Mon Sep 18 1:09pm ET
Field Level Media
Derek Carr and Bryce Young will kick start a new NFC South rivalry when the New Orleans Saints visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.
After nine seasons with the Raiders, Carr won his first game as the Saints' quarterback while throwing a touchdown in a 16-15 Week 1 victory against Tennessee. He visited Carolina before signing with New Orleans in free agency, contributing to the Panthers trading up to select Young with the No. 1 overall pick.
Young began his NFL career by throwing for 146 yards with a touchdown against two interceptions in last week's 24-10 loss at Atlanta.
The Saints intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times in the opener and their defense presents a very difficult challenge for Young in just his second career start. The consensus 3.0-point line for New Orleans is a dicey one, lending us to watch for a key half-point swing ahead of kickoff.
Prediction: Saints 20, Panthers 16
Both teams want to be able to establish the run early. That's especially true for the Panthers, who need to provide favorable down-and-distance situations for Young. It also doesn't help that Carolina lost guard Brady Christensen to a season-ending injury in Week 1.
The Saints will again be without suspended running back Alvin Kamara. They rushed for only 69 yards in the opener, led by Jamaal Williams with 8 carries for 45 yards -- with Tony Jones Jr. getting a lone carry.
"If we're going to go where we want to go," Carr said, "the running game is going to be a big part of it."
Look for New Orleans to play a field-position game, with that ground game getting a thorough workout if the Saints can build a lead. The third-most popular player prop for the game at BetMGM has been Carr to throw for less than 230.5 yards at -115, and we like the Under as well.
9 - The Saints' current streak of games holding opponents to 20 points or less.
THEY SAID IT
--"Every step for Bryce is a new step in the NFL. But at the same time, he's played on a big stage his whole life. So enjoy the moment." -- Panthers coach Frank Reich, who made the first start of his career as an NFL quarterback in 1989 on "Monday Night Football."
--"There were a couple of plays where I felt like I left points on the field. On offense all 11 guys have to do the right thing in order for a play to work." -- Carr on his Saints debut in Week 1.
The Panthers are expected to start Nash Jensen at left guard in Christensen's place. Cornerback Jaycee Horn was placed on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, while wide receiver D.J. Chark is listed as questionable after missing the opener with his own hamstring issue.
The Saints are close to full health entering the game. Defensive back Juantavius Gray (shoulder) is questionable along with rookie running back Kendre Miller (hamstring), who was inactive in Week 1.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (ribs) exited the Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans with a rib injury. He suffered a rib fracture and early reports suggested he could be out for a few weeks. However, the 24-year-old said he does not think his injury will keep him out for an extended period of time, and he could potentially be back this week. According to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic, it all depends on Higgins' soreness and pain tolerance. All that said, the Bengals will likely want to be careful with the young wideout, so it won't be surprising if he misses the Week 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) is expected to practice on Wednesday. The former rushing champion began the 2023 season on the PUP list after an offseason full of drama, including a public dispute with team owner Jim Irsay and a trade request. However, it appears Taylor is going to return and play for the Colts. If he is activated off the PUP list for the game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4, he'll face a tough matchup with a defense that has not allowed a running back to surpass 67 rushing yards through four weeks. He also could be eased back into action and begin the season on a snap limit. Ultimately, some fantasy managers will still want to roll the dice on him, as running back production is often scarce in fantasy football.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Cam Jurgens (foot) is being considered week to week after leaving the Week 4 game against the Washington Commanders early with a foot injury. The second-year guard is the only new starter on the team's offensive line from last year's NFC Championship run. In his absence, 27-year-old Sua Opeta will fill in at right guard. This development shouldn't affect Jalen Hurts, D'Andre Swift, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith too much, but it could weaken the overall offensive line just a bit.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder struggled mightily in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The second-year Cincinnati product completed 19 of his 31 passing attempts for 191 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Atlanta scored just one touchdown and lost the game 23-7. Many have speculated that Taylor Heinicke could be given the keys to the offense after Ridder's early-season struggles, but head coach Arthur Smith said Ridder will remain the starter heading into Week 5. The Falcons host the Houston Texans in Week 5, so hopefully, Ridder can bounce back. Heinicke might be worth stashing in two-QB and superflex leagues. He could eventually be named the starter if Ridder can't turn things around.
