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

Prediction: DEN 24, ATL 34 (Line: ATL by 3)

Players to watch: Jacob Tamme, Jacquizz Rodgers

Players Updated: Roddy White

This is going to be a great Monday night game. The Broncos took down the Steelers while Peyton Manning looked mostly back to form while the Falcons put the spank on the Chiefs in Kansas City. Both defenses played much better than 2011 and both offenses look very much improved. This has to favor the Falcons who always play better at home but the Broncos are not going to be pushover.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL ----- 11 SD -----
3 HOU ----- 12 @KC -----
4 OAK ----- 13 TB -----
5 @NE ----- 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD ----- 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO ----- 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-40
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-90,1

Pregame Notes: So far John Elway looks like the smart guy because a nice home win over the Steelers erases the whole Tim Tebow thing. At least for now. Manning looks like the same quarterback with maybe a slight flutter to his passes. But they end up where they are aimed and Manning completed 19 of 26 for 253 yards and two scores with no turnovers. He looked pretty vintage in a good way.

Willis McGahee comes off a decent game of 16 runs for 64 yards but he never caught a pass and he watched Knowshon Moreno hawk his short touchdown on his five runs for only 13 yards. McGahee remains the primary back but he'll take an unwanted hit if Moreno continues to take touchdowns away without offering any real yardage to make him fantasy relevant. Manning knows what he is doing and he almost never relies on a running back as a receiver.

The debate about which receiver Manning would prefer has been answered and it ends up everyone was right. Both Eric Decker (5-54) and DeMaryius Thomas (5-110, TD) had a team high seven targets. Brandon Stokley and Matthew Willis figure in but not nearly enough to yield any fantasy value. Decker is a a possession type with a low yards per catch average while Thomas is lightning in a bottle looking for the homerun with every catch. Last week it was 88 yards for a score - reminiscent of the play that killed the Steelers in the playoffs.

Jacob Tamme reprised his role as favored tight end if only for the one week when he caught five passes for 43 yards and scored once. It's worth tracking to see if that continues or if Tamme fades against other teams.

The Broncos lose the homefield advantage which is more significant than most teams face and head to a site where the Falcons rarely lose a game. This will be a good test to see if Manning and company can keep up with the firepower of the Falcons.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 13 23 10 9 27 6
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 23 32 1 25 12 4

QB Trevor Siemian, DEN HOU 0000025020 ***
Only three teams are harder on the position, and Siemian isn't exactly a safe play against a less formidable secondary. The Texans lost cornerback Kevin Johnson Monday night, but that's rather irrelevant based on the bigger picture: This D remains harsh on passers, albeit the quality has been iffy.
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN HOU 7013200000 ***
Houston hasn't been great against running backs this season, allowing six scores in as many games. All of them came on the ground. Anderson is a sound RB2 target but will lose touches to Devontae Booker, if you believe the coaching staff.
RB Devontae Booker, DEN HOU 3003200000 ***
Booker has fared well in limited work but needs more touches to become a consistent fantasy contributor. The Texans have allowed six touchdowns on the ground in six games, but four of them came spread over a pair of contests.
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN HOU 006701000 ***
The Texans continue to be strong against receivers, allowing 10.8 receptions, 142.8 yards and a touchdown every 21.7 catches to the position. DT, though, is a must-start in all formats because of his freakish skill set.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN HOU 006701000 ***
The Texans pose a tough matchup that Sanders should overcome. He checks in as a low-end WR3, but he's playable. Houston lost cornerback Kevin Johnson for the season, and no J.J. Watt means more time to pass.
TE Virgil Green, DEN HOU 003300000 ***
Green isn't a large enough factor in the offense to play him, let alone against the sixth strongest D against TEs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN HOU 2233 ***
The No. 12 overall fantasy kicker thus far gets to face a team that has surrendered the most field goal attempts in the NFL. It never hurts kicking in Denver's refined air, either.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 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
ATL vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 20 310,3
QB Matt Schaub 240,1
RB Stevan Ridley 100,1 3-20
WR Julio Jones 7-100,1
WR Aldrick Robinson 5-70,1
TE Jacob Tamme 6-50,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons entered 2012 as one of the teams most expected to become elite and so far the prediction is looking accurate. Posting 40 points on the Chiefs in Kansas City was impressive and yet allowing them to score 24 points may mean the best of all worlds. The Falcons are going to score lots of points and allow opponents to join in the shootout to the delight of every fantasy owner.

Matt Ryan passed for 299 yards and three scores with no turnovers and just one sack. The Falcons are well off with Roddy White (6-87), Julio Jones (6-108, 2 TD) and Tony Gonzalez (5-53, TD). Those three accounted for 23 of the targets and no other receiver had more than 32 yards last week. That's likely to hold true in almost all games because the trio of studs can get the job done in combination. It will be rare for any defense to handle even one or two of them, let alone all three. Julio Jones has all the marks of the newest elite receiver and a resident at the top of the rankings for years to come.

The rushing game - not so stellar. The offense is faster now and less reliant on any power rushing so the role of Michael Turner would be de-emphasized anyway. But Turner only gained 32 yards on 11 runs in a game where the Falcons had a huge lead. Jacquizz Rodgers did not fare much better as a runner with 22 yards on seven runs but he had two receptions for 13 more yards. Rodgers role could expand in games where the defense forces shorter throws but that is probably not going to happen in many home games and not against the Broncos. Turner is on the downside of his career and all reports that he has lost a step are hard to disprove. That means Rodgers role is bound to increase depending on his success as a receiver and runner. He is still the one to watch here since he will continue to develop as the season progresses.

The Broncos handled the Steelers rushing offense but it was not likely to be much anyway. This game is going to be won through the air and the trio of the Falcons in Atlanta will be a bigger challenge than the Steelers presented.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 1 30 5 7 2 12
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 18 5 18 19 14 11

QB Matt Ryan, ATL SD 0000033031 ***
Following back-to-back trying matchups, Ryan should enjoy a home battle with San Diego's eighth weakest matchup for fantasy. Continue to roll with fantasy football's No. 1 passer.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL SD 6006401000 ***
Freeman has returned to the must-play territory, so facing the second lamest defense of RBs is a nice boost for an already strong contributor. San Diego has allowed five rushing touchdowns and two more through the air, giving up the second most receptions in the NFL to RBs.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL SD 3013300000 ***
Coleman should enjoy a fine game against the second worst defense of PPR RBs in the NFL. Lock him into your lineup and go along for the ride.
WR Julio Jones, ATL SD 0071202000 ***
Despite losing its best cornerback, San Diego is a midrange matchup for wideouts. They haven't faced a Julio Jones, however, and he's at home coming off a sour loss.
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL SD 004500000 ***
Sanu should benefit from all of the extra attention to Julio Jones and the RBs. Unless he scores, however, we're talking low-end WR3 or flex value in PPR.
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL SD 003200000 ***
Tamme doesn't have much upside, and his production for gamers relies on touchdowns. That's not a good trait to have against a defense that has allowed only one by a tight end on 32 grabs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL SD 3344 ***
The matchup is narrowly on the neutral side, leaning positive. Atlanta's offense should be more than capable of hanging points on the Bolts.

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

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