If you’re a daily fantasy player, or if you are just lucky enough to have these players in your seasonal leagues, you need to own as much stock in the New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons game as you can. There isn’t really a bad match-up to be had on either offense in Week 3.
Let’s start with the New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees has thrown for 5 TDs and 0 interceptions through the first two games of the season. He’s going to be throwing against a Falcons defense that will be without a long-time Brees nemesis in safety Keanu Neal. The Falcons have yet to find replacement for Neal in the secondary, and Brees should look to take advantage in a big way.
Where will Brees be throwing the ball? Safe money is on Michael Thomas. Thomas has been the #1 WR in fantasy through Weeks 1 & 2. He is Drew’s #1 option in the passing game, and has scored a whopping 68 points in PPR scoring thus far. He has also become a trusted red zone threat in the New Orleans offense, so even in standard scoring, Thomas should put up big numbers in what is likely a high-scoring game.
Alvin Kamara is the #2 option in the New Orleans passing game, and the #1 option in the running game while Mark Ingram finishes the remaining two games of his four game suspension. In addition to Neal, the Falcons defense is also missing LB Deion Jones. Jones’s absence will be felt both in defending the running game as well as when Kamara is used as a pass-catcher in what has become a type of extended run game for the Saints. Kamara will be the beneficiary of another key Falcons’s injury.
For the Atlanta Falcons, there are even more options.
The New Orleans Saints are one of the league’s worst defenses in defending the pass. This spells success for Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense that might be forced to keep their foot on the pedal all game long. If the Saints put up points, the Falcons will need to keep up, and if Atlanta’s Week 2 improvements in the red zone are real, Matt Ryan could have himself a big day on Sunday.
Ryan’s primary receiving threat will, of course, be Julio Jones. Jones currently ranks third in the NFL in targets, and has an almost unprecedented combination of height, speed, size, strength, and catch rate. Marshon Lattimore struggled against Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, and if Julio is able to put up similar numbers to Evans from Week 1, you’ll be happy to have Julio on your fantasy team this week.
While Lattimore showed signs of bouncing back in Week 2, his teammate in the secondary, Ken Crawley, struggled for the second week in a row. Crawley has been victimized by big plays in each of the first two games of the season, so while Lattimore will likely be shadowing Julio Jones, that means either Calvin Ridley or Mohamed Sanu will be attacking Ken Crawley. Look for Ridley especially to blow past Crawley at least once in Week 3.
In the running game, the Falcons will be without their version of Mark Ingram in Devonta Freeman. That means more touches for Tevin Coleman, a Kamara-like Kamara-lite. Coleman is an elusive and slippery runner that could find chunks of yards both running and catching the ball against a Saints linebacking corps that has played incredibly inconsistent so far.
Between Brees, Ryan, Kamara, Coleman, Thomas, Julio, and Ridley, there are seemingly endless potential fantasy stars from this game. This is on top of Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, Ted Ginn Jr., and Benjamin Watson, all of whom could also have big games on Sunday.
Moral of the story: get as many Falcons and Saints into your starting lineup as you can this week, and watch the fireworks.