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Saints-Seahawks Preview

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Players: Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, A.J. Green, Taysom Hill, Teddy Bridgewater, Alvin Kamara

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees leaves the field after their loss against the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Brees has been diagnosed with a torn ligament near the thumb of his throwing hand that is expected to sideline him at least six weeks, said a person familiar with the situation. Brees has elected to have surgery, but it is not yet clear when the operation will take place or who will perform it, the person said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)


New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, top, is tackled by Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Cory Littleton during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles past Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97), who is blocked by Seahawks offensive guard Ethan Pocic (77) during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. The Seahawks won 28-26. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (88) celebrates with teammates after making a touchdown catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


SEATTLE (AP) In his 13 seasons in charge New Orleans coach Sean Payton has always had one constant by his side.

Nearly every game. Nearly every snap. It's almost always been Drew Brees on the other end of the receiver, listening to what Payton is saying, and for the most part tormenting opponents.

And now Brees is gone for an undetermined time after surgery to repair an injured ligament near his right thumb. It's a test Payton's never faced, being without Brees for an extended period. It begins on Sunday when the Saints face fellow NFC contender Seattle.

Brees' injury comes in what was supposed to be a redemptive season for the Saints, with Super Bowl expectations that could put to rest the anguish of missing the title game a year ago, victimized by an officiating non-call. And for now, there is no panic among the Saints.

''That's the thing. Drew's down, we all know that. But we've still got the same coaching staff. We've got the same guys calling plays, especially like you said, Sean,'' New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara said. ''I don't feel like Sean's down. He's ready for the challenge.''

Brees has failed to start just three games since he and Payton arrived together in 2006. Not surprisingly, the Saints are 0-3 in those games, although two of those came in Week 17 with nothing at stake for New Orleans. Which is why this injury and this absence is so significant. It will be Teddy Bridgewater's team - with some Taysom Hill sprinkled in - for the next six games before the Saints' bye and likely any consideration of Brees' return.

''The job for us as coaches is to put a plan in place that gives our players the best chance to win,'' Payton said. ''I don't know if any one person has to change or step up but, by in large the group I think does.''

One person not expecting any sort of drop off is Seattle coach Pete Carroll, in part because of his admiration for the job Payton has done.

''After a few years coaching, you look forward to these kinds of matchups. It's one that we've been looking toward through the offseason,'' Carroll said. ''I have great respect for what he's done. He's a fantastic coach and I like that he's sculpted and then re-sculpted his team a couple times over the years and you can see the difference.''

The Seahawks won their first two games for the first time since the 2013 season that ended with Seattle winning its only Super Bowl title. But the Seahawks been lucky in getting to 2-0. Seattle beat Cincinnati by one in the opener, a game when the Bengals were without A.J. Green. They held off Pittsburgh 28-26 last week with Ben Roethlisberger playing only half the game.

And now they face the Saints minus Brees.

''You definitely got to remind the guys not to let their guard down because any day, you're in this professional league and the guys behind those guys are professionals,'' Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. ''You can't take anybody lightly because they can come out having one of their best games.''

Here's what else to watch as the Seahawks look to win their fourth straight over the Saints in Seattle:

TEDDY'S TEAM

Bridgewater started Week 17 last year, but his last meaningful starts came during the 2015 season before suffering a catastrophic knee injury that sidelined him for the better part of two seasons and derailed his career. Bridgewater was 17 of 30 for 165 yards after taking over for Brees last week against the Rams.

''It's nothing like being out there during the games when it counts the most,'' Bridgewater said. ''Not saying the preseason doesn't count. I'd never take the game for granted. But just to go out there and compete at the high level is what that means.''

THE OTHER QB

It's worth mentioning how good Russell Wilson has been to start the season. He's completing 78 percent of his passes, has five touchdowns and no interceptions, and last week had his ninth career game of at least 300 yards and three touchdowns.

