With Drew Brees’ chest a mess, gadget man Taysom Hill will reportedly fill in as New Orleans’ starting quarterback. The Saints (7-2) didn’t need really good play from any of their quarterbacks to beat the 49ers in Week 10. All they required was Alvin Kamara, who scored three times to run his season-long TD total up to 11. Kamara was the team’s leading receiver with 83 yards while the Saints’ No. 1 wideout, Michael Thomas, underwhelmed again with two catches and 27 yards. Worse yet, tight end Jared Cook was left with a goose egg on two targets. It remains to be seen if backup QB Jameis Winston will have any role in this outing. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 63 yards last week. Hill has thrown just 20 career passes and is 4-for-5 for 86 yards this season, but he has also rushed 34 times for 186 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons (3-6) were on bye in Week 10 after back-to-back victories. Matt Ryan put up three touchdowns against the Broncos in Atlanta’s most recent game. Julio Jones did his part with five catches for 54 yards and a score, but it was Olamide Zaccheaus who led Atlanta’s receiving corps with 103 yards and a TD on four receptions. Todd Gurley was held to fewer than 60 rushing yards for the fourth consecutive game, but he also scored for the third straight and the eighth time overall in Atlanta’s last seven games.
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Falcons: #20 Overall — #20 offense, #22 defense, #20 special teams
Saints: #1 Overall — #6 offense, #5 defense, #5 special teams
Fantasy football start/sit advice
Matt Ryan, QB, $6,300
He’s not an exciting start and he has been pretty inconsistent this year, but this looks like a good spot for Ryan, with or without Calvin Ridley. The Saints’ secondary can be exploited as it is allowing quarterbacks to throw for 251 yards and 2.2 touchdowns per game thus far. The Saints’ run defense is a different story, so expect the Falcons to lean on Ryan’s right arm in this one.
Calvin Ridley, WR, $7,000
Ridley is expected to return to action after missing one game due to a mid-foot sprain. He has averaged 21.8 DraftKings points this season, excluding the one game he exited early due to that injury. Now that Ridley is off the injury report, he should be started without hesitation in fantasy leagues. His absence from the week’s final injury report provides confidence that he will play a normal amount of snaps. He is obviously a must-start in season-long leagues, but those in DFS contests should probably give Ridley, as the seventh-most expensive WR on the slate, a week to prove that he is 100 percent.
Jameis Winston, QB, $5,900
This play is not for the weak of heart. As noted before, Taysom Hill is expected to be the team’s “starting QB” in Week 11, but it’s always possible that this is a ploy for the media. Winston replaced Brees as the Saints’ passing quarterback last Sunday and he ... looked like Jameis Winston. Holding on to the ball too long, some good throws mixed in with some alarmingly poor throws, running around for his life, etc. The upside here is threefold: Winston does have some tremendous receiving options; the Atlanta pass defense is one of the league’s friendliest; Winston obviously has no problem cutting it loose downfield, which is something Brees hasn’t done and/or hasn’t been able to do this year. You’re not getting a huge discount with him on DraftKings and because it’s Jameis, a three-interception performance is always in the cards. But that upside will make him a very popular cash-game play.
Michael Thomas, WR, $7,300
Maybe he’s still not 100 percent, but there’s no debate that Thomas’ first two games after returning from injury have been disappointments. He has caught seven of 13 targets for 78 scoreless yards. At least Winston will be more willing than Brees to take chances down the field to Thomas. DraftKings has lowered the first-round fantasy pick’s price to $7,300. It’s hard to pass him up even after those two clunkers, especially against the defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points to wideouts per game.