Sun Nov 10 4:24pm ET
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a touchdown pass to running back Brian Hill, not pictured, in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) carries in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) celebrates his sack with defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) celebrates his sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, on ground, in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) and defensive end Vic Beasley (44) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Matt Ryan passed for two touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons ended their six-game slide with a 26-9 victory over the Saints on Sunday that stopped New Orleans' six-game winning streak.
Atlanta's defense stunningly dominated New Orleans' normally stout offensive line. Coming in with an NFL low seven sacks all season, the Falcons sacked Drew Brees six times, with Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley Jr., Adrian Clayborn and De'Vondre Campbell all getting involved. Jarrett finished with a team-high 2 1/2 sacks.
It was the second time this season the Saints were held without a touchdown at home, but the first time with Brees under center. New Orleans also failed to score a TD in a 12-10 victory over Dallas in Week 4 with Teddy Bridgewater filling in at quarterback.
Ryan, returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him in the game before the Falcons' Week 9 bye, was 20 of 35 for 182 yards.
His first touchdown went for 8 yards to tight end Austin Hooper in the second quarter and his second to running back Brian Hill in the fourth quarter to put Atlanta in front 20-9.
Ryan was intercepted once inside the final five minutes by Marcus Williams, but the Saints offense quickly turned the ball back over on downs.
Julio Jones caught three passes for 79 yards - including a 54-yarder to set up a field goal - for Atlanta, which rolled up 317 yards and were the first Saints opponent since Seattle in Week 3 to gain more than 257 yards.
Brees went 32 of 45 for 287 yards and the Saints finished with 310 yards, well below their average of 375.3 coming in. That's despite getting running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook back from injuries that had kept them out of New Orleans' previous two games. Other than receiver Michael Thomas, who caught 13 passes for 152 yards, few regulars on the Saints' offense approached their usual production.
The Saints also were mistake-prone, committing committed 12 penalties for 90 yards. Several of those infractions extended Atlanta drives on third and even fourth down.
With 9:01 left, J.T. Gray, who had blocked a punt in Chicago in Week 7, committed a 15-yard, roughing the kicker penalty trying to block another. The penalty led to Younghoe Koo's 48 yards field goal, which widened Atlanta's lead to 23-9 with 7:27 to go.
Falcons: Running back Devonta Freeman left with a foot injury. ... Defensive back Damontae Kazee was being treated after tackling Saints running back Latavius Murray in the third quarter. ... Hooper limped off early in the fourth quarter after being tackled by Demario Davis. ... Safety Kemal Ishmael received treatment on the field in the final minutes but was able to walk to the sideline.
Saints: Cornerback Marshon Lattimore walked to the locker room in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the game with a thigh injury. ... Guard Andrus Peat left the game later in the second quarter with an arm injury.
Falcons: Visit Carolina on Sunday for the first matchup of the season between the NFC South foes.
Saints: Visit Tampa Bay on Sunday, looking for a season sweep of the Buccaneers.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a great game in a tough matchup last week, beating Darius Slay for six catches and 92 yards in the win. He'll have another tough draw against Casey Hayward and the Los Angeles Chargers Defense in Week 15. They have a great secondary and play a lot of zone coverage, which is not Diggs' strong suit. However, Diggs has shown huge upside this season and he put up strong fantasy numbers despite tough matchups in two of the last three weeks. Having Adam Thielen back to draw attention away only helps his cause, and this game projecting to be close means that the Vikings will likely be forced to the air more. Start Diggs as a WR2 who has some sneaky upside in Week 15.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is as volume-based RB1 in Week 15, as he has been for most of the season. He wasn't listed on the injury report at all on Friday and backup Alexander Mattison (ankle) being out definitely increases his projected workload. Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah will split the backup role, but it's unlikely that they'll see the type of volume that Mattison was getting. The Chargers Defense ranks 23rd in rush DVOA but has been stingy as of late as they've had key players return from injury. In fact, they haven't allowed a back to eclipse 63 total yards in their last three games. Start Cook as an RB1 this week as he's a lock for at least 20 touches and a good bet for a few red zone opportunities.
