News: Colston caught 3-of-3 targets for 36 yards in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: Colston's targets have been all over the map on a week-to-week basis this season, but his current average of six per game is about what can be expected going forward. Only a healthy Jimmy Graham seems to be ensured of consistent looks in the New Orleans offense, as some of the targets that used to go to Colston have been spread out to other players. Based on the per-target production, the Saints may even want to consider using a bit more Kenny Stills and a bit less of their 31-year-old mainstay.
News: Stills caught 5-of-8 targets for 71 yards in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: Stills briefly went to the locker room to have his groin looked at during the first half, and while he dropped a couple of passes in the game, he didn't appear to be hobbled by the injury. He did a nice job getting open on intermediate routes, which led to a third straight performance with four or more catches and 57 or more receiving yards. While still hard to trust in the Saints' spread-the-wealth offense, Stills at least seems to be heading in the right direction.
News: Cadet had three catches for 29 yards and two carries for one yard in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: Cadet handled most of the passing downs and made a couple of nice plays, but with the Saints protecting a lead for the entire second half, Mark Ingram got 30 carries. Edwin Baker got one meaningless carry at the end of the game, showing no signs of being any threat to Ingram or Cadet. Of course, Cadet will eventually cede most of the passing-down snaps to Pierre Thomas (shoulder), who has not practiced since suffering an injury in Week 7. The Saints' Week 10 matchup against San Francisco appears to favor the passing game over the running game, though not to the extent that you'd start Ingram over Cadet.
News: Ingram rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, adding one reception for 10 yards on two targets, in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: With Pierre Thomas (shoulder) and Khiry Robinson (forearm) both out, Ingram took on a large workload, while Travaris Cadet contributed just two carries and three catches. Ingram has been surprisingly tough to bring down this season, and although the hard running continued into Thursday's game, his 3.3 yards per carry was disappointing against a vulnerable Carolina defense. Of course, fantasy owners won't be complaining, as Ingram has three touchdowns and 272 rushing yards over his last two games. He'll lose some touches to Robinson and Thomas once they get healthy, but Ingram seems to be locked in as the top guy for carries. Week 10 brings a difficult home matchup against the 4th-ranked San Francisco run defense.
News: Cooks caught 3-of-3 targets for 38 yards in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: Cooks caught passes of 18 and five yards on consecutive plays during the opening drive, but he essentially disappeared thereafter, while Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills combined for 15 targets. It didn't help that the Saints attempted a modest 34 passes, as Mark Ingram piled up 30 carries while protecting a second-half lead. Cooks still ranks second on the team with 55 targets, but he has now sandwiched a pair of three-target outings around Sunday's big showing against the Packers. While it's clear that both his volume and yards per catch are issues, Cooks does seem to be the closest thing the Saints have to a No. 2 receiving option behind Graham.
News: Graham (shoulder) caught 7-of-7 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: Graham was down for a second after a hard hit during the first quarter, then later appeared to feel some pain in his shoulder in the aftermath of another big hit. No matter, he turned in a strong game for the second straight week, and didn't appear to have his role limited in any way. Even if he has to keep playing at less than 100 percent, Graham should be a steady top-three option at tight end. With 10 days to rest, he may be feeling even better for a tough Week 10 home game against the 49ers.
News: Brees completed 24-of-34 passes for 297 yards, with a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown and an interception in Thursday's 28-10 win over the Panthers.
Impact: The Saints opened the game with two long drives that ended on Brees turnovers, the first being an interception that took an odd bounce off the chest of a sliding Kenny Stills, while the second was knocked out of the quarterback's hands by teammate Erik Lorig. The team then punted on three straight drives, before a Cam Newton fumble set Mark Ingram up for a quick three-yard touchdown. Brees led the Saints on an 85-yard march for seven points before halftime, and the Saints added two 80-yard touchdown drives in the second half. The first of those drives ended with a one-yard quarterback sneak on 4th-and-goal, giving Brees his first rushing touchdown of the season. While it wasn't exactly a dominant performance, Brees and the New Orleans offense mostly played well to overcome the somewhat fluky early turnovers. Mark Ingram had a season-high 30 carries for 100 yards, and Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was highly effective, though seemingly while playing through some pain. Brees has an interesting stretch of the schedule coming up, with three consecutive home games against the 49ers, Bengals and Ravens, in that order. The matchups may not be as tough as they sound, given that all three defenses are dealing with significant injuries, and Brees has long been dominant at the Superdome.
News: Robinson (arm) is listed as inactive Thursday in Carolina, the Saints' official site reports.
Impact: Robinson's absence isn't a surprise, considering he was unable to practice on the short week. While he logs his second absence in a row, Mark Ingram will head the Saints' backfield, while Travaris Cadet serves in a complementary role.
News: Graham (shoulder) is active for Thursday's game at Carolina, the Saints' official site reports.
Impact: Graham remains less than 100 percent, but after five catches (on six targets) for 59 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Packers, he should again be a mainstay in lineups. Keep in mind, though, that the Panthers allowed their first score of the season to a tight end in Week 8, tempering his potential.
News: Hawthorne (hand) won't play Thursday against the Panthers, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Impact: As a result, Ramon Humber will take Hawthorne's spot in the Saints' lineup Thursday, with Todd Davis also having been added from the practice squad to bolster the team's Week 9 linebacker depth.