With Week 6 of the NFL season fast approaching, it is once again time for the Bruno Boys to pick a Game of the Week, with a fantasy football twist. Each week we will choose one NFL game that we feel will have a lot of impact on the fantasy football world.
For this week’s match-up we will head to the “Big Easy” as the New York Giants and their vaunted defense head south to take on the New Orleans Saints and their explosive offense. When we pick the Bruno Boys Game of the Week we focus on the NFL game that will have a big impact in the fantasy football world. That does not always translate into the NFL’s game of the week, but this week it might very well be. The New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants have been picked by many to play each other in the NFC Championship game this season. Both teams are undefeated heading into the game, and don’t forget, these two teams pulled off a pretty big off-season trade in 2008, when the Saints acquired tight end Jeremy Shockey from the Giants for draft picks. This should be an excellent football game to watch and with the fire power on both sides of the ball, it should have a ton of fantasy football impact.
Quarterbacks - Thanks in part to a fantastic statistical season in 2008, Drew Brees was the first quarterback off the board in many fantasy drafts this summer, and during the Saints first two games this season, he did not disappoint as he totaled 669 yards passing with nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. But, during the next two games, Brees only managed to pass for 362 total yards without a touchdown or an interception. So, what happened to Brees? The New Orleans Saints have become a very balanced offense and a well rounded team. They have learned to use the pass to set up the run and the run to set up the pass. What does this mean for Brees’ value? What it means is he might not get you 30 fantasy points every week, but he will continue to be a weekly must-start. He is still one of the top quarterbacks in all of football and he is ranked No. 7 this week in the Bruno Boys Quarterback Rankings.
Eli Manning on the other hand entered the season as a fantasy afterthought. He was considered nothing more than a solid fantasy backup that might have value when the match-up was right. Well, apparently the match-up has been right more than we expected. He has passed for 1,212 yards with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions through five games this season. Manning has been very efficient this season, and his young wide receivers have really stepped up. He is dealing with a painful plantar facitis in his right heel, which kept him limited to only playing in the first half of last week’s blowout of the Oakland Raiders. Manning was able to practice on Thursday and it appears he should be able to play this week against the Saints. He is our No. 11 ranked quarterback this week and a recommended start, just make sure you keep an eye on his status up until game time.
Running Backs - When we first looked at this match-up at the beginning of the season, it looked like it would be the Giants’ power running game versus the Saints’ finesse passing offense, but really, what we have is two teams with very balanced offenses. The Giants still employ a power running game with bruising Brandon Jacobs leading the way, but they balance out his power with the break-away speed of Ahmad Bradshaw. The two have combined for 825 total yards and three touchdowns this season. Expect Jacobs to get near 20 touches this week, while Bradshaw should see about 15. They both could be used as RB2 fantasy options in this match-up. Jacobs is ranked No. 17 in the Bruno Boys Running Back Rankings and Bradshaw comes in at No. 23.
The Saints have run the ball very well this season, even while dealing with knee injuries to multiple running backs. Mike Bell filled in very well for starter Pierre Thomas who had a sprained MCL to start the season, when he totaled 229 yards with a touchdown during the Saints first two games. During the Saints Week 2 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, though, Bell also sustained a sprained MCL and was forced to miss the next two games. Fortunately for the Saints, Thomas was able to return and posted 212 rushing yards with three touchdowns over New Orleans next two games. Both backs have been limited in practice this week, but Thomas is expected to get the start. Bell could also play in the game, but Thomas is expected to get a bulk of the touches. Consider Thomas a low-end RB2 this week as he is our No. 19 ranked running back this week, while Bell should be considered a low-end fantasy option. The x-factor for the Saints running game is Reggie Bush. He is not really considered a runner or a receiver, but he is kind of a hybrid back. He has his own role in the offense that does not take away from the other running backs. Bush is our No. 39 ranked running back this week, and he could be used as a RB3 or flex option in deeper leagues. With 14 receptions in fours games this season, Bush has slightly increased value in point per reception (PPR) leagues.
Wide Receivers - Even with both teams employing such strong running games, this game could turn into an air attack on both sides of the ball. As we stated above, Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the game and has the potential to put up huge fantasy numbers week in and week out. A quarterback can only be as good as the receivers he has to throw to, though, and the Saints have some good ones. They are led by fourth-year receiver Marques Colston, who was limited last season while he battled injuries. He has been good this year with 17 catches for 228 yards with three touchdowns, although some fantasy owners are concerned that he has yet to top the 100-yard mark in a single game this season. He is a recommended WR2 this week and is ranked No. 14 in the Bruno Boys Wide Receiver Rankings. Devery Henderson has stepped into the No. 2 receiving spot in New Orleans this season, but after scoring 16 fantasy points in Week 1 his numbers have declined each week. He should be considered a low-end WR3 this week and is our No. 39 ranked wide receiver.
Heading into the season the wide receiver position was supposed to be an area of weakness for the New York Giants, as they were still looking for the replacement to Plaxico Burress who is spending a little time behind bars. What most of us didn’t realize, though, not only did they have a replacement for Burress in third-year man Steve Smith, but they also have a very good young stable of wide receivers to go with Smith. Smith has been the go-to-guy for Manning this season catching 37 passes for 481 yards with four touchdowns. He is quickly becoming a must-start fantasy wide receiver and is our No. 15 ranked wide out this week. Lining up opposite of Smith has been second-year man Mario Manningham, who has also been better then advertised this season. He has 20 receptions for 342 yards with three touchdowns. Use Manningham as a WR3 this week as he is our No. 33 ranked wide receiver. Rookie Hakeem Nicks has also added five receptions for 103 yards with two touchdowns over his last two games and is our No. 40 ranked wide receiver this week.
Tight Ends - If this game was being played in New York it would draw even more attention this week with the return of Jeremy Shockey. It is probably better for all parties, especially Shockey that this game is being played in the Bayou. There will already be enough distraction with this being Shockey’s first game against the Giants since being traded in 2008. Shockey has been relatively healthy this season and has been a key part of the Saints offense. He has 18 catches for 162 yards with two touchdowns this season. He should be considered a low-end TE1 this week and he is ranked No. 10 in the Bruno Boys Tight End Rankings against his former team.
Kevin Boss became the heir apparent at tight end for the Giants when Shockey was traded last year. He had 33 receptions with six touchdowns in 2008, but he has been slowed by an ankle injury this season and only has 10 catches for 143 yards without a touchdown. He was limited in practice early this week, before getting in a full practice on Thursday. Boss should still be considered a low-end fantasy option and a bit of an injury risk this week.
Kickers - What a difference a year makes. Last season Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes was injured in the preseason and could never get his job back from veteran John Carney who came in as an injury replacement and was the top rated kicker a good portion of last season. This year Tynes is once again the Giants starting kicker, and he has been the best in the league. His 55 fantasy points leads all kickers, and he is a must-start on a weekly basis.
John Carney was released by the Giants in the off-season and was picked up by the Saints as a replacement for starter Garrett Hartley, who was suspended the first four games of the season. Watch to see which kicker the Saints roll with in week 6 because whoever it is will be getting plenty of opportunities.
Team Defense - Both of these teams have very good D/ST units. They both rank in the top-three in fantasy points in most formats, but both should be considered low-end starting options this week. It is safe to say that neither defense has faced an offense this season as good as the one they will face this week, but both units are good enough to accumulate you some fantasy points even in a tough match-up this week.
THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY LARRY JOSEPH.