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Fantasy Football: Game of the Week Preview
These two teams are a combined 9-1 this season with six Super Bowl appearances in the last 12 years. It’s actually surprising and depressing that we haven’t had the privilege to watch these two powerhouses perform on the biggest stage in the final game.
Last year, the Saints started the season 0-4 and had a defense that allowed 28.4 points per game in 2012 (31st in the league). The addition of Rob Ryan as the new defensive coordinator has propelled New Orleans to the fourth-best squad and now allow an average of 14.6 points per contest.
The Patriots lost their first game after a 4-0 start in 2013. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady used to be known as the combo that doesn't lose back-to-back regular season games. That is, until they fell to the Saints and Dolphins in 2009...and to the Steelers and Giants in 2011...and to the Cardinals and Ravens in 2012. Still, only losing consecutive games three times in the past six years is impressive.
Players to start:
Quarterback – Drew Brees and Tom Brady
Last week, Brady could only muster six fantasy points against the Bengals. He has thrown for over 300 yards once this season and no more than two touchdowns in a game. That all changes on Sunday. With Rob Gronkowski FINALLY making his season debut, the field should open for Brady, making him relevant again in the fantasy football world.
These teams possess a total of three rushing touchdowns this season as opposed to 19 passing TDs. However, that doesn't mean the running game is dead. Sproles and Thomas are backs that can turn a simple screen into a 20-yard score. As for New England, whoever they trot out onto the field (Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, or Brandon Bolden) is worth the start with the Saints allowing 108.6 yards per game on the ground.
Wide receiver – Marques Colston, Danny Amendola, and Julian Edelman
The Brees-to-Colston connection is historic and should always be a fantasy start.
Brady had a hodgepodge list of names as his receiving corps, but with Gronk returning I see more opportunities for Edelman and a near-healthy Amendola.
Tight end – Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski
This is the showdown people really want to watch this Sunday. Week after week we've been teased with the possibility of Gronkowski playing and now we get to see him action. Coincidentally, the opposing tight end is the best in the game right now. As they battle for the proverbial crown, fantasy owners will sit back and rejoice with each spike and dunk.