Thursday Preview: Saints vs. Falcons
It’s crunch time for fantasy football leagues. While some start their first round of playoffs, others have this final week to fight for that final playoff spot, and theres no better way to kick off this week than to have two offensive powerhouses dueling it out on a Thursday night. Two division rivals ready to throw down, and hopefully score a ton of fantasy points, as they try and pave the way for the NFL playoffs. Everyone buckle your seat belts for this one!
Drew Brees has been pretty solid this year, but isn’t on pace to keep up with his record setting stats of the previous years. Brees is still the leader of this team and is an obvious start for all fantasy teams, as he will be forced to throw the ball a good amount to keep up with the Falcons on the scoreboard. The running back situation has can be summed up in one word for fantasy owners. FRUSTRATING! Mark Ingram leads the team in carries and yards, but also has the team’s worst yards per carry avg. Chris Ivory could be the more productive back going forward for fantasy purposes though. Darren Sproles is giving them all a run for their money though, not in carries or rushing yards, but in the passing game. Sproles has 46 receptions for 388 yards, which is 3rd on the team. Combine that with a few carries a game, and you have the most productive fantasy running back on the team even in standard scoring leagues. Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham are the primary weapons on the team, and will be used a lot to keep this game competitive. Drew Brees spreads the ball around enough to these guys, that they are all a must start.
Matt Ryan, like Brees, has been the teams focal point this season. Even with 13 interceptions this season, he has continued to lead the team to a 10-1 start.In the last 3 weeks alone, he has a 4-6 touchdown to interception ration, which is not what fantasy owners or coach Mike Smith want to see.Ryan should redeem himself this week against the 30th ranked Saints pass defense. We could see a changing of the guard at running back with Jacquizz Rodgers possibly seeing an increased workload this week. He is much more versatile and agile than Michael Turner, which could be a huge factor in a potential shootout with the Saints.Rodgers also has just a bit more yards per carry than Turner. Michael Turner will continue to get goal line looks and short yardage situations though, and is still an option as a RB2 or FLEX. Both running backs are startable this week, as the Saints rank dead last in the league in rushing defense. Similar to the Saints, Rockin’ Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez are the Falcons primary weapons, and all have the potential to have monster numbers in this game. The only problem is that it varies from game to game on consistency of targets, even though there stats are all relatively close for the most part. Regardless you are starting any and all three of them in all league formats as they attempt to punish the weak Saints pass defense.
Prediction: As with the last match up with these two teams earlier this season, expect a high scoring affair in a closer than you may think type of game. Even though the Saints will for sure put up a fight, the Falcons defense is superior, Atlanta will kick around this poor Saints defense on every possession and come away with the victory.
Falcons 33 Saints 24