Throughout the season, Jake Ciely (*@allinkid*) will give you the expert take on New Orleans Saints players from fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship. The Saints head into "Thursday Night Football" against the Falcons at home.
It's a short week for the Saints, as they suit up Thursday night for a divisional matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Drew Brees had another good game with his second straight 300-yard, two-touchdown outing. His official line was 335 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Falcons present a great opportunity for Brees to go for three straight with 300/2 or more, as the last time they faced a QB1, Eli Manning threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns (Week 2). The Falcons offense continues to put up the points too (over 32 per game), which will keep the Saints passing.
As of Week 5, Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown is a QB1. The touchdowns aren't there (six), but he has 1,203 yards, a good pass-catching running back, an athletic tight end and a team likely needing him to play catch-up often. Just wait a week before using him, as the Broncos defense is the best in the league. The 49ers have given up the fourth most FPPG to quarterbacks, and Eli Manning did well even after Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle exited last week. That gives Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco plenty of promise against the Niners whether or not Steve Smith plays. The Lions have also struggled to stop opponents' passing games, making Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler an intriguing fill-in for bye weeks, especially if Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal play.
Saints running back Mark Ingram is a Top 10 running back and one of the few options you can rely on this year. Even in his quietest game to date, Ingram still had 74 yards and was involved in the passing game. Ingram is a RB1 play every single week and will easily surpass last week's numbers with the Falcons giving up over 26 FPPG to running backs. Part of the reason for the high FPPG number is that the Falcons have already allowed eight rushing touchdowns, even after holding down the Redskins last week. C.J. Spiller should see more work this week and is a decent Flex option in PPR leagues based on his upside alone. The Falcons have given up the most receptions and receiving yards to running backs so far.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy started slow last year too, and his talent didn't just disappear. Even before the Chargers let Le'Veon Bell go for 111 yards and a score, they were already the worst team against running backs. The Browns can't stop anyone in the rushing game either and just let Justin Forsett total 170 total yards, plus a touchdown. C.J. Anderson's best chance to do well comes this week. You'll want to avoid Jonathan Stewart and the Redskins backfield where possible. They face the two toughest run defenses in the Seahawks and Jets, respectively.
From undrafted free agent to Fantasy starter, it has been quite a nice career boost for Willie Snead, who has been catching plenty of Brees' passes lately. Snead's totals increased for the third straight week, and he has 17 catches for 274 yards in the last three games. In fact, Snead is rivaling Brandin Cooks as the Saints' top receiving option. For now, Cooks is still the top weapon and is coming of his best game of 2015. Cooks finished with five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. With the Falcons averaging over 32 points per game, Brees and company will need to pass plenty, giving Cooks and Snead plenty of upside. Unless you are deep at receiver, it's hard to say both Cooks and Snead aren't must-starts. At tight end, the better option switched again, as it was Ben Watson finding the end zone this week after Josh Hill the week before. If you must choose, Watson has seen more usage than Hill by a decent amount.
While the Chiefs defense allows the most FPPG to receivers, that doesn't make Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson must-starts. It helps their cause, but just look at Owen Daniels versus the Raiders last week to see that matchups don't mean everything. The 49ers duo of Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin has a great matchup to get on track, but both are upside/risk plays given the San Francisco struggles. The Eagles defense continues to be weak against the pass. That gives Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle tons of upside. If you own Randle (check status: hamstring), it would be smart to grab Dwayne Harris since the Giants don't play until Monday night. The Browns have the unenviable task of facing the Broncos defense this week. That means Travis Benjamin is best left on the bench unless you simply want a home run play at receiver. The same goes for Ted Ginn, as he draws the Seahawks stout defense.
Jacob Tamme has put together two nice games and could be needed for a bigger role this week. Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz is still getting Sam Bradford's attention in the red zone, and the Giants defense gives him a good opportunity to cash in. Don't be afraid to start Greg Olsen. The one area where the Seahawks defense is weak is against tight ends. On the other hand, the Cardinals have dominated tight ends, not allowing any to score this season. Consider Heath Miller a high-risk play in Week 6.
Josh Brown isn't getting the attention deserved at kicker. He's second only to Brandon McManus and should score plenty again this week against the Eagles. Robbie Gould is one of the bright spots for the Bears, as he's eighth overall and heading to Detroit for a nice matchup. The Jets have shut down just about everyone (Eagles only team to top 14 points), making Dustin Hopkins a less desirable play. The Vikings defense seems to be overlooked. They're averaging over eight FPPG and get the Chiefs at home without Jamaal Charles. If the Miami DST is going to produce, this is the week. Coming off a bye with a new coaching staff and the Titans allowing 10.0 FPPG to opposing defenses is an enticing situation.
As we head into the Thursday night tilt, we can be confident in several Saints players as Fantasy options for Week 6.
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