Week 6 of the 2015 NFL season starts Thursday night, when the New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC South matchup.
The Saints are 1-4 after a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week. They are desperate for a win, but defeating the 5-0 Falcons won’t be easy. Atlanta boasts a well-balanced, high scoring offense, but its most notable improvement has been on the defensive side of the ball. New head coach Dan Quinn has done a remarkable job with that unit.
Here’s a fantasy football preview with start/sit advice for Falcons-Saints.
New Orleans Saints
Quarterback: Drew Brees obviously is a must-start. He’s thrown for more than 300 yards in three of his four games with a total of a six touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. Brees also has a great matchup against a Falcons defense that’s given up the fourth-most passing yards in the league.
Running Backs: Mark Ingram is worth a flex start in most leagues, particularly PPR ones. The former Alabama star has four straight games of 50-plus rush yards, but he’s only found the end zone twice. Ingram also is making an impact in the passing attack with 22 receptions on 27 targets for 220 yards.
He’s the only Saints running back worth playing this week. C.J. Spiller needs to show more consistency before he’s worth the risk.
Wide Receivers: Brandin Cooks finally gave his fantasy owners a reason to smile with an excellent performance in Week 6. He caught five passes on nine targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time all season he hit the 100-yard mark and scored a touchdown.
One more Saints receiver worth playing is Willie Snead. He leads the Saints with 381 receiving yards and might still be on the waiver wire in your league.
Tight End: Benjamin Watson is the No. 1 tight end in New Orleans and he’s not given fantasy owners enough production to warrant starting him. He has just 15 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown through five games.
Defense: The Saints rank 23rd against the pass and have the second-worst run defense. They also have given up the third-most points per game. Don’t start this awful defense.
Quarterback: Matt Ryan is on pace to have one of his best fantasy seasons. He’s only thrown six touchdowns, but his 1,456 passing yards ranks third among all quarterbacks. As mentioned above, the Saints rank 23rd in pass defense, so Ryan also has a pretty good matchup Thursday night.
Running Backs: Devonta Freeman has emerged into a fantasy all-star, and he’ll probably be a top-five running back the rest of the season if he stays healthy. Freeman is tied for second in the league with 405 rush yards and his eight rushing touchdowns are three more than any other player. He also has the second-most receptions on Atlanta with 24.
The Saints have the second-worst run defense, so make sure you play Freeman, especially in one-week fantasy leagues on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Falcons backup running back Tevin Coleman shouldn’t be started. He’s not going to get enough touches to be fantasy relevant.
Wide Receivers: Julio Jones arguably is the best wideout in the league, so he’s an easy start. Leonard Hankerson is the only other Falcons receiver worth starting, but only as a flex play in deep leagues. He’s averaging more than six targets per game with a total of two receiving touchdowns on the season.
Tight End: Jacob Tamme has emerged as Atlanta’s top tight end with 16 receptions on 21 targets for 198 yards and zero touchdowns. Even though Tamme had a fantastic performance in Week 5, with eight receptions on 10 targets for 94 yards against the Washington Redskins, he’s a bit of a risk because the consistency hasn’t been there.
Tamme hasn’t tallied more than three receptions and 20 receiving yards in back-to-back games. Start him if you have to replace a tight end on a bye week or are desperate in a league that plays two tight ends each week.
Defense: Atlanta is 15th in points allowed per game and 21st in total defense. It’s not great, but still a lot better than last season. You could probably find a better defense than the Falcons on your waiver wire.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
Oct 11, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) attempts a pass in the first quarter of their game against the Washington Redskins at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
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