Throughout the fantasy playoffs, Jake Ciely (@allinkid*) will give you the expert takes on New Orleans Saints players from fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship. The Saints head back on the road for a divisional matchup with the surprising Buccaneers. *
The Buccaneers sit middle of the pack for fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Recently, they let Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Sanchez throw for two touchdowns each, with Hasselbeck putting up 315 yards. From Weeks 5-8, the Bucs had three games and gave up 20-plus quarterback points in each with an average of 339 yards and three touchdowns allowed. They are quite susceptible to the pass. Drew Brees started a new touchdown streak, throwing for three against the tough Panthers defense, which means he should have no problem putting up QB1 numbers against a much weaker team.
Now is not the time to over-think your fantasy decisions. Trust your stars and players that got you to the fantasy playoffs. While Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) is an enticing play this week, you shouldn't look to start him over the likes of Blake Bortles (Jaguars), Brees, Carson Palmer (Cardinals), etc. Even though Aaron Rodgers (Packers) has a tough matchup against the Cowboys, he is another quarterback you just don't sit. Andy Dalton of the Bengals is a quarterback that took you this far and you can keep playing him this week. The Steelers are weak against the pass, and Dalton failed to hit double-digits only once this year. Derek Carr (Raiders) is a quarterback who may have helped you this season, but is should be on your bench as he faces the Broncos.
Mark Ingram found his way back into the end zone last week despite the tough matchup. He totaled 79 yards with his score and chipped in a two-point conversion. That gave Ingram 15.9 points and his per-game average now stands at 12.78. Ingram is proof why you don't bench your studs. The Bucs are better against the run than the pass, but they won't be able to stop Ingram from having a solid day, as he hasn't dropped below 7.4 points this year.
Even though the Giants have a great matchup with the Dolphins, you'll want to avoid their backfield as all four options see touches each week. Charcandrick West is sharing more with Spencer Ware now (both Chiefs), but he is still the preferred running back. Ware may vulture a touchdown, but West is going to see the majority of snaps and is the better bet for yards. The 49ers have Shaun Draughn on the field for almost every play, which gives him RB2 value against a weak Browns run defense. T.J. Yeldon (Jaguars) is starting to see more red zone work, making him a trustworthy RB2 with a nice matchup against the Colts. The Titans backfield is tough to trust with David Cobb getting more opportunities, and Antonio Andrews is too touchdown reliant to use him against the Jets.
The Bucs had trouble stopping the Colts passing game, which sets up the Saints for a good week. T.Y. Hilton had 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Donte Moncrief put up 114 yards. Brandin Cooks finished with 104 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers and is a locked-in WR1 in all leagues. Willie Snead should return to WR3 value, as he found the end zone in the first meeting with the Buccaneers. Ben Watson scored again this past week, which gives him four touchdowns while currently sitting as TE7 on the year. Watson has a high ceiling since the Buccaneers let similar upside tight ends Jordan Reed (Redskins) and Jacob Tamme (Falcons) total 21 receptions, 175 yards and three touchdowns in two games.
Patient Sammy Watkins (Bills) owners have been rewarded with 44.7 points in the last two games. He'll continue to lead your team to wins, as the Eagles are most forgiving team for receivers, allowing 28.84 FPPG on NFL.com. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns (Jaguars) are must-starts in all formats, and Robinson showed that he's a dominant receiver in the NFL. They get the Colts at home, a team allowing 27.29 FPPG. There is no reason to doubt Doug Baldwin (Seahawks) now. Not only has he climbed to WR12 overall, but he faces a Ravens team that's allowed three receiver touchdowns in the last two games and 19 on the season. As mentioned with Derek Carr, the Raiders duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree has a tough matchup against the Broncos. You may consider benching one or even both this week if you are strong at receiver. With the Ravens struggles, you will want to avoid their receivers given the matchup against the Seahawks.
Hasselbeck (Colts) likes to target Coby Fleener when he starts. If you need a replacement tight end this week, Fleener has potential against the Jaguars defense allowing 11.23 FPPG to tight ends. Julius Thomas (Jaguars) also has upside in this matchup, as the Colts are only mediocre at defending the tight end, and Thomas has developed a good rapport with Bortles of late. Charles Clay (Bills) has provided some decent scores for Fantasy owners, but you will want to avoid him against the Eagles. Their linebackers are quick and good in coverage, which has led to the team holding opposing tight ends to 5.41 FPPG.
The Packers DST is a strong play this week with the Cowboys allowing 10.67 FPPG to opposing defenses thanks to turnovers and lack of scoring. The Lions make for a sneaky one-week option, as the Rams offense has been struggling, and the team has 20 turnovers on the year. Your boom or bust defense play is the Eagles unit. Their knack for returning turnovers and kicks for touchdowns always gives them potential, and the Bills are inconsistent in their scoring. Definitely stay away from the Steelers and Vikings defenses this week, as they face the Bengals and Cardinals, respectively.
For more in-depth Fantasy Football coverage, visit Jake Ciely and the team over at RotoExperts.com. Saints fans get a special discounted rate on the RotoExperts Xclusive Edge premium package by *clicking here.*