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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: TB 17, ATL 20 (Line: ATL by 7.5)

Players of Interest: Tim Wright, Levine Toilolo

Update: White has already been called for this week and is removed from the projections. Steven Jackson remains out as expected. Mike Williams was limited this week and then went through a full practice on Friday. He is listed as questionable but is expected to play.

The beauty of this game is that someone has to win. Unless it is a tie which would be sort of appropriate. The 0-5 Buccaneers cannot catch a break and are the lowest scoring team in the NFL with just ten points per game on average. The Falcons are only 1-4 which includes their current three game losing streak and their only win was a seven point victory over the visiting Rams. This one has to favor the Falcons playing at home but not by much and this game should be an "under" since both offenses are only getting worse. The Falcons just lost Julio Jones for the year and most of the offense is still on the sideline. Makes this a very tough game to call.

The Falcons were challenged when they faced the Buccaneers in 2012. They won 24-23 in Tampa Bay and later lost 17-22 in the season finale.

1 @NYJ 17-18 10 MIA -
2 NO 14-16 11 ATL -
3 @NE 3-23 12 @DET -
4 ARI 10-13 13 @CAR -
5 BYE WEEK 14 BUF -
6 PHI 20-31 15 SF -
7 @ATL - 16 @STL -
8 CAR - 17 @NO -
9 @SEA - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TB @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Mike Glennon 10 250,2
RB Doug Martin 60 4-30
WR Vincent Jackson 6-90,1
TE Timothy Wright 5-50,1
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers finally scored some points last week but then again the defense was their worst yet to balance it out. The Buccaneers have a shot at that first win in this game and if not here, then in week 11 in the home rematch. But the remaining schedule comes mostly against above average teams so the only hope here is that the Bucs get enough trash time at the end of games to post yards and scores.

QUARTERBACKS: Mike Glennon posted a respectable 273 yards and two scores on the always accommodating Eagles defense but this will be his first start away from home. He improved from the 193 yards and one score against the visiting Cardinals but needed to throw 43 times in both games. With a very challenging slate ahead, he will be throwing the ball even more though perhaps with less effectiveness. This week should prove to be a decent showing unlike the following three games.

RUNNING BACKS: Doug Martin remains well off his pace of 2012 despite getting over 20 carries in nearly every game. He hasn't scored since the season opener and with Glennon under center is receiving even more focus by the defense. These last two weeks at home have only produced a total of 112 rushing yards. With Glennon playing, at least he is now up to four receptions per game but all combined he he barely ranks as a moderate flex play. He is one of the rare backs who gets almost every running back touch. He just doesn't do that much with them.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Vincent Jackson finally turned in a nice big game when he posted nine catches for 114 yards and two scores on the visiting Eagles. It was hardly unexpected given how bad their secondary is and that Mike Williams was out. Jackson was held to only two receptions for 27 yards the previous week when Glennon started. Williams is expected back from his hamstring strain for this matchup. When he played in week four, Williams caught a touchdown on his four catches for 38 yards. The better that Glennon gets, the more you can expect trash time treasure from this duo and against a weak secondary like this Sunday, the Bucs offense will primarily go through the two starting wideouts.

TIGHT ENDS: Tim Wright is one of the developing situations worth noting. The undrafted Rutgers rookie showed up with five catches for 41 yards in the Cardinals tilt when Glennon made his first start. Then last week he turned in seven catches for 91 yards in game that was influenced by the absence of Mike Williams. Still he bears notice if not a roster stash to see if this goes anywhere. Nate Byham was doing nothing as the starting tight end and is not on injured reserve. It is favorable that Wright's emergence coincides with Glennon starting.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons defense is ravaged by injury and make stars of every single opposing quarterback. No one throws fewer than two touchdowns and most gain over 300 passing yards. We are talking about Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill and Geno Smith here. Glennon may not look any better than this. Both Williams and Jackson are attractive this week versus a secondary that allowed seven touchdowns to wideouts and even new man on the scene Tim Wright goes against a defense that yielded four tight end scores in just the last three games. We're talking to Matthew Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland, Dion Sims and Kellen Winslow. Martin goes against the only strength of the defense which has yet to allow anyone to run for over 64 yards. Expect another disappointing show by Martin unless he can break a long gainer. Forget last year. you want to play your quarterbacks and receivers against the Falcons.

