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Chris Olave Saints
NFL

Chris Olave Primed For Monster Game In London

  • Justin Melo
  • September 30, 2022
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New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver Chris Olave appears primed for a massive showing in Week 4. Saints head coach Dennis Allen ruled superstar wide receiver Michael Thomas out of Sunday’s overseas contest against the Minnesota Vikings, the team confirmed Friday. Thomas has been dealing with a toe injury that held him out of practice all week long. 

Thomas’ absence catapults every Saints receiver into an even larger role. Olave should spearhead New Orleans’ pass-catching unit as a result. We expect Olave’s breakout to continue taking center stage against the Vikings.

The returning Thomas has been excellent for the Saints. Through three contests, Thomas has recorded 16 receptions for 171 receiving yards and a team-high three touchdowns. Thomas has been efficient, hauling in 72.2% (16-of-22) of his targets. He trails Olave by just one catch for the team lead. Thomas is averaging 7.3 targets per contest. That’s a lot of new-found targets that will be available against the Vikings on Sunday. Olave should be the biggest benefactor.

Olave is averaging a team-high 9.7 targets per game, and that’s with Thomas in the lineup. Olave saw a career-high 13 targets in New Orleans’ Week 3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Olave converted those opportunities into nine receptions for 147 yards (16.3 yards per reception). Another double-digit target day is almost guaranteed due to Thomas’ departure from the lineup. Olave’s influence is steadily growing.

It’s worth acknowledging that New Orleans’ quarterback situation looms large heading into Sunday. Starting signal-caller Jameis Winston is listed as doubtful for Sunday morning’s matinee due to back and ankle injuries. Winston missed three consecutive practices this week. Veteran backup Andy Dalton is expected to start in Winston’s place. Dalton is a capable No. 2, and he’d look for his receiving weapons to make his task easier. Olave is that type of difference-maker. Dalton should search for Olave early and often.

Olave soaked up 25 targets over the Saints’ previous two contests. Olave’s target share was 9.4% in Week 1, 32.5% in Week 2, and 33.3% in Week 3. Olave is one of 18 across the entire league receivers with a 26%-plus target share on the season, per J.J. Zachiarson. Another 30-plus-percent target share appears on the horizon. Olave will be a crucial piece of offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael’s game plan. His reliability will be especially appreciated if Dalton is under center.

The Saints can explore opportunities against an underwhelming Vikings secondary, even without Thomas and possibly Winston. The Vikings’ defense is allowing 413.3 total yards per contest. That ranks 31st across the league, trailing just the Baltimore Ravens. They own the fourth-worst passing defense (275.7 yards allowed per game). Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts recently carved up this secondary to the tune of 26-of-31 for 333 passing yards. The Saints will want to attack Minnesota’s defense through the air. Vikings cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler are ill-equipped to deal with Olave. Dantzler has allowed 17 receptions on 21 targets this season, via PFF. Olave is going to feast.

Olave is an exciting young playmaker. His arrow, passing-game volume, and production continue to trend upward. Chris Olave should see career-high targets Sunday.

Written By

Justin Melo