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 players will help you take home a championship. The Saints aim to win big at home in Week 4 against the Cowboys.
The Saints return home to take on the Cowboys during "Sunday Night Football." What's the good news? Well, you know if you saw the Atlanta Falcons have no issues against the Cowboys defense. There is plenty of promise for the Saints' offense: 1) Luke McCown threw for 310 yards in place of Drew Brees last week. 2) The Cowboys average 25 points per game, so the Saints will need to come out firing. 3) The Falcons scored 39 points with Matt Ryan throwing for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously, if Brees is back and playing, he's a must-start, but after last week's results and McCown's play, he's a worthy 2QB league option if back under center.
The Bengals' Andy Dalton is currently the third best quarterback on NFL.com with 70.74 points through three games. He gets a Chiefs team allowing the most FPPG (Fantasy Points Per Game) to quarterbacks at 25.04 with 923 yards and 10 touchdowns allowed already. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will continue to roll in another good matchup this week, as the Texans allow the third most FPPG to QBs. Michael Vick steps in for Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and has a nice matchup vs. the Ravens, but is best served in 2QB leagues, as he runs less these days, and that's where his fantasy appeal lies. Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater has started slowly and now gets the Broncos who have allowed just 4.80 FPPG to quarterbacks with one touchdown given up.
There is no question that Saints running back Mark Ingram is a must-start every week, but he's also a RB1 this Sunday. He has 279 total yards and two touchdowns, and the Cowboys just let Devonta Freeman run for 141 yards and three touchdowns. They also allowed Freeman to rack up 52 yards receiving. That's not only bodes well for Ingram but also C.J. Spiller. He has a great opportunity to get rolling. You have to like Spiller as a Flex play in PPR leagues with upside for more.
Alfred Blue surprised many last week and warrants RB2 use with a matchup against a Falcons team allowing a league-high 33.37 FPPG to running backs. Next closest is at 26.20! That team is the Chargers, and it's why Duke Johnson is an intriguing Flex PPR option. The Chargers struggle against the run and didn't do well against Ameer Abdullah earlier this year. Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead warrant use in all leagues – Gordon has more value in standard, Woodhead PPR – as they're on the opposite side of the matchup, and the Browns rank just behind them with 25.70 FPPG allowed. The Seahawks haven't allowed a rushing touchdown and have a league low 9.83 FPPG against. That makes Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick dicey options.
During the Falcons onslaught of the Cowboys' defense, Julio Jones dominated with 12 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Brandin Cooks had seven catches for 79 yards against a much tougher Panthers defense and should put up his best numbers of the season. This matchup allows Marques Colston to be a good start in Week 4, as he brings potential for a score. The No. 3 receiver role continues to be a battle with Willie Snead having another solid game and moving slightly ahead of Brandon Coleman. Ben Watson continues to be the tight end of choice in New Orleans. With Rob Gronkowski on a bye, he makes for a decent fill-in given the matchup.
Bengals receiver A.J. Green is an obvious name, but Marvin Jones looks great so far and is a nice play against the Chiefs' defense. The Bills' defense has been strangely weak against receivers, but given it's his first game back, it's best not to risk Victor Cruz in your lineup. The Eagles' defense allows plenty of receiver points just as they did last year, which makes Pierre Garcon a near must-start in all leagues. The Raiders face the struggling Bears defense, so don't forget about Michael Crabtree, as he's been good even in Amari Cooper's shadow. As mentioned, the Broncos pass defense is stifling, so steer clear of Mike Wallace.
The Raiders have already allowed five touchdowns to tight ends, making Martellus Bennett a must-start no matter who is at quarterback. Crockett Gillmore, Larry Donnell and Charles Clay all make for nice fill-ins if you own Rob Gronkowski. Their opponents allowed the third to fifth most FPPG to tight ends, respectively.
The Cowboys offense has enough firepower, so it's best to avoid the Saints DST this week. For other options, you can turn to the Packers, who not only have a strong defense but also face a 49ers team allowing 13.33 FPPG to opposing DSTs thanks to turnovers. The Cardinals offense is forcing opponents to throw and take more risks to keep up, which has led to turnovers and some defensive touchdowns. They are currently a must-start unit. The Panthers DST is still one of the better options in the league and get a Buccaneers teams struggling on offense so far.
If you own Stephen Gostkowski, you can likely grab a few free agent options. Josh Brown is still widely unowned even though he's the second highest kicker so far. Graham Gano already has three field goals of 40-plus yards, tying him with Gostkowski and Brown. The Bills' offense has a nice matchup and has helped Dan Carpenter to rank as K9 through three games because of 10 PATs and four FGs.
Overall, Sunday night is shaping up to be a fine game for several Saints players and their fantasy owners.
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