SURGING FRONT

The Saints' pass rush has produced nine sacks through two games, including three by reserve defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who seems to have made a big jump in his third season. He had two sacks as a rookie and none last season when he was a healthy scratch a number of games. For now, though, he has one more sack than 2017 first-team All-Pro Cam Jordan and two more than 2018 first-round draft choice Marcus Davenport. New Orleans' front has been productive so far without help from 2016 first-rounder Sheldon Rankins, who is close to returning from an Achilles tendon tear last January.

The Saints will be facing a Seattle offensive line that has underperformed so far and gave up four sacks last week to Pittsburgh.

CHANGING CONSIDERATIONS

How will the Saints use Hill? They've had the luxury of exposing him to heavy contact on special teams, as a tight end and as a change-of-pace, read-option QB because they had Bridgewater as a more conventional backup in the event of a Brees injury. If Bridgewater starts, Hill likely would be the primary backup, which could conceivably prompt Payton to dial back Hill's role as a utility player.

PERFECT AT HOME

Seattle is always really good at home: It has been exceptional in the first month of the season under Carroll. Seattle is 15-0 in September home games since Carroll took over in 2010. The Seahawks are the only unbeaten team in September during that time frame.

Player Notes
Randall Cobb Oct 13 3:33pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb (back, hip) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 6 game.

From TheHuddle

Baker Mayfield Oct 13 3:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield appeared to injure his lower back in the third quarter against the Seahawks. Mayfield was taken to the locker room for evaluation, but he promptly returned without missing a single snap and is currently back in the game. It appears Mayfield will tough this one out, but his Week 7 status needs to be monitored.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Oct 13 3:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) is officially active for the team's Week 6 game.

Fantasy Spin: Thomas likely will receive a handful of targets against the Dallas Cowboys, but fantasy players may be able to find better options for their lineups this week.

From TheHuddle

Will Dissly Oct 13 3:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly went down in Week 6 against the Browns with an injury to his achilles. The injury was non-contact, and Dissly was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game. At the time of the injury, Dissly was just targeted just once and failed to haul it in. Luke Willson is in at tight end for the rest of the afternoon, and currently has one catch for five yards. Dissly's Week 7 status is in doubt and needs to be monitored.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Oct 13 2:53pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 6 game.

From TheHuddle

David Johnson Oct 13 2:53pm ET

Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (back) is officially active for the team's Week 6 game.

Fantasy Spin: Johnson likely will receive a lot of touches during the game despite the injury and should be a starting option in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

George Kittle Oct 13 2:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (groin) is officially active for the team's Week 6 game.

Fantasy Spin: Kittle is one of the best right ends in the NFL and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Carolina Panthers Oct 13 2:40pm ET

