Drew Brees will play today after being a question mark all week. It's a nice matchup for Brees, but he likely isn't 100-percent with a foot issue.
“We’re going to get a chance to see more now,” Sean Payton said. “I think the training camp injury set him back some, and then it’s just a matter of the confidence and the explosion off that knee. He’ll play a significant role, as will Tim Hightower and even (Marcus) Murphy.”
Hightower was released after a strong training camp, and re-signed Nov. 4. He hadn’t played prior to this season since 2011, when he suffered a knee injury and his recovery was slowed by complications.
“Through training camp, we got a chance to see him run," Payton said. “He finally got some touches in a regular-season game against Washington (11 carries, 46 yards). He’s competitive, he’s tough, he’s been in that spotlight and I think that, for him, it’s the confidence that the injury and the leg is 100 percent. I’m excited to see him play just like I am with C.J. It’ll be a good opportunity.”
Said Brees: “You hate to lose guys that mean so much to your offense, but it’s the next man up mentality and Tim Hightower is a guy that has been looking for an opportunity for a while and he will get that, and C.J. Spiller as well and then Marcus Murphy.
It's interesting that Brees mentioned Hightower first when discussing the situation. Hightower may serve as the team's primary ball-carrier, but Spiller should see more carries as well, and may see an increased role in the passing game if he can earn the team's trust in pass protection. It's entirely possible that he fails to do so, and Hightower takes most of Ingram's snaps and touches.
Veterans C.J. Spiller and Tim Hightower are next in line for the New Orleans Saints now that starting running back Mark Ingram has been placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. But it’s hard to get excited about either one of them in terms of fantasy football.
For one thing, I don't expect either guy to step into a No. 1 role like Ingram has had. But there will be a ton of snaps available.
I'd love to say this will finally provide Spiller an opportunity to play a big role with the Saints as a runner and receiver, which seemed like an exciting possibility back when he signed in March. But Spiller has barely played for the Saints, and not just because Ingram was in his way. The Saints could have used Spiller a lot more already, but his snaps have decreased as the season goes on. Spiller played only five snaps in last week’s 41-38 loss to the Panthers and has just four touches the past two weeks.
The only explanation coach Sean Payton has given is that the Saints prefer Ingram as a pass protector in passing situations. Spiller said he has never been given a specific reason, but he has never complained about his lack of touches.
Hightower, meanwhile, could replace Ingram in base packages as more of a first- and second-down type of runner -- perhaps getting some goal-line looks. So far, Hightower has just 48 yards on 12 carries since signing last month.
This is about what we're expecting. Spiller has more upside, but the team doesn't seem to trust him in pass protection, and that limits his snaps on passing downs (where he's most effective as a receiver). Hightower is a good pass protector so he may play more than people think.
C.J. Spiller is the obvious candidate to pick up Ingram's work, but he has only out-touched Tim Hightower 14-to-12 over the last three games. It's likely that the duo would form an uninspiring committee, though Spiller would be worth a pickup in PPR formats if he's sitting on the wire. The Saints may have no choice but to play him. The Saints upcoming schedule is not favorable (TB, DET, JAX).
Mark Ingram has received the majority of the snaps all season long, but his workload jumped significantly during the Saints' 34-28 loss Sunday. Ingram played in 88 percent of the offensive snaps with 67 snaps. C.J. Spiller played just six snaps.
This meant the workload for Spiller dipped with Spiller playing only eight percent in the loss. The running game struggled mightily against the Titans, but Ingram was also used in a bunch of passing situations either as a blitz protector or a receiving option.
They did more of of that Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, when Spiller finished with a season high 10 touches from scrimmage. Most of his six catches for 32 yards and four carries for 16 helped set a stage for Mark Ingram's big game.
"Like I told them Saturday night, they hadn't played a backfield like us yet," Spiller said Tuesday during an NFL Play60 event at J.C. Ellis Elementary in Metairie. "We wanted to go out there and showcase what we were able to do and fortunately we were able to do that."
