Saints vs. Denver Broncos: Sunday Night Football Fantasy Preview

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIOctober 26, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass during the game against the San Diego Chargers  at Qualcomm Stadium on October 15, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos will match up on Sunday Night Football in what should be a fun fantasy game on both sides.

The two teams are led by a couple of the best quarterbacks to play the game in Drew Brees and Peyton Manning—and neither is left wanting for weapons.

Brees has thrown for 1,433 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions over the Saints’ last four games. Manning has thrown for 1,314 yards, 11 touchdowns and one pick in the last four for Denver.

The Broncos have provided more resistance than the Saints have over the same time period; Denver has given up 956 passing yards, seven touchdowns and five picks to opposing fantasy quarterbacks.

New Orleans gave up 1,341 yards, nine scores and three picks in the same duration of time.

Neither stat line is particularly scary when considering starting a fantasy quarterback against the New Orleans or Denver defense. In fact, they’re downright inviting; the Saints’ last four included a matchup with Matt Cassel and the Broncos’ included a date with Carson Palmer.

Those two guys have combined for 12 touchdowns and 13 picks on the year.

Brees and Manning are must-starts. Their respective defenses should be far, far away from fantasy starting lineups.

Brees should have his star tight end, Jimmy Graham, available to catch passes this week. Graham is listed as questionable and if he plays, he’s a must-start. If he’s out, David Thomas should be worth a look.

Denver has given up five touchdowns to tight ends.

All of New Orleans’ running backs are expected to play, meaning the rushing workload will be split between Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, while Darren Sproles is the guy you’ll most want to start.

The Broncos are an average fantasy defense against opposing running backs and wide receivers—Marques Colston should be a good start after three straight weeks with double-digit targets, seven or more catches and a touchdown.

Lance Moore has been targeted fairly frequently as of late, making him a decent start as well. He’s had 25 passes thrown in his direction (and caught 16) in the last two weeks.

Devery Henderson has only been thrown to 13 times in those games, but he has caught 11 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown during that time. He’s worth a desperation start, but fantasy owners should beware of his inconsistency; Henderson has two games this season with fewer than 12 receiving yards.

On the other side of the ball, Manning’s targets should enjoy prolific statistical days.

New Orleans has allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing wideouts in each of the last three weeks and at least 200 yards to the position group in five of six games.

At home against the Saints, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are well worth fantasy starts.

On the other hand, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen may not be, as fantasy tight ends. The Saints have allowed just one touchdown to the position this year, while wide receivers have been very successful against their defense.

Denver’s Willis McGahee may enjoy his third 100-yard game of the season as the Broncos’ primary rusher against the Saints defense.

New Orleans is allowing 4.9 yards per carry to running backs; McGahee should absolutely be a fantasy starter in Week 8.