WHAT TO WATCH: Tim Wright should have a favorable situation here and already has clicked with Glennon. This offense would be far more balanced if the tight end can become as big a part of the game plan as Williams and Jackson are.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 31 26 26 28 30 16
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 26 11 28 23 30 1

 

1 @NO 17-23 10 SEA -
2 STL 31-24 11 @TB -
3 @MIA 23-27 12 NO -
4 NE 23-30 13 @BUF -
5 NYJ 28-30 14 @GB -
6 BYE WEEK 15 WAS -
7 TB - 16 @SF -
8 @ARI - 17 CAR -
9 @CAR - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 230,2
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 40 6-60
RB Jason Snelling 20 3-10,1
WR Harry Douglas 4-60
WR Roddy White
TE Tony Gonzalez 10-140,1
TE Levine Toilolo 3-30
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: You have to wonder what Tony Gonzalez thinks after returning just for a last chance at a ring and now lucky if he can even score decent tickets to the playoffs through a scalper. The team was already reeling from an injury-marred defense that has yet to allow fewer than 23 points to anyone and the schedule wasn't that bad so far. Now the loss of Julio Jones borders on catastrophic since Roddy White is still hampered by his high ankle sprain and Steven Jackson remains out. This would be bad enough if the defense was still sound. It isn't and now the offense suddenly looks even worse.

QUARTERBACKS: Where Matt Ryan goes from here will be interesting. No more Julio Jones. Roddy White clearly not healthy. Old man Tony Gonzalez suddenly becoming the last man standing. Ryan was good for exactly two scores in every game and in almost all passed for over 300 yards. But Julio leaves a huge hole. That's easily 100 yards gone missing every week. Roddy White is not even on a level of an average tight end. Ryan has to be the one to keep it together and make someone else bigger than they have ever been. This is a sinking ship but Ryan is still in charge.

RUNNING BACKS: The Falcons are not divulging how well Steven Jackson became over the bye week and he was out since week two. Early reports and general speculation is that Jackson won't play here but updates will be made as warranted. Jacquizz Rodgers stepped up even if his rushing totals remain largely moderate and he scored in only one game. He's bound to pick up even more work as a receiver with White hobbled and now Jones out. Figure defenses now lock on Gonzalez and leave Rodgers to catch out of the backfield.

Jason Snelling was concussed in week five but is expected back for this game. He too can add a pair of hands on passing plays.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is where it hurts. Julio Jones was #2 in the NFL with 580 yards on the season but the screw in his foot went bad and now he's on injured reserve with a fracture instead of the top of the rankings. There is concern that this may be a long-term problem. Jones was the only wideout with a touchdown or more than four catches in any game. Roddy White is still hampered by his high ankle sprain and hasn't topped 45 yards in any game. Harry Douglas is the replacement for Jones and while his workload is going to increase, there is hardly any expectation that the team is going to forget about Jones.

This is uncharted territory and somewhere the Falcons never wanted to go. They go from one of the top tandems in the NFL last year to Douglas playing alongside Hop-Along-White.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez is certainly earning his money with 22 catches for 246 yards and two scores in just the last two weeks. But his role is going to change because the Falcons need him more and yet the defense has no one else to cover. What is also likely to happen is that Levine Toilolo will see more work and the Falcons end up using more two tight end sets. Toilolo only caught five passes for 25 yards on the season but the 6-8 Stanford product caught a touchdown against the Jets.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Tampa Bay defense is the strength of the team. They've only allowed eight passing touchdowns over five games though mostly good yardage. How that plays out this week with the struggling Falcons now dealing with the loss of Jones and absence of Jackson is harder to determine. The only time they faced a tight end of any note is when Jimmy Graham went 10-179-1 on them. That's favorable for Gonzalez. But no running back scored on them and only LeSean McCoy rang up more than 65 rush yards on them. Expect decent stats from Gonzo, Rodgers with his receptions and Ryan for at least a moderate showing. Douglas and White are interesting but White's health is not yet certain and Douglas faces a very good secondary.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Falcons offense is likely to change with Jones out. That is likely to include more rushing plays and two-tight end sets. Watch to see if Levine Toilolo gets more playing time and ends up with more than just one or two catches.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 5 12 2 18 29
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 19 10 15 22 24 12

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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