FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

Prediction: ATL 30, NO 24 (Line: ATL by 3)

Players to Watch: Julio Jones, Roddy White

The 9-0 Falcons head towards their second divisional game of the season. The 3-5 Saints are on a one game winning streak and sport the worst defense against quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. It is truly the FANTASY TRIFECT and all too rare. We may never again see this in our lifetimes. Thank you Bountygate. Or whatever. I have to stop before I start crying again.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO -----
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI -----
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB -----
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO -----
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL 19-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL @ NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 10 300,2
RB Steven Jackson 40
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 30 4-30
WR Julio Jones 7-110,1
WR Roddy White 6-100,1
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The lone undefeated team may end up having to drop a trap game before too long because the schedule has only one winning record left to play and the Giants are the visitors in week 15. The Falcons are not overpowering anyone really, they are just a bit more balanced, make fewer mistakes and end up just good enough to always get the job done. Short of something unforeseen and catastrophic, the NFC will be going through Atlanta before the Superbowl.

Matt Ryan finally was held scoreless last week by the Cowboys but he still put up 342 passing yards with no turnovers. Ryan already passed for 17 touchdowns against only five interceptions and six of his games featured multiple touchdowns. He's thrown for over 300 yards in half his games so facing the #32 defense against quarterbacks is bound to be a very, very good thing.

Michael Turner comes off a solid effort against the Cowboys with 102 yards on 20 carries but that was with a 43-yard carry mixed in and he was no where near as productive on most carries as the totals suggest. That was his first good game since week five and mostly came on popping one long run that saw him caught before he could score.

Jacquizz Rodgers remains just change of pace and third downs with a few catches thrown in. Even against the Redskins and their weak secondary, Rodgers only had 12 total yards so facing the Saints doesn't necessarily mean decent numbers for Rodgers.

Tony Gonzalez was red hot when he started the season with four scores in the first five weeks but he's been held under 45 yards in each of the last three games and not scored. He is getting only five passes per game instead of the 10 or so he was thrown in earlier games.

This week will be all about Julio Jones and Roddy White. Jones scored in every road game so far and always turns in solid yardage. He was much less effective at home but then gained a season high 129 yards just last week when the Cowboys came to town. Jones should be a lock for a monster game here. Roddy White finally did not score at home last Sunday but still posted 118 yards on seven catches himself.

Like every week - anyone facing the Saints is a must start. This one should be lots of fun. The Falcons need to win divisional games anyway and the Saints have won the last three meetings and six of the last seven. Time for some payback.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 4 14 7 6 2 11
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 32 32 9 24 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL @NO 0000027030 ***
The last time Ryan saw the Saints he put up 448 yards and three TDs--and it's only the second-biggest game New Orleans has allowed to an opposing QB. In fact, four quarterbacks have topped 30 fantasy points against the Saints. Heck, the deposed Jay Cutler threw two TDs against them last week. Ryan has four straight games with multiple scoring strikes and an average of 362 and 2 in his last three trips to the Big Easy; what's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @NO 5001100000 ***
Jackson's numbers have declined in each of his three games as a Falcon, culminating with his 12-52 back in Week 1. And while the Saints have been softer of late against the run, Jackson has been delivering a steady supply of Jackson-like games--especially on the road: 16-50, 17-41, 16-81, 8-22, 13-37, 13-49, 11-46. Those are not the lotto-winning numbers to plug into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL @NO 006901000 ***
Douglas delivered 69 yards as a third wheel in the earlier matchup, so he's usable even if Julio Jones plays. And if Jones can't go... well, you saw last week's 10-131 for yourself.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL @NO 007801000 ***
White has taken a back seat to Julio Jones, both against the Saints and in general. However, he did score in the earlier meeting with New Orleans this year and has scored in each of the past two games. He's not quite 1A again, but he's a solid secondary option worthy of a fantasy start in a game that projects to fill plenty of fantasy mugs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Hester, ATL @NO 003401000 ***
Hester had 99 yards against the Saints in his Atlanta debut, and 85 and a score last week with Julio Jones out. Tough to bank on Atlanta going four deep at receiver again, but if Jones can't go Hester climbs onto the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL @NO 00000000 *
If Jones is deemed ready he's worth the risk against a Saints secondary that's allowed more WR TDs than all but five other teams; something about the 116 yards he had against New Orleans in the opener, or the 42 targets and 26-516-3 he posted the past three games he played.
Update: Jones didn't practice for a second straight week; last week that meant no game, and while he's listed as questionable Atlanta's top beat writer seems to think it means another week without Julio in the lineup. The plan is for him to test his hip on Saturday, so maybe we'll know a little earlier than game time regarding his availability.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @NO 1133 ***
Bryant kicked his way to 13 points the last time he faced the Saints, and he's averaged better than 10 points per game over the past six. New Orleans gave up back-to-back-to-back double-digit games to kickers before encountering the feeble Bears last week. With the Vegas line set at a lofty 56 for this one, expect fireworks--and plenty of opportunities for Bryant.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI 28-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 300,3
RB Mark Ingram 30 2-10
RB Pierre Thomas 30 3-20
WR Marques Colston 6-80,1
WR Robert Meachem 2-20
TE Jimmy Graham 5-50,1
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Saints finally had a bona fide, real win by a comfortable margin and the opponent did not score their season high for once. Then again, the 99-yard interception return kept this from being 21-20. The Saints at home against a weak team still can get it done. The defense is not going to hold much of anyone at bay but at least Brees and company can outscore a bad team by now. That does not apply to the 8-0 Falcons.

