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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 8

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
New England Patriots Oct 22 3:20am ET

The New England Patriots Defense stifled the Jets from the opening drive as the team cruised to a 33-0 win on Monday Night Football. The Jets offense rarely stood a chance as the Patriots held Jets quarterback Sam Darnold to a 34% completion percentage, 86 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 3.6. New England also intercepted Darnold four times and the unit now has two shutouts on the season. The Patriots defense has quickly emerged as, by far, the best defense in the NFL and will be the top fantasy option at the position heading into Week 8's action.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Dorsett Oct 22 3:10am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett caught three passes for 46 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown, in the Patriots Week 7 blowout of the Jets 33-0. Dorsett came into the game questionable but was able to deliver in a game that was over from the beginning. Dorsett made a nice catch in the first quarter for the touchdown to put the Patriots up 17-0 at the time. Dorsett now has four touchdowns on the season but has struggled with nagging injuries. If he can get healthy, Dorsett could have promising stash value in deeper fantasy formats as an offensive weapon that quarterback Tom Brady trusts.

From RotoBaller

Benjamin Watson Oct 22 3:10am ET

New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson made his Patriots debut in Week 7, catching three passes for 18 yards in the Patriots 33-0 win over the Jets. It has been a roller coaster ride for Watson's time with New England but he is finally in uniform and contributing. The veteran still has the moxie and speed to produce in the NFL but it will take time to work his way into the flow of the versatile Patriots offense. Watson may not have fantasy value now but could become an intriguing waiver wire option if he can make strides in the coming weeks.

From RotoBaller

Damien Harris Oct 22 3:10am ET

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris carried the ball four times for 12 yards in the Patriots 33-0 blowout win over the Jets in Week 7. It was the rookie's first real game action of the season and received his carries after the victory was already sealed for the Patriots. Harris performed well, at times, during the preseason but a wrist injury stunted his progress. Cracking the lineup as a rookie in the Patriots offense is a tall order but Harris was able to get a few game reps in. Only a series of injuries to multiple players would open up more playing time for Harris in the near future.

From RotoBaller

James White Oct 22 3:00am ET

New England Patriots running back James White caught seven passes for 59 yards in the team's 33-0 demolishing of the Jets in Week 7. White tallied zero yards on five rushes in the game but was his usual active self in the passing attack. The veteran is now averaging 7.5 receptions over his last four games, propping up his value in PPR leagues only moving forward. The bad news is that White is far behind his touchdown production from last season, heading into Week 8 with only one touchdown after posting 12 scores in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Oct 22 3:00am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman caught seven passes for 47 yards in the Patriots 33-0 rout of the Jets in Week 7. Edelman saw a team-high 12 targets in the game and racked up 20 rushing yards on three carries. The Patriots built a huge lead and the need for explosive plays in the passing game was deemed inconsequential. The veteran receiver now has at least seven catches in each of his last three games and will head into Week 8 with 45 receptions, 496 yards and two touchdowns on the season.

From RotoBaller

Jakobi Meyers Oct 22 3:00am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught five passes for 47 yards in the Patriots 33-0 win over the Jets on Monday Night Football. With Josh Gordon held out with an injury, Meyers stepped in admirably by catching all five of his targets. The rookie now has 101 receiving yards over his last two games and has delivered when his number has been called upon in the offense. Meyers still has to compete for targets with established receivers Phillip Dorsett and Julian Edelman but has proven he can step in and produce off the bench.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Oct 22 2:50am ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 31 of 45 passes for 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the Patriots 33-0 romp over the Jets in Week 7. It was a workmanlike performance for the future Hall of Famer as the Patriots offense cashed in on several touchdowns via Sony Michel. The Patriots are now 7-0 but Brady has only four passing touchdowns over his last four games to show for it. Two rushing touchdowns in Week 6 help prop up his fantasy numbers but the Patriots don't need an explosive passing attack to win games. Despite the team's success, Brady is a mediocre fantasy play in 12-team formats heading into Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Oct 22 2:50am ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel carried the ball 19 times for 42 yards with three touchdowns in the Patriots 33-0 win over the Jets. Michel again struggled with consistency in the running game but found himself back in the mix in the Patriots red zone offense. Michel is averaging only 3.3 yards per carry this season but now has six rushing touchdowns. The second-year back was losing out in the red zone the past few games but cashed in big-time in Week 7. Michel's arrow is pointing up moving forward.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Oct 22 12:40am ET

