Saints vs. Cowboys: Fantasy Studs and Duds in Crucial NFC Matchup

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 11:   Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints yells as he is introduced before playing the Atlanta Falcons at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 11, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Seasons will be on the line when the New Orleans Saints roll into “The House that Jerry Built” on Sunday afternoon to take on the Dallas Cowboys. 

While neither team can clinch a spot in the postseason with a win, a loss for the Saints will eliminate them from contention, and a loss for the Cowboys will make things incredibly difficult for them heading into Week 17.

With so much riding on the outcome of this one, you can count on big-time performances from the best players on either side of the ball for your fantasy championship game, right?

Let’s find out.


Stud: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Brees has thrown more interceptions than fantasy owners would like, but he remains one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL and a must-start on a weekly basis.

With New Orleans’ offense as healthy as it has been all season long, Brees is going to put up big fantasy points, regardless of whether the Saints win or lose.

Projected Stats: 325 yards passing, 3 TD, 1 INT


Dud: Saints Running Backs

Starting Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory has been a risky proposition all season long and that doesn’t change in Week 16.

Simply put, everyone is going to get carries, limiting individual production and making it a total crap shoot as to which one of the backs you should start.

If you absolutely have no choice and must start a Saints running back, I’d give the nod to Ingram, but don’t expect much in the way of production.


Stud: Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

It’s no secret that the New Orleans defense is, well, terrible, and Romo will put up solid numbers against the overmatched unit.

I say solid and not great numbers because let’s be honest, Romo doesn’t exactly have a track record of success in pressure-packed games.

That being said, it would take a choke job of major proportions for Romo to not have an impact on your fantasy team’s success this week.

Projected Stats: 295 yards passing, 2 TD, 1 INT


Dud: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

While Dez Bryant hauled in another touchdown last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was clearly limited by his injured finger.

His catches were either of the one-handed variety or balls that he caught with his body.

Even against a defense as shaky as what he’ll be facing on Sunday, starting a receiver that is, for all intents and purposes, playing with only one hand is a risky proposition.

Projected Stats: 3 receptions for 45 yards


Stud: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller hauled in seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys last week, and nobody is going to claim that Miller is a better tight end than Graham.

Graham is going to have a big day, eating up the Cowboys linebackers and safeties as he runs wild all over the field.

Projected Stats: 8 receptions for 110 yards and 2 TD


Dud: Dallas D/ST

The Saints might not have a great record on the season, but the team still has one of the most prolific offenses in the game, averaging 27.8 points per game, fourth-most in the NFL.

You don’t shut Drew Brees down—you only hope to contain him.