Drew Brees was a little light in yardage these last two weeks but he has scored at least twice in every game this season and currently owns 22 passing touchdowns. He is a must start who will be playing at home against the team that let him throw for 307 yards and four touchdowns the last time they visited New Orleans. This is a big game for the Saints and one that they'll be up for knowing the Falcons have sort of replaced them this year.

Darren Sproles remains out but his departure did nothing to reduce the committee in the backfield. They just moved Chris Ivory up and gave him ten carries to gain 48 yards and one score. Mark Ingram gained 44 yards on seven runs and had a season best two catches for 23 yards. Pierre Thomas still had his normal six runs for 44 yards and two catches for 26 yards. The Saints refuse to let any individual back have much fantasy value. All you can expect is marginal yardage and maybe a score every now and then. They love their mix-n-match backfield.

Jimmy Graham is completely over his sprained ankle with a score and 60+ yards in each of the last two games. He is the only Saints player that always gets double digit targets every week.

The wideouts are more limited this year. Marques Colston is more used than in the past with six touchdowns on the season and two games over 100 yards. Lance Moore hasn't scored since week three but still usually posts 60+ yards. The wideouts are really limited to just the two now instead of the three or four in years past.

This week the Falcons should grab a lead and force the Saints to throw. The worst thing that can happen is the score remains close and the Saints use their trio of running backs to keep the game score lower. Nah - this is the worst defense. That just won't happen.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 7 5 8 29 21
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 11 22 3 15 2 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO ATL 0000027020 ***
The Falcons have held three of their last four foes to one or zero touchdowns, and they limited Brees to 333 & 1 back in the season opener. So don't look for gaudy numbers; settle for pretty good and you'll be just fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO ATL 11022100000 ***
You can run on the Falcons, as no team has given up more fantasy points to running backs. And while he no longer gets all the carries, Ingram gets enough to make a fantasy impact.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO ATL 1006400000 ***
Thomas faces a Falcons' defense that has served up the third-most running back receptions and third-most RB receiving yards. Since his primary function is as a receiver out of the backfield, expect him to capitalize on those stats with a solid fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO ATL 006901000 ***
Stills is handling Brandin Cooks' duties, so it's worth noting that the rookie went for 7-77-1 in the earlier meeting--numbers that could easily be replicated here in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO ATL 005701000 ***
Colton went for 110 yards in the earlier meeting with Atlanta, but that's not rare against the Falcons. Five different wideouts have hit triple-digits in the past six games; expect Colton to return to their ranks this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO ATL 004500000 ***
The Saints haven't forgotten about the tight end position; they've scored four TE TDs in the past three games. They have, however, apparently forgotten about Graham, who has scored exactly zero of those touchdowns. He's scored in six of eight career meetings with Atlanta, and remains an every-week starter--though a gentle reminder to Sean Payton of his presence would be appreciated.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO ATL 2244 ***
Graham tallied double-digit points back in the season opener in Atlanta, but he hasn't been back above that mark since Week 8 and has just one multiple field goal outing in that span so keep those expectations in check.

WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

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