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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 6
2011
BUF at NYG * HOU at BAL NO at TB * MIA at NYJ (mon)
CAR at ATL * IND at CIN * PHI at WAS ARI, DEN
CLE at OAK JAC at PIT SF at DET KC, SD
*Updated * DAL at NE * MIN at CHI STL at GB SEA, TEN

Prediction: CAR 24, ATL 23

Players to Watch: None

The Panthers were swept by the Falcons last year, losing 10-31 at home and later 10-31 in Atlanta. Now there is consistency. But unlikely to continue since the Falcons are 2-3 and struggling while the Panthers are 1-4 and have never lost by more than one touchdown. This helps that it is played in Atlanta but the Panthers have never lost by more than one score and keep getting better. The Falcons are struggling and may be without Julio Jones.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 21-28 10 TEN -
2 GB 23-30 11 @DET -
3 JAC 16-10 12 @IND -
4 @CHI 29-34 13 @TB -
5 NO 27-30 14 ATL -
6 @ATL - 15 @HOU -
7 WAS - 16 TB -
8 MIN - 17 @NO -
9 Bye -      
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 - 300,2
RB DeAngelo Williams 50 - -
RB Jonathan Stewart 20 20 -
TE Greg Olsen - 40 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 20 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 40,1 -
WR Steve Smith - 110,1 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 50 -
PK Olindo Mare 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Panthers are only 1-4 but have been right in it until the end with GB, CHI and NO - that says something. The defense has not been able to match the progress made by the offense but at least this week faces a team that has struggled in some games and should end up to be a rushing war which keeps game scores close and within reach. The Panthers rushing game is now coming into full bloom and that bodes well for the rest of the season.

QUARTERBACK: While Cam Newton settled down to only 224 yards against the Saints, he had two passing scores and rushed in a third one. The primary reason why he did not have a monster passing effort was because of the success of DeAngelo Williams running the ball. That should be less a factor this week in Atlanta where the Falcons are much tougher against the run.

The Falcons have allowed major passing yardage in all but the Tampa Bay matchup and have given up over 310 passing yards in four of five games with multiple passing touchdowns in each. It is almost exactly the sort of average that Newton has this year and a good chance to replicate his past success. Consider the Falcons gave up a rushing score to Josh Freeman and Newton should turn in a nice effort again this week.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams finally had a decent showing when he rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries against the Saints but that included a 69-yard run. And the problem is that it was his only touchdown this year and he had no receptions for the second week in a row. He is limited to around ten carries each week and that is hard to get much fantasy value without breaking a long run. But at least Williams has finally had a decent game - he is just a really expensive part-time rusher.

Jonathan Stewart was de-emphasized thanks to the success of Williams last week but he has been at least a minor factor as a receiver in most games. That should be more apparent this week against a Falcons team that had has been very good against the run. There is a good shot at a rushing score but Newton will hawk it anyway.

The Falcons have not allowed a 100 yard rusher yet this year and only two players have rushed in a score. Splitting up the workload as always means marginal yardage for both running backs and likely no scores.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Steve Smith finally had a "normal" game of 79 yards on three catches but scored once against the Saints. That was his first score since the opener and first time he had less than 150 yards in a game not occurring during a monsoon. The last two games have seen Legedu Naanee getting around ten targets which was equal with Smith but hardly as productive. Naanee has not scored yet and comes off a season best 63 yards on four catches. Brandon LaFell only had one catch on the Saints but it was called a touchdown and then reversed. The Panthers continue to rely on Naanee more than LaFell.

This is the bigger weakness of the Falcons who have allowed seven touchdowns to the position this year and two huge games from Jeremy Maclin (13-171, 2 TD) and James Jones (5-140, TD) which both happened in Atlanta. Smith is an obvious start and should have a good showing but the other two wideouts have been too inconsistent to consider. Nice shot at a touchdown for one of them though.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen scored in each of his last three games though the yardage has been marginal each time. Olsen has become a preferred red zone target for Newton while Jeremy Shockey putts along with no scores and rarely more than 40 yards in any game. This week they face a good defense that has only allowed one passing score to a tight end against them and moderate yardage at best. Jermichael Finley only had 67 yards on four catches as the best yet against the Falcons.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 2 26 12 6 19 28
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 25 15 31 8 25 22


Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 12-30 10 NO -
2 PHI 35-31 11 TEN -
3 @TB 13-16 12 MIN -
4 @SEA 30-28 13 @HOU -
5 GB 14-25 14 @CAR -
6 CAR - 15 JAC -
7 @DET - 16 @NO -
8 Bye - 17 TB -
9 @IND - - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 240,1
RB Michael Turner 120,1 10 -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 70 -
WR Roddy White - 90,1 -
WR Harry Douglas - 40 -
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Falcons drop to a disappointing 2-3 with the loss to the Packers and the main culprit again was an offense that seems about half what was expected this season. Matt Ryan seems stuck in first gear and while Michael Turner can score, he's not been moving the chains or controlling the ball like the offense needs. Add in a defense that allowed three touchdowns in almost every game and the Falcons have plenty to try to fix and not much time to do it. After this game comes a trip to Detroit that will be no cakewalk.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan passed for four touchdowns against the Eagles but has only scored three times in the other four games and never more than once. His pass yardage has been healthy but almost exclusively when the rookie Julio Jones drops a big game and he may not play this week. Jones left the game last week and Ryan ended with only 167 yards against the Packers.

The Panthers can give up pass yards and scores but have faced Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. A weakness against the run means the Falcons will look to rush the ball more and should have good results - all decreasing what Ryan will do in the game. Unless the Panthers get a big early lead - unlikely - the Falcons won't look to pass much.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner has four scores on the season and three in just the last two games but his yardage has lagged since opening the season with two efforts over 100 yards. Turner has only averaged 49 yards per game in the last three week though in part that is from a lack of carries in games that got away from the Falcons. Turner still accounts for almost all the rushing yards in Atlanta.

The Panthers have been weak against the run thanks to linebacker injuries and just lost Omar Gaither to make matters worse. This is the defense that gave Matt Forte 205 yards when the Panthers came to Chicago. Beanie Wells had 90 yards and a score on them. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 122 yards. Expect a good game here from Turner with over 100 yards and at least one rushing score and maybe two.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Julio Jones has been a great addition this year but left the Packers game with a left hamstring injury that is likely to keep him out this week. Jones had provided a nice 1-2 punch with Roddy White even if he has been at least a slight degrading to what White could have done. That will be evident this week with White paired with Harry Douglas who has never had more than 35 yards in a game this year. But a blessing for the White owners knowing he will be the clear primary again and not share so many catches.

The Panthers have been very good against the wide outs but partially because opponents are better off running the ball against them. All but two opposing wide receivers have been held to less than 70 yards but have been susceptible against stud wideouts. Start White this week and expect at least moderate yardage with a chance for a big game and a score. This is White's chance to roll up some fantasy points while Jones is on the sideline.

TIGHT ENDS: There is a chance that Tony Gonzalez gets more work this week but he did not score in the Packers game for the first time since the season opener. Gonzalez had four touchdowns on the season to lead all receivers and typically decent yardage but the Panthers have only given up one score all year to the position despite facing Jermichael Finley (5-68) and Jimmy Graham (8-129) who had no touchdowns.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 18 13 21 8 24 16
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 9 30 10 13 26 23

WEEK 6
2011
BUF at NYG HOU at BAL NO at TB MIA at NYJ (mon)
CAR at ATL IND at CIN PHI at WAS ARI, DEN
CLE at OAK JAC at PIT SF at DET KC, SD
  DAL at NE MIN at CHI STL at GB SEA, TEN

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