Saints @ Falcons
This game felt a lot more out of reach than it actually was. The Saints had the ball for over 13 more minutes than the Falcons had it. The Saints had drives end in a missed field goal, a fumble, and a turnover on downs that may have made the game seem further out of reach than it was. The Saints defense had gone 42 straight possessions without allowing a touchdown until the Falcons broke through in the fourth quarter. That made it a one-score game and the Falcons had two drives to try and win and they could not. The Saints held on 21-16 and will continue as the number one seed in the NFC. New Orleans travels to Philadelphia next week and the Falcons will travel to the Chargers.
New Orleans Saints
Taysom Hill: 27/37, 232 yards, 2 TDs, 2 sacks | 14 carries, 83 yards, 1 fumble lost
Unlike last week against the Broncos, Saints quarterback Taysom Hill looked great throwing the ball on Sunday. His receivers were consistently getting open and he was hitting them with strikes. Hill had his first two career passing touchdowns on Sunday. He hit Tre’Quan Smith on a wide-open crossing route in the end zone for an easy pitch and catch. His second touchdown pass was to tight end Jared Cook on another strike for an 11-yard score. Hill had a nice 43-yard scramble that set up his touchdown pass to Smith on the next play. Up by 12, late in the fourth, Hill was sacked and fumbled deep into Falcons territory and the Falcons scored their first touchdown after that. On a later drive, he fumbled on a carry outside but luckily the ball went out of bounds. Hill fumbled three times but luckily for the Saints he only lost one of them. Taysom now has two touchdowns in all three of his starts so far. He is a low-end QB1 right now for as long as he is starting. Check out his first career TD pass below.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 6, 2020
Alvin Kamara: 15 carries, 88 yards, 1 TD | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards
Latavius Murray: 5 carries, 17 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 0 yards
Once again, Alvin Kamara was not involved in the passing game with Taysom Hill at quarterback. He did have a couple of long carries and a red zone rushing touchdown to make for a solid day. A Falcons defender missed a tackle in the backfield and Kamara slipped out and ran for 37 yards. He also had a sequence of a 10-yard carry and then an 11 yards carry on the next play (his touchdown). He is just a low-end RB1 or RB2 while Hill is at QB but if you have him, you are starting him.
Latavius Murray was surprisingly not very involved today. He has been more heavily involved in the two games that Hill has started. Today the Saints threw the ball more and that meant Murray saw a reduced role. He is a great handcuff but can’t really be trusted to start in fantasy right now.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Michael Thomas: 11 targets, 9 receptions, 105 yards
Emmanuel Sanders: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 39 yards
Jared Cook: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards, 1 TD
Tre’Quan Smith: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 42 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry 3 yards
Michael Thomas was once again the primary target for Taysom Hill and for good reason as he is one of the top receivers in the league. He was moving the chains consistently with intermediate receptions. He is a WR1 every week even with the backup Hill in at quarterback. Jared Cook had a brutal drop early in the game on a fourth down. He made up for it with a fantastic catch in the endzone and held on after taking a big hit. He is a low-end TE 1 at the moment as he needs a TD most weeks to really help you.
Tre’Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders were involved more than they have been recently, with Smith getting the easy red zone score. Smith had multiple downfield looks compared to Sanders catching shorter routes. They both can’t be trusted much for fantasy at the moment as they don’t get consistent usage.
Matt Ryan: 19/39, 273 yards, 1 TD, 3 sacks
Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense really did not do a whole lot in this game until the very end. Once again, they struggled to run the ball and therefore did not have much of a play-action game. There weren’t a lot of “easy plays” for this offense with a lot of the success coming from his star receivers making great plays. Ryan was sacked eight times in their meeting a couple of weeks ago but was only sacked three times today. He was under pressure a good amount, as PFF had him pressured on 18 of his 42 dropbacks and he completed five passes on those pressured attempts. The Falcons stalled out in scoring position most of the game until a late touchdown pass to Russell Gage. They settled for three field goals and a turnover on downs out of their five red-zone trips. Matt Ryan has been a middling QB2 this year in fantasy and that is what he is going forward right now. There is upside for more with all of his receivers healthy.
Todd Gurley: 8 carries, 16 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards
Ito Smtih: 8 carries, 36 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, -2 yards
Once again, the Falcons running game did not produce much. The Falcons have averaged 3.7 yards per carry coming into this week (2nd worst in the league) and averaged 3.3 today. Todd Gurley looked like his injury was still affecting him because he had barely any burst and could not move laterally. He made a costly decision late in the fourth. Down by five, the Falcons were at the Saints 21. Gurley got the ball on 1st down for an eight-yard gain and then got stuffed on 2nd down. On 3rd and 2, he tried to break outside and ended up running backward to lose 7 yards. It was a killer and the Falcons did not convert on 4th and 9. (The play I referenced you can see below.)
Todd Gurley single-handedly lost the Falcons this game. Thanks a lot Todd….. pic.twitter.com/mVWxTCSb23
— Dr. Omar Johnson (@OhhMar24) December 6, 2020
Gurley was used sparingly in the first half with only a couple of touches. He is hard to trust in fantasy with how he looked on Sunday. He is just a flex option at the moment. Ito Smith was the main change of pace back and showed some decent burst on his touches. There wasn’t enough volume for him to produce a good fantasy day but he looked solid. He can’t be trusted in your lineups with Gurley healthy.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Julio Jones: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 94 yards
Calvin Ridley: 10 targets, 5 receptions, 108 yards
Hayden Hurst: 4 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards
Russell Gage: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 51 yards, 1 TD
Julio Jones was facing double coverage the entire game with the Saints deploying Marshon Lattimore on Calvin Ridley for the most part. Julio looked good after his one-game absence with a hamstring injury. He left for a couple of plays in this one but shortly returned. He drew a couple of penalties against the defense and had an end-zone target or two that weren’t very catchable. When he is healthy and playing he is a WR1. Ridley had a big game as it is and it was almost much bigger. He had a couple of end zone targets that he was just out of bounds on. He had a couple of tremendous catches down the sideline for big chunk gains. He is a no-doubt WR1 going forward.
Russell Gage had a brutal drop on a third down in scoring position. He later had a tremendous catch down the seam where he spun all the way around to make an adjustment on a throw behind him. He made a nice catch on the sideline for a short touchdown, the Falcons’ only one of the game. he is just a WR4 with both top receivers healthy. Hayden Hurst didn’t do much of anything with everyone finally healthy again. A couple of his missed targets were highly contested that he couldn’t make the play on. With everyone healthy, he is going to need TDs to help us in fantasy as he is now the 3rd-5th option in the passing game any given week.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 6, 2020
— Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918 on Twitter)