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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 BAL 0000028021 ***
Until last week's egg against Cincy Brees was money at home. Write that off as an aberration, keep in mind that the Ravens are just a couple weeks removed from giving up a six-pack to Ben Roethlisberger, and start Brees with confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO BAL 7015300000 ***
It's a relatively simple equation: give Ingram 90 percent of the carries--which is exactly what he's seen over the past month--and he'll produce helpful fantasy numbers. Those numbers won't be gaudy against a Ravens defense that's allowed only three RB rushing scores all year, just one in the past seven games, but there's still performance-league fantasy help to be had here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO BAL 004700000 ***
The Ravens have served up three 100-yard WR efforts in the past four games, and the Saints best bet to extend that run might be Stills. Give him his stats plus those of the injured Brandin Cooks and suddenly Kenny is more than just one of the better deep threats in the game--with plenty of fantasy value to boot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO BAL 004600000 ***
It's been a month since Colston's 111-yard effort against Detroit, as he's returned to his frustratingly pedestrian numbers. The absence of Brandin Cooks might float all the other boats in the Saints' receiving corps, so nudge Colston from fringe to decent fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO BAL 008902000 ***
The Ravens have allowed only two TE TDs all year, but this is Jimmy Graham we're talking about. He's an every-week starter and a matchup nightmare for most defenses, so there's always plenty of fantasy upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO BAL 1133 ****
The Ravens haven't allowed a double-digit kicker game since the season opener, and Graham has been mostly ordinary the past three games. On the bright side, he's at home and indoors, and the Saints offense still can light up a scoreboard from time to time.

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 CLE 0000023011 ***
Ryan averages better than two TDs per game at home, as well as 40-plus yards per game more at home than on the road. With the Browns having given up multiple TD tosses in two of their last three, Ryan should deliver a solid fantasy showing in the Georgia Dome this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, ATL CLE 6012100000 ****
The Browns have been gashed by the likes of Denard Robinson (22-127-1) and Alfred Blue (36-156), making Jackson a viable fantasy option with his usual 15 or so touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roddy White, ATL CLE 006701000 ***
White's been the more reliable producer of late, and even though Cleveland's corners are playing better they still gave up 148 combined yards to Houston's WR duo last week and 210 & 2 two weeks prior to the Bucs. With Joe Haden likely locking up on Julio Jones, White should again be a solid fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL CLE 006600000 ***
Jones is seeing plenty of targets to offset any issues presented by being covered by Joe Haden this week. It's a tough matchup, but other WR1s have managed to find success this season and Julio remains an every-week fantasy starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Harry Douglas, ATL CLE 003400000 ***
It's been more than a month since a WR3 posted anything of fantasy note against the Browns, even longer since Douglas made a fantasy splash. No reason to reach for him this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL CLE 002300000 ***
Toilolo hasn't done anything of fantasy note since Week 1, and a change in that MO is unlikely here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL CLE 2222 ***
Coming off a pair of four-field goal games, Bryant is benefitting from an offense that's getting him close but not forcing him to settle for PATs. No weather to worry about, Bryant is a decent plug-in option this week.

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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