Saints vs. Falcons: Fantasy Studs and Duds in Divisional Showdown

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons waits to enter the field during player introductions before facing the Baltimore Ravens at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When last these two teams met in Week 10, Saints QB Drew Brees and Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed 65 percent of their passes (55-of-84) for 709 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.

Both quarterbacks are sure to put up big numbers yet again in their Week 13 showdown at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday night.

But Brees and Ryan aren't the only two players in the game who are going to have an impact on fantasy games in this pivotal week—for most of us, the last week of the regular season before the playoffs in our leagues get underway.

Let's take a look at who you can't afford to keep on your bench—and who you can't afford to have in your starting lineup—heading into this divisional contest.


Stud: Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

While New Orleans' defense has been rejuvenated by the return of linebacker Jonathan Vilma, the Saints allow a ton of yardage to opposing receivers—and White is going to produce big numbers.

White hasn't found the end zone in his past five games, but he's eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three of his past four games, including a seven-reception, 114-yard performance against New Orleans in Week 10.

Expect an encore performance.


Dud: Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Sure, Michael Turner has found the end zone in each of his past two games, but he's also run for a total of 78 yards on 41 carries—an average of 1.9 yards per carry.

He picked up 15 yards on 13 carries in Week 10 against the Saints and didn't factor into the passing game either, finishing with no receptions and being targeted only once.

Turner might find the end zone once again this week, but he won't offer much as far as yardage goes—and those bonus points for reaching triple-digits in rushing yards are too valuable to pass up.


Stud: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints

Jimmy Graham's best game of the season came against the Falcons in Week 10 when he had seven receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns, so you can be sure that Atlanta will be game planning for him in Week 13.

But there's only so much that the Falcons can do about Graham without leaving themselves vulnerable to the rest of the Saints' dynamic offense—and with Graham being a major mismatch, he'll once again have a fantastic game against an over-matched Falcons defense.


Dud: Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints

New Orleans doesn't have a more explosive weapon in its backfield than Sproles, but with Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram all factoring into the running game and Drew Brees having so many options at receiver, Sproles isn't going to see a ton of looks.

If you play in a PPR league, Sproles becomes a bit more intriguing of an option, but even then, four to five catches and no more than 50 yards receiving doesn't make for a big-time performance.