The regular season is finally here and that means the Green Bay Packers — and Fantasy Football — are back! The Packers take on the Saints in Week 1, and there will be plenty of fantasy implications in this one.
When these two teams faced off last season in Week 4, the Packers were without Davante Adams, but Aaron Rodgers and Allen Lazard made for a magnificent duo — 6 completions for 146 yards and one touchdown.
On the other side, Alvin Kamara was a one-man wrecking crew who passed through the Green Bay Packers defense like he had just gotten the gold star in Mario Kart. The Packers were short on linebackers which forced Ty Summers into action, and as expected, he was no match for Kamara for ran 6 times for 58 yards and caught 13 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Fantasy Implications: Packers offense vs Saints defense
Adams and Marshon Lattimore will go toe-to-toe but the cornerback opposite of Lattimore is still in question. Which means another big day for Lazard, MVS and Cobb. Ken Crawley is out after being placed on IR, so the start will fall to the rookie Paulson Adebo or the veteran Desmond Trufant.
The Packers offensive line will be touting two rookies — Josh Myers and Royce Newman –, but if they are able to keep Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis away from Rodgers, then the reigning MVP should have a field day attacking the Saints patched up secondary. Adebo is a promising third-round pick out of Stanford who certainly hasn’t seen any game action that is anywhere near the level that Rodgers will bring Sunday, and Trufant was waived by the Bears before the initial 53-man roster deadline. Advantage Rodgers and the Packers’ air attack.
The Saints’ run defense was stout last year and will look to repeat that performance during the 2021 campaign. They will have a tough first test in Aaron Jones, but they were able to keep him contained last season. The Packers will certainly test the Saints’ front seven as Week 1 is a litmus test for all three levels, but I fully expect the Packers to go to the air more often than not when push comes to shove.
Rodgers: 24-32, 328 yards and 3 TD
Rodgers picks up where he left off last season with an efficient yet prolific opening weekend. He works the ball around and finds the weak spots in the Saints secondary and dices them up to the tune of 300-plus yards and three touchdowns.
Jones: 15 carries, 56 yards and one rushing TD. 4 catches, 20 yards and one receiving TD
The Packers will lean on Jones in the first half as they get acclimated to the new year. Myers and Newman will get their feet wet going down hill and hopefully Jones can get free a few times to open up the play-action game in the second half. I think Demario Davis, overall, does a great job on Jones, but the Packers will feed their recently extended running back in Week 1.
Adams: 7 catches for 85 yards
I think Lattimore does a great job shadowing Adams, but the Saints will likely role a safety over top quite frequently as well. Adams will act as a decoy for Lazard, MVS and Cobb to get free.
MVS 5 catches 120 TD
MVS gets open for at least two big plays downfield, but the question is: does he catch them? I think it’s finally the year that it all comes together for the friend of the program, and his Week 1 performance will ignite him for a career year.
Lazard 4 catches 90 yards TD
I’m not predicting Lazard to repeat his career-high performance from Week 3 last year, but I do think he gets free in the secondary from time to time when the attention is focused on Adams.
Fantasy Implications: Saints Offense vs. Packers Defense
Kamara is will be relied upon heavily by the Saints throughout the 2021 campaign and probably even more so against the Packers’ poor rush defense. Kamara has always been a beast in fantasy, but with Drew Brees gone, it’s officially his show in New Orleans. The Saints will likely try to keep the ball out of harm’s way, as that has been the Jameis Winston’s major downfall during his NFL career, by handing the ball off and getting the ball out quickly. I think the Smiths’ injury status Sunday could play a major factor in what the Saints are able to do offensively.
Winston: 20-30, 225 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs
Winston starts his tenure as the New Orleans Saints starter with a typical Winston performance. He will make a few highlight plays, but the turnovers were plague the bottom line. I think Winston could be in line for a big fantasy year — especially if Michael Thomas ever returns — but he faces a tough Green Bay Packers secondary with a beat up wideout corps.
Kamara: 18 carries, 112 yards and 1 rushing TD. 8 catches, 67 yards and 1 receiving TD
Barring injury, I think Kamara has the best chance to beat Christian McCaffery for the best fantasy running back in 2021. His path starts with Packers’ run defense that has been weak over the past few years, but is looking for a makeover after the move to Joe Barry as defensive coordinator. While it will be important for the Packers to stop the run throughout the year, I just don’t know if they will need to do that in Week 1 to get the W. I think the Packers will be content with trying to let Kamara outpace their prolific offense, which should mean a big day for Kamara fantasy owners.