Matchup Analysis: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Saints 28, Falcons 21

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

New Orleans Saints Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Saints Offense24.7 (+2.3) (9)108 (-3) (17)260 (+25) (9)
Falcons Defense27.0 (+4.6) (28)110 (-1) (18)266 (+30) (27)

Atlanta Falcons Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Falcons Offense22.0 (-0.4) (19)73 (-38) (31)299 (+63) (3)
Saints Defense20.9 (-1.5) (13)89 (-22) (4)233 (-2) (15)

Saints Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Falcons defense.

The New Orleans ground game remains one of football’s most consistently dominant. Armed with a pair of talented runners and arguably the league’s best front line, the Saints predictably sit first in the NFL in rushing attempts and third in raw yardage. Still, it should be noted that this has become a closer timeshare than usual of late. Alvin Kamara took on 76% of team rushes prior to his Week 6 injury, but has been given just 56% over 3 games back. Latavius Murray has settled nicely into the old Mark Ingram role, posting 4.7 yards per carry over the past 6 games. It’s always a boon to work behind the Saints’ elite line, to say nothing of Drew Brees’ arm, which still keeps defenses honest. They project well in virtually any matchup - even against the Falcons’ reborn run defense.

The Atlanta run defense is no juggernaut, but it’s improved steadily from the depths of its 2018. They’re allowing a baseline amount of raw yardage, but only 3.9 per attempt, sixth-best in the league. They’ve faced a Murderer’s Row of elite runners and held tight against the likes of Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and the Saints’ dominant ground game back in Week 10. Tackle Grady Jarrett should be rounding out his first All-Pro season, while linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell have formed one of football’s most reliable duos here in 2019. The secondary is feisty and willing to help in the box, as well. It’s hard to take much away from the earlier matchup between these teams, as the Saints were hamstrung by game flow and forced to abandon the run early. But if nothing else, this is a noticeably tougher battle for their powerful attack than they’re used to seeing in the Falcons.

Saints Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Falcons defense.

At age 40, Drew Brees continues to operate with astounding precision. Predictably, he leads all NFL passers with a 76% completion rate, and he sits eighth with 7.2 adjusted net yards per attempt. Brees isn’t connecting downfield at the same pace he once did, but last week’s performance (30 of 39 for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a pick) showed his remaining upside when game flow allows. The Saints would prefer to grind games out, but Brees is clearly capable of strong fantasy lines when they can’t. Michael Thomas remains the model of consistency; he’s caught 84% of his league-high 124 targets, and he’s topped 85 yards in 10 of 11 games. As Brees’ first (and second) read on most dropbacks, Thomas blew through this Falcons secondary for 152 yards and a score. Beyond him, this passing attack is mostly situational and tough to pin down. Even when the Saints throw a lot, Brees tends to sample the goods of Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, and Ted Ginn, among others. Of the bunch, Kamara is by far the most relevant piece, and he faces a sparkling matchup Thursday. The Falcons have long struggled to contain pass-catching backs, so Kamara should be woven heavily into coach Sean Payton’s game plan.

The Falcons continue to field one of football’s weakest pass defenses. They’ve now allowed 300+ yards to their last 3 opponents, and 6 of 11 overall. That’s included huge lines from Deshaun Watson (426 yards and 5 touchdowns), Kyler Murray (340 and 3), and Jacoby Brissett (310 and 2). The Falcons sorely lack consistent talent in the secondary, and top cornerback Desmond Trufant is suffering through his worst season as a pro. It’s worth noting that Trufant has been superb in back-to-back weeks, but he’s not enough on his own to make up for so many holes. Teammates Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver have been weekly liabilities in downfield coverage. And they get little help from an anemic pass rush that ranks 26th league-wide in pressure rate. Beyond pocket-pushing tackle Grady Jarrett, there’s not much disruption up front, which forces those mediocre cornerbacks to hold coverage far too long. There’s been modest improvement of late, but a date with Michael Thomas isn’t ideal during the improvement process.

Falcons Rushing offense

Bad matchup vs. the Saints defense.

