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 @GB 50100024022 ***
Cam without the running is merely ordinary. But take a decent passing outing and tack on a top running back's stats and now he's Superman again. Green Bay has already allowed a couple rushing scores on the year and 49 rushing yards to Ryan Tannehill last week, suggesting Cam's combo platter is set for big things again this week.
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR @GB 5001000000 ***
Update: Stewart is listed as probable, so he'll evidently drag his oft-injured carcass around for as many snaps as his brittle legs will hold him. He's been unreliable in the past, tough to bank on him here.
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR @GB 00000000 ***
Reaves has been utterly ordinary thus far, and nothing suggests he'll bust out against Green Bay this week. Plus, Cam is back to swiping scores so the fantasy potential of all Carolina RBs takes a hit.
Update: With Jonathan Stewart expected to play, Reaves goes on the way-back burner.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR @GB 005701000 **
Benjamin's an every-week fantasy starter and the most likely of any Carolina wideout to accumulate helpful fantasy numbers.
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @GB 004600000 ***
10 targets last week suggests Cotchery might be in line for a larger share of Carolina's passing game pie; however, all Cotchery could do with those 10 targets was 58 yards and no scores. So... as you were.
WR Jason Avant, CAR @GB 002300000 ***
Avant is the only Carolina wideout besides Kelvin Benjamin to find the end zone this year, and against a Green Bay defense that's allowed multiple WRs to score in two of the past three games that suggests he has an opportunity here. Still, it's a pretty slim opportunity.
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @GB 005501000 ***
The Pack have yet to allow a TE TD, but Olsen is such an integral part of the Carolina passing attack he can bust any trend. He's scored in four of six and is an every-week starter in TE-mandatory formats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @GB 2233 ***
Green Bay hasn't allowed multiple field goals--or an opposing kicker to top six points--since the season opener. Those are tough odds for Gano to buck.

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 @BAL 0000029012 ***
Baltimore has allowed back-to-back 300-yard passing games and four this season of 290 or more, plus multiple TDs to each of the past two QBs they've faced. Sounds like a softer non-dome landing than many expect for Ryan on the road; he'll be just fine this week.
RB Antone Smith, ATL @BAL 1004400000 ****
The 2014 season's ultimate big-play threat has scored in every game in which he's received three or more touches. Just because you've hit the lottery before, however, doesn't necessarily mean you'll hit it again.
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @BAL 3002100000 *****
Only one team's running backs have found the end zone against the Ravens, and that took a commitment to the run Atlanta has demonstrated only in the 56-14 blowout win over Tampa Bay. As they're unlikely to run the Ravens by 40 points in Baltimore, Jackson won't see enough touches to be fantasy relevant this week given his limited productivity with said touches.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL @BAL 1003200000 *****
Freeman is still fighting an uphill battle for touches and can't be banked on as a fantasy helper just yet.
WR Julio Jones, ATL @BAL 007801000 ****
High volume targets find success against the Ravens, and there's little question Jones is a high-volume target. The twin TDs by Tampa's wideouts last week suggest Atlanta's dynamic duo should find at least a modicum of success in Baltimore.
WR Roddy White, ATL @BAL 005400000 ****
White is definitely running WR2 to Julio Jones; moreover, his yardage is capping well shy of triple digits so he'll need the TD to be a major fantasy factor. Tampa Bay's wideouts scored twice on the Ravens last week so it's not an impossibility, but it's at least an unlikelihood.
WR Devin Hester, ATL @BAL 002300000 ****
Hester's a better play in more favorable matchups. This isn't one, so he's relegated to the "one big play" pile with Antone Smith--and right now Smith is doing it better.
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL @BAL 002200000 *****
Since scoring in Week 1 Toilolo has a total of 84 yards and zero scores. He's no Tony Gonzalez; then again, few are. And a matchup with a Baltimore defense that hasn't let a TE top 60 yards this season and surrendered only one TE TD on the year isn't about to make him look like Tony G, either.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @BAL 1111 ***
Bryant's been slightly above average, which is disappointing given the talent on Atlanta's offense. The Ravens have been a mild damper on opposing kickers, so keep your expectations in check here.

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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