Monday's match up between the New Orleans Sains and Seattle Seahawks was expected to be a huge primetime game even before the season began. Now 14 weeks into the regular season, and the match up feels as exciting as expected. Both the 10-2 Seahawks and 9-2 Saints could use the win to potentially ease up their postseason with a bye week. The Saints are far from comfortable atop the NFC South. The Carolina Panthers are one win behind the Saints, and both teams play one another twice over the next month.
Monday Night Football may be one of the better non-division NFC showdowns of the season. Of course, we're here to discuss what fantasy owners should expect from the final game of Week 13.
Drew Brees: He's a must-start nearly every week. As difficult as the match up is on paper, with giving up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, it's important to remember that Seattle's secondary is missing Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond. Brees and his high-octane offense will likely be enough of a threat to warrant at top-five consideration for Brees in Week 13.
Running backs: If there is any position that Seattle will be the bigger threat toward, it's the Saints backfield. Pierre Thomas will be tested, but he's still a flex option on Monday. The Seahawks have given up some big games to running backs this season. Thomas and Sproles will be enough of a dual threat to justify starting either one. Sproles has more value in PPR leagues as usual. He's a low-end flex option, but should be benched in standard leagues. Mark Ingram isn't much of an option in all formats. There's just no telling when Ingram will have a big game, and it doesn't happen often enough to gamble on him.
Wide receivers: Marques Colston bounced back after a stretch of three games with just 44 total yards. He can be started as a WR3, but should be benched in two-receiver standard scoring formats. Kenny Stills is a desperation play. He can put up big numbers on any given week but turn around with just a few targets the next. He's a WR4 option with some upside as Seattle will likely throw what they have left in their secondary on Colston. Lance Moore and Robert Meachem are deep gambles that shouldn't be considered even in deeper leagues.
Tight ends: Jimmy Graham is a usual must-start despite the tough match up. He's coming off a strong performance (5/100/1) so continue to roll with him as a top-five option. Benjamin Watson vultured a touchdown in Week 12, but there's no way you can expect that to happen consistently.
Defense/ Special teams: As impressive as New Orleans has been on the field, their defense doesn't translate to huge fantasy weeks on a consistent basis. Seattle is a tough opponent especially at home. This is not one of the weeks you should be plugging New Oreans into your lineup.
Russell Wilson: The Seahawks will likely need to throw against the Saints for a good portion of Monday night. This bodes well for Wilson owners. He's a solid QB1 as the Seahawks should provide enough holes in their secondary to create some offensive production for the Saints. Wilson will need to keep up with Brees, and he's certainly capable of doing so, especially at home. Start him with confidence.
Running backs: Marshawn Lynch is a must-start every week. The Saints are average against fantasy running backs, and Lynch obviously an above average option. The fact that he's playing in Seattle makes him all the more appealing. Start Lynch as a usual RB1.
Wide receivers: Golden Tate is the better option when it comes to Seattle wide receivers. He's a WR3 with upside against a New Orleans team that will likely force Wilson to throw the ball to keep his head above water. Tate is capable of a big play on any given week and this week may be one of the better times to consider starting him. Doug Baldwin is more of a reach, but he has scored twice over the past three weeks. He's a low-end WR3 option when you consider the potential offensive shootout. Percy Harvin is doubtful for Monday's game, making both Tate and Baldwin all the more appealing.
Tight ends: Zach Miller is a risky play on any given week. He's a TE2 even with Harvin likely sitting out. If fantasy owners are dealing with a game-time decision for their usual starting tight end, they could do worse than starting Miller. Regardless, he's a bit of a reach.
Defense/ Special teams: New Orleans is the toughest offense to start a defense against in fantasy football. However, Seattle owners may be forced to start them as they shouldn't be dropped in any format. Considering fantasy owners are left with New Orleans or Seattle on Monday night, Seattle is the better play at home. They can create turnovers regardless of their opponent and it's unlikely they'll cost owners their week despite the match up.