The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints will be well-represented on fantasy football teams this fall. Both teams have explosive offenses that feature elite quarterbacks, top-tier receivers and great depth at running back.
Here’s a fantasy recap from the Patriots’ 26-24 win over the Saints on Saturday night.
New England Patriots
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
Garoppolo could start the first four games of the season if Tom Brady’s court battle with the NFL isn’t successful, and Saturday’s game was an encouraging sign for the Patriots.
Jimmy G completed 28 of 33 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown with an interception. His best play came at the end of the first half when he escaped a sack and found Chris Harper for a 24-yard touchdown.
It was a solid performance from Garoppolo, especially when you consider that the team’s four best pass-catchers — Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell — didn’t play.
LeGarrette Blount, RB
Blount entered training camp as the likely No. 1 running back, but he struggled in his preseason debut. The 28-year-old veteran rushed for just 15 yards on 13 carries — a 1.2 yards per carry average. Overall, the Patriots struggled on the ground with 82 yards on 35 carries.
Dion Lewis was the most effective of the running back group with 12 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
The Pats tallied zero sacks, forced and recovered one fumble and gave up three touchdowns in a below-average defensive performance. The secondary, in particular, didn’t play well. The Saints threw for 373 yards and completed 25 of 37 passes. Fourteen different Saints caught at least one pass.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees, QB
Brees played three drives and the Saints scored on all of them. He completed 8 of 10 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns, mostly against the Patriots’ starters. Brees has been a Tier 1 fantasy quarterback throughout his career and there’s nothing to suggest he won’t perform at an elite level this season.
Brandin Cooks, WR
Cooks was the NFL’s best rookie receiver before suffering a season-ending injury 10 games into the 2014 campaign, and he enters his sophomore season as one of the top-ranked wideouts for fantasy owners to target in their drafts.
Cooks dominated the Patriots secondary for 117 yards on four receptions in the first half, including a 45-yard touchdown from Brees. His speed, excellent route running and ability to make tough catches in traffic make him a very difficult receiver to cover.
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Aug 22, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) celebrates after a touchdown with fullback Austin Johnson (35) and running back Mark Ingram (22) during the first quarter of a preseason game against the New England Patriots at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports