taysom’s ‘package’ will be
- Brees’s 288:3 vs this GB defense in 2020 was largely carried by AK (139 of Brees’s 288 yds), whereas Jameis will challenge the defense more vertically
- NOR targets in 2 games without Thomas & Sanders in 2020: Smith (4, 7) // Callaway (10, DNP) // Harris (5, 3) // Cook (4, 7) // Taysom (0, 2) // AK (8, 13)
- Production in those games: Smith (4:54, 5:43) // Callaway (8:75, DNP) // Harris (4:46:1, 3:19) // Cook (3:32:1, 5:51:1) // Taysom (0:0, 2:30:1) // AK (8:65, 9:96)
- Beneficiaries of offense moving back to more shot plays a la the Saints pre-2017 (final collegiate seasons yds/rec): Tre’Quan (19.8), Harris (18.3), Callaway (21.2)
- Marquez Callaway has operated as the Saints’ defacto #1 WR in training camp sans Thomas, likely indicating he will receive the most attention from Jaire Alexander
- Callaway produced 8:165:2 in limited preseason action vs Humphrey, Peters, Henderson, Griffin
- GB allowed the 4th fewest WR DK pts in 2020 and drafted another 1st-rd CB
- AK received just 44.4% of the total NOR rush att inside the 5-yd line, but converted 12 att into 9 TDs
- AK converted 50% of his Green Zone touches into TDs (14 of 28)
- GB allowed the 8th lowest TD rate in the RZ in 2020
- Winston’s Bucs had the 4th highest TD rate in the RZ in 2019
- Taysom ran for 4 RZ TDs in Brees starts (4 more as starter himself)
- AK DK pts without Thomas in 2020: 38.4 // 47.7 // 20.9 // 19.9 // 22.8 // 25.3 // 18.4 // 59.2
- GB allowed the 5th most RB DK pts in 2020, with only KC & DET allowing more RB rec yds
- NOR has fed RBs in the pass game in the entire Payton era (Bush, Thomas, Sproles, AK), so even without Brees, and especially without Thomas, it should be expected that AK will still be heavily involved in the passing game (81+ rec every season so far)
- Jared Cook & Josh Hill vacate 60 & 10 targets respectively at the TE position to be potentially eaten up by Trautman, Vannett, & Juwan Johnson
- In a game Cook left early, he & Trautman combined for 4 rec for 38 yds vs GB in 2020
- Cook received 5+ targets in 6/15 games as NOR lead TE in 2020
- TEs vs GB w/ 5+ targets in 2020: Hurst (4:51) // Gronk (5:78:1) // Burton (2:25:1) // Goedert (5:66) // Hock (6:43:1) // Jonnu (3:30:1) // Kmet (7:41) // Brate (3:19:1)
- Juwan Johnson ran more routes than Trautman in preseason