Fantasy Preview: New Orleans vs. Green Bay Packers

By Zack Cimini

The NFL thinks they have a proper showcase match up to kickoff the NFL season. There have been some ugly starts in years past. On paper though this game looks very intriguing. Two teams that have stormed to the top of the NFC over the last few years. Both winning Super Bowls by coming out of nowhere to do it. Will these two teams keep going in the right direction or will they fade down to the talent of the rest of the NFC?

Early in the season it’ll be too hard to tell. As Green Bay showed the world last year, it’s all about getting hot at the right time. The offensive fire power of both of these teams, should bode very well for fantasy owners most weeks. Rustiness could be there too start the game, but don’t expect it to linger over more than a few series.


There is not much analysis to give here, as both Rodgers and Brees rank atop just about every fantasy football prognosticators draft boards. The only stat that can drive you crazy with either is interceptions. Rodgers displayed great control last year and the ability to scramble for yards when needed. Brees on the other hand seemed to be overwhelmed at times. Too many pass attempts caused him to have an inordinate amount of interceptions. The Saints drafted Mark Ingram and upgraded over Reggie Bush with Darren Sproles. Look for Brees pass attempts to scale back, but for his consistency and big plays too rise off the balance of having a solid running game.

Running Backs

Here lies the uncertainty with both teams. With Green Bay, Ryan Grant is back from injury but his role with Green Bay remains unclear. They’ll likely ease him back depending on how well James Starks handles an increased role. Remember, Starks too was coming off an injury from college that kept him out for a good length of 2010. So there will be a need to have a time share of some sorts. A 60/40 split could be likely. Who the Packers will go too in the red zone is what fantasy owners want to know. At this point, neither should be considered a starter for fantasy purposes. They should be no higher than the third running back option on your team, and fourth in valued depth running back circumstances.

For New Orleans, they’re going to want to showcase their new running backs. As stated earlier they’re going to be more of a run oriented team this season. Mark Ingram has shown he is going to be able to make the transition from college back to NFL with ease. This will not be a year one breakdown like CJ Spiller and Ryan Matthews last year. We would start Ingram this week as your second option in twelve or fourteen team leagues, and in well managed ten team drafts. Sproles has always been a home run guy, but has heightened value in high scoring games. He could be a flex starter in deep leagues this week. As a short dump off, could turn into a long gainer.

Wide Receivers

Greg Jennings, check. He is an automatic top weapon to start each and every week. That is why you drafted him as an owner. Zero uncertainty on a weekly basis. Do not get to over analytical when it comes to starting your studs. A down week will average out over the long haul. Those extra yards and touchdowns will be crucial too you. The rest of the Packers depth at receiver seems to be up for grabs. Donald Driver is only aging. He had a sharpe decline in production a year ago, and it’ll likely continue to sputter. Meaning Jordy Nelson and James Jones are guys to keep an eye on. We like Nelson better for the simple fact that Rodgers leaned on him more down the stretch and increasingly as the team got hot. In three playoff games, Nelson had nearly three hundred yards receiving and two touchdowns. Expect that too carry over in 2011.

Week one for the Saints will exclude Lance Moore who is out due to injury. That means everyone’s favorite sleeper wide receiver, Robert Meachem will get a chance to show his value in a starting role. It’s not like he is new to the Saints so he should be boosted up your fantasy starter charts for week one. In fact you have to like Meachem’s value more, because he is more capable of big plays than Marques Colston. Colston reached his peak and has seemed to of lost a step. His size is similar to a tight end, so he uses his position and body more versus corners than anything else. A solid red zone target but never prolific in the yardage category anymore. Going against Green Bay’s tough corners will not bode well for Colston, so are advice is too sit him, and start Meachem.


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