Last updated: November 6th at 5:53pm ET.
Team Totals: Saints 32, Falcons 19
With beleaguered coach Dan Quinn surprisingly still in command, the Falcons return from their Week 9 bye for a tough road draw at the Saints, who’ve held each of their last five quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB14 or worse while ranking top ten in sack rate (7.8%) and QB Hit Rate (15.9%). Four of New Orleans’ last seven opponents have scored ten or fewer points. While Atlanta’s elite weaponry and this game’s shootout potential indoors keep Matt Ryan afloat as a QB1 season-long and DFS-tournament play, his on-paper matchup is worrisome in Ryan’s first game back from his pre-bye high ankle sprain. … Devonta Freeman enters Week 10 with 16-plus touches in five of his last six games, struggling on the ground with a career-low 3.43 yards per carry but compensating with 4.4 catches per game as fantasy’s overall RB20 in weekly PPR scoring. As running back matchups don’t get tougher than the Saints – DC Dennis Allen’s defense has stymied enemy backs for 130/493/3 (3.79 YPC) rushing and an anemic 32.3 receiving yards per game – Freeman is purely a volume-driven RB2 at the Superdome. … The Falcons’ No. 2 running back role should be up for grabs with Ito Smith (knee, concussion, neck) unable to stay healthy and Brian Hill providing a Weeks 7-8 spark off the bench. Freeman lacks a clear handcuff at this point.
Ryan’s 2019 target distribution: Julio Jones 61; Austin Hooper 52; Calvin Ridley 44; Freeman 32; Smith 14; Russell Gage, Justin Hardy, and Luke Stocker 8; Hill 2. … Allen has defended Atlanta’s wideouts in a variety of ways, at times shadowing Julio with Marshon Lattimore and at others doubling Julio with Lattimore chasing Ridley. Nevertheless, Julio’s four robust stat lines against the Saints since Lattimore entered the league are 11/147/0 > 5/96/0 > 7/149/0 > 5/98/0. Jones is a no-fear top-five WR1 play with ample DFS-tournament appeal. … Hooper leads all NFC tight ends in routes run from the slot, where the Saints have conceded 44 completions on 65 slot targets (68%) for 485 yards (7.5 YPA) and four TDs. With 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-8 games, Hooper is arguably the Falcons’ safest skill-position play at New Orleans. … Ridley’s two rookie receiving lines against the Saints were 8/93/1 and 7/146/3. His arrow still pointing up after the Mohamed Sanu trade, Ridley is an upside WR2 play who happens to be popping in Week 10’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … Gage replaced Sanu at slot receiver in Atlanta’s pre-bye loss to Seattle, drawing nine Matt Schaub targets and running 38 routes on 57% of the snaps. The Saints have yielded at- or above-expectation stat lines to fellow slot WRs Tyler Lockett (11/154/1), Chris Godwin (7/125/2), Cooper Kupp (5/120/0), Christian Kirk (8/79/0), Anthony Miller (5/64/0), and Kenny Stills (3/37/1). Gage is a PPR-specific WR4 option.
Back to full strength offensively, the Saints come off their bye for an immediate smash spot against Dan Quinn’s matador defense, which surrendered top-12 fantasy results to six of its last seven quarterbacks faced while providing enemy passers with squeaky-clean pockets by ranking dead last in sack rate (2.7%) and bottom five in QB Hit Rate (11.7%). The Falcons have two sacks in their last five games. Especially after flaming Arizona for Week 8’s QB4 result, Drew Brees needs to be locked into season-long lineups and teed up aggressively in DFS stacks with Michael Thomas. … Alvin Kamara should be all systems go after resting his ankle for the last three weeks and also warrants serious consideration in Saints team stacks. Before going down, Kamara’s consecutive touch counts were 25 > 20 > 22 > 19, while Atlanta generates tackles for loss at the NFL’s sixth-lowest rate (17.7%) and surrenders 29.9 touches per game to enemy backs. Even if Weeks 7-8 star Latavius Murray has earned more work, this week’s matchup suggests both Saints runners offer fantasy viability, Kamara as an RB1 and Murray as a workable flex.
Brees’ 2019 target distribution: Michael Thomas 26; Murray 15; Ted Ginn 10; Kamara 8; Josh Hill 6; Jared Cook and Taysom Hill 5; Tre’Quan Smith 3. … Thomas’ recent box-score results are surprisingly uneven in Falcons meetings at 4/38/0 > 10/129/0 > 4/66/0 > 10/117/1 in their last four. Thomas is playing at a career-best level this season, however, with 89-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 8-of-8 games. The Falcons are allowing the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy points per game to enemy wideouts. … New Orleans’ only other fantasy-viable wide receiver, Ginn is always a big-play-dependent WR4 dart throw. His three receiving lines against Atlanta since joining the Saints are 3/21/1 > 4/76/1 > 2/10/0. … Due back from his three-week ankle injury, Cook catches a Falcons defense that has surrendered 27 completions on 38 tight end targets (71%) for 301 yards (7.92 YPA) and four touchdowns since losing SS Keanu Neal (Achilles) six games ago. Despite his disappointing to-date fantasy season, this is a sensible week to tee up Cook in a plus matchup and game that could develop into a shootout inside the dome.
Score Prediction: Saints 35, Falcons 21