The Panthers Defense brutalized the Tampa offense during the Week 6 matchup in London. With seven sacks on the day, including receiving 2.5 from Gerald McCoy against his former team, Carolina was relentless by also forcing quarterback Jameis Winston to throw five interceptions. With a week off, the team will have a stiff challenge against a sound 49ers offense in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Greg Olsen Oct 13 2:30pm ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was targeted seven times against the Buccaneers on Sunday and finished with four catches for 52 yards. After failing to record a catch against the Jaguars in Week 5 while recording just two in Week 4, the veteran's performance in London was a slight improvement. Nonetheless, Olsen has been a disappointment from a fantasy perspective and should only be expected to produce efficient performances on sporadic occasions throughout the remainder of the season regardless of who is under center for the Panthers.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Oct 13 2:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Dissly missed last season with an injury to his right knee, so this is a brand new injury to his left Achilles. We don't know the severity yet, but it was bad enough to immediately rule him out for the rest of the game. It took him a couple of minutes to get off the turf and it sure seems like this is a serious injury. Stay tuned. At tight end, Luke Willson will take over and he's an athletic TE who may become a threat.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Oct 13 2:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber was unable to get anything going against the Panthers in Week 6, gaining just 28 yards on 10 carries on the day. Barber did get more carries than backfield mate Ronald Jones II, but could not find any holes and was otherwise a non-factor in what turned out to be a pass-heavy game. Barber has established himself through the first 6 weeks of the season as borderline unstartable in any fantasy format and should be treated as such. The Bucs have a bye in Week 7 before another tough matchup against the Titans in Tennessee in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Oct 13 2:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was unable to get going Sunday, gaining only 10 yards on four carries, but did score a touchdown to save his day. Jones again fell victim to the Bucs unpredictable backfield rotation after starting to seemingly separate himself from the pack, seeing fewer snaps and touches than fellow backfield mate Peyton Barber in Week 6. It will be hard for fantasy owners to trust any of the Bucs running backs until something changes in that backfield. Until then they can both be considered very low-end bye week fill-in options. The Bucs are off in Week 7 before a tough matchup against the Titans in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Oct 13 2:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston disappointed fantasy owners in a big way Sunday, completing 30-of-54 passes for 400 yards and a touchdown to go along with an absurd five interceptions. Winston wasn't given an inch on the day, getting sacked seven times and losing a fumble in the process. Anything Winston did through the first four weeks to gain fantasy owner's confidence has been thrown out the window over the last two weeks. This shouldn't come as the biggest surprise though, as inconsistency has been the theme of Winston's career. The Bucs have a bye in Week 7 before a tough matchup against the Titans in Tennessee, Winston will slot in as a mid-range QB2 for that matchup.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Oct 13 2:10pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel recorded four catches for 70 yards, while also recording a pair of touchdowns against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Samuel got it done in all areas in London, rushing for a score midway through the third quarter before catching a touchdown off of a 13-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Allen in the fourth. With Cam Newton (foot) potentially returning after the Week 7 bye, the 23-year-old will continue to split the bulk of the targets with fellow wideout D.J. Moore and running back Christian McCaffrey regardless of who is under center.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Moore Oct 13 2:00pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore recorded 73 yards off of seven catches during the win over the Buccaneers in London. With 10 targets on the day, Moore kept it going after recording six receptions for 91 yards against the Jaguars in Week 5. The quarterback situation remains a mystery as the team heads toward the bye, but the 22-year-old should remain involved regardless of who is under center while continuing to split the majority of the targets with Curtis Samuel, who finished with two touchdowns on the day.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Oct 13 1:50pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey recorded just 57 total yards against Tampa Bay on Sunday, but still managed to find the end zone twice in Week 6. While McCaffrey was stuffed by the Buccaneers Defense by rushing for an abysmal 31 yards on 22 attempts, he offset his shoddy numbers with a touchdown run late in the first quarter, while acquiring his second off of a 25-yard pass from Kyle Allen. With the team heading into a bye, the potential MVP will look to keep it going in Week 8 against the 49ers.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Allen Oct 13 1:40pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen recorded his fourth straight win on Sunday against Tampa Bay in London. While Jameis Winston recorded five interceptions on the day, Allen was able to get it done by finishing with 227 yards and two touchdowns on 20-for-32 passing. With the Panthers heading into a bye, things will get interesting for the Panthers if Cam Newton (foot) can return for the Week 8 matchup with San Francisco. Fantasy managers will want to monitor the situation, but Allen should remain on rosters until Newton is officially back in the mix as a starter.

From RotoBaller

Alvin Kamara Oct 13 1:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (ankle) is active against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kamara gets a juicy matchup in Week 6, though he might be limited. Even if he has a smaller role, he should still put up RB1 numbers against Jacksonville.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Oct 13 12:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) is inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 while tight end Mark Andrews (shoulder) will play. Andrews is a TE1 with upside, as quarterback Lamar Jackson will lean on him in the passing game. Ravens slot receiver Willie Snead could be a sneaky sleeper without Brown in the fold.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Oct 13 12:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is officially inactive for Week 6. His absence should give the rest of the Kansas City offense more opportunities. In a likely shootout against the Houston Texans, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson are flex plays while Tyreek Hill is back and ready to resume his WR1 role.

From RotoBaller