Fantasy Football: Game of the Week Preview

On Sunday, Chicago’s third-ranked scoring offense (31.8 ppg) host the Saints’ second-ranked passing attack (338 YPG) in the FOX Sports NFL Game of the Week.

Drew Brees’ offense were supposed to be tested when they hosted the Dolphins on Monday night, but New Orleans ran Miami out of town via the pass and 35 points in the first three quarters.

Chicago lost their first game of the season to the Lions in Week 4. Self-inflicted wounds cost the Bears the game.  Four turnovers resulted in 17 points for Detroit in an eight-point loss.

Players to start:

Quarterback – Drew Brees

Brees is in the same fantasy football realm as Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers – you would be foolish to bench him.

As for his counterpart, Jay Cutler, while I think he will finish in the Top-12 in QB fantasy points, I don’t think he’s a startable option for Week 5. Rob Ryan has helped improve the Saints’ defense greatly year-over-year. Through four games, New Orleans is allowing 192 passing yards per game (fifth-best) and only four touchdowns through the air.

Running back – Matt Forte and Darren Sproles

Bringing the pass-happy Marc Trestman to Chicago seemed like a problem for Matt Forte owners, but there haven’t been any issues thus far. One positive side to the Bears’ running game is that it’s Forte or bust. Michael Bush is only averaging four carries per game, with 1.5 yards per attempt. Forte totes the rock 17 carries per contest and 4.6 yards per rush.

Then there’s the Saints’ running game which is basically just a formality. Four running backs (Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Khiry Robinson, and Mark Ingram) combine for 21 carries and 75 yards per game. However, Sproles is a dynamo in the potent passing attack. He ranks second on the team in receptions (23), third in targets (28) and third in yards (277).

Wide receiver – Brandon Marshall and Marques Colston

With two teams that have an affinity for passing, one would think more wide receivers would be worthy of the fantasy start. Marshall is targeted 28 percent of the time and Colston 17 percent. It’s important for Marshall because only two other receivers have been targeted aside from Martellius Bennett (TE) and Forte (RB). Colston’s number is significant because Brees continues to spread the wealth among nine (9!) different targets.

Tight end – Jimmy Graham and Martellus Bennett

The main target for Brees this season is Graham. On 43 passes, he’s caught 27 balls for six touchdowns and 458 yards. No question, he is a must-start every time he puts on his pads.

Bennett is second on the Bears in receptions (20), targets (33), and yards (225). Also, he leads the team in receiving TDs with three. His biggest contribution is in the red zone where he’s been targeted nine times (third-most among TEs behind Jordan Cameron and Tony Gonzalez).

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