Fantasy Game of the Week: NO @ IND

As the beginning of the 2007-08 NFL season begins tomorrow, and due to the fact that tomorrow’s game has so much relevance to fantasy football, we’ve decided to publish a new weekly article called “Fantasy Game of the Week”. This article will not necessarily focus on the most relevant game in terms of the standings or playoff races. It will analyze the game that will have the biggest effect on the fantasy world. An example of this would be, maybe…New Orleans vs. Indianapolis. In fact, I can’t think of another match-up that could take place that would have more fantasy relevance.

So expect to see a new edition of this article each week, and if you’re lucky enough to have players in these games (which if you’re in multiple leagues I’m pretty sure you have at least one this week), then you’ll get to see our analysis of the game and how we expect each player to perform. We will rate each fantasy-relevant player with a “Geek” rating, similar to a star rating system that some other websites use. A player expected to have a superb day fantasy wise would be given a “5 Geek” rating, while one expected to have minimal fantasy impact would receive a “1 Geek” rating. So without further ado, here is your Fantasy Game of the Week:

New Orleans Saints (0-0-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-0-0)
Thursday, September 6, 2007 (8:30 PM ET)

This game figures to be an offensive fireworks show, with a total score of 75+ not out of the question. The names of the players at the skill positions reads like a Pro-Bowl roster. One team won the Superbowl last season, the other came within two games of making it there (and is expected to come closer this year by some experts).

Quarterbacks

Peyton Manning 
The Saints were 3rd in the NFL against the pass last season, but that was mainly against second rate NFC quarterbacks, not against the elite QB’s of the AFC. Manning will get his as usual.

Drew Brees
Not to be outdone, the Colts were 2nd in the NFL against the pass. Don’t be fooled though, their rush defense was so bad that teams never really tried to pass on them. Brees should have a big game as the Colts focus on stopping the two headed monster that is Reggie Bush and Duece McAllister.

Running backs

Joseph Addai
Addai put up solid fantasy numbers last season splitting carries with Domanic Rhodes. This game he has it all to himself and he’s going against a soft defense that was 23rd in the NFL last season against the run. Expect a solid game from Addai.

Reggie Bush  
Last year the Colts were the worst team in the NFL against the run. As far as I know, they didn’t go to extremes trying to bolster that defense in the offseason, so expect a big game from Bush. The only thing that could take away from Bush is the fact that he might have to split the feast with his fellow running back…

Deuce McAllister  
As will Bush, Deuce McAllister should prosper against a Colts defense that allowed 136 yards to Mike Bell and 153 yards to Ron Dayne last season. Expect at least one endzone plunge for McAllister.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Harrison
Averaged around 90 yards and 0.75 TD’s a game last year. Expect numbers on the higher side of that average this game as the Saints struggle to figure out how to cover all the Colts offensive weapons.

Reggie Wayne
See Marvin Harrison.

Marques Colston  
Colston came out of nowhere last year and tore it up. Expect the Colts to be ready for him, but they’ll still be more focused on the Saints running game, so Colston will have a solid outing.

Deverey Henderson  
I expect the Saints go down a few scores early, so expect Brees to be throwing deep to Henderson a lot. If he connects on a couple, Henderson could have a pretty nice game.

Anthony Gonzalez  
The third receiver in Indy is always a mystery as to what type of stats they’ll rack up on a night to night basis. Add that to the fact that Gonzalez is a rookie and it becomes even harder to predict. I wouldn’t put him in your lineup for week 1, but wait and see how he performs to determine if you might find a place for him later in the year.

Tight Ends

Dallas Clark
Clark should be an average TE this week. He’ll be fighting for receptions with two of the top receivers in the league, but he’ll still get a couple as Manning looks to his safety valve a few times.

Eric Johnson  
Three seasons ago Eric Johnson had a breakout year for the 49er’s, but then injuries derailed his next two years. He is new to this offense, so while I wouldn’t recommend starting him here, use this game as a test to decide whether or not he’ll be a viable tight end for the rest of the season.

Kickers

Adam Vinateiri  
The only thing preventing 5 Geek status is the fact that he might only be used for extra points in this contest.

John Carney  
Should see plenty of action, but again, could be limited in field goal attempts as the Indy sieve of a defense allows mucho touchdowns.

Defenses

Indianapolis  
You’d have to be nuts to start either of these defenses. With all the offensive firepower on the field, I expect these defenses to get lit up.

New Orleans
As with Indy, New Orleans is not a recommended start this week. If by some crazy chance they do perform well though, make sure to pick them up right away, as it’s only going to get easier from here.