Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Follow Follow @Dorey_TheHuddle

Predictions Summary »  Player Rankings (Projections) »  myHuddle Projections by Team »  Projections Summary by Team »

* 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
DEN @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 260,2
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-40
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-90,1
TE Owen Daniels 4-40

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 Peyton Manning, DEN @OAK 0000030021 ***
Both history--Manning has averaged 317 yards and almost three TDs per meeting with Oakland since coming to Denver--and the Raiders defense--multiple TD passes allowed in every game, at least 269 yards (and an average of 319) in those tilts--suggest this is a "get back in the saddle" game for Peyton. But here's your red flag: in the December meeting with Oakland Manning threw for just 273 yards and zero touchdowns. Harbinger? On the bright side Manning's been better on the road, and in a four-team bye week his upside is still such that he warrants a fantasy lineup spot.
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN @OAK 4011100000 ***
Hillman has the superior production, both of Denver's RB TDs and all the upside in this matchup with an Oakland run defense that's no longer a cakewalk. Pencil him in for decent numbers, but something akin to the 15-56 he posted as CJ Anderson's caddy against Oakland last December wouldn't surprise.
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @OAK 3001100000 ***
These Raiders are no pushover on the ground, and Anderson isn't the back who posted games of 87 & 3 and 90 yards on Oakland last year. He's at best an equal partner in the Denver backfield committee, which means a share of the yardage and a shot at a touchdown. Tough to get giddy about that.
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @OAK 0091001000 ***
History suggests--nay, demands--that Demaryius produces here. His lines against Oakland during the Peyton Manning era: 8-115, 11-108, 6-113-2, 10-94, 5-83, and 5-103. His worst game this season was 7-60 in the sluggish season opener; since then he's topped 90 yards and caught at least eight balls in every game. That's a pretty high floor, and while this iteration of Manning may limit his ceiling we're still talking about a very helpful fantasy line.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @OAK 008800000 ***
Sanders is a Goose-like wingman to Demaryius Thomas' Maverick: never outshining the boss, but offering plenty of productive support. His 6-73 and 5-67-2 against Oakland in last season's series mirror what he's doing this season and provide a high hard deck for this engagement.
TE Owen Daniels, DEN @OAK 005501000 ***
Daniels has scored in back-to-back games, and he waltzes into perhaps the most favorable matchup in fantasy football: a tight end against the Raiders. Oakland has allowed at least one TD and 83 yards to every starting tight end they've faced. Why not Owen? Why not, indeed.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @OAK 2233 ***
You have to go back to 2011 to find a Broncos/Raiders game where the Denver kicker didn't have at least 10 points. And time travel hasn't been invented yet, so you can't really go back to 2011. Enjoy your McManus this week.

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
WR Julio Jones 7-100,1
WR Roddy White 5-80,1
TE Tony Moeaki 2-20
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 WAS 0000028030 ***
250-plus yards is a given, but the success of the ground game has cut into Matt's touchdown total. Facing a very good Washington run D should help shift some of the offensive emphasis back to Ryan--enough for him to be his usual quality fantasy play this week.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL WAS 6013200000 ***
Freeman very nearly scored more fantasy points last week than the Redskins have allowed to running backs this season. And while Washington hasn't exactly been shutting down studs they have been extremely difficult to run on. Freeman's punched his every-week starter card; just don't bank on another multiple touchdown effort.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL WAS 3002200000 *
Coleman may return from his rib injury this week, but he'll have to carve out a role after watching Davonte Freeman blow up in his absence. Best let him do that before trusting him with a fantasy lineup spot.
WR Julio Jones, ATL WAS 007901000 ***
Jones is a must-play regardless of foe, and the fact that Washington's secondary is fantasy favorable only contributes that much more to his prospects.
WR Leonard Hankerson, ATL WAS 006801000 ***
Hank wore the big-boy pants in Atlanta's receiver rotation last week, but it wasn't a fluke. He's been north of 75 yards and scored in two of the past three games and is poised to unleash the same on his former club. Worth noting the Redskins are allowing an average of 216 yards and 2 TDs to opposing wide receivers over the past fortnight, so even after Julio gets his there's enough for Hankerson to be a fantasy factor again.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL WAS 1144 ***
The only downer kicking for the red hot Atlanta offense is that Bryant is counting by ones instead of threes: 15 PATs already this season, but only two field goal attempts the past three weeks. And in the big picture, that's not much of a problem at all.

* 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)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t