Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: CAR 13, ATL 30 (Line: ATL by 7.5)

Players to Watch: Jacquizz Rodgers, Greg Olsen

The 1-2 Panthers first trip outside of the division resulted in a drubbing by the visiting Giants and now they face the 3-0 Falcons who have already made plans for the divisional trophy with 13 games left to play. The Falcons swept the Panthers in 2011, winning 31-17 at home and 31-23 at Carolina. We still cannot be certain if these Panthers are better or worse than last year, but it seems very apparent that the Falcons are improved. The Panthers have lost six of the last seven meetings and their last win was in 2009.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN -----
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL ----- 13 @KC -----
5 SEA ----- 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL ----- 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI ----- 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 260
RB Jonathan Stewart 40 4-40
RB DeAngelo Williams 50 1-10
TE Greg Olsen 6-50

Pregame Notes: Beating the Saints is starting to be less of an accomplishment as was originally thought which means otherwise, the Panthers not only lost two games but only had one touchdown in each. The offense had a decrease in passing late last season and now even the rushing has been no advantage.

Cam Newton only has two passing touchdowns against five interceptions and a lost fumble. He made up with 71 rush yards in New Orleans but the other two games only totaled 11 runs for ten yards though he did score against the Giants on a one-yard dive. This is not bad for most second year quarterbacks. This is disappointing for the Offensive Rookie of the Year who shattered many rookie records last season.

Jonathan Stewart has missed two games because of both toe and ankle injuries but is expected to return for this game. It's not like his absence has been any great benefit for DeAngelo Williams who posted 69 rush yards and a score in New Orleans and only 50 yards on 11 runs versus the Giants. The two weeks that Stewart has been gone had Newton stealing short rushing touchdowns. Now that Stewart should be back, it just takes mediocrity and halves it.

It is not all gloomy here though. Steve Smith has posted three games with at least 86 yards in each though he has yet to score a touchdowns. Greg Olsen finally had a big game with 98 yards on seven receptions and his 14 targets were nine more than any other receiver. That sort of attention by Newton means good things in the future for an offense that is struggling to move the ball, particularly with two tough defenses up next with the Falcons and Seahawks.

This week is not likely to be any better. The Falcons are playing very well on both sides of the ball and even when they get a big lead, they do not relent. The Falcons have been weaker against the run but game situation here may mean the Panthers abandon the run as they did last week. And whatever rushing happens has to include Stewart this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 11 17 19 20 32 21
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 6 27 3 11 1 1

QB Cam Newton, CAR @BAL 10000025012 ***
Cam needs the rushing stats to push him from fringe fantasy contributor to viable fantasy option--and the past two weeks he's set and then re-established career lows for rushing attempts in a game. Nothing special here.
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR @BAL 3002200000 ***
The Panthers hope Williams will be able to shoulder the load in their injury-ravaged backfield, but even if he's healthy and flying solo he's looking at an upside well shy of 100 yards and an outside chance at a score.
Update: Williams is probable while fellow feature back Jonathan Stewart is questionable, so Williams at least will see the bulk of the touches. What he'll do with them, on the other hand...
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR @BAL 300000000 ***
Reaves could wind up being the last man standing in the Carolina backfield. That's hardly enough to warrant a fantasy start.
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR @BAL 00000000 *
Update: Stewart officially lists as questionable, but since he's expected to miss about a month with his current knee injury that seems optimistic.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR @BAL 006601000 ****
Talented and targeted receivers have had success against the Ravens, and Benjamin is both.
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @BAL 004500000 ***
Cotchery missed last week's game with an injury, but he should return to his usual pedestrian production this week.
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @BAL 005600000 ***
Olsen will see his targets and put up his yardage as essentially the number two target in this offense, but don't expect much more against a Baltimore defense that has surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @BAL 1122 ***
Baltimore has allowed multiple field goal attempts in every game thus far; Gano has kicked multiple treys in each game this season. It's a match made in fantasy football heaven.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO -----
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI -----
3 @SD 27-3 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 CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 10 270,2
RB Steven Jackson 60,1 4-30
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 40 5-40
WR Harry Douglas 2-20
WR Julio Jones 4-70
WR Roddy White 6-90,1
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons are undefeated and looking like one of the big contenders in the NFC. Their match-up in San Diego proved to be their finest game yet with so many weapons to use on offense that it does not matter when one or two are having an off game. And when it hits on all cylinders the Falcons are very hard to beat by anyone in the league. Support that with an improved and opportunistic defense and it is a fun time to have Falcons on your fantasy roster.

