The points, yards and angles were flowing in the Big Easy Monday night, so settle in as we move through our fantasy audit.
With the Saints: Mike Bell(notes) got the heaviest workload in the New Orleans backfield but didn't do a lot with the opportunity; a measly 49 yards on 17 carries. Pierre Thomas(notes) came through when called upon, rushing for 91 yards and adding the acrobratic receiving touchdown you see above. Both backs lost a fumble in the second half but neither player has a history of ball-security problems. Fantasy owners get a sneaky boost from the Heath Evans(notes) injury; the fullback isn't around to vulture short-yardage touchdowns anymore.
Reggie Bush(notes) only has 17 touches in the last three weeks but somehow he's scored in each of those games. At times you forget he's on the New Orleans sideline. This is not a franchise player, this is a spare part, and Sean Payton seems to realize that as much as anyone. The Saints don't use Bush that much as a receiver anymore; he has just 15 grabs in his last six starts.
Drew Brees(notes) had little trouble dismantling the Atlanta secondary (25-for-33, 308 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int) and Marques Colston(notes) continues to have a Pro Bowl season (6-85, TD). It's a little strange to see Jeremy Shockey(notes) (5-72) turning into a consistent performer; he's caught four or more balls in every game this season. You probably don't want to play roulette with the rest of the WR rotation; while Devery Henderson(notes) and Robert Meachem(notes) both had one long grab against the Falcons, Henderson hasn't scored since Week 1 and Meachem has just eight catches on the year. Lance Moore(notes) (4-29 the last two weeks) isn't in the circle of trust right now, either.
The New Orleans defense continues to terrorize the league, picking up three sacks, three interceptions and another touchdown runback (that's six for the year). The mayhem should continue in the next three weeks, up against the Panthers, Rams and Buccaneers. John Carney(notes) missed badly on his one field goal chance, so be ready to pounce if Garrett Hartley(notes) gets the call at some point.
With the Falcons: It's time to step off the ledge on Michael Turner(notes) (151 yards, TD), who was impressive from the word go, running with power and conviction. Okay, so you drafted him as the No. 2 or No. 3 back in your league, probably. He's currently ranked eighth or ninth at the position in a basic scoring league. Is that really so terrible? And if you can find a way to your championship game, Turner might win it for you – he's got a home date with Buffalo waiting in Week 16.
Matt Ryan(notes) was confused by the Saints secondary and the result was his worst game of the year (three picks – one of them a Hail Mary – and a 46.6 rating), though he still coaxed 289 yards and a touchdown out of the mess. He remains one of the safer picks at the position, with multiple scores in five of his seven starts. Roddy White(notes) deftly got away with a push-off on his 68-yard touchdown and had a second score washed out by a booth review. Tony Gonzalez(notes) (6-89) hasn't scored in four of his last five games but he nonetheless makes a fantasy impact just about every week. Michael Jenkins(notes) made a couple of big plays but he also gave us one of his trademark drops.
The Falcons defense had more success than most teams have against New Orleans, picking up four turnovers, two sacks and a defensive touchdown. Of course, it also allowed 35 points. Consider this unit as a possible plug-and-play against Washington this week.
It might be time to pull the plug on Jason Elam, who looked shaky on all of his kicks and only has six field goals on the season. Generally it's a good thing to be tied to a consistent offense like Atlanta's, but Elam doesn't look right at the moment.
- New Orleans