It's already week 16 of the NFL's regular season, and for the Falcons that means they quickly closing in on a wild card playoff berth, their third spot in the postseason in four years if they succeed in capturing at least one more win.
However, in the fantasy football season your team is likely either in the thick of the playoffs or perhaps even vying for your league's championship, and a prime time matchup between the Saints and Falcons on Monday Night could very well be the difference between a fantasy win or loss this week.
With a Falcons on offense currently on a roll and a Saints defense not every known to be a top-tier group ready to but heads in front of a national offense, this week should be a great time to put the star players on the Falcons offense into your starting lineup.
The key factor in determining how the Falcons do this week will be considering whether a Saints secondary that's currently allowing over 256 passing yards per game (28th in the league) can stop a red-hot Falcons offense. Roddy White and Julio Jones are both coming off big games, and steady veterans Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez have always had a degree of success against New Orleans.
With the Saints also having allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season, the receiving tandem of Roddy and Julio should be a great play this week. Of course, Matt Ryan should also benefit from a defense that's only managed 31 sacks on the year and is allowing a comfortable 86.4 passer rating against opposing QBs this year.
Michael Turner's stock, on the other hand, seems to be falling. It's a long season, and for backs like Turner that get most of the carries, the wear and tear of the year can often limit that production down the stretch. However, the extra few days of rest since the Thursday Night game against Jacksonville could play in his favor.
All in all, on paper it looks to be a good week for the Falcons. But never forget how well these two teams play each other: it will be a close game.