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FFL: Week 7 | NFL: Week 7

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
Delano Hill Oct 20 10:03am ET

Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill (elbow) is expected to be sidelined for several weeks due to an elbow injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll. He was ruled out for Week 7's game against the Baltimore Ravens after being unable to practice during the week.

From TheHuddle

Patrick Mahomes Oct 20 10:00am ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) will miss three-to-five weeks with a dislocated patellar. He'll either return in Week 11 when the Chiefs play the Chargers on Monday night, or in Week 13 against the Raiders following the bye week. Mahomes is the fantasy QB1 when healthy, so fantasy owners have to hold onto him for now. Matt Moore is expected to start in his place, and while the weapons the Chiefs have make Moore slightly interesting, his track record suggests he's no more than a QB2 at best. Maybe Mahomes owners can grab him to help them get through this stretch, but that's only if better options are already owned.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Oct 20 9:53am ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (quadriceps, ankle) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Cooper was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He makes a somewhat risky starting option in fantasy leagues this week because the Cowboys won't play until Sunday evening and it is unknown if he will see a reduced number of offensive snaps.

From TheHuddle

Byron Jones Oct 20 9:43am ET

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis.

From TheHuddle

A.J. Green Oct 20 9:40am ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) isn't expected to be ready until after the October 29th trade deadline. While there have been rumors that the Bengals could deal Green to a contender, the team has said multiple times that they have no plans to do so. Green could still be a top fantasy receiver when he returns on an offense that's been playing from behind a ton, but the team could also play it safe and limit his snaps in what's clearly a lost ear from the 0-6 Bengals.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Oct 20 9:23am ET

Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) will play in Week 7's game against the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple sources.

Fantasy Spin: Trubisky had been listed as questionable on the injury report despite fully participating in all three of the team's practice sessions during the week. He should only be used in two-quarterback leagues and as a bye week replacement this afternoon because of the difficult matchup versus the New Orleans defense.

From TheHuddle

Randall Cobb Oct 20 9:23am ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb (back) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Cobb was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He has posted decent numbers this season and can be viewed as a WR3 or flex option in most fantasy formats.

From TheHuddle

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 20 9:20am ET

The Green Bay Packers could have at least one of their injured wide receivers back for Sunday's meeting with the Oakland Raiders. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion/chest) will be tested pregame, with the hopes being that at least one can suit up. With Davante Adams (turf toe) out, the Packers need all the help they can get. It'll be tough to trust either guy if they play as they could be limited, but they'd be better fantasy options than the current crop of Packers receivers who've been getting inserted into DFS lineups this week, Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Oct 20 9:03am ET

Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) will be a game-time decision for Week 7's contest against the Oakland Raiders.

Fantasy Spin: Allison was upgraded from doubtful to questionable Saturday, Oct. 19, despite not participating in any of the team's three practice sessions during the week and still being under concussion protocol. He should be viewed as a risky WR3 or flex option this afternoon if he is active.

From TheHuddle

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 20 9:03am ET

Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) hopes to be able to play in Week 7's game against the Oakland Raiders despite being listed as questionable on the injury report, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling did not practice at all during the week and should be viewed as a risky flex option in fantasy leagues based on his health and recent performance, having posted fewer than 50 receiving yards in each of his last three contests.

From TheHuddle

Dede Westbrook Oct 20 8:53am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will participate in pregame workouts prior to Week 7's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals to determine if he will play. However, early indications are that there is optimism about him being active for the game, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Westbrook was listed as questionable on the injury report after missing one of the team's three practice sessions during the week and being limited in another. If he is active, he merits consideration as a WR3 or flex option in most fantasy leagues because of the favorable matchup.

From TheHuddle

Darius Slay Oct 20 8:53am ET

Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.

From TheHuddle

David Johnson Oct 20 8:33am ET

Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the New York Giants, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Johnson was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in two of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He should be viewed as a starting option in all fantasy formats.

From TheHuddle

Christian Kirk Oct 20 8:33am ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 7's game against the New York Giants, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Kirk was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week but it appears as though he needs additional time for rest and recovery. Fantasy owners should have alternative options available since it looks like Kirk will miss his third game in a row.

From TheHuddle

Xavien Howard Oct 20 8:23am ET

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (knee) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Buffalo Bills, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.

From TheHuddle

Justin Houston Oct 20 8:23am ET

Indianapolis Colts DE Justin Houston (calf) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Houston Texans, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing the team's last two practice sessions during the week.

From TheHuddle

Amari Cooper Oct 20 2:10am ET

The Dallas Cowboys will have four important pieces of their offense back for Sunday's meeting with the Eagles, with wide receivers Amari Copper (thigh) and Randall Cobb (back) plus tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee) expected to play. All four players' statuses have been up in the air this week, but if the four of them play, the Cowboys offense sees a huge boost. Cooper will be a solid start, and both quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will see a boost to their fantasy stock.

From RotoBaller

Dede Westbrook Oct 20 2:10am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will likely play against the Bengals in Week 7, though he'll test the shoulder out in warmups to be safe. The Bengals Defense is an enticing matchup for Westbrook, but he's fallen from his team's top wideout to the number-two guy for quarterback Gardner Minshew, which limits his value. Play him in 12-team PPR leagues, but feel free to avoid him in shallower leagues and in standard scoring.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Oct 20 2:00am ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He had been questionable heading into Week 7 with a shoulder injury. New Orleans allows the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so this isn't a bad spot for Trubisky if you're in a pinch at the quarterback position. With Trubisky back, owners who picked up Chase Daniel in two-quarterback leagues can safely drop him.

From RotoBaller

David Johnson Oct 20 2:00am ET

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 7 against the New York Giants. New York has struggled to keep opposing running backs in check, so feel comfortable firing up Johnson in all formats on Sunday, even if we see Chase Edmonds worked into the mix a little more than usual.

From RotoBaller