Dynasty | Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week after expressing displeasure in regards to his role in the offense. Dynasty Analysis: After showing a ton of promise in his first two years with the Steelers, the wheels have fallen off the proverbial cart. Claypool was traded at last year's deadline but was only able to muster 14 catches for 140 scoreless yards in seven games with the Bears last year. Through three games this season, he has four catches for 51 yards and a score. This relationship seems fractured beyond repair as Head Coach Matt Eberflus is basically keeping him home instead of even being around the team. Expect a trade or release in the coming days. Claypool's ranking of WR81 has nowhere to go but up at this point.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) is still in concussion protocol after missing Sunday's Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He has now been in the protocol for a week. Head coach Josh McDaniels said the veteran signal-caller is still the team's starting quarterback when he returns from the injury. Rookie Aidan O'Connell threw for 238 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss, but he did score a rushing touchdown on a QB sneak. Garoppolo's eventual return to the lineup should help Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers get back on track.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert had his best game of the young season in the 38-3 shellacking of the New England Patriots on Sunday in Week 4. Tolbert hauled in all four of his targets for 53 yards, which was third on the team in this one behind tight end Jake Ferguson and receiver Michael Gallup. Both the catches and receiving yards were career-highs for the 24-year-old Tolbert, and he also made a big special-teams tackle early in the game. Fantasy managers can continue to ignore Tolbert, even in deeper formats, as he's currently behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Gallup on the receiver depth chart in Dallas.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus told ESPN1000 in Chicago that wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week as they prepare for their Week 5 matchup against the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football. The Bears made some changes to their offense heading into the Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the biggest of which was making the struggling Claypool a healthy scratch. A report on Sunday also surfaced that the Bears are seeking to trade the 25-year-old wideout to a team that is in need of receiver depth. In the first three weeks this year, Claypool has just four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. His fantasy value has hit rock bottom at this point, but a change of scenery could do him some good.
It wasn't much, but Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught a season-high four passes on four targets for 27 receiving yards in the team's 38-3 blowout win over the New England Patriots in Week 4 on Sunday in Dallas. Cooks returned in Week 3 from a knee injury after missing one game and he has six receptions for 44 yards on 11 targets the last two weeks. The Cowboys really haven't had to throw the ball all that much early on this year, which has hurt Cooks in his first year with the team. That won't remain the a case all year, but the 30-year-old veteran wideout probably isn't going to have a very dynamic role in this offense unless CeeDee Lamb or Michael Gallup miss time with an injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) is getting his injured hamstring scanned on Monday. It's not just a tweak, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. We'll have to wait to see what the tests show on his hamstring, but at this point, he seems pretty questionable to play in Week 5 against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. Before leaving Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans, the 24-year-old had three catches on four targets for just seven yards. If you've been rolling with Freiermuth as your TE1, you'd be wise to start making backup plans for Week 5 now. If he's unable to play against Baltimore, Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward would both be in line for bigger pass-catching roles for the Steelers.
