The Sunday night matchup for Week 5 has the 3-1 San Diego Chargers traveling to take on the winless New Orleans Saints. These two teams have been on very different and unexpected paths this year. The Saints have struggled to stop anyone through the air or ground, and the Chargers have fielded a stringent, blue collar run defense. Both of these defenses have significant fantasy implications. Let’s break down the two teams and their fantasy studs, starting with San Diego.
San Diego Chargers:
After missing the first two games of the season, Ryan Mathews has produced two very uninspiring performances causing a running back shake up in San Diego. Jackie Battle has assumed the starting role in San Diego, or so says the depth chart. Mathews still has the clear fantasy upside in the Charger backfield, and this depth chart change is likely just a message being sent by head coach Norv Turner. Regardless, both running backs will see the worst run defense in the league Sunday night. New Orleans has given up 186 yards per game thus far, so there should be enough yards to go around for both backs. Look for Mathews to see the bulk of touches regardless of the depth chart shake up, and be a solid RB2. Battle will be an interesting flex play.
The Saints secondary has faired a little better this year than the front seven, but not by much. Philip Rivers will have some chances to throw against man coverage, as the Saints will need to provide more run support. The main beneficiary will be Antonio Gates. The Chargers’ veteran tight end has been deemed all but “done” by many fantasy experts. Gates hasn’t scored yet this year, but look for that to change against a Saints defense that has given up seven passing touchdowns so far.
Solid plays - Ryan Mathews, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd
Decent plays – Robert Meacham, Jackie Battle, San Diego Defense
New Orleans Saints:
You can’t talk about the Saints fantasy studs without first starting with their field general, Drew Brees. Brees will face a middle of the pack secondary in San Diego who give up 237 yards per game, and who allow just a 83.7 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. However, the Saints will rely on their quarterback’s arm, as the San Diego run defense is 6th in the league in yards allowed on the ground. New Orleans’ tight end, Jimmy Graham, will benefit from this as Brees’ favorite target.
The Saints didn’t have a good run game to start the season, and don’t look for it to start tonight. The San Diego run defense has had a great start to the year. The have allowed only 2 touchdowns this year, and hold offenses to under 80 yards on the ground. The New Orleans trio of running backs, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, and Pierre Thomas will not have much room. Sproles is the only back worth a flex consideration, due to his pass catching ability. Avoid the other two at all costs.
Solid plays - Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston
Decent plays - Darren Sproles, Devery Henderson
Avoid- Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Defense