So not all of you will be able to see one of the better matchups of the year due to Time-Warner’s idiocy. This is sad, and I will shed a tear for you while tuning into Drew Brees tossing a long touchdown to Robert Meachem in high definition. You can watch some of the game here while other parts of the game are cut away from so you can listen to somebody talk about what you just saw when there is still a freaking game going on! There are also less legal ways of getting the game online, but I have no idea what those might be. Yes, this is my first year of NFL Network and I am hooked, and don’t get me started on the utter awesomeness that is the NFL Redzone.
I will be tweeting during the game, and about every other waking second, so follow along and read my thoughts on Matt Millen’s secret affair with John Madden, well, I guess it’s not so secret anymore. This game has a lot of fantasy players going and I thought I’d dissect it and see if Jerry Jones has a soul or if Drew Brees’ comb forward is regulation.
Drew Brees: Except for weeks 3 and 4 where Brees met up with the Jets and Bills tough pass D he has been unstoppable. Including those down games he is averaging almost 26 fantasy points a game. Dallas has given up an average of 19 fantasy points to quarterbacks. Brees should easily up that average. Demarcus Ware has yet to practice and if he doesn’t go Brees will have even more time to pick apart Dallas’ middle of the road pass defense. You will start him because he is good.
Tony Romo: Romo is the butt of many jokes and usually they are well deserved, but as a fantasy quarterback recently, he has been very good. He is the 6th quarterback in total fantasy points and is averaging nearly 21 points a game. In the last 3 games he has thrown 7 touchdowns and averaged 316 yards passing. And since this is a fantasy analysis we don’t have to mention his record in those games! In the last 8 games the Saints rank 24th in passing yards allowed. They have been great at picking off opposing quarterbacks, but that will just mean Romo will need to throw more to make up ground. There is no reason to think that just because dreaded “December” is here, it’s time to sit Romo.
Pierre Thomas/Reggie Bush/Mike Bell: This trio of horror has been haunting me all season. No matter how much I study their game Sean Payton always seems to do something slightly different than I thought he would. In the last 4 weeks Pierre Thomas has had 64 opportunities, Mike Bell 44, Reggie Bush 19. As a group the Saints running backs lead the league in fantasy points, but that doesn’t help us fake footballers when Pierre Thomas, their #1 RB is the 16th ranked running back in the league. That is behind Kevin Smith! If you don’t pick the Saints’ back that scores a touchdown you are pretty much out of luck. I am ready to say sit them all, especially with Mike Bell practicing in full and probable to play. The problem is, the Cowboys are ranked near the bottom in defending passes to running backs. They are closer to the top at defending against the run, but the Saints are 4th in running back receptions with 85 on the year. So all that is to say Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are decent flex plays based on their receiving abilities. I’d sit Mike Bell which means he’ll have 4 touchdowns.
Marion Barber/Felix Jones/Tashard Choice: Barber continues to get the bulk of the carries, but isn’t doing as much with them as Jones and Choice. Coach Phillips gave a vote of confidence to Barber, for what that’s worth. The good thing for Barber is that he will continue to get goal line carries and the Saints aren’t that good at stopping the run. They have given up 11 rushing touchdowns in the last 8 games which is second to last in the league. I see Barber getting into the end zone, but he will give up some yardage to Jones and Choice.
Marques Colston/Robert Meachem: Meachem has actually been getting more targets than Colston in the last three games. Meachem has established himself as the #2 receiver, which is a nice place to be when you play for the Saints. The Cowboys are usually a little easier on #2 receivers so I’m liking Meachem a lot here, but Colston is too good and too much of a red zone target to even consider downgrading him.
Miles Austin/Roy Williams: After all the defensive focus was shifted from Roy Williams to Miles Austin we saw Austin’s numbers take a dip, but he has adjusted his game and has told the rest of the league, they are no daisies, no daisies at all! Roy Williams is starting to settle into his #2 receiver status. He is a big receiver which is nice to have in the end zone. The Saints are 26th in yards given up to wide receivers so I see both getting their shots in what could be a shootout.
Jeremy Shockey: Besides looking like a guy who has a tremendous odor, Shockey doesn’t get many looks. He is an option in the red zone, but he hasn’t scored a TD since week 6 and he’s questionable to even play. I’d stay far away.
Jason Witten: Witten finally busted out 3 weeks ago, but busted back in last week. I can’t say I am exactly keen on Witten against a Saints team who is ranked 1st in DVOA against tight ends. You can’t sit him in what could be a high scoring game though.