New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas hauled in two of three targets for 45 yards against the Cowboys in Week 4. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Douglas seemed to impress the Patriots' coaching staff throughout training camp and the first four weeks of the regular season, with the exception of his Week 2 fumble. The Patriots have a somewhat deep but not very top-heavy receiving corps, creating the possibility for Douglas to earn more targets if he keeps playing well. Dynasty managers would be wise to stash the Liberty product.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne hauled in two of three targets for 36 yards in Week 4 versus the Cowboys. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. This was the Bourne's worst game of the season in terms of both statistics and fantasy production. The 28-year-old had a big Week 1, playing 91 percent of snaps and scoring two touchdowns, but has come back down to earth since then. Notably, he has yet to log more than 56 percent of snaps in a single game since the opener. He has lost playing time to DeVante Parker and Demario Douglas and isn't an appealing fantasy option for the time being.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro pass-rusher Myles Garrett (ankle) rolled his ankle in the Week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and was seen in a walking boot after the game, but it doesn't seem to be a major injury. The Browns are heading into their bye in Week 5, and Garrett assured reporters on Sunday that he's not going to miss any time with his ankle injury. It's great timing for the 27-year-old, the Browns defense and fantasy managers that have Garrett rostered in IDP leagues, as he should be back and ready to rock in Week 6 at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Garrett is one of the best pass-rushers in football and has nine tackles (eight solo) and 5.5 sacks through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.
Dynasty | Embattled Jets quarterback Zach Wilson completed 28-of-39 passes for 245 yards and two interceptions in the Jets close loss on SNF to the Chiefs. Dynasty Analysis: The Jets decided to stop playing it safe with Wilson and just let him loose in prime time. The results were shocking as he made difficult throws throughout the night and genuinely looked like a player who should have been taken in the top five of an NFL Draft. This is a small sample size and Wilson still made a critical mistake on a late fumble but the talk of Trevor Siemian taking over will be extinguished for now. Wilson is still off the dynasty radar but he at least has a pulse.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (finger) suffered a fractured finger on his left, non-throwing hand in the Week 4 win over the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, according to sources. Herbert's finger also suffered a gruesome nail injury, but he somehow finished the game and with the team's bye coming in Week 5, Herbert shouldn't miss any time. Once he returned to the game after having a split put on his fractured finger, he didn't take any snaps under center, except for a fourth-down sneak late in the game. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said he doesn't see this being a major issue for Herbert moving forward. The 25-year-old saved his fantasy day on Sunday with two rushing touchdowns, but he should remain a strong QB1 option coming off the bye for a Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Oct. 16.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Cowboys on Sunday evening. He also hauled in two of three targets for an additional 10 yards through the air. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Stevenson's relative struggles were the product of an ugly game that saw Mac Jones get benched in the second half. With that said, the Patriots face the Saints next week, which could be a bit more favorable. Stevenson should be treated as a low-end fantasy RB2.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens caught just three of his seven targets for 25 yards in the team's 30-6 blowout loss to the Houston Texans. Still, outside of running backs, the second-year pro led the team in receiving yards. The entire Pittsburgh offense sputtered against a beatable Houston defense. They also lost quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee) and tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) to injuries. It appears as though Mitch Trubisky could get the start against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. The passing game can't get much worse, so Pickens will still be viewed as a flex option next week.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren received 14 opportunities out of the backfield in the team's 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The second-year pro turned eight carries and six catches into 55 total yards. Warren and Najee Harris nearly split the touches 50/50. The starter ran the ball 14 times and caught one pass on two targets. Both backs saw 49% of the snaps in the blowout loss. Warren and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. An already struggling offense could have a new quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, who is likely to start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed just six times for 16 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. He added six receiving yards on two catches. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Elliott was reportedly expected to handle the workload of an RB1 on Sunday, but that certainly did not happen. Not only did he and the offense struggle, but he was out-touched by Rhamondre Stevenson, 16 to eight. Elliott should not be started in fantasy football, and he can be dropped in leagues with 10 or fewer teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris cobbled together a fantasy-relevant performance for the Steelers in their 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The third-year pro ran the ball 14 times for 71 yards and caught one pass for 32 yards. His 100-yard performance was his first of the young season, despite his lowest snap percentage of the campaign. Backup running back Jaylen Warren received 14 touches in the game. The Steelers scored just six points on the afternoon as the offense continued to sputter. Harris and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, where quarterback Mitch Trubisky may start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).