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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
O.J. Howard Oct 16 10:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard will not be traded at the deadline, according to a source. The organization can also have him under control for two to three more years depending on franchise or transition tags, too.

Fantasy Spin: Howard is having a down year statistically, as head coach Bruce Arians has relied upon the tight end more for his blocking ability. At this point he has devolved into a TE2 in most fantasy formats, but at least it appears he won't be changing organizations anytime soon.

From TheHuddle

Ibraheim Campbell Oct 16 10:03pm ET

Green Bay Packers SS Ibraheim Campbell (knee) and TE Jace Sternberger (ankle) were able to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. The team has 21 days to let them practice to decide upon activating them and having the players count against the 53-man roster.

From TheHuddle

Robert Nkemdiche Oct 16 10:03pm ET

Miami Dolphins DE Robert Nkemdiche (undisclosed) and CB Cordrea Tankersley (undisclosed) returned to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. Both players started on the Physically Unable to Practice (PUP) list. The two players can practice up to 21 days before the team has to decide to activate them and count against the 53-man roster.

From TheHuddle

Dre Kirkpatrick Oct 16 9:43pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (knee) was able to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and he can practice up to 21 days without counting against the 53-man roster. The hope is that he can return as soon as Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars with CBs Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson III (shoulder) out.

From TheHuddle

Josh Jacobs Oct 16 9:10pm ET

Coming out of a bye week, Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is in prime position to pick up where he left off after a dominating Week 5 performance. After trouncing the Bears Defense for 143 total yards and two rushing scores two weeks ago, the 21-year-old will be leaned on heavily once again versus a susceptible Packers run defense in Week 7. Green Bay has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, which includes six rushing touchdowns allowed over their past four games. Look for the Raiders to keep the ball on the ground and in the hands of Jacobs, who owns a dominant 72% carry share over his backups Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington. He's also improved as a pass-catcher over his last two games, putting him a step closer to becoming a true bell-cow back. The first-round rookie is a firm RB2 ahead of Sunday's game with the potential to finish as an RB1 if he continues to get more involved in the passing game.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Oct 16 9:03pm ET

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (quadriceps) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Gurley was not able to play last week but appears to have a chance to be active for Week 7. He should be a starting option if he plays, but fantasy players should have other options available in case Gurley misses another game.

From TheHuddle

Clay Matthews Oct 16 9:03pm ET

Los Angeles Rams LB Clay Matthews (jaw) and CB Jalen Ramsey (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

From TheHuddle

Los Angeles Rams Oct 16 9:00pm ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said the goal is to have newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) ready to play in Week 7 against the Falcons. Ramsey missed the last three games with the Jaguars before being dealt to the Rams this week to help shore up their secondary issues. If he makes his debut with LA this Sunday, he'd be tasked with shadowing and slowing down Falcons stud receiver Julio Jones. That'd be a downgrade to Jones' matchup, but he's still a must-start for fantasy purposes after going over 100 yards in a bounce-back game in Week 6. Against Atlanta's explosive offense, the Rams are off the streaming radar this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Grant Oct 16 8:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Ryan Grant (Raiders) signed with the Green Bay Packers Wednesday, Oct. 16. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also released RB Tra Carson.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Rodgers Oct 16 8:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (knee) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Rodgers is in no danger of missing the Week 7 game but may be without some of his pass catchers because of injuries. He can still be considered a starting option in all leagues.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Jones Oct 16 8:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones (shoulder) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Jones had his four-game touchdown streak snapped last week and received only 11 carries during the game. He is still the main option in the running game and can be a No. 2 running back or flex option because of his touchdown potential.

From TheHuddle

Za'Darius Smith Oct 16 8:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers S Darnell Savage (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. CB Tony M. Brown (hamstring) and TE Robert Tonyan (hip) were limited during practice. OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), LB Oren Burks (chest), DT Kenny Clark (calf), CB Kevin King (groin, knee), S Will Redmond (ankle, shoulder) and LB Za'Darius Smith (knee) fully participated in practice.

From TheHuddle

Travis Kelce Oct 16 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in fantasy football since last season. He's continuing his strong play this season and should put together another solid game in Week 7. Kelce has a matchup against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Kelce has been heavily involved in the offense basically every single week. Fantasy owners can feel safe about Kelce being a top tier TE1 for Week 7 in Denver.

From RotoBaller

Darren Waller Oct 16 8:20pm ET

Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller will once again have a prominent role in the offense in Sunday's matchup versus the Green Bay Packers. He has far and away led the team through five games with 37 receptions and 359 yards, proving to be a reliable receiving option for quarterback Derek Carr who has largely favored his tight ends over the last two seasons. With Tyrell Williams questionable ahead of this weekend's contest, the air attack will funnel through Waller with the team likely playing from behind as seven-point underdogs. The 28-year-old has displayed a reliable floor and can be fired up as a TE1 for Week 7 as he's well past due to secure his first touchdown of the season.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Oct 16 8:13pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Allison will need to pass all of the concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so his status will not be known until later in the week. He has been more involved over the last few weeks but probably can be avoided in most leagues even if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 16 8:13pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to check later in the week to see if Valdes-Scantling is in any danger of missing the Week 7 game. He has been held to under 50 yards in each of the last three games but still be a flex option in some leagues if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Jimmy Graham Oct 16 8:13pm ET

Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Graham was held to only 17 yards last week but could have a solid role in the passing game if he plays since the Packers have multiple injuries at receiver. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end if he plays.

From TheHuddle

Byron Pringle Oct 16 8:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle had a huge Week 5 performance where he caught six passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. He saw eight targets during his huge Week 5 game, but then he was targeted just three times during the Week 6 loss to the Texans. It seems like that performance might have just been a fluke. Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson are all above Pringle on the depth chart. It's unlikely Pringle will get more than two or three targets with all those receivers healthy. He could be a desperation flex in deep leagues, but most fantasy owners should bench or drop Pringle. Most fantasy owners shouldn't bother with Pringle for the Week 7 matchup versus the Denver Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Oct 16 8:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have his work cut out for him this Sunday when his team travels to Green Bay to face the Packers. The veteran has done a commendable job managing games so far this season, proving to be a better real-life quarterback than in the fantasy game. Carr has surprisingly led his team to a 3-2 record on the season, but has yet to surpass 17 fantasy points in a single contest. His task will be even tougher this weekend if Tyrell Williams foot injury doesn't heal in time to face a Packers Defense that's currently giving up the seventh-fewest FPPG to the QB position. Carr can be safely ignored in all formats for Week 7 and for the foreseeable future.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Golladay Oct 16 8:10pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is coming off a very solid performance against the Green Back Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 6, but fantasy owners may want to temper expectations with the Minnesota Vikings coming to town in Week 7. The Vikings have allowed just one 100-yard receiver through the first six weeks of the season, and while fantasy owners will point to the 10 touchdowns allowed to wide receivers over that same time frame, a good chunk of those scores came in garbage time. The Lions haven't won in two weeks but have been playing very good football nonetheless, so extended garbage time looks may not be in store in this game. Slot Golladay in as a mid-range WR2 in this matchup.

From RotoBaller