What a difference a season makes. Last year, the Atlanta Falcons began the season 8-0 and were 10-1 when Week 12 rolled around. The New Orleans Saints, missing head coach Sean Payton, were 5-6 at this time last year. Fast forward to 2013, the Saints are 8-2 and the Falcons are 2-8.
These two NFC South rivals kick off Week 12 on Thursday night. The Falcons are riding a six-game losing streak and it will continue. However, win-loss records mean nothing to fantasy football. Even the worst teams can produce nice fantasy options. You won’t be seeing Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham under start ‘em becuase if you own them, you’re starting them. Here are my start ‘em, sit ‘em for Thursday night.
The Saints’ passing group is filled with a lot of talent — Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Graham and others. However, there is one wide receiver that has popped back up as the No. 1 option and that is Marques Coltston. He has 12 catches and 187 yards in the last two games. He’s been looking more like a WR2 than a flex or WR3 over the last few games. In Week 1 against the Falcons, Colston had 68 yards and a score. He’ll have another big game on Thursday — around 90 yards and a touchdown.
On the flip side, the Falcons’ offense has suffered from injuries to their wideouts. This allowed Harry Douglas to step up and become a fantasy option. He is on pace to finish with 82 receptions and 1,206 yards. Over the last five games, he has 535 yards. In Week 1, he scored nine points against the Saints with four receptions. He’ll have around eight catches for 80 yards and a score.
Roddy White is still not 100 percent. He would have been a bust last week if it wasn’t for that fluky touchdown. It doesn’t help that Matt Ryan, who I wouldn’t start either, is averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt. The Saints are holding opposing wide receivers to just 16.9 fantasy points per game, ninth-best in the league. If you need to start White this week because of a bye or injury, do it with caution. He won’t get more than 60 yards this game.
Sticking with the Falcons, do not start any of their running backs. Jacquizz Rodgers isn’t getting enough carries to be a starter, Steven Jackson is, but he can’t get any yards and Antone Smith came out of nowhere last week. The offensive line is struggling, allowing defenders to get through with ease. Sit all Atlanta backs if possible.
Speaking of running backs, Saints back Darren Sproles is questionable heading into this game. He is dealing with an ankle injury and did not practice Tuesday. He’s become more of a pass-catcher as Pierre Thomas is getting more and more carries. Sproles is a good start for PPR leagues, but not in standard leagues.