As much as we think of Drew Brees as the most important part of the Saints offense, they need to establish some kind of a running game if they want to return to world champion form.
They don’t need a dominant running attack, however, their opponents on Sunday, the Panthers, have built their offense around running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. They haven’t done much with it in 2010.
Both teams offer an opportunity to build up the oppositions running attack this week in New Orleans. Check out the projections to see who benefits most.
Our projection model is not perfect. There are many improvements that could be made, but we have been relatively good at predicting players’ good weeks. Translation: Use these at your own discretion but they should be pretty darn good.
Other fantasy football previews with projections: CIN@CLE | DEN@TEN | CAR@NO | BAL@PIT | NYJ@BUF | SEA@STL | SF@ATL | DET@GB | HOU@OAK | IND@JAX | WAS@PHI | ARI@SD | CHI@NYG | NE@MIA (Teams on bye: DAL, KC, MIN, TB)
On Brees’ golden arm and a ballhawking defense, the Saints ride to a predicted 22.3-15.2 win.
As mentioned in the intro, both defenses are good matchups for opposing running backs. The Panthers have allowed 95 yards or more rushing to all three teams they’ve faced this season. The Saints allowed 200 yards to the Falcons last week.
If DeAngelo Williams can’t break out in this game it could be a long season for fantasy owners who spent first-round pick on him.
While the Saints should try to establish some sort of running game it doesn’t mean Drew Brees will abandon the pass. He’ll still dish it out to several different receivers and pick the one nobody expects (Robert Meachem?) to be his favorite for the week.
Jimmy Clausen’s first NFL start was spoiled by the Bengals last week and the Saints won’t be any more forgiving on defense. They are projected to get a couple turnovers and a couple sacks.
New Orleans is a great matchup for opposing tight ends (a fact exploited by Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez in Week 3). So, Donte Rosario…? I suppose. Just don’t bet too much on him.
[UPDATE: The Saints have activated DeShawn Wynn, likely meaning a no go for Pierre Thomas. The projections have been adjusted to reflect the uncertainty.]
Drew Brees, NO: 23-34, 248 yards, 2 TD, INT
Jimmy Clausen, CAR: 17-31, 207 yards, TD, INT
DeAngelo Williams, CAR: 95, TD, 1 catch, 10 receiving yards
Pierre Thomas, NO: 20 yards, 2 catches, 10 receiving yards
Jonathan Stewart, CAR: 30 yards
Mike Goodson, CAR: 5 yards, 3 catches, 30 receiving yards
Chris Ivory, NO: 20 yards, 2 catches, 10 yards
DeShawn Wynn, NO: 20 yards, 2 catches 20 yards
LaDell Betts, NO: 40 yards, 2 catches, 10 yards
Steve Smith, CAR: 4-70, TD
Lance Moore, NO: 3-60, TD
Marques Colston, NO: 5-50
Devery Henderson, NO: 2-30
Brandon Lafell, CAR: 2-30
David Gettis, CAR: 2-25
Robert Meachem, NO: 1-10
Jeremy Shockey, NO: 4-45, TD
Donte Rosario, CAR: 4-50
David Thomas, NO: 3-10
Garrett Hartley, NO: FG (fingers crossed), 2 XP
John Kasay, CAR: FG, 2 XP
Saints: 2 sacks, INT, fumble recovery
Panthers: Sack, INT