FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* 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
Grass
  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
TE Vernon Davis 4-40,1

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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 13 23 10 9 27 6
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 23 32 1 25 12 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, DEN SD 10000024010 ***
The Chargers have held four straight quarterbacks to one or zero touchdown pass and 216 yards or less, including Osweiler's 166 and 1 in Week 13. Osweiler has averaged better than 300 yards in the three games since facing San Diego, and a home date with playoff positioning on the line should yield better results than the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN SD 6011100000 **
The Chargers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 6, but the way the Broncos are splitting carries down the middle it's unlikely either Denver back gets enough touches to threaten triple digits. Anderson was the more productive back last week; give him the narrow edge to claim the RB TD the Chargers have allowed in each of the last two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN SD 6002200000 ***
Hillman remains in the mix, sharing carries with CJ Anderson, and he'll add some value in PPR leagues as the pass-catching back. But it still adds up to a fringe fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN SD 007801000 ***
There's maybe a touchdown up for grabs; Thomas claimed it as part of a 6-61-1 effort in the last meeting and is the more likely candidate again given his 38 targets over the past three games. But the Bolts haven't allowed a 100-yard receiving game since Week 9, so there's a ceiling on the upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN SD 003600000 ***
Sanders isn't necessarily a bench candidate, but the Chargers haven't given up touchdowns to multiple receivers since Week 7 and the best wingman game since then is 68 yards. With Demaryius Thomas the more targeted Bronco, Sanders has to settle for leftovers--and there aren't likely to be many.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, DEN SD 003200000 ***
Three Denver tight ends split 60 yards in the earlier meeting with San Diego. In three games since the Chargers have allowed a total of 9-89 to opposing tight ends, and while Daniels has consolidated most of the Broncos' tight end production there's still not enough to warrant fantasy consideration.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN SD 2222 ***
Nine-plus points just once
with Osweiler at QB;
Who likes chicken parm?

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  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
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 2 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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 1 30 5 7 2 12
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 18 5 18 19 14 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL NO 0000030020 ***
Ten of the last 11 quarterbacks to face the Saints have thrown multiple touchdowns, with seven of them also topping 300 yards. So if you've been waiting for a quality fantasy effort from Ryan--because he hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns since Week 11--this may be your chance. Something along the lines of his 295 and 2 from the earlier meeting wouldn't surprise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL NO 8016501000 ***
Freeman rolled up 156 yards from scrimmage and scored twice in the earlier meeting with New Orleans. He's regaining his touches and his productivity since coming back from injury, topping 90 combo yards in the three games he's received 20-plus touches and scoring in each of the last two. Over the past eight games the Saints are giving up 191 combo yards and a touchdown to opposing backs; slot Freeman for the lion's share of those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL NO 0091201000 ***
The Saints haven't had an answer for any receiver of not this season, especially of late as they've surrendered 11 WR TDs in the past month. Julio was "limited" to 6-93 in the previous meeting; that feels like a baseline here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL NO 004500000 ***
White scored in the earlier meeting with New Orleans and last week notched his most productive game since Week 1 with 67 yards. With the Saints giving up multiple WR TDs in three of the last four games--and 573 WR yards over that span--there may be enough for one last fantasy hurrah for White.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL NO 003200000 ***
While on the surface the matchup is attractive, the Saints haven't allowed a TE TD in a month; besides, Tamme has been too lightly used over the past month to warrant fantasy attention.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, ATL NO 1133 ***
Bryant bad before
This game has highest O/U
Graham good this time

WEEK 2
2012
* 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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