The Falcons are on bye, Tampa is coming off their bye and going up against a weak Eagles defense, Carolina goes into the Minny-dome and we have a battle of two great offenses when the Saints head into New England. What a week for the NFC South Fantasy players! Let’s get to it.
New Orleans at New England
Matt Ryan played against this defense two weeks ago and put up great numbers – I think the New Orleans offense is better and I think Drew Brees is better. Not much to be said here. Start Brees and he should give you at least 20 points. If Gronk returns I can see this game being quite a shootout, so Brees will be throwing a ton – and last week he proved he CAN do it outdoors so don’t be afraid of that.
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Tony Gonzalez absolutely ATE up this Patriots defense – I expect Jimmy Graham to do much of the same. The Patriots started to jam Gonzo at the line, but I don’t think they will be able to do that to Graham because he’s bigger, stronger, younger and faster than Gonzo. I think Graham continues to have a great year – expect likely close to 100 yards and at least 1 score.
You know the Patriots are going to focus on Graham; this could open up the field to Colston and company. Yes he had a down week last week but he is a big, possession receiver that should have room to operate on the middle of the field. I imagine Sean Payton will move him around and into the slot to get away from Aqib Talib.
Pierre Thomas continues to make a case for himself to be started in leagues – I like him in a PPR league as he had 9 catches last week and is getting a lot of the carries as well. That being said, I won’t start him unless I’m in a deeper league or am really desperate. Sproles is the guy you want to own and start in this game – Jacquizz Rodgers had 6 catches against this defense – and the Patriots are 3rd ranked in pass coverage according to PFF, so expect some check downs and screens to Sproles.
I do think this defense is legit and they are getting a lot of turnovers, but I can’t sanely recommend starting a defense against Tom Brady at home, especially if Gronk returns.
Carolina at Minnesota
I’ll start with this…..the Vikings are 29th against the pass this year and have given up 10 passing TDs through their 4 games. Needless to say, I think Newton is going to have a great week after having a poor showing against Arizona last week. I would think he might be able to use those terrific legs of his as well, especially if the Vikes have to keep dropping more guys into coverage.
DeAngelo Williams looks like he could manage a decent game this week – Minny is 15th against the run and has given up 4 rushing TDs in 4 games so far this season. There’s a good chance that Carolina could be ahead in this game if they can hold AP under wraps (they are 7th against the run) which could mean some late carries for DeAngelo and maybe a late TD. I don’t think he’s much better than an RB2 this week, but if you’re in a deeper league I think there’s a chance he could do some damage if he busts off a big run.
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Looking at the stat line from last week for Panthers receivers – it looks like a stat line from Green Bay or New Orleans. 7 different players had a catch and 4 of those had at least 4 receptions. Greg Olsen lead the way and I like his chances again this week to have a similar stat line and maybe a score. According to PFF, the Vikings are the 25th ranked team in terms of pass coverage, so I like Steve Smith a lot this week as well. I think he has a bounce back week after having a lot of Patrick Peterson last week. Brandon LaFell continues to get involved in the offense, though I don’t see his role getting that big with Steve Smith and Olsen still in the picture. He’s hard to predict, but if you’re playing it safe, you’re sitting him unless you absolutely have to start him.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
So Mike Glennon looked and played like a rookie two weeks ago (he threw a touchdown though!!). But after having a bye week to learn the offense and get his receivers healthy (plus the toxic Freeman leaving town), things could be looking up against an Eagles defense that slightly resembles Swiss Cheese. I’m not starting him in any leagues, but the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time to gain some chemistry and maybe bring some fantasy relevance back to this Tampa offense.
Philly is 17th against the run this year in terms of yards per game and they have given up 4 rushing TDs in 5 games so far this year. I like the sounds of that for Doug Martin; not to mention Greg Schiano would be smart to rely on the Muscle Hamster to control the clock and keep the electric Eagles offense off the field (though I don’t know how much voltage they’ll have this week without Vick). Tampa has a very solid offensive line and I expect Martin to have a huge game and find the end zone.
A bye week gave Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson a chance to rest and get a little more healthy. Not to mention they could spend some time with their new QB. Philly’s defense has given up 11 TDs in 5 games, so if Tampa can move the ball effectively (somewhat of a big IF), these guys could both hit the end zone. Mike Williams caught the lone TD 2 weeks ago against Arizona so I think he finds the end zone again. If Vincent Jackson’s ribs are better, I expect him to have a huge game and cut up the defense like the cheese it is. I’m starting both of these guys in a great match up (even if the QB is shaky).