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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
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.

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 Trevor Siemian, DEN @TEN 0000025021 *
Siemian is reportedly making progress and could start. Check back Friday for more info. The Titans at least offer a sweet matchup ... no team has allowed more points per game over the last five weeks.

Update: Siemian is questionable and a likely game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devontae Booker, DEN @TEN 5004300000 ***
The Titans have given up the 12th most PPR points per game since Week 8. The majority of this damage stems from giving up 149.8 combined yards, on average, over this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @TEN 0081001000 ***
A sweet matchup in Week 14 should get Thomas back on track, assuming Trevor Siemian can start. The Titans present the weakest fantasy defense of the position since Week 8.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @TEN 006701000 ***
Tennessee returns from its bye with fantasy's most generous defense of receivers over the last five weeks (four games). The position has averaged 17.3 catches a game, which is the most in football. Yardage-wise, the 219.8 allowed a game is second.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE A.J. Derby, DEN @TEN 002300000 ***
Derby has no value in Week 14. Keep him on the wire.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @TEN 3322 ***
Of the 20 combined kicking chances, 85 percent have split the uprights. The Titans have given up the 11th most points per game to kickers over the last five weeks.

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
QB Matt Schaub 240,1
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.

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 @LA 10000026021 ***
In the last five games, quarterbacks have scored nine TDs through the air and one on the ground vs. the Rams. LA has made QBs work for their points: This D ranks 30th in yards per completion and 20th in points per play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL @LA 5004400000 ***
LA has surrendered only two rushing TDs on 116 attempts in the last five weeks. The position has mustered to do damage through yardage totals, racking of the fifth most per game, to generate the fourth best matchup to exploit in PPR.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL @LA 2002100000 ***
The matchup is great, but the level of utility is questionable. The Falcons may choose to assault through the air as their preferred means of attack. Coleman is no more than a fringe flex start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, ATL @LA 006801000 ***
Not only is the matchup great, but Julio Jones is dealing with turf toe. There could be more looks to go around. Gabriel has been a hot player in the last month, and he was still involved in last week's mild letdown effort. LA has allowed the 10th most wide receiver points per game since Week 8.

Update: Gabriel is a must-start with Mohamed Sanu ruled out, and Julio Jones a GTD after not practicing all week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL @LA 005600000 *
Despite a turf toe injury, Jones vows to play. It's a tough injury and could impact his ability to get off the line. Of course, with such a good matchup, he goes from being a phenomenal play to a great play. The Rams have allowed 38.7 WR points a game in PPR the last five weeks.

Update: Jones did not practice all week and is a game-time decision. Don't be surprised if he sits out Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Aldrick Robinson, ATL @LA 003300000 ***
Update: Robinson could see extra looks with the injuries to Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones. He's not a worthy fantasy play in standard situations, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Hooper, ATL @LA 003300000 ***
Trusting the rookie isn't a wise idea in this all-important week of fantasy action.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @LA 3322 ***
Kickers have averaged four combined kicking opportunities a game when facing the Rams over the last five weeks. Atlanta's offense could be slowed if Julio Jones' toe injury hampers him. Bryant has upside but is also risky.

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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