There are a couple of potential shootouts this week in the NFC South yet again. New Orleans against the stout Tampa defense and Tampa’s potentially explosive offense against a new look Saints defense. Atlanta heads home to take on the Rams and Carolina heads to Buffalo against their defense who kept Tom Brady looking human. So let’s take a look!
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
So Tampa was decent against the pass last week, giving up yardage to put them in the top third against the pass thanks to Geno Smith. This makes me really like every Saints player again… a lot. You’re starting Brees because he is Brees. Colston I worry about a little bit because he may be up against Revis all day, since he was the 2nd highest graded CB last week according to Pro Football Focus. I still think he will see some targets and they may try and move him around to get him away from Colston, so I’m still starting him but not counting on him for a huge game.
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Graham you’re starting – even if he had somewhat of a “down” game last week, he is a nightmare for defenses and Tampa may have a tough time defending him. He’s had some solid games in the past against the Bucs so I think he can continue that trend and likely find the end zone. He’s a main part of the offense in a game that again could be a shootout (see the first game between these teams last year).
Moore was on the field for 32 of 40 passing plays according to PFF, so I wouldn’t worry too much about him. I think he is going to be involved, but the nature of the team and the number of targets he’ll get makes it tough to tell when he’s going to have one of those big games. In both games last year he was solid, so expect him to be much better than last week as TB will likely try and focus on Graham, Colston and Sproles.
Speaking of Sproles, start him. He will get targets as per usual and he should get a handful of carries that can always potentially turn into high yardage with his breakaway speed. Ingram didn’t look good last week, so Sproles could be more involved in the running game. Although the Bucs weren’t great against the run last week overall, I’m not starting Ingram nor Pierre Thomas, who is tough to get a read on. I’m thinking this game will be high scoring, so there is potential for the other RBs to do well if you need to start them in a deeper league.
Moving on to Tampa Bay: Freeman has the chance to be good this week if the Saints defensive performance was a fluke (I’m a Saints fan and I’m sort of skeptical it wasn’t a fluke). He wasn’t great against a decent Jets pass defense, so I think he improves this week. Start him if you’re in a deeper league or a 2 QB league.
Doug Martin managed to find the end-zone which helped a rather mediocre week against the Jets. The Saints rush defense was actually pretty solid except the 50 yard run to Steven Jackson. Martin carried the ball a ton and didn’t have a lot to show for it last week. The Bucs have a good offensive line, so I expect Martin to have a solid week this week as long as Tampa can stay in the game.
So I missed on Vincent Jackson last week – although he didn’t reach the endzone, he had a really solid game. He goes from Cromartie to Keenan Lewis this week, another tough match up. I still expect him to have a good week, so start him with confidence. Most games the Saints play in will be shootouts! Mike Williams will be against Jabari Greer or potentially a safety, and with a lot of attention going to both Jackson and Martin, expect Williams to have another solid game and hope for another score from him.
I wouldn’t start Stocker as he was basically invisible last week and I don’t see the TE being involved in that offense on a consistent basis. Don’t start the defense either because you never want to start a defense against the Saints.
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St. Louis at Atlanta
St. Louis has a solid defensive front 7, but it looked like their pass defense lacked a little bit. Larry Fitzgerald had a good game, and both Floyd and Roberts excelled as well. This is great news for Julio and Gonzalez. Julio has to be much faster than Larry, so the Rams may have trouble containing him. Gonzo should be solid against the Ram linebackers, even if he had an “off” game last week. Start both of these guys with confidence. Roddy is a little bit banged up, if he plays and isn’t limited, I expect him to have a good game, but we will see closer to game time. If you have a better option then I would suggest that to be safe, or if you want to gamble, Harry Douglas could get extra work with Roddy limited.
Matt Ryan had a good game last week against New Orleans, and this secondary is better. I think he will have a solid game as he probably isn’t happy about last week, and he plays great at home most of the time. You’re starting him with confidence as well.
Steven Jackson had an mediocre performance last week, and was contained minus his 50 yard run. This front 7, as I mentioned earlier, is very solid and the Falcons offensive line was getting run over by the Saints D-Line. You’re starting S-Jax if you have him, but I wouldn’t expect a great week from him given the fact that Arizona’s weak offensive line couldn’t generate much of a run game against this line.
Carolina at Buffalo
This Buffalo defense managed to keep Terrific Tom Brady in check last Sunday, which is no easy feat. They did give up a lot of yards on the ground to Shane Vereen (still not over his loss) and Ridley, which I think should be good news for DeAngelo Williams. He didn’t have a great week but he also wasn’t terrible against a great Seattle run defense. This defense will be more generous on the ground, so I think he is at worst a high end flex guy this week.
If Brady was kept in check by this defense, how will Cam Newton fare this Sunday? I don’t think there will be a ton for him in the pass game, but he could do some damage with his legs (although I said this last week and he had under 40 yards I believe). If you have Newton, you’re likely going to start him, unless you’re in a shallow league and have a viable backup to start over him.
It looks like Brandon LaFell is going to be a non-factor this year in Carolina, which is great news for Greg Olsen and Steve Smith. Even though the Bills defense kept Brady under control, his two main receivers as well as Vereen all had good games. I think Steve Smith should be solid this week against that Bills secondary, but I also have a feeling Buffalo could pay a ton of attention to him since there aren’t a ton of other options. I’m still starting him with confidence given the play of the Patriot receivers last week. A beneficiary of the Smith attention could be Olsen. He will likely be matched up against a linebacker and could see lots of targets if Smith has the attention of the Bills secondary.