It’s for real this time: no more training camp, no more preseason. Fantasy football season is officially open! Let’s break down this fantasy matchup, position by position. Enjoy!
With Julio Jones and Roddy White back Matt Ryan is a solid start for every fantasy team. The only concern is the Falcons’ offensive line, that will be facing a strong front seven: if they can’t keep the pocket clean Ryan will have a rough day but you start him anyway.
I don’t know about you but I tried to stay away from Falcons running backs in every draft I made this year. Steven Jackson? He might be productive for a couple of weeks but his health (+age) is an issue you can’t overlook. The Saints defense isn’t really good against the run but if the Falcons start to split carries between Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith/Devonta Freeman none of them is worth a starting spot. I like Jackson as FLEX this week, nothing more than that.
Steven Jackson’s Projections:
NFL.com – 4.70 pts
ESPN – 10 pts
YAHOO – 10.75 pts
Julio Jones: even if he’s not 100% yet and he will be on an island with Keenan Lewis you start Julio. He’s a freakin’ machine.
Roddy White: what about Roddy? He was banged up last year but he should ok now. He’ll probably be matched up with Patrick Robinson and Corey White so he’s a pretty safe start.
Tony Gonzalez out, Levine Toilolo in. Yes, Levine Toilolo. It’s ok if you don’t know who he is: neither does Matt Ryan. All jokes aside, the 2nd-year tight end from Stanford could be a deep sleeper considering that the Falcons will throw the ball a lot. He’s not worth a start yet but if you have a TE-needy fantasy team and a free spot in your bench why not take a chance on him?
Last year the Saints allowed the 5th-fewest fantasy points to kickers so start Matt Bryant at your own risk. If you’re looking for a replacement Cody Parkey, the new kicker of the Philadelphia Eagles, should be available in most of the leagues.
You really shouldn’t start ANY defense that faces Drew Brees. ATL’s defense is owned in 1,3% of the leagues on NFL.com and if you think about it for a second…that’s a lot. Well, good luck to those who are planning on starting ’em.
Nov 21, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) breaks a tackle by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant (21) during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Drew Brees knows the Falcons’ defense like the back of his hand. Plus, you drafted Brees to start him every week so let’s just skip this one and move on to the next one.
Pierre Thomas: PT should be the most solid start in the Saints’ backfield as he will have a ton of receiving yards too now that Sproles is gone, as I previously discussed here.
Mark Ingram: Ingram could be a nice sleeper this week, as NFL.com’s fantasy guru Michael Fabiano writes:
"Ingram looked tremendous in the preseason and appears to have earned the top spot on the New Orleans depth chart. While he’s still going to share some of the workload with Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, the Alabama product is all of a sudden on the radar as a flex starter. The Falcons also allowed the ninth-most fantasy points (19.91 PPG) to backs in 2013, so the matchup is favorable too."
Khiry Robinson: still too soon to start Robinson but my advice is to stash him on your bench, just in case.
Marques Colston: Colston is the safest start at this point among Saints wide receivers. I like him as a WR2.
Kenny Stills: #84 missed a couple of practices this week as he’s trying to recover from a quad injury, as The Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas reported:
Brandin Cooks: the rookie has tramendous potential but we haven’t seen yet how/how much Sean Payton will use him so I yhink you should sit him – at least for his first game.
Brandin Cooks’ Projections:
NFL.com – 5.70 pts
ESPN – 7 pts
YAHOO – 10.26 pts
Do I really need to say anything?
Now that we know who the kicker is, you can start him. The Falcons allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points to kickers last season plus the Saints’ offense is ready roll on the Falcons defense and since they won’t score a TD every time they’ll have the ball Shayne Graham will have plenty of opportunities to help your fantasy team.
After being a decent fantasy option last year Rob Ryan’s defense is now owned in 12.60 0f he leagues on NFL.com. I believe this is a risky start considering the fact that it’s a divisional matchup, on the road and against a good pair of wide receivers. If you’re looking for an alternative you can go with Pittsburgh’s defense (vs Cleveland) or the Jets’ defense (@ Oakland).
If you have ANY fantasy question you can find me on Twitter @FedeFerrari10.