Fantasy Football Outlook: New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with teammates including Jeremy Shockey #88 and David Thomas #85 after Thomas scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images


Drew Brees

The Saints All-World quarterback's ho-hum numbers against the Minnesota Vikings (237 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions) paled in comparison to his usual numbers.

It was good enough to get the win.

Brees' timing was a bit off with his receivers and they dropped a number of passes, including a second touchdown pass.

I expect Brees to get back in sync with his receivers after an extra long week of practice. In his last two games vs. San Francisco, Brees is averaging 349.5 yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game.

Projected Stats: 310 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions.

Alex Smith

Smith is not a quarterback that you want throwing the ball 40 times per game, but that's what the 49ers asked of him last Sunday.

He threw 45 passes against the Seahawks for only 225 yards and got intercepted twice. He has just one career 300 yard game and has thrown for more than two touchdowns just three times.

A glance at the scoreboard may make you think that he had to throw all those passes to get his team back in the game (San Francisco lost 31-6) but he threw 20 passes in the first half when it was just 14-6.

Projected Stats: 222 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, one lost fumble.

Running Backs

Pierre Thomas

Thomas is the Saints' biggest threat to run the ball inside, but the 49ers can be a tough team to run on between the tackles. He is likely going to have to make his biggest impact in the passing game.

Projected Stats: 78 yards rushing, four receptions for 37 yards, one receiving touchdown.

Reggie Bush

Bush is making news this week for returning his Heisman Trophy, and now he returns to California—where he became a star.

It will be interesting to see how he handles the distractions.

Bush got just two carries for 14 yards and caught five passes for 33 yards in Week One in Sean Payton's pass-heavy game plan. I expect Bush to get 10-12 carries against San Francisco. He had one of his best games ever against the Niners in 2006 when he scored four touchdowns.

Projected Stats: 38 yards rushing, one rushing touchdown, 42 yards receiving.

Frank Gore

Gore is the best player on San Francisco's offense, and he needs to get more than the 17 carries he got last week. He has faced the Saints three times in his career and has never scored a touchdown or rushed form more than 82 yards against them.

Projected Stats: 93 rushing yards, three receptions, 22 receiving yards.

Wide Receivers

Marques Colston

Colston is Brees' favorite target, especially on third down and in the red zone. He is adept at using his large frame to post up against smaller defensive backs.

Projected Stats: Six receptions, 73 yards, one touchdown.

Robert Meachem

Meachem is probably the most complete receiver on the team. He has good speed, runs good routes, is a physical blocker down the field, and his dropped touchdown against the Vikings is a rarity.

Projected Stats: Three receptions, 48 yards.

Devery Henderson

Henderson is the Saints' best deep ball threat. He caught the only touchdown pass from Brees last week. The Saints will use his speed to exploit the Niners' secondary.

Projected Stats: Three receptions, 64 yards, one touchdown.

Michael Crabtree

Crabtree was drafted last year to be San Francisco's number one receiver. He was thrown the ball eight times last week but made just two receptions. That number must improve for Alex Smith to be successful.

Projected Stats: Six receptions, 63 yards.

Josh Morgan

The 49ers' second wide receiver isn't nearly as good as the Saints' second cornerback. Expect a combination of Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, and Randall Gay to shut him down.

Projected Stats: Two receptions, 16 yards.

Ted Ginn, Jr.

The Niners' third wide receiver appears to be out of this game with an MCL sprain.

Projected Stats: Zero receptions.

Tight Ends

Jeremy Shockey

Shockey isn't the elite fantasy option he used to be. Some of that is injury, some is age, and the rest is opportunity.

Brees spreads the ball around so much and has so many weapons that Shockey is often not the first or second option on any one particular play.

Projected Stats: Three receptions, 27 yards.

David Thomas

Thomas's value to the Saints is not the stats he puts up but rather his versatility. Unfortunately, only stats matter in fantasy football.

Projected Stats: One reception, 11 yards.

Vernon Davis

More than one quarter of Smith's 45 passes last week went to Vernon Davis. He caught eight of them for 73 yards. Good pass-catching tight ends tend to give the Saints some trouble.

It will be interesting to see who gets the job of covering him.

Projected Stats: Seven receptions, 74 yards, one touchdown.

Delanie Walker

Walker, like David Thomas, poses very little threat and won't do any good for your fantasy team. He will likely be asked to pick up the Saints' blitzes most of the time that he's in the game.

Projected Stats: One reception, six yards.


Garrett Hartley

Hartley had a nightmarish game in the opener. He missed two field goals that were well within his range. The pressure is now on Hartley to perform, and if his postseason showing is any indication, Hartley does his best when the pressure is the greatest.

Projected Stats: One field goal (30-39 yards) and four extra points.

Joe Nedney

Veteran Joe Nedney had a relatively quiet and easy opening game, kicking a pair of 23-yard field goals for the 49ers only points.

Projected Stats: Two field goals, one 30-39 yards and the other 40-49 yards and one extra point. He also misses a field goal from 40-49 yards out.

Defenses/Special Teams

New Orleans

Look for the Saints to have a banner day as they utilize an array of blitzes on Alex Smith.

Projected Stats: 330 total yards allowed, 13 points allowed, two sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery.

San Francisco

The Niners have a good defense, but it won't be evident against the Saints. In recent years the Saints have exploited the San Francisco secondary for big gains, I see that continuing on Monday night.

Projected Stats: 450 total yards allowed, 31 total points allowed, zero sacks, zero turnovers.


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