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Fantasy Football 2013: Saints at Falcons Week 12 Preview

New Orleans Saints (8-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-8)

Thursday, November 21, 8:25 PM (ET)

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TV: NFL Network

Getting the Week 12 NFL action started on “Thursday Night Football” this week will be the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. This matchup doesn’t hold quite so many playoff implications as most believed during the season, but it should still be a pretty good game between familiar foes. The Falcons (2-8) are coming off another flat performance in a loss to the Buccaneers in Week 11. Meanwhile, the Saints (8-2) just posted a big three-point win over the 49ers.
As you may expect, there are tons of big-name fantasy players in the lineups here, so let’s take a closer look at the stars on each side and try to get a feel for what may happen.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: No one really expected Brees to post superhuman numbers against San Francisco, so his line doesn’t really come as a surprise. He was pretty efficient, tossing up 30-of-43 completions for 305 yards, but managed just one touchdown and a pick. That’s the first time Brees has failed to post multiple scores since Week 2. That said, he should bounce back against the Falcons defense. They’ve been getting shredded by sub-par competition recently.

Fantasy Football 2013: Saints at Falcons Week 12 Preview

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan’s season has been sabotaged by bad luck, mostly in the form of injuries to his receiving corps. He went just 19-of-36 in the blowout loss to the Bucs, posting 254 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. That breaks a string of one-TD performances for Ryan, but he’s still not doing so well when it comes to picks (nine in the last four weeks). We’re not expecting much of an improvement this week against a pretty good Saints D, but he could rack up some garbage-time numbers if it turns into a blowout.

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints: Thomas has been the most consistent fantasy option in a reliable and talented Saints backfield this year. He put up a decent game against the 49ers, with 49 rush yards and 39 more through the air. Unfortunately, he didn’t score, which was a letdown after the two touchdowns he managed against the Cowboys. Regardless, you’re not benching him, and he should have another nice game here.

Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Though there are several backs who qualify as fantasy letdowns this season, Jackson still sits firmly in disappointment territory. The Falcons just can’t get him going, and he finished Week 11 with another blah performance--41 rush yards and 21 receiving yards. It’s just been a lost season for Atlanta, and we expect them to basically phone it in from here on out. Jackson is a lower-end or flex option, but that’s about it.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints: After his torrid start to the season, Graham owners have been let down over the past couple of games. He posted just 41 yards on six receptions against San Francisco, which leaves him scoreless in his last two games (with just 100 total yards combined). We should see a return to form in Atlanta, though, so it’s pretty likely you’ll get those double-digit numbers out of your TE slot once again.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons: He’s found his way off most fantasy owners’ starting rosters, but White finally found something worthwhile against the Bucs. He managed just 36 yards on three grabs, but was able to post a touchdown for the first time this season. White’s value has been wrecked by injury this year, but it seems he’s finally getting somewhere near healthy. He’s a lower-end option, but a solid one.

For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.

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