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The Saints are suddenly the most unlucky team in football…Dallas and Washington and Green Bay would beg to differ...but you get what I’m saying. In Week 12, the Saints lost to the Rams…a game that might have gone differently had they not lost their two best starting CBs for the game. In this crucial Week 14 TNF game, they lost Alvin Kamara just a few minutes in…Kamara, as we found out, IS the Saints offense.
Without Kamara, the Saints struggled to score but held a lead for much of the game and then gave it up late. Two good teams doing battle…that both played poorly on offense – which is probably because we all underestimate how good these two defenses are. The game could have gone either way but in the end, the Falcons snuck away with a win. A huge win for their playoff picture.
Atlanta jumps up to 8-5 and goes to Tampa Bay for a Monday night game…an 11-day break. Assuming Atlanta wins that game, they’ll jump to 9-5…with at NO and hosting CAR to finish out. One win in their final 2 games to get to the 10-win mark, and thus a likely wild card as they hold tiebreakers over DAL and SEA. This Falcons win here is a near dagger to the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks playoff hopes…Atlanta has beaten all three. The Falcons are in the driver’s seat for the playoffs. Those other stalwart teams need Carolina to collapse now for any hope…and that might just happen.
The Saints hold a one-game lead in the division over Atlanta and play them again in two weeks. If the Saints lose that one…the Falcons hold yet another tie-breaker card over the competition and likely win the NFC South. If the Saints beat the Falcons Week 16…the Saints likely lock up the division title in the end.
The NFC playoffs are looking like: Vikings-Eagles-Rams-Saints/Falcons with the Falcons/Saints as one wild card…five teams in a strong position. Assuming the Panthers lose to the Vikings this week…then Carolina-Seattle-Dallas-Green Bay fight to the end for one spot with Carolina having the slight edge but games with MIN-GB the next two weeks might kick Carolina to the curb and be a dogfight -- with Green Bay in the driver’s seat (they will have beaten DAL-SEA-CAR).
This is really shaping up to be a perfect end to the football season. So many terrific matchups the next few weeks, so many scenarios with so many good teams. You think you’ve got it all figured out, and then Alvin Kamara leaves the field a few plays in and you don’t know anything.
The NFL has a million flaws, but it is still the best ‘drama’ on television.
…and the best sport for fantasy.
…and the best sport to bet on.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Well, those that rode the Alvin Kamara (1-2-0, 3-25-0/3) Express to the playoffs…you got a taste of what injuries at the wrong time can do to a fantasy team. You can be the best and/or luckiest fantasy GM snatching Kamara…but then this happens and could sink your playoff ship.
What I marvel at from this game is – Who doesn’t know that Kamara is the whole offense for the Saints? I mean, Mark Ingram is fine. Michael Thomas is a capable receiver in tune with Drew Brees. Apparently, the Falcons weren’t aware of this. I’m watching Kamara float out of the backfield for passes and there isn’t even a Falcons defender in the camera shot on his big play. Had Kamara stayed in the game he would have caught 10+ passes, had 150+ total yards and at least 1 TD…a 25-30 point event taken away from those who owned him.
Teams should assign a spy to him at all times, but apparently it didn’t dawn on the Falcons coaches or players as they studied 100 hours of tape leading into the game.
-- How about that Drew Brees (26-35 for 271 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) v. Matt Ryan (15-27 for 221 yards and 1 TD/3 INTs) shootout…I mean, the ‘can you top my terrible interception?’ event.
Matt Ryan threw three of the worst interceptions I’ve seen this year…and that’s saying a lot because I’ve watched Marcus Mariota play.
If Brees didn’t get Kamara this season…it would have been an even worse fantasy dud season for Brees. The Saints without Brandin Cooks and no Alvin Kamara…they don’t have the ‘it’ factor anymore. Kamara is everything for the Saints playoff run.
-- Actually Kamara and Marshon Lattimore (3 tackles, 1 PD) are the keys. Throw in Ken Crawley (6 tackles, 1 PD) as well.
Lattimore, a rookie, playing not at 100% -- he handed it to the great Julio Jones (5-98-0/11). Jones is lucky Lattimore got tripped on that early catch and long run play by Julio or it would have been another fantasy dud from JJ.
Lattimore is already one of the 5-7 best cover corners in the league…as a rookie The college system is spitting out great corners and wide receivers like crazy. The NFL really needs to expand in the next 2-3 years. All that high school 7-on-7 work is creating an overload of QBs, WRs, CBs…walking right in the league and dominating year one. That NEVER happened in the old days except for 1-2 special exceptions.
I’d love to push the Saints as a sweet DST down the stretch but they have no cake matchups…but I also didn’t suspect Matt Ryan would be this bad. You can use the Saints DST vs. NYJ and ATL the next two weeks, but those aren’t ‘gimmes’.
Week 15 – those of us that have been riding Robby Anderson…bad matchup with Denver this week and then Lattimore next week. Not good.
-- How about my Falcons defense? Held another team under 20 points…a good team/offense held down.
Thank God Alvin Kamara wasn’t there the whole game.
11 days off…3 days this week, and 8 days next because they play on MNF. 11 days to prep for dead Tampa with their two top OLs out. I love this Falcons DST for Week 15 more and more.
-- Last two games for Ted Ginn (2-10-0/2) – 2.0 rec. (2.5 targets), 18.5 yards, 0.0 TDs per game. I’m stopped holding him on my 12-team league benches last week, but whatever I got left is gone next week. Too erratic of late…real wild stat swings. I’d only use him if I knew I needed to take a huge swing at the fence against a superior opponent.
Snap Counts of Interest…
51 = Freeman
24 = Coleman
42 = Ingram
06 = Kamara
22 = Snead
12 = McKinley
03 = Kazee
16 = Hendrickson