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David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: ATL 24, TB 27 (Line: ATL by 1)

Players Updated: Julio Jones

Players to Watch: Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, Doug Martin

This is the game that can make the Falcons the official NFC South "Next Big Thing". The 9-1 Falcons are 4-1 on the road and want to beat the 6-4 Buccaneers to maintain a very safe cushion in the division. Thing is - the Bucs are on a four game winning streak and are averaging 34 points over the last six weeks. This is an all new Buccaneers team from the one that won 16-13 when they hosted the Falcons in week three last year and later lost 24-45 in Atlanta. This should be a great game to watch with big fantasy and NFL implications.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO 27-31
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI 23-19
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 @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 310,3
RB Steven Jackson 60 1-10
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 20 5-50,1
WR Harry Douglas 5-50,1
WR Devin Hester 1-20
WR Julio Jones 4-60
WR Roddy White 8-120,1
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons remain two games ahead of all other NFC teams though the lost in New Orleans and then discovered the Cardinals were going to be more like a swarm of hornets than the normal obedient family dog. For being 9-1, the Falcons almost never win by more than a touchdown and now may be without Julio Jones this week. The rest of the schedule is not that daunting though and the Buccaneers high scoring ways have been against defenses not up to the Falcons.

Matt Ryan has been a top quarterback all year and currently stands at 20 passing touchdowns. He's thrown over 300 yards five times including each of the last three games though he did not score against the visiting Cowboys or Cardinals these last few weeks. His five interceptions last Sunday was an exception to be ignored and he's facing perhaps the weakest secondary in the NFL this week. Ryan passed for 330 yards and one score in Tampa Bay last year.

Michael Turner scores in most home games but rarely on the road and his yardage has really waned this season with only one 100-yard effort in the last six weeks. He's been a marginal play all year and Jacquizz Rodgers gets just enough work to make Turner worse and yet not enough to allow Rodgers real fantasy value. He typically only runs a few times per game but has been good for four or five receptions for the past month.

Tony Gonzalez has really fallen off in the last five games. After starting out with four touchdowns in the first five weeks, he's scored and totaled more than 45 yards only once. That was against the ultra-weak Saints. Then again - he goes against a soft secondary again this week.

The big question this week is if Julio Jones can play and what he will be like if he does. Jones twisted his ankle in the Saints game and did not practice but suited up for the Cardinals. He was mostly a decoy, catching only three passes for 33 yards and then limping off in the fourth quarter after re-aggravating the injury. Jones typically has not been a major factor in home games other than his presence alone changes the defense. I'll assume a very hobbled Jones plays and adjust as the week progresses and his status becomes more clear. Roddy White should enjoy a nice game this week that could end up really big against a weak secondary that may be missing a starting corner anyway. Harry Douglas steps up to fill in for Jones when needed though he's hardly a 1:1 replacement for the speedy star.

The good thing is that the Buccaneers defense is so bad that they encourage shootouts most weeks. Even without Jones, the Falcons still have the firepower to get into a shootout that we all want to see.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 4 15 6 3 3 14
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 30 18 32 19 9 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD 34-24
2 @NYG 34-41 11 @CAR 27-21
3 @DAL 10-16 12 ATL -----
4 WAS 22-24 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC 38-10 15 @NO -----
7 NO 28-35 16 STL -----
8 @MIN 36-17 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK 42-32 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 100,1 4-40
WR Vincent Jackson 4-50,1
TE Brandon Myers 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: This week provides a true measuring stick for the Bucs to see just how good they have become. So far this point explosion of the last six weeks have come against mostly below average defenses and teams with losing records. This is a respect sort of game and a confidence builder if they can win it. There are still some bumps left in the road before January - @DEN, @NO and @ATL and a loss this week could turn all the progress around for the rest of the year.

Freeman has been a nice surprise this year, picking up on all the promise of 2010 that fell flat last season. He's thrown for multiple scores in each of the last six games and currently has 21 passing touchdowns - one more than Ryan. His yardage tends to be lower thanks in part to a very good rushing effort by Doug Martin. The addition of Vincent Jackson seems to have been the one element needed to bring it all together.

The rookie Martin rushed for 138 yards in Carolina for his third 100+ yard effort in the last four weeks. He's totaled 100+ yards in each of the last six weeks and scored seven times in that timeframe. He's clearly taken the lead of all rookie running backs, even better than Trent Richardson in Cleveland. The offense started to come together after the first month of the season and can now provide a powerful and balanced attack thanks to Martin. He's the rare workhorse back who does not share his workload with anyone.

Dallas Clark is still rarely good for more than 30 yards in a game but scored in each of the last two games and comes off a season high seven catches for 58 yards in Carolina. That's roughly double what he did in literally every other game though.

Vincent Jackson may not do much until the fourth quarter but he usually has a decent game. Last week it was 94 yards and a score late in the Panthers tilt. That was his seventh touchdown of the season and his workload typically reflects how well the running game is going and how badly the Bucs need to pass. He's been a star in all recent home games except for the Chargers who apparently were not going to be beaten by their ex-wideout. Mike Williams remains a good #2 though a little quieter in recent weeks.

The Falcons secondary has been their defensive strength but less so stopping the run. That should keep Doug Martin busy trying to keep the Falcons offense off the field.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 13 7 14 25 11 13
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 9 25 2 22 4 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mike Glennon, TB @PIT 30000019011 ****
Glennon is your likely starter in place of the injured/ineffective Josh McCown, but don't expect much out of the gate. Not that the Steelers have been lights out, but none of the QBs they've faced have put up much in the way of helpful fantasy numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @PIT 6011100000 *
Martin is expected back for this game, but he's been away for so long he'll need to show us something before he can be plugged back into a self-respecting fantasy lineup with any degree of confidence.
Update: Martin practiced fully all week, but it remains to be seen just how quickly he'll reclaim his share of the carries--or how effective he'll be with them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @PIT 300000000 ***
While Doug Martin is expected to return to the lineup this week, he has done nothing to suggest he's ready for prime time, a fantasy start, or a full feature-back workload. If Rainey doesn't fumble away his opportunities again he makes an intriguing play against a Steelers defense that served up solid fantasy games to the likes of Terrance West and Bernard Pierce.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @PIT 005500000 ***
Glennon seemed locked on Evans early on in his 2014 debut, even though it was Vincent Jackson who wound up with the touchdown. There are too many variables at play here for Evans to be trusted with a fantasy start just yet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @PIT 004500000 ***
Mike Glennon inexplicably couldn't find VJax early on, and while he did connect with him for the Bucs' lone offensive touchdown last week Jackson's fantasy value is on probation until we know for sure how Glennon will divvy up targets between Jackson and Mike Evans. On the bright side, similarly sized Kelvin Benjamin had a solid showing against the Bucs last week; then again, both Jackson and Evans are big boys.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Myers, TB @PIT 005401000 ***
Myers has done nothing of his own volition to warrant a fantasy start, but the Steelers have struggled to defend the position--only three teams have given up more fantasy points to tight ends this year--so if Austin Seferian-Jenkins remains sidelined he makes an intriguing plug-in play with six teams on the bye.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @PIT 1022 ***
The Steelers have served up multiple field goals to every kicker they've faced this season. However, multiple field goals would be at least one more than Murray has for the entire season so you can likely get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t