The Saints' 36 carries for 183 yards were both season highs, as Khiry Robinson rushed for two touchdowns and Ingram for one, and the Saints beat the Colts 27-21. Spiller has been frustrating to fantasy owners who were counting on him being more involved in the passing game. He could finally be trending that way and may be worth an add in PPR leagues if you're hurting at the position.
Coach Sean Payton said he strived to increase Spiller's involvement within the offense. Technically, Payton did just that. Spiller played 21 offensive snaps in the win over Dallas in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which translated into 29 percent of the offensive snaps.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Brandon Coleman continues to watch his participation decrease finding only 19 snaps (26 percent) in Sunday night's win. Willie Snead received the second most offensive snaps at wide receiver at 48.
A couple of notes here as Spiller's works seems to be on the upswing, which is no surprise considering he is working back from an injury. The Coleman vs. Snead snaps are interesting because the broadcast crew said the Saints like Snead enough that he's got a chance to be the second option after Brandin Cooks.
New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller caught a pass for 3 yards on the first play from scrimmage Sunday, and he did not touch the ball again until the fourth quarter. The scarcity of touches for Spiller was something coach Sean Payton said Monday he wanted to fix.
"I got to get him more opportunities," Payton said. "He's healthy, and shoot, he needs more than anybody to stay actively warm as opposed to one play every 12 of 14 plays."
Spiller played 16 snaps against the Panthers, one week after he went in for seven snaps at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Spiller missed the preseason and the season opener at Arizona to recover from an arthroscopic knee surgery.
Fantasy owners need to see more from Spiller, too. Spiller was supposed to be a PPR stud however so far it's been a slow start which has caused Spiller to pop up on the waiver wire. It seems the team is aware the need to give him the ball more but we'll see if that translates into more touches. If you're hurting at the position and Spiller is out there on the wire in a PPR league, he may be worth a shot.
Monday, September 21, 2015, 10:00am
So it shouldn't be some stunner that Spiller only played seven snaps in his Saints debut coming off knee surgery early in training camp. Spiller caught one pass for 19 yards and carried the ball three times for seven yards.
Friday, September 18, 2015, 6:37pm
Saints RB C.J. Spiller (knee, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 2. Spiller is on track to return in a nice matchup against the Buccaneers, despite what Sean Payton says. The Saints play early on Sunday and the matchup is fantastic.
Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6:09pm
Saints RB C.J. Spiller (knee) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Spiller is on track to return in a nice matchup against the Buccaneers, though Sean Payton is being coy with Spiller’s status. The Saints play early on Sunday and the matchup is fantastic.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 6:08pm
Saints RB C.J. Spiller (knee) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Spiller is now on track to return in a nice matchup against the Buccaneers.
Doubters remain, of course, because the NFL is a game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter, play-to-play audition. It only takes one false note for the chorus to gain members and volume.
But New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram muted a good portion of them with the way he ran last season, when he totaled 964 yards and nine touchdowns on 226 carries and became the first New Orleans running back to play in the Pro Bowl since Deuce McAllister in 2003.
And in Sunday’s season-opening 31-19 loss to the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., he at least gave pause to a few more that might’ve believed he was being a tad ambitious when he said he had the ability to be an every-down back, that he equally could be a factor as a receiver.
A career-high eight catches for a career-high 98 yards against Arizona suggests he may have a point.
Granted, every week won’t so prosperous. When C.J. Spiller returns from injury, and with continued steady play from Khiry Robinson (who also had career highs with five catches for 51 yards against the Cardinals), Ingram’s touches in the passing game could reduce.
Ingram stated even last season he had the ability to catch passes but sat behind Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet in that role. After the team signed C.J. Spiller, it looked like Ingram would again not get his chance. But Spiller couldn't go Week 1 and Ingram got the job done. With Spiller struggling to stay healthy in his career, it's a nice bonus for Ingram owners to know pass catching is officially on his resume.
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