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
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 MIN 40100025011 ***
Cam posted 21.2 fantasy points against Denver's stout D in Week 1 and 29.8 last week (SF). The Vikings have given up 23.5 fantasy points per game in two contests, which is the 11th easiest matchup. No Jonathan Stewart could mean more attention on Cam, so think of him more as Clark Kent than Superman this week.
RB Fozzy Whittaker, CAR MIN 6003200000 **
Whittaker could benefit from Minnesota's tough ground defense -- hear us out. They gave up two touchdowns through the air to running back DeMarco Murray in the opening week. No J-Stew will give Whittaker ample chances to produce fantasy points in your flex spot.
RB Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR MIN 200000000 **
CAP is going to be active with Jonathan Stewart on the mend, so he'll have a role. It's probably not that much of one, and a terrible matchup to boot. The Vikings have given up 98 total rushing yards to RBs in two games.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR MIN 005801000 ***
Benjamin could ascend into the upper tier of fantasy receivers for 2016 with a strong performance against a nearly impervious defense. Minnesota has given up only one touchdown to the position, which came from Jordy Nelson in Week 2. Benjamin's size alone makes him a promising fantasy play in this otherwise formidable matchup.
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., CAR MIN 002300000 ***
Ginn is always a home run threat and a risky fantasy start. Minnesota has permitted receivers to score only once this year on 28 grabs, ranking in the 10 toughest matchups for the position.
WR Devin Funchess, CAR MIN 002300000 ***
A TD saved his Week 2 value and gives some hope as the Vikings prepare to stop Kelvin Benjamin. Minnesota has been a strong opposition for receivers through two games, allowing only 31.8 fantasy points per game to the position.
TE Greg Olsen, CAR MIN 007800000 ***
Not an ideal matchup for the veteran tight end ... keep him in your lineup, and avoid him in DFS. The Vikes have locked down the position to only nine catches for 98 yards and no TDs. Temper your expectations with Olsen and hope a mismatch can be exploited by that attention cast on a pair of towering receivers.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR MIN 1133 ***
This one could go either way -- start Gano, because Minnesota could stall several Panthers drives. Don't be surprised if Gano is seldom used, though.

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
QB Matt Schaub 270,2
WR Julio Jones 4-70
WR Aldrick Robinson 2-40
TE Jacob Tamme 4-40,1
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 @NO 0000033011 ***
Who would have thought Matt Ryan to be the fantasy leader among QBs through two games? The matchups worked in his favor, no doubt, but this is a divisional tilt that may not be as friendly. Last week, the Giants struggled against the Saints. New York's entire offense has struggled for most of the summer, though. The next step is looking at historical results, which works in Ryan's favor a good deal. Ryan is a sound starter in most formats.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL @NO 8012200000 ***
New Orleans has given up three rushing touchdowns -- only one team has permitted more to running backs. Freeman is a PPR option, but New Orleans has done a good job against RBs in this department. The touch split severely limits Freeman's upside, so don't put too much weight into his RB2 potential.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL @NO 4013300000 ***
Coleman continues to be involved enough to deserve attention, and he's outplaying Devonta Freeman. Fringe lineup territory here for PPR owners, but a more stable start in standard-scoring formats. Coleman is a good bet for a rushing score against a defense that is fifth against fantasy backs. New Orleans has given up three rushing touchdowns -- only one team has permitted more to running backs.
WR Julio Jones, ATL @NO 0061001000 ***
You know the rule: Never bench Julio. The Saints have given up the second most yards to wideouts but only one touchdown this year.
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL @NO 006900000 ***
A great matchup, plenty of targets, single coverage opposite an elite receiver ... what's not to like? New Orleans is the fifth easiest defense versus the position.
WR Justin Hardy, ATL @NO 002200000 ***
Hardy caught a touchdown last week off a deflection and doesn't deserve fantasy ownership right now.
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL @NO 004400000 ***
Tamme currently sits as the six best fantasy tight end through two games. He benefits greatly from the attention on Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. While not explosive, PPR owners can consider him a fine play most weeks. This matchup is poor on paper, but it may be fake. New Orleans faced the Raiders and Giants -- not exactly tight end-friendly offenses.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @NO 2233 ***
New Orleans has given up the 13th most fantasy points to kickers (5-for-6 FGA, 2-for-2 XPA).

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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