Matt Harmon and Dalton Del Don break down the Saints troubles covering tight ends on the latest Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast.
MATT HARMON: All right, let's move on to trends that you hate to see. And this is the bad stats section of the show. Dalton, the Saints defense, despite having a lot of talent, they might stink. And they might really stink over the middle.
Now sometimes I think that defensive statistics allowed to tight ends can be a little bit noisy. It can be a little bit opponent-driven. And you could argue that with the Saints after week two when Darren Waller whipped up on Malcolm Jenkins, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, PJ Williams. He had all these guys' number.
But then in week two, the combination of Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger, and Mercedes frickin' Lewis combined for over 100 yards, two touchdowns on nine catches. Right now, the Saints allow league-high targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns to the tight end position. Is this defense going to be a weak link throughout the rest of the season? Or are they talented enough to sort of figure it out? Because like I said, I kind of like the construction of the unit, but so far the results have been problematic.
DALTON DEL DON: I think the defense in general will be solid, but it's interesting that you note the up-the-middle stuff. And after looking at your stats, I moved Hockenson up a few spots. I already liked him in the over/under at, what, like 55 in this game. But, yeah, they're more vulnerable there.
And quietly, Hockenson-- I know Jesse James caught the touchdown last week. But his route running was like career-high last week. So if that continues-- and you pointed out how vulnerable they are. I moved Hockenson to number five on my tight end board this week. So, yeah, I hope you're right for this one because I have plenty of him as well.
MATT HARMON: Hockenson has cleared 50 yards in three straight games too. So, I mean, yeah, he's in a good position. I think I've been waiting for sort of his massive game, and this could definitely be it. And it makes sense from a scheme perspective. The Saints have good players in the front seven.
I don't think Demario Davis or Cameron Jordan are having their best season. But at the same time, those guys at the safety position-- Malcolm Jenkins is getting up there at this point. PJ Williams has always been the weak link in the cornerback room. It makes sense to pick on him with your tight ends because you've got him as the slot corner is a much weaker position than Marshon Lattimore or Janoris Jenkins on the outside.
So, yeah, upcoming opponents for the New Orleans Saints. Detroit Lions this week, then they get the Chargers at home, then they have a bye week, the Panthers, Jimmy Graham and those Chicago Bears, and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So there's some decent actual streaming options available on those teams. Other than Hunter Henry, I think, is the only guy that's locked into people's rosters from this group.
And then, of course, they get George Kittle November 15th. That should be a fun outing as well. Yeah, I think that this defense-- if the Saints are gonna win, if they're gonna be a Super Bowl-contending team, they can't have a clear weak point like this. They need to actually be much better.
DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, absolutely. I think they probably will shore it up. And, yeah, they're going to need a strong defense if they want to reach the Super Bowl like their aspirations.
With Brees, man, I don't know. I'm know he's putting up the numbers, but I don't know. I feel like it's different, this 41-year-old version throwing the ball 4 and 1/2 yards down the field. I don't know. Their defense better play well.
MATT HARMON: Oh, Brees is--
DALTON DEL DON: He's fine?
MATT HARMON: No, he's cooked. I think he's cooked. Look, he can't he can't push the ball downfield anymore.
They're calling plays-- we talked about it last week on this show. They're calling plays like Brees is not the same guy. They're a run-heavy team. They're an Alvin Kamara-based team.
DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, for sure.
MATT HARMON: I mean, obviously I think it'll help when Michael Thomas gets back. But they've never really used Thomas as a downfield guy anyways because they've always been juicing Brees's efficiency numbers the last few years for his declining arm strength. And I think every year, it's like you lose 5%, you lose 5%, you lose 5%, you lose 5%. Eventually, you've lost like 30% of your arm, and that's a big difference.
How much is too much to lose? I think Brees, he's not a bad quarterback. He's not gonna be a nightmare for them, but it's something they have to adjust to. And I could keep making the Peyton Manning comparison from 2015.
They're just gonna need more from the surrounding talent. They still had Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and a good running game. They had a great defense. I would say that the Saints right now have a great running back, they do not have a great supporting cast, and they definitely don't have a great defense. So that's where we're at with the New Orleans Saints.