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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: ATL 27, CAR 20 (Line:ATL by 3.5)

Players Updated: Brandon LaFell

Players to Watch: Matt Ryan, Cam Newton

The 11-1 Falcons have already clinched their division and go to Carolina to face the 3-9 Panthers. This is a replay of week four when the Falcons won 30-28 over the Panthers. The Falcons needed two late fourth quarter field goals to win that game including a 40-yarder as time expired. Hard to grasp how close that game was two months ago.

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 23-13
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 @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 270,2
QB Matt Schaub 280,2
WR Julio Jones 6-80,1
TE Logan Paulsen 1-20
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons have that winning attitude that translate into consistently playing opponents closely and yet always winning (-1). The remaining schedule is certainly no cakewalk but could end up with them winning out. The problem in the fantasy world is that the Falcons have a three game lead over all NFC teams. They could forfeit their final two games and still keep the #1 seed. That supposes they can beat these Panthers and the Giants next week. At 13-1, no other team could be better than 10-4 with two games left to play. That may spell major trouble in week 16 when so many fantasy leagues have championship games.

Matt Ryan passed for 369 yards and three scores in the previous meeting but he was chunking big yards and scores every week at the start of the season. Not so here lately when four of the last five games combined for only two touchdowns. The yardage has been decent enough with four straight games over 300 yards but then last week against the same Saints team he scorched with 411 yards and three scores in week 10, Ryan only passed for 165 yards and one touchdown. This week should help show if that was just one odd aberration or if there really is something to worry about.

One reason why Turner has been scoring less is that the rushing effort has been better in recent weeks. Michael Turner scored in four of the last five games though his yardage varies greatly. Turner ran for 103 yards on 13 carries in the previous meeting with the Panthers. Jacquizz Rodgers has been used more in recent weeks as well though he rarely produces more than 50 total yards and primarily acts as a third down back. Rodgers only ran for 18 yards versus the Panthers but added four catches for 40 yards in that game.

Tony Gonzalez is slowing down in what will be his final year. He scored last week and has seven touchdowns on the year but has really turned in lower games lately. Since week five, five of his games failed to reach 60 yards and and four different times he had no scoring and only around 30 yards. Gonzo posted five receptions for 51 yards in the last meeting with the Panthers.

Week four was the best game of the year for Roddy White who caught eight passes for 169 yards and two scores versus the Panthers. White has since only scored in one other game and comes off a season worst one catch for 20 yards against the Saints. Julio Jones only had one catch for 30 yards in week four but since been much better. Overall the wideouts for Atlanta started the season on hot streaks but have since really cooled off and thrown in several clunker games each. Jones typically has the big games on the road and White does it at home. This week will be a good test of that though the ease of rushing may encourage another run heavy attack like we saw last week against the Saints.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 17 8 4 3 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 26 6 17 32 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL NYG 0000033030 ***
Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley are in doubt for Week 7, and Devonta Freeman was put on IR. Ryan's weaponry is trending in the wrong direction. He still has Julio Jones, and tight end Austin Hooper has stepped up in a big way. The Giants are a midrange opponent vs. QBs, but this defense definitely can be had by the position. Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and Carson Wentz all have proven as much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL NYG 5003401000 ***
Devonta Freeman is no concern, and teh Giants really shouldn't be, either. This is the fourth-easiest opponent for scoring rushing touchdowns and third best for combined offensive touchdowns. The yardage figures are average, and Ito Smith keeps stealing touchdowns from the underperforming Coleman.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ito Smith, ATL NYG 2011100000 ***
Being so reliant on touchdowns makes Smith risky. A three-game scoring streak makes it someone easier to stomach. He has racked up no more than 48 total yards of offense in any game since Week 1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Ridley, ATL NYG 004601000 *
Ridley has a bone bruise in his foot and is iffy for Week 7. Check back for clarity on his availability for Monday's contest.

Update: The rookie moved from a DNP to limited in practice Friday. He is hopeful to play but will be a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL NYG 006900000 ***
It's easy to forget Julio is on pace for 117 receptions and 1,883 yards when one looks at that goose egg in the TD column. Scoring just isn't his thing ... it's fine. He'll make up for it in other ways for PPR owners. New York has been among the strongest defenses of the position so far, giving up the fifth-fewest catches per game and only 164.2 yards an outing for the entire team (10th fewest), providing one TD a game, on average, since Week 1. Alshon Jeffery and DeAndre Hopkins showed this group is vulnerable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL NYG 00000000 *
Sanu's status is unclear at this time and will be updated later in the week. Having a Monday game makes things murkier than normal.

