Fantasy Football: Game of the Week Preview

What should fantasy owners know about the NFL on FOX Game of the Week between the 49ers and Saints?

Jim Harbaugh’s team makes a return trip to the Superdome for the first time since their Super Bowl loss in February. The opponent might be different, but the memory of that building will stick with the 49ers forever.

As for the team who calls New Orleans their home, the Superdome is filled with moments of extraordinary victories and record-setting performances.

Drew Brees has been a catalyst for a majority of those happy times for Saints fans. After going through a season without head coach Sean Payton, they have rekindled their magic and propelled to first place in the NFC South.

These former divisional foes will now clash, yet again, in America’s Game of the Week on FOX.

Players to start:

Quarterback – Drew Brees

Brees trails only Peyton Manning in fantasy football points. Even though San Francisco has allowed 211 passing yards per game (ninth-best), Brees is a must-start in every game the Saints play.

In my Week 10 starts and sit gallery, I posted that owners should bench Kaepernick. I wasn’t exactly going out on a ledge with that prediction, as his 49ers were up against a Panthers’ defense that was the fourth-best squad in the passing attack. This week, CK7 will face the third-best passing defense.

Running back – Frank Gore and Darren Sproles

The Saints are great against the passing game this season, but 23rd against the run (117.7 yards per game). While Gore hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since October 13th, he’s rushed for four touchdowns in the past three games.

Mark Ingram was the best running back last week as he rushed for 145 yards and a TD on 14 carries. However, the Saints are still a passing-oriented offense. This season, Drew Brees is averaging 40.3 pass attempts per game which puts New Orleans fifth-most in the league. In PPR leagues, Sproles is 15th on the list of fantasy running back point totals.

Wide receiver – Marques Colston and Kenny Stills

The Sunday night game against the Cowboys was a great example of why you start the Saints receivers…in favorable matchups. Dallas is ranked 32nd in passing defense while San Francisco is ninth. That being said, I would advise starting Colston. He’s healthy and was the most targeted receiver last week. In deeper leagues, Stills is also a reliable option this Sunday. He has scored four TDs in the past four games.

Anquan Boldin started the 2013 season with 13 catches for 208 yards and one TD. Now, owners wish they would’ve traded Boldin (and probably Kaepernick). Other than the fact that he hasn’t recorded more than 90 receiving yards in a game since, Boldin only has one touchdown outside of the opener. Mario Manningham was targeted a team-high six times on Sunday when he returned from a knee injury. In deeper leagues, you can consider him in the flex spot in the lineup.

Tight end – Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis

Graham has 10 touchdowns in eight games. Also, in those eight games, Graham has reached the 100-yard plateau five times. He’s a machine and the best tight end in the game today. If he’s wearing pads, Graham should be started in any and all formats.

The importance of Davis to the 49ers offense is no secret. With the starting tight end, Kaepernick has a QBR of 81.7 and 13.1 without Davis. He’s the blue blanket and Kaepernick might as well be nicknamed “Linus.” After leaving last week’s game with a concussion, Davis says that he is now fine, even though he didn’t practice on Tuesday.