A couple of really good real football games this week as the 49ers head into the Big Easy to take on the Saints who just set yet another record last weekend. New England goes into Carolina to see if they can put up some points on a crazy good defensive unit. Then we have the terrible Falcons heading into Tampa to take on the Bucs who just won their first game!!!!!!! Glennon the Giraffe finally gets his first win (yeah he looks like a Giraffe, we’re all thinking it).
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Matt Ryan had another down week last week. Its getting harder and harder to justify starting him. In fact, I think I would sit him this week. He’s historically not as good on the road, not to mention that his offensive line is in shambles even more than before. They’ve allowed the 4th most QB pressures according to Pro Football Focus. Matt Ryan is missing Julio, a healthy Roddy and will miss a healthy Gonzo, not to mention the guy is getting beaten around (5th most QB hits allowed in the league). He’s a sit for me this week and probably going forward as well – he’s just not performing at a QB1 level. In regards to Mike Glennon, he didn’t have a good game last week and he’s not worth starting. A ton of better options out there (probably at least 25, really).
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Atlanta is ranked 22nd in run blocking according to PFF and it shows. Last week (taking out Matt Ryan’s runs) they ran the ball 13 times for 49 yards. Jackson had the most carries but only managed 11 yards (with 9 yards receiving). Tampa also ranks 5th against the run (they dominated last week) so I don’t like this match up one bit for Jackson. I don’t even think he’s worth a flex play in a deep league this week. Moving to the Bucs, they’re on their 3rd and 4th running backs of the year….Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey. Leonard got 20 carries after Mike James left the game, but only managed 57 yards. Rainey was a lot more effective; 8 carries for 45 yards. I think in the short term Leonard will get a lot of the carries, but as Rainey learns the offense he will slowly take over. Good news is if you’re desperate at RB, Leonard could have a good game as the Falcons rank 27th against the run.
Harry Douglas still looks like the best WR in Atlanta….for now. I think Roddy will continue to get more and more healthy and will eventually get back to form. This week though I could see Roddy getting a face full of Revis. That being said, I like Harry Douglas this week. Matt Ryan’s going to throw because we know they can’t run the ball. Tony Gonzalez is hobbled with a foot/toe issue, so check out injury reports this week and if he’s active I think you’re playing him. The only real pass catchers on Tampa that are worth noting are Vincent Jackson and Tim Wright. Jackson had a tough week last week, but Atlanta is awful against the pass and have given up 19 passing TDs this year. As bad as Glennon is, he will find V-Jax and I think he will get a score. Tim Wright had an off week last week as well, but he really only saw 1 target after back to back weeks of solid production. I think he gets back to that and maybe squeezes in for a score in a great match up.
San Francisco at New Orleans
Brees is absolutely incredible at home, even against a good defense. Last year against the 49ers he didn’t have a great game (267 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) but that was without his head coach. With Payton in the playoffs in 2011 (at SF mind you) he threw for 462 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. This game is at home and with his head coach back, I think he could be the highest scoring QB this week.
Mark Ingram, where the hell did that come from! Okay, you’re not starting him – that was a product of an out of hand game where that Dallas defense had clearly given up. He was so happy to get a first down he was willing to get a penalty for it! He didn’t get a ton of work until the 4th quarter so I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into this performance. Pierre Thomas is still the guy, he had 17 carries as well as 7 receptions with 2 combined TDs. Again probably a product of a blowout game, but he gets the bulk of the carries and he will get a few receptions – probably a low end RB2 this week. Sproles finally got back into it last week – 7 receptions for 76 yards and a TD. I think SF will try and take Sproles out of this game, but last year he had 7 receptions and in 2011 he had 15 receptions. He has RB1 potential in PPR leagues.
Where in the world was Jimmy Graham last week? He only played 33 of 84 snaps and went all Carmen San Diego on us. Not to worry – probably just saving him for later in the season. The Saints were on fire all game without him having a huge game anyways. He’s still probably the best TE in fantasy and if you have him you’re starting him. That being said, there’s a chance SF might try and take him out of this game a la New England a few weeks ago. With the focus on Graham (and probably Sproles as well), Colston could have a nice game. San Fran is 9th against the pass this year, giving up just over 1 passing TD per game. Colston looked awesome last week, so there’s hope for that to continue this week. Kenny Stills had another Devery Henderson-esque game (3 rec/75 yards/1 TD) which is what you’ll get from him. He’s a boom or bust type of play, but can pay some dividends if you’re in a deeper league or are hurting from injuries/bye weeks. Lance Moore and Robert Meachem aren’t worth starting week to week as they’re too unpredictable.
New England at Carolina
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Cam Newton had a tough game last week – on the road and against a good defense. He comes back home where he has played a little better than on the road. If Aqib Talib sits in this game, I like Newton a lot. If Talib plays, he may have a tough time getting the ball to his guys and thus moving the offense. New England ranks 12th against the pass on a yards per game basis, giving up just 13 TDs through the air this year. Tough match up again, but its unlikely you have a better option. This is a big game for Carolina and Newton, so I have a gut feeling he has a bounce back game.
Stewart – 13 carries for 41 yards…..DeAngelo – 8 carries for 46 yards and a TD…..Newton 8 carries for 15 yards…..Tolbert – 2 carries for 7 yards. Pretty much all that needs to be said is that this running game is basically throwing blind at a dart board for who is going to get carries. New England ranks 30th against the run, so its a good match up – too bad none of the guys will get enough work to be effective. DeAngelo I think is the best guy if you’re really desperate or play in a really deep league.
Steve Smith lead the team in targets/receptions/yards last week. If Talib plays, I think he shadows Smith and shuts him down like he’s done to WR1s all year. This one is tough because its Monday night and you won’t know if Talib is playing until an hour before the game. I think the Patriots will try and take Smith out of the game, so he’s a sit for me this week. With focus on Smith, that can open up the field for Olsen (who had a really down week last week) and potentially LaFell and Ginn. Olsen I think is the best of the three, but LaFell and Ginn could be lottery ticket type players in a deeper league.