FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: ATL 24, KC 23 (Line: ATL by 2.5)

Players to Watch: Jacquizz Rodgers, Peyton Hillis

The Falcons reached the playoffs last year and look to take another big step (like winning in the playoffs) with a new and more aggressive passing offense and what should be a better defense. The Chiefs come off a nightmare season where they lost Jamaal Charles and continued to lose players and games the entire season though a late season surge left them at 7-9. The Falcons were only 4-4 on the road last year but have to open their season with a win here in order to show they are going to be a force in the NFC. The Chiefs have players back and all new coaches from last year. This could be a sneaky win by the Chiefs but should have the Falcons flexing some muscle.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC ----- 10 @NO -----
2 DEN ----- 11 ARI -----
3 @SD ----- 12 @TB -----
4 CAR ----- 13 NO -----
5 @WAS ----- 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK ----- 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI ----- 17 TB -----
9 DAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: This has the marks of a very good season for the Falcons who have one of the lightest schedules in the NFL and an offense on the upswing. Matt Ryan already had a break out season with 4177 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2011 (Authors note - remember when a 4000 yard season was considered a big one?). He returns all the same receivers and helms a new offensive scheme that will be more open and more predicated on the pass like virtually every other team this year.

The rushing effort will be less relied on according to the plan and that's a good thing given that Michael Turner has apparently lost a step already and looks slow and less powerful. He can be relied on for touchdowns and had 11 last year but if he loses any power rushing ability the Falcons could just throw a scoring pass or try out Jacquizz Rodgers instead which is what they did in the preseason with encouraging results. The hope is that Rodgers takes a much more prominent role this year as both a runner and receiver. This will be a tandem attack and if Turner really has take a turn for the worse, then Rodgers may end up as the back to own here. Rodgers can do himself a huge favor by showing up big this year and making the case to be the man in 2013 while negating the need to bring in any heavy hitter to replace Michael Turner.

Another source of optimism is Julio Jones who is everything that Michael Turner is not - young, comes off a great year and has by all accounts gotten even better this summer. Jones ended his rookie year with 54-959-8 and that was with missing three games. He had five efforts top 100 yards and better yet, he scored six times over the final five games. Roddy White started the year out slowly but picked it up and ended with his second straight 100 catch season. This is a very powerful tandem now and the biggest reason to expect more from the Falcons this year. Harry Douglas takes the #3 role again but there has not been enough passes to trickle down and make him fantasy relevant. This may change a little with the newer offense but not much to go on yet.

Tony Gonzalez returns for what has to be his final season (and he means it this time) but kudos to the best tight end in NFL history. He had a nice 80-875-7 season last year while burying nearly every record for his position.

Chances are best that the Falcons are able to get a win here with a powerful offense and improved defense against a team that will be better than 2011 but also has new schemes and such to install and new players to meld in. Should the Falcons lose this opener, they have to wonder if their road woes are going to continue to be a problem. They catch a break since the Falcons LCB Brandon Flowers has been out with a heel injury and may not play this week and at the least be less than 100%.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 9 10 7 10 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 11 21 4 8 8 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL CAR 0000024022 ***
Carolina ranks among the top defenses of quarterbacks, holding the position to just 592 yards and four touchdown passes in three games while picking off four balls. Ryan threw only one touchdown in two late-season games vs. Carolina in 2015.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL CAR 4014300000 ***
Coleman has arrived, folks! Sure, it was the Saints, but he has been gearing up all season. Carolina has ceded three touchdowns in total to RBs, good for 20.7 PPR points per game. Keep Coleman in the lineup despite the intimidating matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL CAR 4004301000 ***
Freeman righted the ship last week with a big day against the Saints. Carolina's defense has given up 11 catches for 87 yards and a TD to running backs via the air. On the ground, the position has racked up 243 yards and two scores. Freeman is a sound PPR play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL CAR 004600000 *
Julio wasn't a factor last week and the Falcons still racked up point after point. Go figure. Jones had his way with Carolina in Week 16 last season, going for 178 on nine catches and scoring from 70 yards out.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL CAR 003400000 ***
Sanu is banged up and considered day to day. Check back later in the week for an update.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL CAR 005601000 ***
Carolina's offensive love for the position is equally matched on defense. They lay down for enemy tight ends, giving up a 15-209-2 line through three weeks. Tamme is a fine flex or TE1 in PPR leagues.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL CAR 3322 ***
Carolina has given up only four field goal attempts this year, but they haven't faced an offense as explosive as Atlanta's. Bryant is a fine play in all fantasy formats.

