Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Mark Ingram and Marshon Lattimore remained out to start the practice week, while Jarvis Landry continued his trend from last week of limited showings. Offensive linemen Erik McCoy and Andrus Peat also missed practice on Wednesday.
- The Pittsburgh injury report should look familiar, with multiple pieces of the secondary still listed as DNP and kicker Chris Boswell yet to return to practice with a groin injury.
- This game flow and environment should go as Alvin Kamara goes, with a relatively wide range of potential outcomes. The path to upside runs through Kamara, which would then open up the Steelers offense into a range of increased pass attempts and potential fantasy goodness.
- TJ Watt tore his pectoral in the first game of the season but is reportedly close to a return. As in, he could make it back this week for a defense struggling to generate pressure in his absence.
How new orleans Will Try To Win ::
The Saints are likely to continue with Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback moving forward (at least for Week 10), which gives us a different look to the offense than what we saw to start the season with Jameis Winston starting. During the six-game stretch with Dalton at quarterback, the Saints have averaged 26.83 points per game, while Dalton has attempted just 31.67 passes per game. The Saints clearly want to run a moderately-paced, run-focused attack with an 18th-ranked first-half pace of play, 27th-ranked situation-neutral pace of play, and 27th-ranked pass rate over expectation, but a defense allowing the fifth most points per game has forced them away from that game plan in most weeks. Recently, that has meant an increased focus on Alvin Kamara (both on the ground and through the air), increased utilization of everyone’s favorite fantasy troll Taysom Hill, and a high concentration of targets for rookie wide receiver Chris Olave. But we must understand that this team still wants to be run-balanced first and foremost, with the tendency to not open things up unless pushed into dire straits.
Alvin Kamara has played a total of seven fully healthy games for the Saints this season. In those games, he has seen no less than a 62% snap rate with an average of 72.3% of the team’s offensive snaps. His touch totals have wildly fluctuated based on varying game flows, but he has seen target counts of six, six, seven, nine, and three (last week in the blowout loss) in games he has played with Andy Dalton at quarterback. The touchdowns have overall been lacking, scoring all three of his yearly touchdowns in one game against the Raiders two weeks ago, but the usage is back to vintage Kamara levels – bringing along a solid floor and elite ceiling with it. Expect Kamara to soak up 70%+ of the offensive snaps here, with likely 80%+ of the total available running back touches. The pure rushing matchup yields an above-average 4.62 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Steelers defense allowing 23.1 DK points per game to opposing backfields. Dwayne Washington should get another week as the de facto change of pace back, with Mark Ingram unlikely to return from injury.
In what should seem like Groundhog Day, the Saints have had to fight through multiple injuries amongst their pass-catchers this season. Michael Thomas is likely done for the season, Jarvis Landry hasn’t played since Week 4, tight end Adam Trautman missed two games, and even Mark Ingram has missed two games. That has forced this team to turn to rookie wide receiver Chris Olave as their alpha, with a smattering of mediocrity consisting of Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith, Kieth Kirkwood, Kevin White, the electric rookie Rashid Shaheed, and Deonte Harty all figuring into the wide receiver picture thus far. Jarvis maintained the same level of practice participation as he did all last week, with a limited showing on Wednesday, which doesn’t mean much to us after he missed last week’s game. The best-case scenario is the team gets Landry back this week, likely in a limited fashion, after missing five straight games. The pass offense under Dalton has been a conservative one, who holds a below-average 7.5 average intended air yards per pass attempt value this season. Expect Kamara and Olave to maintain their statuses as the focal point of the offense, with nothing in the matchup to deter either from finding some form of success here.
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