Myself, like most people, had figured the Thursday Night Football game between the Saints and Falcons was going to be a high-yardage, high scoring affair. How wrong we were. The 23-13 win by the Falcons wasn't exactly low scoring, but it didn't come close to the 58 total points these 2 teams put up back in Week 10. After last night, not only are some fantasy football owners off to a rough start, but Falcons fans have to be asking themselves if their team is even good enough to make it deep into the NFL playoffs.
There is no doubt that there is plenty of love and hate to go around, but here are 3 things that stuck out to me last night as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
Michael Turner - I just don't get Turner. I really don't. Considering he combined for a measly 63 yards against the Cardinals and the Buccaneers two weeks prior, I had him not only ranked very low on my Week 13 Running Back Rankings, but also put him down considerably in my Game Preview from Thursday afternoon. If anything, Turner was one of the only bright spots against a Saints Defense that held him in check in the first meeting. Not only were his 83 rushing yards more than his total output in the last 3 weeks combined, but he has now scored 4 touchdowns in the last 5 games. How I'll rank Turner against the Panthers for Week 14 is up in the air right now, but it's clear he is a huge wild card going forward. At the very least, the team hasn't given up on him near the goal line. It looks like Jacquizz Rodgers was a tease, again, last week.
Darren Sproles - The Saints refuse to give Sproles a carry, with fantasy owners having to rely heavily on his receptions for any sort of fantasy value. And even that doesn't give him justice as an RB2 on a weekly basis. His 5 catches for 47 yards were somewhat valuable. But for a guy who many owners had high expectations for during the summer, Sproles clearly isn't living up to the pre-season hype. You won't see Sproles as anything more than a flex option going forward. Especially with guys like Pierre Thomas and Mike Ingram still lingering. Sproles is, in my mind, still the best running back the team has, but they just don't give him enough touches to warrant a high fantasy grade.
The Quarterback Play - Knock the rankings all you want, but there was absolutely no reason why Matt Ryan and Drew Brees didn't deserve to be ranked within the top 5 of the Week 13 Quarterback Rankings. In the first meeting, both of these quarterbacks combined for 1050 passing yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Like I wrote Thursday, I had thought that those numbers could easily be duplicated, or at least come close. Boy was I, and everyone else, wrong. Ryan's 165 passing yards was the lowest of the year and Brees' 5 interceptions were not only ugly, but a "career" low. Unlike the Week 10 matchup, the object of this week's game for both teams was to get the run game going, which pissed off a lot of owners who are either in the first week of their playoffs, or on the outside looking in.