Devonta Freeman is looking closer and closer to a return, which is certainly welcomed news for the Atlanta ground game. After all, they produced just 111 yards (2.5 per rush) over his 2-game absence. Still, Freeman doesn’t look like a quick fix, and this attack projects to struggle mightily once again. Over his 9 games, Freeman has posted 88 yards twice - and hasn’t topped 40 in any of the others. In those, he’s averaged all of 2.7 yards per carry, and he remains without a rushing touchdown on the season. Freeman is the rare fantasy asset that dominates the backfield (66% of snaps) of a high-volume offense (66 snaps a game), but is no more than a flex consideration. With the wild inconsistency of the Falcons offense - and the underachieving play of his line - Freeman carries a scary floor into every matchup. It’s made even worse by a date with the Saints, whose punishing run defense just thoroughly shut down Christian McCaffrey.

The Saints continue to thoroughly dominate opposing run games on a weekly basis. Dating back to Week 2, they’ve given up just 3.7 yards per rush and 75 a game to opposing runners. They’ve allowed just a single one (Leonard Fournette) to reach 70 yards, and last week held Christian McCaffrey to just 2.9 per carry. Thanks to a stout front line headed by two run-stuffing tackles and a pair of sturdy bookends, the so-so linebacking corps is given tons of space to roam and pursue. And safety Vonn Bell deserves Pro Bowl consideration as a run-stuffer; his playmaking support in the box has been invaluable. Overall, it’s hard to project much Week 13 success for the Falcons’ toothless run game. The Saints allowed them just 3.6 yards per carry just 3 weeks ago, and Devonta Freeman may not be cleared for action by Thursday.

Falcons Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Saints defense.

As a fantasy asset, Matt Ryan has a lot of factors on his side. He throws with a ton of volume, and his top three pass-catchers are dynamic, proven producers. But on the field, he’s still suffering through a lost season, one that’s seen the Falcons offense riddled with injuries and inconsistency. Ryan opened the season with 6 straight 300-yard games, but has averaged 255 (with just 3 touchdowns) over his past three. He clearly misses his security blanket, Austin Hooper, who leads all tight ends in catches per game but looks likely to sit for a third straight week. Julio Jones continues to excel all over the field, but is probably on the wrong side of questionable after leaving Week 12 with a shoulder injury and missing practice time. This could be a great spot for Calvin Ridley, who drew a career-high 14 targets last week as Jones bounced in and out of the game. Ridley has produced a solid 8.9 yards per target on the year, though it remains to be seen how he’d operate without Jones dominating on the other side.

Marshon Lattimore is slated to return to action Thursday, which is an obvious boost for the Saints pass defense. Lattimore is a shadow cornerback capable of stifling No. 1 wideouts, and he’s played a huge role in shutting down the likes of Amari Cooper (48 yards), D.J. Chark (43), and Mike Evans (catchless in Week 10). That said, he and the rest of the New Orleans secondary have long struggled against this week’s assignment, Julio Jones (if he can play). The future Hall of Famer has averaged 114 yards over these teams’ last 5 meetings. There are also weekly problems in the slot, where P.J. Williams and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson have been victimized routinely. They’ve given up several big recent lines to slot men and tight ends, though it’s worth noting they held Austin Hooper mostly in check (4 catches for 17 yards and a touchdown) just 3 weeks ago. All in all, this is a volatile unit, one that could steamroll Matt Ryan and company just easily as fall apart. Lattimore’s presence is always notable, but this may not be the week to fear him in fantasy circles.

Falcons vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+3.8)27 (+3.9)27 (+4.2)29 (+4.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-1.1)11 (-0.8)11 (-1.3)12 (-0.1)
10Drew Brees6932452870000014.414.411.511.5
11Kyle Allen7531503250417013.013.09.712.7
12Jameis Winston66182831332838029.529.526.329.3

Drew Brees (FanDuel: $8500, DraftKings: $6800)

10vs ATL6932452870000014.414.411.511.5
11@ TB6728352283030023.423.421.121.1
12vs CAR6530393113100026.626.623.426.4
13PROJ-Dodds243527720.8120.121.821.821.8 (H=48)21.8 (H=61)
13PROJ-Tremblay23352561.91110. (H=42)20.1 (H=53)
13PROJ-Bloom23322712.40.9110.1232323.0 (H=53)23.0 (H=67)

Taysom Hill (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $4000)

10vs ATL711170011102.
11@ TB10000001200.
12vs CAR700000000010.51.0
13PROJ-Dodds126003130. (H=3)3.5 (H=4)
13PROJ-Tremblay014003150. (H=1)2.3 (H=2)
13PROJ-Bloom00000150. (H=0)1.1 (H=0)

Falcons vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)16 (+0.0)15 (-0.1)14 (+0.2)15 (+0.2)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15 (-2.5)20 (+1.5)18 (-0.3)21 (+1.8)
10Alvin Kamara5442401085007.415.411.415.4
10Latavius Murray17512022701.
11Christian McCaffrey70147001411121019.130.124.633.1
11Reggie Bonnafon700032800.
12Ronald Jones33125113316012.715.714.215.7
12Peyton Barber151132010003.

