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New Orleans Saints
Opponent Defensive Ranks
Atlanta Pass Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game 20th—TDs Allowed T-16th
Atlanta Rush Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game 12th—TDs Allowed T-Eighth
New Orleans Offensive Cast
Drew Brees (QB Week 16 Ranking: No. 2)
2010 Season: 391/571—for 4,122 yards & 31 TDs
Brees is on a freaky tear right now putting up multiple TD passes in nine of his last 10 games. Make no mistake about it, Cool Brees is running rampant right now and there’s no telling just how crazy he’ll go against the division-rival Falcons tonight.
In their first game against each other, Drew went off for 365 yards and three TDs. These numbers could easily be repeated with Atlanta’s pass D being mediocre at best.
Pierre Thomas (RB Week 16 Ranking: No. 36)
2010 Season: 64 carries for 206 yards & one TD || 22 receptions for 162 yards & zero TDs
Pierre hasn’t quite looked like his old self yet, but the Saints will want to get him rolling a bit before the playoffs, so you can bet he’ll get his touches. However, if Ivory returns this week (still listed as questionable), he might have to split carries.
Reggie Bush (RB Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)
2010 Season: 26 carries for 80 yards & zero TDs || 25 receptions for 133 yards & one TD
With Pierre Thomas starting and Ivory having more of a straight-ahead game, Bush won’t get enough touches to make a difference.
Chris Ivory (RB Week 16 Ranking: No. 32)
2010 Season: 130 carries for 683 yards & five TDs || 1 reception for 17 yards & zero TDs
Obviously his ranking depends on his being active tonight, but if Ivory makes it back this week, the Saints will need to use him. The Falcons can be pretty hard-nosed against the run, so in order to get the tough first downs and keep the rest of the defense honest, Ivory will need to throw his power around a little bit. Expect the red-zone carries to float his way at the very least.
***UPDATE*** - Chris Ivory has been declared INACTIVE for tonight's game
Marques Colston (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 2)
2010 Season: 82 receptions for 1,001 yards & seven TDs
It wouldn’t shock me to see Brees throw up a good 45 balls or so in this one, so you can bet Colston will see at least 10 targets and have every opportunity to shine. Two TDs and around 100 yards are completely within reach here.
Lance Moore (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 28)
2010 Season: 56 receptions for 662 yards & eight TDs
Moore had the game of his life in their first meeting putting up 149 yards and two TDs on six catches. It won’t happen again, but he should still be able to have a nice game against this very beatable pass D.
Robert Meachem (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 51)
2010 Season: 33 receptions for 532 yards & five TDs
Meachem is about as frustrating of a fantasy player as there is in the NFL. One week he’s exploding for two TDs and 100 yards...The next, he’s throwing up a goose-egg. Start him at your own discretion as this one could be a shootout, but only if you’re the betting type.
Devery Henderson (WR Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)
2010 Season: 31 receptions for 429 yards & one TD
Henderson is a once-in-a-blue-moon type of player. Don’t bother.
Jimmy Graham (TE Week 16 Ranking: No. 12)
2010 Season: 25 receptions for 315 yards & three TDs
Graham has some serious skills for a tight end, and it looks like Brees is noticing it. Last weekend he caught five passes and turned two of them into touchdowns. With this game likely to be a high-scoring affair, there will be plenty of stats to go around for everyone.
Jeremy Shockey (TE Week 16 Ranking: No. 24)
2010 Season: 40 receptions for 397 yards & three TDs
Shockey may be a bit of a crapshoot, but like I said with Graham, there will be plenty of fantasy numbers to be had by all in this one. Besides, Jeremy had easily his best game of the season when these two teams first met going for 78 yards and a TD on eight catches.
David Thomas (TE Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)
2010 Season: 30 receptions for 219 yards & two TDs
Every once in awhile he shines, but he won't get the chance tonight as he's already been ruled out of the game.
Opponent Defensive Ranks
New Orleans Pass Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game Fourth—TDs Allowed First
New Orleans Rush Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game T-19th—TDs Allowed T-21st
Atlanta Offensive Cast
Matt Ryan (QB Week 16 Ranking: No. 10)
2010 Season: 320/510—for 3,321 yards & 25 TDs
Ryan has quietly turned in a top-ten fantasy season while leading the Falcons to the best record in the NFC. His 25 TDs rank sixth in the league while his four separate three-TD games have his fantasy owners ecstatic. What’s even better is that three of those four games came in the comfort of the Falcons home dome (where he plays much better statistically). In what could be a old-fashioned shootout, play this kid with confidence.
Michael Turner (RB Week 16 Ranking: No. 4)
2010 Season: 300 carries for 1,256 yards & 11 TDs || 12 receptions for 85 yards & zero TDs
“The Centaur” has been a beast the second half of the season and just loves playing against these pesky Saints. In fact, since he joined the Falcons back in 2008, he’s averaged 105.5 yards/game against them and hasn’t had a game where he didn’t rush for a TD (four games).
Jason Snelling (RB Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)
2010 Season: 78 carries for 306 yards & two TDs || 39 receptions for 254 yards & three TDs
Snelling has turned in a nice season thus far putting up almost 600 total yards as Turner’s backup, but the only way he’d ever be worth your time is if Turner went down to injury...Which he hasn't.
Roddy White (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 6)
2010 Season: 106 receptions for 1,284 yards & eight TDs
Roddy had a decent game with 69 yards and a TD the first time around against the Saints, but I expect those numbers to increase a bit in this one. Like Ryan, White has been better at home this season, so have no fear in starting him as your WR1 tonight.
Michael Jenkins (WR Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)
2010 Season: 31 receptions for 413 yards & two TDs
Jenkins has two TDs on the season now with both of them coming in the last three weeks. However, he’s still far too inconsistent to play in your fantasy playoffs.
Harry Douglas (WR Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)
2010 Season: 21 receptions for 275 yards & one TD
Douglas has a ton of talent, but he sits behind Jenkins on the depth chart and simply can’t be used.
Tony Gonzalez (TE Week 16 Ranking: No. 9)
2010 Season: 62 receptions for 591 yards & five TDs
The Saints sit in the middle of the pack with regards to covering tight ends. Up to this point, Gonzo has had his worst statistical season since 1998, but you can bet he’ll be ready to have himself a ball in what could turn out to be the game of the year this Monday night.