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New Orleans Saints

Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome | Coach: Sean Payton
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense2nd93.2 (24th)310.6 (1st)
Defense31st129.4 (28th)284.0 (30th)

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Fri, August 26, 8:00 PM EDT
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Pittsburgh Steelers
New Orleans Saints


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Tampa Bay1-1-00-0-0
New Orleans0-2-00-0-0
Saints' Coby Fleener: A "work in progress"
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

According to head coach Sean Payton, Fleener remains a "work in progress," reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. "I'd say it's an ongoing progression," Payton said of Fleener. "I think, man, there are some plays that are real good, and then there's some plays where we've gotta be a little more detailed. And that's something that I know he's gotta work on."

While Payton has been unabashed about his praise for rookie receiver Michael Thomas, he's been far more reserved when discussing Fleener throughout the summer. In fact, Fleener himself admits that he doesn't yet have all the intricacies of the playbook down as much as he would like yet. Fleener's struggles raise some red flags, as CJ Spiller similarly had difficulty grasping the playbook after coming to New Orleans last offseason and he struggled to see the field as a result. For fantasy owners, Fleener's comments are further frustrating, because the Saints' offense is one of the friendliest in the league for tight ends. Since Payton and Brees arrived in 2006, the Saints rank second in the NFL in tight end targets, behind only the Dallas Cowboys, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Last season, veteran tight end Benjamin Watson posted the best numbers of his 12-year career. Fleener should still be productive in his first season in New Orleans, even if he has to fight through the occasional mental flub, but fantasy owners should probably exercise some caution when drafting him, as it may take some time for Fleener to mesh with Brees in a new offense.

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Saints' Michael Thomas: Expected to "contribute early," per head coach
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Head coach Sean Payton has "high expectations" for Thomas, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. "Listen, I think he's gonna contribute early," said Payton. "I don't follow fantasy football, but shoot, I'd try to have him. I think he's gonna do well."

Given the rave reviews Thomas has drawn throughout training camp, he's likely earned the right to start the season as the Saints' No. 3 wide receiver, ahead of Brandon Coleman. Fantasy owners should still likely temper their expectations for Thomas in his rookie season -- Drew Brees typically spreads the ball among many receivers and the Saints have a number of able pass catchers, such as Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, and Coby Fleener -- but Thomas' upside in the Saints' aerial attack make him worthy of a roster spot in nearly all league formats.

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Saints' Stephone Anthony: Returns to practice Monday
by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire

Anthony (leg) returned to practice on Monday, NOLA.com reports.

Anthony was carted off the field with an unspecified leg injury during the Saints' preseason opener against New England. However, New Orleans evidently dodged a bullet as he logged a full practice Monday and appeared to be moving without limitations throughout team drills. Now proven healthy, he'll resume his entrance into the regular season as Rotowire's 26th-ranked IDP prospect.

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Saints' P.J. Williams: Expected to start at cornerback
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com

With the release of Keenan Lewis, Williams is the favorite to start at cornerback opposite Delvin Breaux, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Williams had impressed during training camp, and though he got burned for a long touchdown by Will Fuller in the Saints' second preseason game against the Texans, he later made up for it with an end-zone interception on Texans QB Brock Osweiler. With respect growing around the league for Breaux, Williams should be targeted plenty this season, offering him plenty of opportunities to make plays and making him a sneaky late-round option in IDP leagues.

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Saints' Marcus Murphy: Fumbles return in second straight week
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com

Murphy, who did not play on offense, gained 19 yards on one kick return and 12 yards on two punt returns in Saturday's preseason game against the Texans. However, he lost a fumble on his punt return, after fumbling last week (though he recovered it that time).

After the game, head coach Sean Payton voiced his displeasure over Murphy's latest miscue. "It just can't happen. We'll find another returner," said Payton, who later added that undrafted rookie receiver Tommylee Lewis will "get every opportunity as a returner. Because if the alternative is putting it on the ground, then we'll find someone else." Murphy showed some promise as a returner last season, but his roster spot might be in jeopardy if he can't cure his case of the fumbles. Regardless, it appears that he will once again have a near non-existent offensive role, so owners in most leagues can safely ignore him.

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