Kansas City Chiefs
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL ----- 10 @PIT -----
2 @BUF ----- 11 CIN -----
3 @NO ----- 12 DEN -----
4 SD ----- 13 CAR -----
5 BAL ----- 14 @CLE -----
6 @TB ----- 15 @OAK -----
7 BYE ----- 16 IND -----
8 OAK ----- 17 @DEN -----
9 @SD ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs come off a season they want to forget where Jamaal Charles was instantly lost along with Tony Moeaki. That sent the offense into a tailspin. Matt Cassel missed seven games. The Chiefs finally dusted themselves off and got back into the game later in the year but the damage was already done to a lost season. The ownership brought in new coaches and bumped Romeo Crennel to head coach.

Jamaal Charles is right at one year removed from tearing his ACL but has seemed to bounce back exceedingly well. His trademark burst is intact and his speed has not suffered. He played in three preseason games and looked good. What will be a factor this year is the addition of Peyton Hillis who played previously with OC Brian Daboll when he had his big year. The natural assumption is that he becomes the new Thomas Jones. And two seasons ago in what was Charles best year, Jones actually had a lot of carries (265 vs 294). The fantasy fear is that Hillis takes all the short scores but Charles has never had more than seven rushing touchdowns in a year anyway. His role as a runner and a receiver getting big chunks of yardage is his tool in trade. There is room for both in this offense and most notable will be just how much they use Hillis and how much they protect Charles and take him out of short yardage situations. This running attack once again has a lot of potential.

The receivers are also a strength here with Dwayne Bowe seemingly coming off a bad year (81-1159-5) though that was with multiple quarterbacks and he scored 15 touchdowns in 2010 playing all year with Cassel. Jonathan Baldwin is the second-year player who did not get into any fights, did not break his hand and who has be all accounts had a very good camp and should be ready to step up from an otherwise lost rookie year. Steve Breaston will lose more work as Baldwin improves. Tony Moeaki returns from his knee surgery but finds Kevin Boss there to share the load with and there's not enough passes to the position to split the bounty.

This is a home game and the Chiefs always play tough at Arrowhead. At full strength, they'll put up a fight but first week out after coaching upheavals in the offseason make it harder to come together.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 30 19 20 32 28 24
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 19 6 20 20 9 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Alex Smith, KC @PIT 0000027011 ***
The Steelers have been good at keeping quarterbacks from throwing touchdown passes, but that's about where the success ends (996 yards allowed, 3rd most, only 2 INTs). Smith doesn't make many mistakes, but he isn't an upside play, either.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Spencer Ware, KC @PIT 7016700000 ***
Assuming Jamaal Charles doesn't play again, Ware remains in the low-end RB1 or strong RB2 debate. Pittsburgh has been trampled on the ground and through the air to fantasy backs to the tune of fantasy fourth best matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC @PIT 00000000 *
Check in Friday for an update on his playing status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, KC @PIT 005601000 ***
Pittsburgh has allowed one touchdown on 44 catches by the receiver position, which gives Maclin a statistically tough matchup. The high number of receptions allowed gives Maclin promise for a decent fantasy output.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Conley, KC @PIT 003400000 ***
Conley played 81 percent of the Week 3 snaps for KC, and it's only a matter of time before he as a big game. This doesn't appear to be the week, however. Keep him benched if you have rostered the talented youngster.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC @PIT 007700000 ***
Kelce has an interesting matchup this week. The Steelers have allowed a bunch of yardage (209) to tight ends but no scores in 19 opportunities. Kelce looks to buck that trend.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC @PIT 2222 ***
Kickers have converted at a perfect rate against the Steelers, knocking in eight field goals and six extra points through three contests.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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