The New York Jets Defense was dominated by the Patriots in a 33-0 loss to the Patriots Monday night. The Jets allowed a 16-play touchdown drive to open the game and things went downhill from there as Tom Brady and the Patriots did anything they wanted in the game. Brady had clean pockets to throw out of all night as the Jets didn't record a sack and running back Sony Michel scored three touchdowns. The lone bright spot for the Jets defense was an interception by Trumaine Johnson on a tipped ball, but overall it was a night to forget for New York. The Jets will try and bounce back next week at Jacksonville but are nothing more than a low end streaming defense in the deepest of leagues.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Oct 22 12:30am ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell rushed 15 times for 70 yards while hauling in one of four targets for an additional six yards vs the Patriots Monday. Bell's 16 touches aren't ideal for fantasy, especially after getting only 15 touches last week, but he still dominated the backfield touches with the lower workload this week likely because New England dominated time of position and put the Jets in a passing game script early. No other Jet had more than two carries so fantasy owners can still insert Bell in their lineups expecting 15-20 touches weekly. The Jets offense has looked brutal at times this season but Bell is a borderline RB1 on volume alone, and with the schedule for New York softening a bit, Bell is a great buy-low running back.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 22 12:10am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made four catches for 26 yards on five targets in a brutal home loss to the Patriots Monday night. Crowder's four catches lead the team on a night QB Sam Darnold only completed 11 passes, but he could do nothing with those catches against the elite New England secondary. Crowder's five targets are his fewest in three games with Darnold as Demaryius Thomas was targeted nine times in this game. Crowder will look to bounce back next week against a Jaguars secondary that will be a better matchup for him than this week vs the Patriots number one ranked defense.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Oct 22 12:00am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught one pass for 10 yards on eight targets in an ugly loss to the Patriots Monday night. Anderson was blanketed by All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore all night and could get nothing going downfield as QB Sam Darnold was under pressure almost every snap. Anderson has had one game this year that was good for fantasy, and that included a 92-yard touchdown. The boom-or-bust nature of Anderson can be frustrating for fantasy, but the Jets schedule gets softer in the coming weeks so Anderson still has plenty of opportunity to make the big plays that he needs to have big fantasy weeks. He should be owned in 12-team leagues and started when he has a good matchup.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Oct 21 11:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin both passed concussion protocol on Monday and should be fine heading into Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Both players missed time on Sunday but reentered the game. The health clearance sets up Breida as an RB3 against a weak Panthers rush defense, but hes taken a backseat to Tevin Coleman in recent weeks. Goodwin did not record a catch in Week 7 and has just 15 yards over the past two contests. Hell be a zero-floor WR5 against one of the leagues top pass defenses.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 21 11:40pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold had a night to forget vs New England in Week 7 completing only 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards. Darnold, who was out with mono during the Jets' first meeting with the NFL's number one defense, threw a career-high four interceptions and also lost a fumble in a 33-0 beatdown. Darnold looked uncomfortable all night playing behind an offensive line that was down two starters and it showed. He consistently threw off his back foot, facing pressure on almost every drop back as the Jets had no answer for the vaunted Patriots Defense. While this night was rough, Darnold's schedule gets better in the next few weeks and could be a viable starter in two-quarterback leagues or desperation bye-week replacement.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Oct 21 11:40pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught three passes for 42 yards in a loss to the Patriots Monday night. Thomas' nine targets lead the team, but he could do little with that opportunity as QB Sam Darnold was under pressure all night and only completed 11 passes total. Thomas has been getting more involved in recent weeks, but is still the third option behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. He's nothing more than a desperation flex in deep leagues.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Oct 21 6:53pm ET

The New England Patriots have declared TE Matt LaCosse, DL Michael Bennett, WR Josh Gordon, SS Patrick Chung, OT Korey Cunningham, RB Rex Burkhead and TE Ryan Izzo inactive for Week 7.

From TheHuddle

Christopher Herndon IV Oct 21 6:53pm ET

The New York Jets have declared LB Albert McClellan, OT Kelvin Beachum, DL Henry Anderson, TE Chris Herndon, RB Trenton Cannon, LB Neville Hewitt and OG Kelechi Osemele inactive for Week 7.

From TheHuddle

Tyrell Williams Oct 21 6:43pm ET

Oakland Raiders WR Tyrell Williams (foot) is considered questionable for the Week 8 game at this point, according to head coach Jon Gruden. Williams was able to do some running Monday, Oct. 21.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should monitor Williams' practice participation during the week to have a better idea of his status for Week 8. He is the team's top option in the passing game when healthy and can be a No. 3 fantasy receiver.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Oct 21 6:23pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers LB Melvin Ingram (hamstring) hopefully will be able to play in the Week 8 game, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.

From TheHuddle