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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU* CIN at CAR* SD at SEA*
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC* IND at DEN*
DET at MIN* TEN at NYG WAS at STL* NYJ at MIA
*updated CLE at BAL* PIT at TB* OAK at ARI* GB at CHI

Prediction: ATL 23, NO 27

This should be a great game that recently has been a shootout - the Saints swept the Falcons in 2009, winning 35-27 at home and later 26-23 in Atlanta. The Saints are on a short week and just lost Reggie Bush but will be back at home. The Falcons offense took off against the Cardinals and should be good enough to keep the scoreboard going in New Orleans.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PIT L 9-15 10 BAL --
2 ARI W 41-7 11 @STL --
3 @NO -- 12 GB --
4 SF -- 13 @TB --
5 @CLE -- 14 @CAR --
6 @PHI -- 15 @SEA --
7 CIN -- 16 NO --
8 Bye - 17 CAR --
9 TB -- - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 250,1
RB Michael Turner 80,1 - -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 60 -
WR Eric Weems - 40,1 -
WR Roddy White - 90 -
WR Harry Douglas - 40 -
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Falcons have experienced both ends of the spectrum between playing in Pittsburgh and then hosting the Cardinals. The offense was unleashed in the home game and even though Michael Turner was injured, the Falcons did not stumble since Jason Snelling just snapped up all those fantasy points that Turner owners deserved. This team is still mostly Roddy White and a running back though and even the great Tony Gonzalez has yet to show up this season.

QUARTERBACK: After being stifled in Pittsburgh, Matt Ryan got back on track against the Cardinals when he passed for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He's only thrown one interception and continues to spend most of his time looking for Roddy White. That works at home against the Cards.

Ryan passed for 289 yards and one score in New Orleans last year. The Saints have only allowed one passing score per game during the first two weeks.

RUNNING BACKS: The Falcons have lost Jerious Norwood for the season with a torn right ACL. Michael Turner was pulled from the game last week with a groin injury but said he could have returned if he was needed or if he, like you, were starting him in a fantasy league. Turner has begun the year rather inauspiciously with only 117 yards on 28 carries.

Jason Snelling took over when Turner left and once again showed he is a more than adequate replacement. He racked up 129 rushing yards with two scores subbing for Turner and added five catches for 57 yards and a third touchdowns replacing Norwood. Turner will play this week and leave Snelling with minimal fantasy value but if there is another injury, Snelling is a good player to have on your roster. He'll be grabbed in all leagues where he is not already on a roster but won't do that much unless Turner goes out again.

Turner rushed for 151 yards on 20 carries with one score in New Orleans last year.

This year, the Saints have been weaker against the run but have faced Adrian Peterson (19-87) and Frank Gore (20-112, 1 TD). Gore also hurt them as a receiver with a score and 56 yards on seven catches. Turner is no receiver but he should have at least a decent game here with a shot at one score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Michael Jenkins is out with a shoulder injury and in his place Eric Weems was the starter in week two. Weems accounted for four catches and 36 yards while Brian Finneran scored once during his three receptions for 31 yards. But Roddy White led all receivers as he always does with78 yards on seven catches after having 13 receptions for 111 yards in Pittsburgh. White is a stud to be sure but he gets twice as many passes as any other receiver and it is only White who matters in this scheme.

White gained 108 yards and one score in New Orleans last season. The Saints secondary is playing very well though and White should see somewhat lesser stats this week. The Saints have yet to allow a score to a wideout and White is by far the more likely in most weeks. No reason to sit White in any week but temper expectations here as the Saints have been solid against wideouts.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez only had two catches for 35 yards in Pittsburgh but that is no surprise. But he only had two receptions for 19 yards last week and that was when he was only thrown two passes. Gonzo is either slowing down or Ryan is just no longer looking his way as much.

Gonzalez gained 89 yards on six catches against the Saints last year.

The Vikes and 49ers both had success throwing to their tight ends so this week will be a good test to see if Gonzo is just starting slowly or if there is a fundamental change in how he will be used.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 14 3 13 24 4 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 14 26 2 30 4 1


New Orleans Saints (2-0)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN W 14-9 10 Bye -
2 @SF W 25-22 11 SEA --
3 ATL -- 12 @DAL --
4 CAR -- 13 @CIN --
5 @ARI -- 14 STL --
6 @TB -- 15 @BAL --
7 CLE -- 16 @ATL --
8 PIT -- 17 TB --
9 @CAR -- - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 260,2
RB Pierre Thomas 100,1 40 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 40 -
WR Marques Colston - 70,1 -
WR Devery Henderson - 50,1 -
WR Robert Meachem - 30 -
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: They haven't been that pretty but the reigning NFL champs are 2-0 and hit a five game stretch where they should be heavy favorites in games. Losing Reggie Bush could hurt but he's evolved into just a third down back and Pierre Thomas is almost as good as a receiver. The offense is not as prolific as last year but that should change in the coming month.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees has been productive with around 250 pass yards per game and three touchdowns on the season but that's hardly meeting expectations set after last year. Brees has not had a turnover but he has remained safely below 40 passes in both weeks and has not been forced into a shootout until the end of the 49ers game when he came to life and led the team on a winning drive.

Brees passed for 308 yards and two scores when the Falcons visited last year. He due for a big game and so far the Falcons have only faced Derek Anderson and Dennis Dixon.

RUNNING BACKS: Current reports are that Reggie Bush broke his right leg and will need six weeks or so of recovery time. Safe to say he won't be a factor for at least the next month or more. The Saints have faced two very good defensive units against the run in the Vikings and 49ers and the results have been predictably low - Pierre Thomas has yet to gain more than 71 rush yards in a game though he mopped up with eight receptions for 57 yards against the 49ers. With Bush out, Thomas is getting even more work as a receiver.

Thomas ran for 91 yards and a score on 14 carries and added a receiving score when the Falcons visited last season. Bush scored once on his two carries for three yards. Bush also had two catches for 11 yards in that game. Expect a very nice showing here by Thomas with no Bush to horn in against a defense that has already allowed 100+ rush yards and a score to both of their previous opponent's primary back.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Marques Colston remains the primary wideout in every game but hasn't produced more than five catches for 67 yards and has not scored yet. No other wide receiver has turned in more than 38 yards in a game and both Lance Moore and Robert Meachem did not have a catch in San Francisco. There are fantasy points here but the ball gets spread around and there is no consistency outside of Colston. Meachem is the deep receiver and if he doesn't catch that long pass - he gets nothing like last week.

Colston led all receivers with 85 yards and a score on six receptions when the Falcons came to town last year. No other wideout had more than 46 yards. That could happen again this week - that is right in line with what 2010 has been like.

TIGHT ENDS: So far Jeremy Shockey has turned in back-to-back games with three catches for around 25 yards each. David Thomas produced the touchdown reception last week but hasn't broken the magic 10 yard mark in a game yet.

Shockey turned in five receptions for 72 yards when the Falcons visited last year. His role has been lower so far but at home this week should see at least moderate yards.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 15 11 22 15 11 14
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 2 25 7 7 10 9

WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU CIN at CAR SD at SEA
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC IND at DEN
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL NYJ at MIA
  CLE at BAL PIT at TB OAK at ARI GB at CHI
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