Update: Sanu did not practice Thursday or Friday and is, at best, a game-time call for Monday's action.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Hooper, ATL NYG 007701000 ***
Hooper has stepped up his game with injuries to Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley, though he was also formidable the week before. Atlanta has a bye after this week, so there's a decent chance one or both of those receivers are out Monday to give a chance to heal for the rest of the season. Hooper could be a fine start once again, but New York has been among the league's strongest units vs. TEs this year. Hooper's 22 looks in the past two games are hard to ignore.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Giorgio Tavecchio, ATL NYG 1144 ***
No writeup available

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB 21-27
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI 30-22
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC 21-27
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 60,1 240,1
WR Torrey Smith 5-90,1
WR Jarius Wright 3-50
TE Greg Olsen 6-70
PK Graham Gano 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers come off a loss to the Chiefs which is something not many teams can say. The frustrating part all along has been that the Panthers are almost never blown out. Seven of their losses were by a touchdown or less. But they are consistently not quite good enough. The remaining home game against the Raiders offers a good shot at one more win but but there is no escaping that the Panthers are going to end up with a top ten draft pick if not top five.

Cam Newton started the season with a number of disappointing games but did manage to pass for 215 yards and two scores in Atlanta as well as rushing for a season high 86 yards and one score on nine runs. He's passed for multiple scores in three of the last four games while remaining above 230 yards in each. Considering his receiving crew has not been upgraded, the progress made has been all from Newton.

Back in week four, Jonathan Stewart (10-40) and DeAngelo Williams (11-49) combined for 89 rushing yards and one score by Williams. This meeting will be without Stewart who remains out with a bad ankle sprain that has not yet been given a timetable when he is expected to be back. Williams gets the start on his own but it only translated into 12 runs for 67 yards in Kansas City last week. This remains the #29 ranked running back attack regardless which backs are playing.

Greg Olsen figures to be a factor this week since he posted 89 yards and a score on six catches in the previous meeting with the Falcons. He remains good for at least 50 yards every week for over the last month as well. Brandon LaFell is likely out this week with a turf toe but had no catches in the last meeting. His absence could hurt since he had been improved in recent weeks with three touchdowns and three games over 70 yards.

That leaves Steve Smith even more alone and he only managed three receptions for 52 yards in week four. Smith comes off a season high 120 yards and a score in Kansas City but has languished with mostly 40 to 60 yard games and no scores in most weeks this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 8 29 23 13 32 9
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 6 25 3 22 10 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR @PHI 40000029020 ***
The Panthers travel to Philadelphia for a matchup with a defense that has been up and down. The Eagles have been mostly good, holding Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning to fewer than 20 points each. But 35-plus-point explosions by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Marcus Mariota are hard to forget. Cam should be sound but unspectacular.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR @PHI 4007601000 ***
He has yet to score on the ground this year, and that probably will continue with this tough ground matchup. Through the sky, it's a different story, however. The Eagles have permitted RBs to average 7.4 receptions (2nd) for 56 yards (7th). None of the 37 grabs have scored, which should change against the dynamic McCaffrey.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, CAR @PHI 004501000 ***
Smith's involvement and subsequent returns have been erratic. The Eagles at least offer the former Philly wideout a strong matchup to exploit, but this is only the 20th-best matchup for big plays.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Funchess, CAR @PHI 005800000 ***
Funchess has been involved enough of late to be nearly a lock for a lineup as at least a flex. He has scored twice in the last three outings and is facing a Philadelphia defense that has given up the most receptions and third-most yards a game, while allowing seven TDs in the last five contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DJ Moore, CAR @PHI 004600000 ***
The rookie has topped 10 PPR points in four of his last five games and has landed eight of his nine targets in the last two games. The Eagles present one of the finer fantasy matchups of the week and is a reasonably decent PPR flex option based on his increased volume of late.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @PHI 003300000 *
Olsen returned last week and didn't show too much rust. He faces an Eagles team that has given up practically nothing to TEs in the past five weeks, yielding a mere 16 receptions, 206 yards and one TD to the position. This is the second-lowest figure for grabs and sixth-fewest yards allowed per game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @PHI 2222 ***
No writeup available

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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