Despite struggling in Week 14 against the Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette should still be considered a solid RB2 in Week 15 against the Oakland Raiders. Fournette dominates the backfield touches on this Jaguars team and has seen his role as a pass-catcher increase over the past three games. The Raiders Defense hasn't offered too much resistance to opposing backs this year and are also allowing the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs. With D.J. Chark out, expect quarterback Gardner Minshew to rely more on Fournette as a receiving option as well, setting him up for what should be a solid outing.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook should be the team's top weapon on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders with fellow receiver D.J. Chark already ruled out. Westbrook entered the year as the team's number one target, but Chark emerged as a key deep threat and Westbrook dealt with injuries. Now, though, the third-year receiver has a great shot to put up strong fantasy numbers against a Raiders team that's allowing the 13th-most PPR points per game to opposing wide receivers. He's still got risk, especially as he deals with a shoulder issue, but he's the best fantasy option among Jags pass-catchers this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew threw for just 162 yards in his return to the starting role last week, but he should be in line to surpass that when Jacksonville faces the Oakland Raiders in Week 15. Oakland allows the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing passers, and the last time Minshew started against a comparable defense in fantasy points allowed was when he threw for 300 yards against Houston in Week 9. D.J. Chark won't play, which puts a little damper on Minshew's upside, but this is still a plus matchup for the rookie, who should be considered as a solid QB2.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker has signed a four-year extension with the team that includes the next two years guaranteed, locking the breakout receiver into a deal with a rebuilding Miami team. This is a good spot for Parker, who's been become a reliable fantasy option for the Dolphins this season, and while there's risk involved based on his track record, he should still be considered a strong fantasy option moving forward in dynasty leagues.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is eighth in fantasy points at the position over the last five weeks. He isn't posting out-of-this-world numbers, but he gets to the quarterback almost every game. The Dallas Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the game, and Donald doesn't do much outside of the sacks category. Sit him this week.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff has started to right the ship a bit after a three-game touchdown drought. He has thrown for 717 yards, four touchdowns and two picks the last two games. He'll have a solid matchup against a struggling Dallas Cowboys Defense. They've allowed 218.8 passing yards a game the last five games, but they've allowed nine touchdowns to one interception total during the span. Roll with Goff as a low-end QB1 with some upside.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been really sketchy of late, but he has scored a couple of touchdowns to salvage his last two weeks. He has 19 grabs for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the last five games. Quarterback Jared Goff has really grown a rapport with receiver Robert Woods, and Kupp has suffered. The Dallas Cowboys are a midrange matchup, and Kupp is a low-end WR2 this week.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has performed like an RB1 in his best stretch of the season the last five weeks. He has rushed 85 times for 366 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Gurley caught a modest 11 balls for 87 yards during the stretch. The Cowboys present a midrange matchup that has allowed 3.9 yards per carry during the same span. Gurley will be a high-end RB2 this week.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods is having the best run of his career the last five weeks. In point-per-reception formats, he ranks seventh in fantasy points. He also missed a game due to personal reasons in the span. He's averaging 8.3 receptions for 115.5 yards during the last four games, but the one downside is he has one touchdown on the season. The Dallas Cowboys are a midrange matchup, and Woods is a high-end WR2 play.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has caught four passes for 56 yards in the last three games since returning from a concussion. His freefall disqualifies him from consideration for fantasy against the Dallas Cowboys.
Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein is 6-for-9 in field goals the last five games, and he has nailed all 11 extra points in what has been a bit of an outage in fantasy. The offense isn't presenting him enough opportunities, and the Dallas Cowboys limit what kickers do against them as well. Steer clear of "Greg The Leg" again this week.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense has been good over the last five weeks as they're seventh in fantasy points. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the better teams against opposing defenses because they don't turn the ball over or allow many sacks. Look elsewhere for a defense this week.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson came through with a receiving touchdown last week in his first visit to the end zone in nearly two months. Running back Kenyan Drake has really diminished Johnson's role. Johnson has rushed for just 36 yards on 12 carries (3.0 yards per rush) with five catches for 51 yards in his last four games. Maybe the last week's touchdown gave him a bigger piece of the pie, but he can't be played until that's evident. Sit him against the Cleveland Browns.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk balled out with a three-touchdown game a month ago, but he has slowed since. He has averaged 5.7 catches for 49.7 receiving yards and no touchdowns per game the last three games. He catches enough to be used in point-per-reception formats, but his yardage and touchdown output is suspect without that point. The Cleveland Browns are a bend-but-don't-break matchup. They've allowed 162.8 receiving yards and 11.8 catches over the last five games and two touchdowns total to the position. Kirk is worth using as a flex option in PPR leagues, but he's a risky choice in non-PPR formats.
Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has lost most of his fantasy appeal in recent weeks. He isn't likely to get it back against the Cleveland Browns. They have allowed opposing kickers to go 7-for-10 in field goals and 9-for-9 in extra points. Gonzalez is lacking the upside to use him in the tough matchup.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is coming off a game in which he completed 80% of his passes for 242 yards and a touchdown against the Lions, continuing a streak of stellar play for the much-maligned passer. Facing a tough Los Angeles Chargers Defense on the road, it's likely that Cousins will need to throw a bit more with the Vikings currently favored by just one point. The Chargers rank in the top-five in fewest fantasy points allowed to the position and haven't given up more than 182 yards passing in three consecutive weeks. Interestingly, they rank 20th in pass DVOA. Star wideout Adam Thielen is finally set to return, giving Cousins a full complement of weapons and (finally) taking some pressure off of Stefon Diggs. This offense is clicking, and Cousins should have the volume to put up some usable fantasy numbers in this matchup. Start him as a high-end QB2 and keep him in your daily fantasy player pool.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones has been hit or miss lately because his fantasy value is predicated on sacks. He has 18 tackles (13 solo), 4.5 sacks, a pass defense and two forced fumbles the last four games, which sneaks him into the top 20 linebackers. He's too risky to use against the Cleveland Browns this week.
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (hamstring) practiced in full Friday, which means he's good to go for Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns. Baker has been a solid DB1 in individual defensive player leagues all season, but he has come back to the pack a bit. He has 42 tackles (36 solo), two passes defended and fumble recovery over the last month. You can count on him for tackles, but if your scoring format focuses heavily on others, he might fall out of the DB1 range.