Alvin Kamara (FanDuel: $8300, DraftKings: $8100)

10vs ATL544240108.05007.415.411.415.4
11@ TB43137501010.047012.
12vs CAR441154099.048010.219.214.719.2
13PROJ-Dodds13560.46.9510.214.321.217.8 (H=35)21.2 (H=48)
13PROJ-Tremblay11470.36.5490.212.619.115.9 (H=29)19.1 (H=40)
13PROJ-Bloom12530.37.0510.3142117.5 (H=34)21.0 (H=48)

Latavius Murray (FanDuel: $6200, DraftKings: $5600)

10vs ATL17512022.0701.
11@ TB291027032.0503.
12vs CAR26764100.00012.412.412.412.4
13PROJ-Dodds10430.41.71107.89.58.7 (H=13)9.5 (H=17)
13PROJ-Tremblay9370.41.1806.987.5 (H=10)8.0 (H=13)
13PROJ-Bloom11550. (H=19)11.7 (H=25)

Zach Line (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

10vs ATL900022.0500.
11@ TB2315011.050121.52.0
12vs CAR000000.000000.00.0
13PROJ-Dodds0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
13PROJ-Tremblay0200.6500.71.31.0 (H=0)1.3 (H=1)

Falcons vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+4.7)29 (+6.1)30 (+5.5)29 (+6.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+2.2)21 (+3.7)21 (+3.0)21 (+4.7)
10Michael Thomas661413152000015.228.221.731.2
10TreQuan Smith57211300001.
11D.J. Moore741589500009.517.513.517.5
11Curtis Samuel72742500002.
12Chris Godwin5887184200030.437.433.940.4
12Mike Evans61845000005.

Michael Thomas (FanDuel: $9200, DraftKings: $9100)

10vs ATL661413.0152000015.228.221.731.2
11@ TB57118.0114100017.425.421.428.4
12vs CAR581110.0101100016.
13PROJ-Dodds8.61060.700014.823.419.1 (H=35)23.4 (H=51)
13PROJ-Tremblay7.9980.70001421.917.9 (H=32)21.9 (H=46)
13PROJ-Bloom8.0920.700013.421.417.4 (H=30)21.4 (H=44)

Ted Ginn (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3800)

10vs ATL4830.0001500.
11@ TB3842.01410007.
12vs CAR3952.03800003.
13PROJ-Dodds2.3350.213057.36.2 (H=9)7.3 (H=16)
13PROJ-Tremblay2.2310.20304.66.85.7 (H=7)6.8 (H=14)
13PROJ-Bloom2.0410.40006.58.57.5 (H=12)8.5 (H=21)

TreQuan Smith (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3500)

10vs ATL5721.01300001.
11@ TB4210.000000000.00.0
12vs CAR4731.01310007.
13PROJ-Dodds1.4200.20003.24.63.9 (H=4)4.6 (H=8)
13PROJ-Tremblay1.1170.10002.33.42.9 (H=2)3.4 (H=4)
13PROJ-Bloom2.0260.30004.46.45.4 (H=8)6.4 (H=14)

Falcons vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15 (-0.5)13 (-0.9)13 (-0.5)12 (-0.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7 (-2.9)8 (-3.7)8 (-3.3)8 (-3.8)
10Jared Cook491067407.413.410.413.4
11Greg Olsen69555705.710.78.210.7
12O.J. Howard51211001.

