NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Game Recap: New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans

2RT3HEN New Orleans Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed (22) makes a catch past Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard (31) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Tyjae Spears leads the Titans’ backfield in snaps: Spears played the passing-down snaps, as expected, but also took significant snaps on early downs.

  • This didn’t stop Derrick Henry from reaching 15 carries for 63 yards and catching two passes for 56 receiving yards.
  • It would be a little surprising if Tennessee continues to use Henry in this way, as it was a pretty clear tell that Henry was getting the ball if he was on the field.
  • Spears did well on his three carries, totaling 27 yards. He was also targeted four times — the third most on the team — but that led to only one catch for one yard.
  • Henry could be a sell-high candidate because Spears could continue to lead the team in snaps and may even take a touch or two away from Henry moving forward.
  • Tennessee could stick with running the ball in future one-score games, but it might be harder for Henry to see as many carries if the team falls behind in contests.

Buy low on Chigoziem Okonkwo: Okonkwo didn’t catch either of his targets, but his playing time was very promising.

  • Okonkowo played 95.6% of offensive snaps in 12 and 21 personnel. He was seeing the majority of those snaps by the end of last season, but never to that extreme.
  • He played a clear majority of snaps in 11 personnel, with 75% of those snaps. The only times he was off the field in that personnel group was some early down and distances where Trevon Wesco was in instead, typically for run blocking purposes rather than for passing plays.
  • The Saints were the best team at preventing fantasy points to tight ends last season, so it’s understandable that Okonkwo had an underwhelming game despite the playing time.
  • Okonkwo was wide open on one deep pass but the throw wasn’t catchable.
  • If Okonkwo can match his 2022 efficiency with his usage in this game, he can be a top-five fantasy tight end.

Jamaal Williams underwhelms as the Saints' every-down back: Williams seemed like a relatively safe start, but his inefficient play didn’t help fantasy managers.

  • Alvin Kamara is serving a three-game suspension and rookie Kendre Miller was inactive due to injury, leading Williams to be the clear every-down back for New Orleans.
  • He ran the ball 18 times for 45 yards and caught two passes for 7 yards.
  • His offensive line didn’t do him any favors. He gained zero yards before contact in the game and 45 after contact.
  • Tony Jones Jr. took a few snaps throughout the game as the backup running back, while fullback Adam Prentice at times was the solo running back in clear passing situations. The Saints did something similar with Prentice in the preseason.
  • Williams can be considered a buy-low candidate because he received all of the volume we hoped he would. His numbers could be much better against a different opponent.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Titans didn’t have a specific slot receiver. Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and DeAndre Hopkins all ran between 15-19 routes from the slot.
  • The Saints had all three of their wide receivers healthy for the first time. Each of Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed received roughly the amount of playing time we would expect.
  • Juwan Johnson and Foster Moreau also were used in the ways we expected based on the preseason. Moreau played nearly half of the offensive snaps, but that wasn’t much of a threat to Juwan Johnson’s playing time.
  • Taysom Hill didn’t receive much playing time, despite potentially being the second running back on the depth chart. He might see even less playing time later in the season when more running backs are available.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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