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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: NO 23, ATL 31 (Line: ATL by 4)

Players to Watch: Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers

This is a replay of week 10 when the Saints beat the visiting Falcons 31-27 to hand them their only loss on the year. This is also probably the best Thursday night matchup they scheduled all year. There is an excellent chance that the Falcons will remember what happened three weeks ago and be out for some revenge.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL 31-27
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK 38-17
3 KC 24-27 12 SF 21-31
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 @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 320,2
RB Mark Ingram 40
WR Marques Colston 4-50
TE Jimmy Graham 8-70,1
TE Benjamin Watson 4-40
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Just when a three game winning streak made it all seem in reach, the 49ers showed up with a reminder that the Saints are not there yet. Trailing the Falcons by five games is plenty clear enough that the division is not in play and now that the 5-6 record dips below the .500 mark again, even a wild card or a winning season is looking like a very outside chance. At least in fantasy terms the Saints still post the points and have several games left to play where high scores are a lock.

Drew Brees is not posting the 300 yard games he once did. It has been five weeks since he threw for that much thanks mostly to an improved rushing effort but he has thrown for multiple scores in each of the last nine weeks and posted 298 yards and three scores when they hosted the Falcons in week ten.

Darren Sproles returned last week and went right back to catching seven passes against the 49ers. He was out in week ten when Mark Ingram rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries and Chris Ivory turned in a touchdown on his seven runs for 72 yards. The success of the rushing effort that week was a surprise but has carried over for the last two weeks. Ingram was held to only 27 yards by the 49ers top-ranked defense but he scored and ran for 67 yards in the previous week in Oakland.

Jimmy Graham has been much lower with his yardage this year and scored eight times. And his best game of the year was when he caught seven passes for 146 yards and two scores on the Falcons.

Marques Colston matches on Asante Samuel again and last time that limited him to only 26 yards on three catches though he scored once. Lance Moore was bigger in that game with seven receptions for 91 yards but he almost never scores and had just one game with a touchdown in the last seven weeks.

Expect lower number for most this week playing in Atlanta in a game they'll be more focused to win. Now that their wideouts are all healthy again, the Saints are sure to be forced to abandon the run in the game which means good things for the fantasy fortunes of Brees and the receivers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 8 7 3 30 23
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 6 25 3 22 10 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @PIT 0000030031 ***
The Steelers have allowed multiple TD tosses in five straight; Brees has multiple scores in nine of his last 10, so no reason to let his three-game losing streak lead you to believe he won't be a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @PIT 6002200000 ***
With Pierre Thomas back in the mix it was business as usual for the Saints' backfield--and that's a bad thing, as it means productivity spread too thin for any member to be a reliable fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO @PIT 3002200000 ***
Welcome back to the mix, Pierre, and thanks for ruining a good thing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO @PIT 006901000 ***
Stills was Drew Brees' target of choice last week, and while it's still a bit of a cluster in New Orleans he appears to be the most reliable fantasy option--especially against a Pittsburgh defense that's given up some big fantasy games to speed guys.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @PIT 005700000 ***
Colston scored last week and remains in the mix of New Orleans receivers, but we've learned by now he's more of a fringe option than someone to be banked on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @PIT 007802000 ***
Not that you'd deviate from Graham, but you really have to like his chances against a Steelers defense that's already served up eight TE TDs on the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @PIT 2133 ****
The only favorable trend working for Graham is that the Saints' offense is struggling, but even then they're going for it on fourth and close rather than kicking more field goals. He's not the sterling option you'd think tacking on points for this offense.

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 24-23
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 vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 330,3
RB Steven Jackson 80 2-20
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 30 4-30
WR Julio Jones 4-80,1
WR Roddy White 8-110,1
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons currently have a two game lead over the entire NFC and may end up throwing the week 17 finale against the Buccaneers if it doesn't matter. The Giants are the toughest remaining opponent but the Falcons could certainly run the board. They are barely beating teams and seven victories came with less than a touchdown lead. But playing well enough to win every week is the mark of a great team and they're generating nice fantasy points even without blowout wins.

Matt Ryan has been much less productive scoring in the last month where he only managed to throw for one touchdown in Tampa Bay last week and none against the visiting Cowboys and Buccaneers recently. But sandwiched between those two games was the best of the season - 411 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints. Ryan may not be scoring as much but he is on a four game streak of 300+ yard games.

Jacquizz Rodgers is getting more playing time in recent weeks and even ran in a score in Tampa Bay. He only posted 29 rushing yards in New Orleans and added four catches for 33 yards in that game. Michael Turner is running like someone tied a blocking sled to him. His worst game of the year was in New Orleans when he only gained 15 yards on 13 runs and just last week it was only 17 yards on 13 carries in Tampa Bay though he scored in that matchup. The rushing effort should have at least some better success in a home game this week assuming the Saints do not yet again surprise the Falcons with a big lead.

Tony Gonzalez has really slowed down. Over the last six weeks, he's only managed to score in one game or gain moire than 62 yards. He's been stuck mostly at around 30 yards per week. The exception of course was when he caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns in New Orleans for his best game of the year.

No doubt this turns into a lot of passing and in the last meeting, Julio Jones gained 75 yards on four catches while Roddy White ended with 114 yards on seven receptions Jones proved he was plenty healthy last week when he gained 147 yards and White has been outstanding in every home game this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 16 8 4 3 19
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 31 30 25 24 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL ARI 0000025011 ***
Ryan is a significantly better fantasy play when at home; he's thrown multiple scoring strikes in four of five in the Georgia Dome, including last week against the Browns. Arizona's no easy mark, but they're far easier to take via the air than the ground so expect the Falcons to attack them that way.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL ARI 5001100000 ****
Arizona hasn't allowed a back to top 85 yards all year, and they've given up just five RB TDs on the season. Since Jackson is dependent on a belly flop at the goal line to salvage fantasy value, he's a risky at best fantasy proposition this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL ARI 006801000 **
Speed guys have had the most success against Arizona this year. That isn't a label that truly fits Jones, but he's so heavily targeted he's bound to carve out fantasy value one way or another this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL ARI 005600000 *
White has come on of late, but the Atlanta offense still seems to skew towards Julio Jones. Still, with the running game unlikely to ignite against Arizona there should be enough in the way of passing stats for wingman White to produce fantasy-relevant stats as well.
Update: White failed to practice all week and is listed as questionable with an ankle injury, so keep tabs on his status Sunday morning. If he's green-lit he's a good fantasy play; otherwise, Harry Douglas is the fallback plan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL ARI 003400000 ***
Douglas falls behind Roddy White and Julio Jones in the Atlanta passing game pecking order, so he's extremely difficult to trust with a fantasy start.
Update: Roddy White didn't practice all week, and if he doesn't go on Sunday Douglas becomes an intriguing fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL ARI 002200000 ***
Toilolo is a complete and utter afterthought in this offense.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL ARI 3311 ***
Arizona has allowed multiple field goal attempts in six of their past seven games, making this a quality indoor opportunity for Bryant to post his third game of double-digit points in the past four weeks.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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