Jared Cook (FanDuel: $6700, DraftKings: $4800)

10vs ATL49106.07407.413.410.413.4
11@ TB4922.03319.311.310.311.3
12vs CAR3886.099115.921.918.921.9
13PROJ-Dodds3.7480. (H=13)10.9 (H=26)
13PROJ-Tremblay3.8460.57.611.49.5 (H=14)11.4 (H=28)
13PROJ-Bloom4.0550. (H=19)13.1 (H=35)

Josh Hill (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $2600)

10vs ATL2200.000000.00.0
11@ TB3222.0800.
12vs CAR3111.01201.
13PROJ-Dodds0.980. (H=1)2.3 (H=3)
13PROJ-Tremblay0.660. (H=0)1.8 (H=2)
13PROJ-Bloom0.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Falcons vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (+1.1)11T (+1.1)8T (+1.4) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (-1.0)11T (-1.0)8T (-1.3) (+0.0)
10Wil Lutz33009910.010.0
11Joey Slye1100333.03.0
12Matt Gay1125555.05.0

Wil Lutz (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

10vs ATL33009910.010.0
11@ TB2244101011.011.0
12vs CAR2244101011.011.0

Falcons vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+2.0)26 (+2.0)11T (+1.1)11T (+1.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+2.0)25 (+2.0)11T (-0.7)11T (-0.7)
10New Orleans Saints2631711000333.03.0
11Carolina Panthers2934930000332.02.0
12Tampa Bay Buccaneers2233761101222216.016.0

New Orleans Saints (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3500)

10vs ATL26.0031711000333.03.0
11@ TB17.0033424001161617.017.0
12vs CAR31.0035140100665.05.0
13PROJ-Dodds20.703572.70.90.700. (H=20)9.3 (H=27)
13PROJ-Tremblay21.003742.61.20.700. (H=22)9.8 (H=29)

Saints vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+1.2)20 (+1.1)21 (+1.5)20 (+1.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (+0.9)16 (+0.9)19 (+1.2)18 (+1.3)
10Matt Ryan79203518221213017.417.415.615.6
11Jameis Winston68305131324223022.022.018.821.8
12Kyle Allen7623362563019025.725.723.123.1

Matt Ryan (FanDuel: $7700, DraftKings: $6400)

10@ NO79203518221213017.417.415.615.6
11@ CAR6421313111020019.619.616.419.4
12vs TB7623462710118013.413.48.69.6
13PROJ-Dodds25392821.81.1270.121.521.521.5 (H=52)21.5 (H=63)
13PROJ-Tremblay25402911.61.2280. (H=51)21.2 (H=61)
13PROJ-Bloom21362351.71.3240.118.318.318.3 (H=39)18.3 (H=48)

Saints vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-5.0)5 (-4.2)4 (-4.9)5 (-5.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)18 (+0.2)22 (+1.9)21 (+1.2)20 (+1.2)
10Brian Hill40206102110113.114.113.614.1
10Devonta Freeman3010380431004.
11Peyton Barber12000221117.
11Ronald Jones21413042101.
12Christian McCaffrey76226419969125.334.329.834.3
12Jordan Scarlett000000000.

Devonta Freeman (FanDuel: $6200, DraftKings: $5100)

10@ NO301038043.01004.
11@ CAR000000.000000.00.0
12vs TB000000.000000.00.0
13PROJ-Dodds11440.43.1210.19.512.611.1 (H=20)12.6 (H=31)
13PROJ-Tremblay10400.23.4250.18.311.710.0 (H=17)11.7 (H=27)
13PROJ-Bloom15490.33.0150.18.811.810.3 (H=18)11.8 (H=28)

Brian Hill (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4400)

10@ NO402061021.010113.114.113.614.1
11@ CAR391530031.0803.
12vs TB51914043.01302.
13PROJ-Dodds6240.11.5903.95.44.7 (H=5)5.4 (H=8)
13PROJ-Tremblay5190.11.3903.44.74.1 (H=4)4.7 (H=6)
13PROJ-Bloom0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Qadree Ollison (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $4100)

11@ CAR12411110.0007.
12vs TB23820111.0708.
13PROJ-Dodds5180.10.6502.93.53.2 (H=2)3.5 (H=4)
13PROJ-Tremblay2100.10.4301.92.32.1 (H=1)2.3 (H=2)
13PROJ-Bloom0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Kenjon Barner (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3200)

10@ NO11112000.0001.
11@ CAR14215000.0001.
12vs TB1300022.0800.
13PROJ-Dodds1400.96011.91.6 (H=0)2.0 (H=2)
13PROJ-Tremblay0200.4300.50.90.8 (H=0)1.0 (H=0)
13PROJ-Bloom0000.000000.1 (H=0)0.1 (H=0)

Saints vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)24 (+2.2)21 (+1.7)22 (+2.5)21 (+2.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+3.0)19 (+1.9)19 (+2.5)18 (+1.9)
10Julio Jones63937900007.910.99.410.9
10Calvin Ridley705328011904.
11Chris Godwin686347100010.713.712.213.7
11Scott Miller35647100007.
12D.J. Moore6396126218025.431.428.434.4
12Curtis Samuel64419044004.

