Stinky Lineups Should be Saved by Fe-Brees

Tonight is a rare occasion because Monday Night Football might play second fiddle to the debates in terms of ratings but here’s one aspect both have in common: they should have you on the edge of your seat. The Saints are implied to score 28.3 points which was Vegas’ top projection of the entire weekend and the game is holding strong at a 53.5 point over/under. Staring at the standings on FantasyDraft can be a bit nerve-racking if sitting just slightly inside or outside the cash line of a contest but owning players from this game should ease those concerns. Assuming you find yourself in a situation where tonight’s game can make or break the weekend, here are my projections for the game tonight that will help make your likely fate abundantly more clear:

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Quarterbacks: In 2015, Drew Brees completed 70.3-percent of his passes at home for 2,853 yards with an average of 8.47 yards per attempt (YPA), 23 passing touchdowns (TDs) and just five interceptions (INTs). On the road, he only completed 65.9-percent of his passes for 2,017 yards with an average YPA of 6.96, nine passing TDS and six INTs. In other words, he produced far better numbers in the Super Dome. Luckily for he and the Saints, tonight’s game will be played at home against a defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (QBs) through two games. Brees should be expected to explode. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan is amidst the best start of his career as he’s thrown for 730 yards and five TDs in two games. Last year, Ryan threw for at least 295 yards in both meetings against the Saints and threw for exactly two TDs in each game. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to expect another shootout and a solid showing from both guys under center. Projections: Drew Brees 29 fantasy points, Matt Ryan 25 fantasy points

Running Backs: To this point, Mark Ingram has only carried the ball exactly 12 times in each of his first two games and has only earned 33.3-percent of the red zone carries. For a guy who has scored 15 rushing TDs in his last two seasons (only 25 total games), this downtick is a bit of a concern. Still, the Falcons have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing backs following a 2015 season where they allowed the second most rushing TDs. The offense should be able to move the ball against this subpar defense and Ingram should earn a goal line opportunity or two. I would guess this is the game where Ingram scores his first TD of the season. Unfortunately, the Falcons’ backfield is even more unclear with Devonta Freeman barely playing more snaps than Tevin Coleman in each of the first two games. Freeman has looked like the better back even though Coleman has scored more fantasy points so I expect that correction to begin playing itself out in this game. No team allowed more yards per carry (4.9) last year than the Saints so expect Freeman to run wild. Oh, and the Falcons allowed the eighth most receptions to the position so expect both Falcons backs to be kept busy in that aspect as well. Projections: Mark Ingram 18 fantasy points, Travaris Cadet five fantasy points, Devonta Freeman 17 fantasy points and Tevin Coleman 11 fantasy points

Wide Receivers: Willie Snead has been ruled out for tonight’s game meaning guys like Brandon Cooks and Michael Thomas will need to take on a heavier workload. Beyond Cooks, the target distribution is unclear because Brees spreads the ball around as well as anyone in the league. Even Brandon Coleman could factor into fantasy consideration tonight with the Snead news. If you were sharp enough to roster either Thomas or Coleman prior to lock (when Snead appeared likely to play), expect it to pay off for at least one of them (Thomas is my pick). However, the top receiver in this game from both an ownership and fantasy point projection perspective is Julio Jones. Not only has Jones scored in both games so far this season but he eclipsed 90 yards receiving in each game last year versus the Saints…and that was with Delvin Breaux. Without the Saints’ top corner, Jones should be able to do literally whatever he wants. If he finds the end zone, he could give the highest scoring receivers of the week (Marvin Jones, Emmanuel Sanders and Terrelle Pryor Sr.) a run for their money. Additionally, Mohamed Sanu is developing as a reliable second target as he’s caught eight passes for 99 yards in two weeks. If the Saints choose to focus their attention on Jones for either a short or extended period of time, there should be an opening for Sanu to make his mark on this game. Projections: Brandin Cooks 22 fantasy points, Michael Thomas 15 fantasy points, Brandon Coleman 12 fantasy points, Julio Jones 28 fantasy points and Mohamed Sanu 14 fantasy points

Tight Ends: Coby Fleener has caught just 3-14 targets from quite literally the most accurate QB in the history of the NFL. Therefore, many are going to give up on him in this contest. As always, he is a threat to completely flop but recency bias could also skew the public’s perception. Last season, only four teams allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends (TEs) than the Falcons so I actually think this could be Fleener’s first truly productive day this season. Hell, he posted sporadic fantasy-relevant outings with Andrew Luck so he certainly should be expected to do the same with Brees. Meanwhile, Jacob Tamme has emerged as a high-end fantasy TE2 and the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to TEs just a season ago. After catching 6-51 against Tampa Bay and 5-75-1 against Oakland, I would expect similar production to both outings with a solid chance of a TD. Projections: Coby Fleener 14 fantasy points, Jacob Tamme 15 fantasy points

Defense: Neither defense is in a particularly good spot especially considering the high projected Vegas line. If picking one, my preference would be with the Saints. Why? I expect them to win the game and allow fewer points. That’s just about the only nice thing I can say about either defense. Projections: Saints Defense three fantasy points, Falcons Defense one fantasy point

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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