Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Week 2: Complete Fantasy Football Preview
This game also marks the first time two consensus top-five fantasy quarterbacks entering the 2012 season will take the same playing field.
Drew Brees played well in the Saints’ season sweep of the Panthers in 2011. He threw for 748 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions in two games. Two of those scores came when the Saints were on the road.
That's where they'll be on Sunday.
In Cam Newton’s home matchup against the Saints last year, he completed just over 50 percent of his passes for 224 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception.
But Newton also rushed seven times for 27 yards and another score. Both quarterbacks should be worthy of fantasy starts in this game.
New Orleans Flex Players
However, one quarterback is losing his targets. Brees lost wide receiver Robert Meachem to the San Diego Chargers in free agency, followed by deep threat Devery Henderson to a head injury.
He’s good enough to make things happen without the two receivers and will lean on Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Lance Moore to do so. In his two appearances against Carolina, Graham caught 16 balls for 226 yards and a touchdown.
Which quarterback will have the better fantasy performance in Week 2?
All three pass-catchers are capable of making big plays for New Orleans.
They should each be considered solid starts (at worst) for their respective positions.
Oh, and that Marques Colston guy is pretty good, too. He had 11 targets in Week 1 and might have a huge game for Brees and the Saints in Week 2.
Running backs Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram were not hugely productive against the Panthers last season. Neither led his team in rushing in either meeting.
Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory took those honors. Thomas and Ingram are risky fantasy plays this week.
Carolina Panthers Flex Players
The Panthers should be returning their own running back, Jonathan Stewart, from injury for this game. Newton relied on Stewart last year as a receiving option out of the backfield, as Stewart brought in 47 receptions in 2011.
Without Stewart last week in Tampa Bay, the Panthers’ run game was absolutely lost. A wide receiver (Kealoha Pilares) actually leads the team in rushing with five total yards on just one carry.
While Alfred Morris had a coming-out party against the Saints in Week 1 coinciding with Robert Griffin III’s debut, Morris did so with a per-carry average of 3.4.
Who will win the Week 2 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints?
Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are more talented than he is. With Stewart coming off of an ankle injury and Williams looking to rebound from an awful Week 1 performance, however, I would prefer to take a watch-and-wait approach with the Carolina backfield.
It will be interesting to see how the Panthers use free-agent acquisition Mike Tolbert with both of their incumbent rushers active on game day.
Steve Smith remains the only Panthers wide receiver I would like to start at a time when all 32 NFL teams are still playing games in the same week. I’d also avoid Greg Olsen.
Tight ends Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey combined for nine catches, 60 receiving yards and a touchdown in two games against the Saints last year. That’s not representative of the kind of upside fantasy owners would like to have in their tight end spots.
Both teams combined for only five sacks and four interceptions in their 2011 meetings, so the defenses may not have many opportunities to make big plays in the upcoming contest. There are better options for Week 2.
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