Fantasy Football Week 7: Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints sit/start tips for Thursday Night Football – Yahoo Sports

Fantasy Football Week 7: Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints sit/start tips for Thursday Night Football - Yahoo Sports

I will be honest. I’m partly to blame for the subpar fantasy results on Thursday nights over the past two weeks. I don’t mean the actual field production. If I had known how things would turn out, my DFS bankroll would look a lot different. Regardless, I elevated each matchup to capture any intrigue. And it all sounds good until you look Curtis Samuel crash landing.

So, I’m taking a new approach this week.

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I’m just going to be cautiously optimistic about tonight, because we have some big storylines to follow. DeAndre Hopkins returns for the Cardinals, and Chris Olave will be back in the lineup for New Orleans. There is even a discussion about training increasing The drama continues despite some limited action. Anyway, let’s see what we can expect from Week 7’s TNF from a fantasy standpoint.

NFC Battle With Season-Long Implications Kicks Off Thursday Night

Nathan Jahnke hits the nail on the head here:

Imagine the chaos. People would definitely tune in to the game for the chance to see Taysom Hill throw, rush or catch a touchdown. However, with Andy Dalton (backwards) and James Winston (back/ankle) dealing with injuries, we’ll likely see more of Hill, given their offensive struggles.

The Saints are a tale of two quarterbacks. They were 31st in EPA per game with Winston, but Jameis had the third-most yards on deep throws. After Dalton took over, New Orleans moved to 20th. But they lost the explosive plays. It didn’t help that injuries extended to the pass-catching corps, but they developed a small level of consistency. Tonight will be a real test, though, regardless of who is in the center.

Arizona has increased the pressure over the last two weeks with a 30.8 percent pressure. Their pass rush got home on 29.2% of those plays, with five sacks Gene Smith in Week 6 alone. However, Dalton and Winston worked on their quick game. Almost half of their passes came in less than 2.5 seconds (48.3% and 49.6%). With players like Olave back in the fold, their ability to create after the catch will be the key to winning for the Saints.

But the Cardinals, hopefully, have an answer to New Orleans’ offense. Plus, Hopkins’ timing couldn’t have been better. Marshon Lattimore‘the absence opens up the perimeter coverage of the Saints for him and Kyler Murray exploit I don’t expect another Ja’Marr Chase performance. However, it all rests on Murray’s shoulders (and legs).

Given all the questions surrounding the team, I’d bet you’d never guess Murray was the QB6 in fantasy. He has been relatively quiet lately. Missing Hopkins is certainly a factor. I will even buy offensive line discontinuity as a reason. Both have contributed to Arizona’s lack of big passing plays and why the offense has stagnated this season.

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is a fantasy star

It’s been a struggle this season, but Kyler Murray is still bringing in the fantasy points. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

It didn’t stop Murray from trying though. He is 11th in deep ball rate among his peers. The only problem is that he has trouble connecting with his receivers. Last season, Kyler’s 66.7% field goal attempt percentage was first in the league, netting him the second most yards of any passer. Now, he’s 25th in punts, with fewer yards than Mitchell Trubisky.

Hopkins may not be the cure in his debut. But the Cardinals need a layered offense with options at every level to move the ball consistently. I’ll be looking at Arizona’s WR-QB duo, but I’m equally curious about the Saints’ offensive approach for tonight.

Points of interest in TNF

Can the Saints’ offense find another gear?

To be clear, I don’t mean speed or explosives when I say gear. Surprisingly, the Saints are league average in explosive game speed (10-plus yard run, 20-plus yard pass). Most of them probably comes from Hill. The gear I’m talking about is a piece of the offense to move it.

Specifically, making it move to their opponent’s red zone.

New Orleans Saints red zone play frequency for fantasy.

New Orleans has the 11th lowest red-zone play rate through six weeks. They continue to score 23.5 points per game but rely on irreproducible plays on the way Don’t get me wrong. Those plays are more than welcome. But let’s also throw some arrangements into the mix.

Part of the Saints’ red zone issues go back to their play calling on first or second down. They are dead last in an early descent. Even worse, New Orleans was ineffective in throwing the ball regardless of who was under center.

