The New Orleans Saints enter Week 16 with a crucial matchup vs. the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football. The Saints sit at 7-7, tied with the Rams, Vikings and Seahawks in the NFC playoff picture. New Orleans is coming off a 24-6 win over the New York Giants in Week 15. The Saints were able to get by New York without top WR Chris Olave, who missed the game due to an ankle injury. Olave is already back at practice early this week and has said that he’ll play. With that news, does that mean you’re going right back to Olave for fantasy football in the playoffs? We take a look.
Fantasy football start sit advice: Chris Olave injury
It’s tough to make a case against starting Olave but we’ll go a bit deeper into this. First, it’s worth looking at Olave’s usage the past few weeks prior to the injury. Despite seeing limited snaps, Olave still puts up elite production. In Weeks 12-14, Olave only played an average of 55.6 percent of the offensive snaps. Before the Saints’ bye week, Olave hadn’t played less than 71% of the offensive snaps in any week. In Weeks 12-14, Olave posted 16 catches on 22 targets for 261 yards and a score. Olave has benefitted from some big plays with the limited snaps. Early in the season, he was seeing a bigger target share. Still, when we look at Olave’s production, it’s difficult to bench him (at least in PPR). He only had four TDs this season but has seven games with at least 80+ receiving yards.
Now that we’ve determined it’s difficult to bench Olave, let’s at least look at the matchup vs. the Rams, who are currently the 7-seed in the NFC playoff picture. The Rams are a completely different team with QB Matthew Stafford healthy. Los Angeles has won four of five games, the lone loss in OT to the AFC’s top team, the Baltimore Ravens. Still, the Rams defense is allowing plenty on the ground and in terms of points. L.A. also doesn’t really have a top cover corner to shadow Olave during this game.
The game script also should play well for the Saints. Either New Orleans is able to limit the Rams’ passing attack and RB Kyren Williams, setting up good offensive field position. Or this game could turn into a shootout of sorts. Since Stafford returned from that brief absence after the bye in Week 11, the Rams are averaging close to 30 points per game. Two of those games were against the Browns and Ravens, considered top defenses in the NFL. The over/under on DraftKings Sportsbook for this contest is 46 points with more of the handle (79%) and bets (58%) on the over to hit. That makes this a pretty favorable environment for a WR like Olave.
You should roll Olave out in most fantasy football formats this week. Maybe in a shallow standard format you’d have some options for Saturday-Sunday-Monday that are just as good, if not better than Olave. Something I always preached is not to lose your fantasy football matchup on Thursday night. Rolling out Olave and having him bust puts you in a bind going into the weekend. I don’t think that’ll be the case this week, however. Olave should get plenty of targets and has a safe floor as a result. The Saints could be trailing and that would mean more passing plays. In PPR formats, Olave feels very, very safe so long as he’s active (which should be the case).