Ladies and gentlemen, it is week 10 of the NFL season and the Falcons are fast approaching what is perhaps their biggest matchup of the season. What do we know about the Saints?
Well, New Orleans is essentially the same as it's always been. Drew Brees makes the occasional mistake, but is otherwise a talented QB with a plethora of weapons around him, including two fairly new additions in Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles.
On defense however, the Saints have been quite mediocre. The No.15 defense in terms of yardage allowed has only managed four interceptions and eight total takeaways. For a defense that makes its money off turnovers, much like the Falcons do, that's a recipe for disaster for the Saints. For the Falcons- who have finally begun minimizing their turnovers/penalties- it's promising. For fantasy owners, a shootout game would be fantastic.
So with that in mind, you'll definitely want to go ahead and start...
Matt Ryan- Sure, he looked shaky at times against the Colts. But you'll remember that on the day he finished with close to 300 yards and three passing touchdowns. The Saints are currently allowing the 12th most points to opposing quarterbacks as well. With a healthy Julio Jones at his disposal, Ryan would make a pretty good start this week.
Michael Turner- That said, the Falcons will still look to pound the rock, as always. Turner has historically been very good against the Saints. Even though Mike Smith has begun implementing his plan to give Jacquizz Rodgers more carries per game, Turner is still without a doubt the feature back.
Roddy White- Though it was Julio who had the big game in Indy, Roddy still put up 76 yards on four receptions. He hasn't really been the Roddy we saw in 2010, true, but he's almost guaranteed to get at least a few catches every game. In fact with the Saints defense likely focused on defending against Jones, Roddy might get a few more looks than normal. Still a good start.
Julio Jones- Man. If you were one of those owners who decided to take a chance on the rookie on his first week back from injury (as I did), you were not disappointed. For those of you who didn't, you looked in horror as his stat line read: 3 catches, 131 receiving yards, 2 TDs, 33 rushing yards. Monster game.
Now the Saints have been pretty average against opposing wideouts, allowing the 13th most fantasy points on the season. But don't expect a repeat of last week: both Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer are a few steps up from any defensive back on the Colts roster.
Matt Bryant- Uh... why wouldn't you start him? 23 consecutive field goals made sounds pretty good to me, and the Falcons should hopefully put up their fair share of points this Sunday.
Tony Gonzalez- Surprisingly enough, New Orleans has been fantastic against tight ends this year, allowing the seventh fewest points per game to opposing players of that position. While Gonzalez has been money all year long, this might be a week where it wouldn't hurt to explore some other options and/or pickups. Guys like Brandon Pettigrew or Scott Chandler could be good plays this week, both having favorable matchups.
Atlanta D/ST- They had a stellar performance last week, but alas, it was against the Colts. That's like giving an adult a gold star for acing a fourth-grade spelling test. It's expected, and is not indicative of future performance on other tests. There are a multitude of other options out there I'd recommend you start. While the Falcons may have a pretty underrated "real life" defense, in fantasy you may want to stay away this season.