FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17 BAL at CIN DEN at OAK JAC at IND STL at SEA
BUF at NE DET at MIN KC at SD TB at NO
CAR at ATL GB at CHI NYJ at MIA WAS at NYG
*UPDATED CLE at PIT HOU at TEN SF at ARI PHI at DAL

Prediction: CAR 24, ATL 13 (Line: CAR by 7.5)

This is a replay of week nine when the Panthers won 34-10. The Falcons are winding down their nightmare season on a higher note while the Panthers prepare for the playoffs. The Panthers have to win here to say ahead of the Saints for the division and to lock up at least the #2 seed and a home game in the Divisional Round. The Panthers play in the early games on Sunday so cannot know what the Saints have done.

1 SEA 7-12 10 @SF 10-9
2 @BUF 23-24 11 NE 24-20
3 NYG 38-0 12 @MIA 20-16
4 BYE WEEK 13 TB 27-6
5 @ARI 6-22 14 @NO 13-31
6 @MIN 35-10 15 NYJ 30-20
7 STL 30-15 16 NO 17-13
8 @TB 31-13 17 @ATL -
9 ATL 34-10 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 220,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 60,1
WR Jerricho Cotchery 4-50,1
WR Tiquan Underwood 3-30
TE Greg Olsen 7-80,1
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers have put together a great season and almost entirely because the defense was so dominating in most games as opposed to previous seasons. They challenge the Seahawks as having the toughest place to play in the NFL. The season opener was a loss to the Seahawks and may end up as a precursor to what the NFC Championship might be. And the first game ended 7-12 as a sign of what happens when two great defenses meet up.

Cam Newton continues to post mediocre stats as a passer and enters the final week with 22 passing touchdowns and just 3230 yards but added six rushing touchdowns along the way and normally about 50 rush yards per game. Newton passed for 249 yards and one score against the Falcons this year and added 22 yards and a second score as a runner.

This has been the lost season for Jonathan Stewart who only played in six meaningless games and is out yet again with a sprained knee. DeAngelo Williams rushed better than recent seasons but still rarely accounted for more than 60 yards as a runner and scored just three times this year. Michael Tolbert hawked seven touchdowns from the other running backs and yet never produced enough yardage to ever merit any fantasy consideration.

Back in week nine, Williams ran for 42 yards on 13 carries. Stewart gained 43 yards on nine runs and Tolbert scored once on his six carries for 24 yards.

Steve Smith sprained his left PCL and is not expected to play this week. It makes more sense to rest him up for the playoffs and left Ted Ginn take his place while Domenik Hixon bumps up to the slot. Brandon LaFell becomes the #1 wideout for now but he's been marginal at best and scored five times while topping 61 yards only twice all season. One of his best efforts was when he reeled in six passes for 74 yards versus the Falcons. Smith only managed four reception ns for 54 yards in that game and Ginn had just one catch.

Greg Olsen may see more passes with Smith out and he's been used much more in home games anyway. Olsen turned in four catches for 66 yards and one score in the last meeting with the Falcons.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons rate low against all positions but some of that stems from earlier in the season. The Falcons typically allow multiple passing touchdowns but the Panthers already were one of the few exceptions and that was at home with Steve Smith playing. The Panthers just have to get through this game with a win and without any more injuries. Newton is the only obvious starter here though Williams may end up with moderate numbers since he doesn't have to share with Stewart this time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 7 22 24 17 19 10
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 28 24 26 23 32 13

 

1 @NO 17-23 10 SEA 10-33
2 STL 31-24 11 @TB 28-41
3 @MIA 23-27 12 NO 13-17
4 NE 23-30 13 @BUF 34-31
5 NYJ 28-30 14 @GB 21-22
6 BYE WEEK 15 WAS 27-26
7 TB 31-23 16 @SF 24-34
8 @ARI 13-27 17 CAR -
9 @CAR 10-34 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 280,1
RB Steven Jackson 50 3-20
WR Drew Davis 2-30
WR Harry Douglas 3-30
WR Roddy White 5-60
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The season ends mercifully for the Falcons who just never had a chance this season with injuries all over the team. Roddy White required nearly the entire season to get healthy and into gear. Julio Jones was not only lost along the way but the jury is still out on how well or even if he can return next year. The defense was decimated early on and still struggles to recover. The offensive line was no help.

Matt Ryan did well enough to score in all but one game but his yardage totals were down from a lack of targets. For much of the year he went from arguably the most talented wideout tandem to Harry Douglas and the receiver formerly known as Roddy White. Ryan passed for 219 yards and one score in Carolina along with three interceptions.

Steven Jackson came in with the optimism that he could be the missing piece but the offense fell apart before they could use him right and then Jackson missed almost the entire first half of the season. He's been a far better weapon in the last five games when he scored all six of his rushing touchdowns but he never gained more than 84 rushing yards this year and overall was really no real upgrade from Michael Turner. Jackson is now the opposite from his time as a Ram. He has the touchdowns but no longer the yardage. Jackson ran for 57 yards on 13 carries in Carolina.

Where this game gains interest and what has to be focus is that it will be Tony Gonzalez's final game in the NFL. Gonzo has been on a tear in the final weeks with a score in four straight games. It will be a shock if he doesn't go out with a good game here and he already had his second best game of the year when he caught six passes for 81 yards and a score in Carolina. He may not be the #1 scoring tight end this week but it will be a shock if the Falcons don't attempt to make him exactly that.

Roddy White did not come to life until week 13 but he's been on a nice streak of games now for four weeks. In the recent most recent loss to the 49ers, White rolled up a season best 12 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown. He did not play in the original game with the Panthers in week nine. Harry Douglas did and ended with three catches for 82 yards but he's been getting worse this last month after about a month of big stats around midseason.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is a home game and the Falcons are playing better. But Jackson isn't rushing that well anyway and faces a top five rush defense in a game they really want to win. The Panthers only gave up three rushing scores this year and very limited yardage to runners. Expect a quiet game from Jackson. The Panthers lone weakness - and it is only a relative weakness - is against tight ends. Gonzo was good against them the first time and now is at home facing his final NFL game. Have to love his chance to go out with a bang. Ryan and White are moderate plays at best and Jackson is a very low end starter.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 20 9 21 9 23 24
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 2 5 4 16 7 4

WEEK 17 BAL at CIN DEN at OAK JAC at IND STL at SEA
BUF at NE DET at MIN KC at SD TB at NO
CAR at ATL GB at CHI NYJ at MIA WAS at NYG
*UPDATED CLE at PIT HOU at TEN SF at ARI PHI at DAL


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