Ravens vs. Saints
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Here's how the Ravens players stack up on a fantasy scale from 0-5 against New Orleans, with 0 being the low mark and 5 being the high.
Steve McNair, QB: What more is there to say about the Ravens' veteran quarterback? McNair has struggled when healthy this season (five touchdowns, seven interceptions), and he's coming off a concussion suffered against the Panthers. I can't imagine fantasy owners starting him under any circumstances. And if you're thinking about starting Kyle Boller, you probably want to think again. His numbers against the Panthers were very good--226 yards and three touchdowns (thank you to reader Sean for pointing out it was three TDs and not two as initially posted)--, but I wouldn't count on Mark Clayton grabbing a pair of tipped TDs again. Rating - 1 out of 5
Jamal Lewis, RB: I sure hope that Brian Billick calling the plays will change the offense because I'm sick of writing the same thing week after week. Lewis has failed to reach 45 yards in his last three games. I thought he looked better against the Panthers, but he only carried the ball nine times. It's possible that he continues to improve this week against a Saints defense that is giving up 119.7 yards per game on the ground. Musa Smith and Mike Anderson hold no fantasy value unless Lewis gets injured. Rating - 2 out of 5
Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, WRs: I figured I would include Clayton here with Mason this week, considering he's been a more valuable fantasy option after six games. Mason has seven catches for 82 yards in his last three games and has voiced displeasure with the way the offense has been playing. Meanwhile, Clayton had his best game of the season against Carolina, putting up 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Saints have given up big games to receivers this season. Philadelphia's Reggie Brown had 121 yards and a touchdown. Tampa Bay's Joey Galloway had 110 yards and a score. Carolina's Steve Smith put up 10 catches for 87 yards and a TD. And Donald Driver caught eight balls for 153 yards. Maybe Mason and Clayton can get things going this week, but they can't be counted on to put up numbers right now. Rating - 2 out of 5
Todd Heap, TE: He has been very good to fantasy owners this year, having scored four times in six weeks. There's no reason to think he won't get in the end zone against New Orleans. The Saints have given up scores to opposing tight ends in each of their last two games. Rating - 4 out of 5
Matt Stover, K: When Matt Bryant is hitting 62-yard game-winners (I still can't get over this), you realize it's impossible to predict the performances of fantasy kickers. Stover is great when called upon, but the struggles of the offense have made him an unreliable option. Rating - 3 out of 5
Ravens defense: The Saints' offense has been very good this year, averaging more than 354 yards per game. Drew Brees has tossed eight touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. Baltimore's fantasy performance will hinge on its ability to stop big pass plays, something it was unable to do against Cleveland, Carolina and San Diego. Don't just think wide receivers here. The Ravens will have to contain rookie phenom Reggie Bush, who has 38 catches on the season. This unit is a must-start every week. Rating - 4 out of 5