Calvin Ridley (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $6600)

10@ NO7053.028011904.
11@ CAR5288.0143100020.328.324.331.3
12vs TB74146.08511150162219.022.0
13PROJ-Dodds5.4740.40009.815.212.5 (H=24)15.2 (H=33)
13PROJ-Tremblay5.0680.40209.414.411.9 (H=22)14.4 (H=30)
13PROJ-Bloom6.0830.600011.917.914.9 (H=33)17.9 (H=44)

Julio Jones (FanDuel: $7800, DraftKings: $7300)

10@ NO6393.07900007.910.99.410.9
11@ CAR5386.09101-408.714.711.714.7
12vs TB4995.06800006.811.89.311.8
13PROJ-Dodds5.0710.40009.514.512.0 (H=18)14.5 (H=28)
13PROJ-Tremblay4.8680.30108.713.511.1 (H=16)13.5 (H=24)
13PROJ-Bloom5.0720.500010.215.212.7 (H=20)15.2 (H=30)

Russell Gage (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $4500)

10@ NO4954.02300002.
11@ CAR3142.03200003.
12vs TB64108.07600007.615.611.615.6
13PROJ-Dodds4.2400.20005.29.47.3 (H=11)9.4 (H=21)
13PROJ-Tremblay3.5400.20005.28.77.0 (H=10)8.7 (H=18)
13PROJ-Bloom4.0330.20004.58.56.5 (H=9)8.5 (H=18)

Christian Blake (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

10@ NO1522.01500001.
11@ CAR1011.0300000.
12vs TB3892.01600001.
13PROJ-Dodds1.8200.10002.64.43.5 (H=3)4.4 (H=8)
13PROJ-Tremblay2.0270.10003.35.34.3 (H=5)5.3 (H=11)
13PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Justin Hardy (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3100)

10@ NO400.000000000.00.0
11@ CAR1242.01400001.
12vs TB1500.000000000.00.0
13PROJ-Dodds1.11200001.22.31.8 (H=1)2.3 (H=2)
13PROJ-Tremblay0.7900000.91.61.2 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)
13PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Saints vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-1.3)11 (-1.2)9 (-1.3)11 (-1.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13 (-1.0)20 (+0.8)18 (-0.0)19 (+0.7)
10Austin Hooper58541717.711.79.711.7
11Cameron Brate5114107307.317.312.317.3
12Greg Olsen70754404.

Jaeden Graham (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3100)

10@ NO800.000000.00.0
11@ CAR3422.02302.
12vs TB5721.05305.
13PROJ-Dodds2.2240. (H=5)5.8 (H=13)
13PROJ-Tremblay2.6270. (H=7)6.5 (H=16)
13PROJ-Bloom2.0270. (H=6)5.9 (H=13)

Luke Stocker (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2700)

10@ NO3100.000000.00.0
11@ CAR4300.000000.00.0
12vs TB3210.000000.00.0
13PROJ-Dodds1.4120. (H=2)3.2 (H=5)
13PROJ-Tremblay1.4140.123.42.7 (H=2)3.4 (H=6)
13PROJ-Bloom1. (H=1)2.1 (H=2)

Saints vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27T (-0.1)27T (-0.1)17 (+0.1) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+2.0)27 (+2.0)29 (+3.3) (+0.0)
10Younghoe Koo4422141415.015.0
11Matt Gay1122557.07.0
12Joey Slye23137710.010.0

Younghoe Koo (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

10@ NO4422141415.015.0
11@ CAR3422111111.011.0
12vs TB3311101011.011.0

Saints vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2T (-2.9)2T (-2.9)6 (-2.9)6 (-2.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)5T (-3.7)5T (-3.7)7 (-3.4)7 (-3.4)
10Atlanta Falcons9310600006610.010.0
11Tampa Bay Buccaneers3432810000110.00.0
12Carolina Panthers3441821000443.03.0

Atlanta Falcons (FanDuel: $3200, DraftKings: $2300)

10@ NO9.00310600006610.010.0
11@ CAR3.0034754001131326.026.0
12vs TB35.0044602000443.03.0
13PROJ-Dodds27.6040020.70.400. (H=11)5.4 (H=16)
13PROJ-Tremblay28.003632.310.500. (H=15)6.5 (H=22)