Matt Ryan is taking the proverbial "next step". He has passed for at least two scores in each game, has been deadly accurate and has already passed touchdowns to four different players. The rushing effort is adequate at times but is never going to overtake the need to pass. At times, the rushing has been so lackluster as to ensure that Ryan has to throw.

Michael Turner comes off his best game of the year with 80 yards on 14 runs against his old employer but on the season he still only has 42 runs for 154 yards for a 3.7 yard average. And if you have watched him, that seems kind of high. Jacquizz Rodgers has not been that more effective but was given ten carries in San Diego (33 yards) and was finally used as a receiver with five catches for 35 yards and one score. That is a capacity for Rodgers that would yield decent weekly fantasy value but then again - there already are three great receiving options anyway. Turner gets the short touchdown runs but he has marginal fantasy value with no receiving work and usually a somewhat ineffective rushing average in most weeks.

Tony Gonzalez is leaving the league in style. Three games - one score in each and never worse than 5-53. Against the Chargers he led the team with nine catches for 91 yards. He's been a tremendous value for a tight end that was being largely ignored in fantasy drafts.

Julio Jones bounced back from his minimal production against the Broncos when he posted 67 yards on five catches against the Chargers with one score. That has been his typical pattern. Jones has been deadly in road games and then marginal in home stands. Six career games over 100 yards and every one was away from Atlanta.

Roddy White is the opposite again this year. Big game against the visiting Broncos and no scores on the road. It isn't that the two wideouts cannot do well in all venues. It is just that they usually don't and it is consistent enough to merit consideration.

The Panthers have been bad against the run but the Falcons are not going to win games on the ground. The higher ranking the secondary gets is because most teams just do not throw much because rushing is easier. That should be changing this week against the Falcons who are going to throw and so far - always throw well.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 20 9 2 6 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 11 31 2 21 31 22

QB Matt Ryan, ATL @MIN 0000026020 ***
Ryan has thrown three TDs in each of his first two home games, and he should have similar success against the Vikings. Despite stats that suggest they're stout against the pass, teams aren't forced to throw against Minnesota because they threaten no one offensively; also, facing the Rams' Hill/Davis combo and Tom Brady working with a big lead kept the numbers down as well.
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @MIN 501000000 **
Jackson will get the short-yardage shot(s); just don't look for him to be a great help in yardage leagues.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL @MIN 3002100000 ***
Rodgers heads up a three-headed committee that offers a change of pace to Steven Jackson. There's no reliable fantasy option amongst the three unless and until one emerges as the go-to S-Jax alternative.
WR Julio Jones, ATL @MIN 007901000 ***
What's not to like about Jones' productivity thus far this year? No reason for it to come to an abrupt end here; while the Vikings have yet to allow a 100-yard receiver this season, they haven't faced much in the way of quality wideouts--and the best they've seen (Julian Edelman, Marques Colston) have scored.
WR Roddy White, ATL @MIN 004700000 ***
If he's healthy he's usable here, but best wait until the Falcons clear him to return to action.
Update: After practicing on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday White practiced fully on Friday and is listed as probable. No reason to keep him on your fantasy bench.
WR Eric Weems, ATL @MIN 004500000 ***
With Roddy White and Harry Douglas both nursing injuries Weems is the alternative to Julio Jones. There's no compelling reason to play him here, especially with Devin Hester swiping occasional snaps as well.
Update: White is back but Douglas questionable; there should be snaps for Weems, just not enough to make him fantasy relevant.
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL @MIN 002200000 ***
The Vikings historically struggle against tight ends, and with Chad Greenway a possible scratch there's even more reason to think that will be the case. Toilolo isn't a compelling fantasy option in and of himself, but if bye week issues have you scrambling it's a favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @MIN 2233 ***
Should be plenty of points on the Atlanta side of the ledger, which is usually good news for kickers.

CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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