Winston was 26th in EPA per game during early downs through the first three weeks. Dalton ranks 25th in his few starts. It puts them in third and long situations on 56.4% of their third down attempts. Their misfires at the beginning of every set of downs is why they are 23rd in yards per drive.

I will watch to see if a boost to their personnel gives them more juice on offense. Anything to move the chains will keep them in contention to win the game.

Expectations for the Return of Hopkins

Fantasy managers drafted and kept Hopkins on their rosters back in August. Then, they circled today’s date on the calendar: The day they could finally move him into their starting lineup. But I’m skeptical.


Rank (min. 20 targets)

Target Sharing


Air Yards Share


Yards per Route Run


Objectives by Route Run


Red-Zone Target Sharing


Hopkins was healthy and played on 80.0% or more of the offensive snaps through Week 7 last season. And yet, his handy metrics aren’t very “Hopkins-esque.” He never topped double-digit goals in a game. His single-game yardage totals never cracked the century mark. The only saving grace was that we knew what Murray would look like in scoring position. Let’s hope a similar percentage of goals come his way in the 20s this season as well.

Kliff Kingsbury said they want to use Hopkins differently after Brown’s injury. Again, I have my doubts. Hopkins only ran 16.2% of his routes from the slot. He caught just three screen passes. Kingsbury’s play calling is already under scrutiny. Maybe, the fire under his seat is what he needs to spark some creativity.

I will be watching not only for playing time but how Arizona deploys Hopkins in his return. If his role looks similar to last seasonhis return to the field may also be time to trade him away.

But Don’t Bench These Guys

I can understand any hesitation to start any fringe players tonight. The 44.5 point game total doesn’t inspire much confidence, and I have more questions about each offense than answers. But the teams goodbye features some of the best fantasy players So, if you need a week’s worth of filler, I’ve got a few guys to spot tonight.

Marquez Callaway

I have anecdotal and analytical data points to recommend Marquez Callaway. I’ll start with the numbers.

Callaway led the team in routes and targets since Week 4. Without their primary receivers, he was their de facto WR1 with a 26.9% air yardage share. But Callaway’s “last man standing” status isn’t the only reason to start him on a short week. Arizona’s defense has funneled targets his way over the last two weeks. Across their respective competitions, Jalen Hurts and Gene Smith tallied one completed pass to the middle of the field. Their aDOTs decreased by an average of 2.6 yards.

Jalen Hurts/Geno Smith are passing charts against Cardinals for fantasy

Jalen Hurts/Geno Smith are passing charts against Cardinals for fantasy. (Photo by NextGenStats)

Coincidentally, Callaway’s 12.5% ​​crack rate is the lowest of the active receivers. And he got 47.1% of his goals in the short area of ​​the field. So, quantitatively, his workload makes him a solid starter in PPR leagues.

It’s also a story I wouldn’t mind leaning into for TNF.

Callaway’s usage is due to necessity, but the team could continue to present him for commercial purposes. In an ideal scenario, the team already has its trio, and Callaway will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The extra time on the field doesn’t guarantee him goals, but there’s some incentive from the team for him to perform well for now.

Rondale Moore

I’m all for swinging for the fences and getting started Robbie Anderson. While in Carolina, Anderson saw 47.6% of his goals in the middle and deep parts of the field. He would do some damage against the Saints, who have allowed 88 YPG on passes of 15-plus yards over the past three weeks. However, he will will likely be limitedand his style doesn’t match his new quarterback.

Murray threw short or behind the line of scrimmage on 63.9% of his attempts. That’s why Arizona ran the seventh most plays on third down. But effective play volume doesn’t matter to Rondale Moore.

Moore gets the first crack at the full-time slot role without Marchioness Brown. Per PFF, the sophomore has played in 94.1% of the team’s two-receiver sets. In addition, all but six of his goals have come from inside this season.

The Bengals gained 89 yards against the Saints’ slot coverage on Sunday. Moore isn’t the same size as Cincinnati’s trio, but Arizona’s receiver is sixth in YAC per reception when targeted inside. Regardless, Moore is an ideal PPR flex option for managers going through a tough bye week.

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