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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 10
2011
OAK at SD (thu) DEN at KC * NE at NYJ * STL at CLE
* ARI at PHI * DET at CHI * NO at ATL * TEN at CAR
BAL at SEA HOU at TB * NYG at SF WAS at MIA
* UPDATED * BUF at DAL JAC at IND * PIT at CIN MIN at GB (mon)

Prediction: NO 23, ATL 27

Players to Watch: Julio Jones, Roddy White at home again

Update: Lance Moore is a game time decision after missing practices on Thursday and Friday because of a hamstring strain. In a passing attack that has mostly gone away from the wideouts anyway, Moore is a very risky start this week even if he is not inactive. Mark Ingram has been upgraded to probable and is expected to be available for this game though he was still limited in every practice. I am not adding him in this week given the chance he may do little or nothing.

This is a critical division matchup between the 6-3 Saints and the 5-3 Falcons with the second meeting coming in week 16. The Saints are only 2-3 in road tilts and the Falcons are 2-1 at home. This is a coin flip game that probably depends on who has the ball last.

These teams traded road wins in 2010 and the Saints won 17-14 in Atlanta.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL -
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG -
4 @JAC 23-10 13 DET -
5 @CAR 30-27 14 @TEN -
6 @TB 20-26 15 @MIN -
7 IND 62-7 16 ATL -
8 @STL 21-31 17 CAR -
9 TB 27-16 - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 320,1
RB Pierre Thomas 20,1 10 -
RB Darren Sproles 20 50 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 90 -
WR Marques Colston - 60,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 30 -
WR Robert Meachem - 40 -
PK John Kasay 3 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: This week could be a problem for a team that has not fared nearly as well on the road as it has at home. The Rams loss was a trap game but it followed a loss in Tampa Bay and a close win in Carolina. The Saints went nuts on the visiting Colts but have been much less prolific in scoring since week four. The division is likely to come down to that week 16 rematch but the winner here gets a nice advantage.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees scores every week but road games have been a lot different. Consider that in New Orleans, Brees has thrown 13 touchdowns in four games played while on the road he has only scored eight times in five games and three of the last four were just one touchdown each. His yardage remains 250+ regardless but Brees loses some end zone punch away from the Superdome.

Brees passed for 302 yards and one score in Atlanta last year.

The Falcons secondary is average at best and have allowed three opponents to throw for over 300 yards. But no visitor has scored more than twice via the pass and that includes Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Michael Vick.

RUNNING BACKS: Mark Ingram remains out of practice and I will assume misses this week. Updates if needed. Darren Sproles has been a major benefit to the offense this year but mostly in home games where he has scored five times. On the road - never. His yardage also wanes away from New Orleans at least as a runner. Pierre Thomas has scored in a road game but just one and his yardage remains lower. His production has not really changed with the absence of Ingram other than he is getting the touchdown run each game that Ingram once claimed.

Thomas rushed for 63 yards and one score in Atlanta last season.

The Falcons have been excellent against the run this year and even more so at home. The rushing yards will be down this week though Sproles will add receiving yardage to help out and Thomas could pick up a short score again. Sproles is the only one with minimal risk because of his receiving yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This once powerful unit continues to see value stripped away by Sproles and Jimmy Graham. No road game has seen more than one touchdown end up with a wideout (if any) and outside of Marques Colston there is no reliable value. Colston has three scores and just one decent road game (7-118, TD in TB) but otherwise just donates some yardage. Lance Moore scored in the last two games though he rarely accounts for any measurable yardage in fantasy terms. Devery Henderson no longer ends up with more than one catch per game.

This is the weaker spot of the defense but outside of Colston, using any wideout is a big risk. There is just minimal consistency or production.

TIGHT ENDS: Jimmy Graham will have a tougher time this week against one of the better defenses for tight ends. No tight end has scored in Atlanta or had more than 67 yards. Graham will get his targets and has been a major factor in all road matchups other than the Rams fiasco.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 1 8 2 6 21
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 20 5 21 5 17 18


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 31-17 15 JAC -
7 @DET 23-16 16 @NO -
8 Bye - 17 TB -
9 @IND 31-7 - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 250,2
RB Michael Turner 110,1 - -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 50,1 -
WR Julio Jones - 70 -
WR Roddy White - 60,1 -
WR Harry Douglas - 30 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: This is a pivotal game for the Falcons and a home win over the Saints has to happen if they have any designs on being the division champ. There are only three more road games to play this season and the tougher part of the schedule has passed with success. The offense is hitting on all cylinders when Julio Jones is around and the defense has quietly improved from earlier this year.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan comes off a healthy showing over the Colts (who hasn't by now?) but has been much more likely to settle for just one touchdown per game. At home he has never passed for more than 195 yards and against the Packers and Panthers only managed one passing score. The return of Julio Jones helps but less so at home because that means it is Michael Turner time. Consider that Ryan has not thrown more than 32 passes in home game.

The Saints are allowing at least one score on the road if not as many as three so consider Ryan a lock for one and a reasonable risk to end up with two. His yardage is likely remain moderate though.

RUNNING BACKS: The Falcons have been riding Michael Turner in recent weeks with great results. He has scored seven times this year and topped 100 yards four times including two of the three home matchups. He has yet to not score in a home game and goes against a Saints defense that has been weaker in recent weeks against runners.

The last three road opponents of the Saints have all featured a runner that topped 100 rushing yards and had at least one touchdown as well. Turner is a solid play this week with a chance for a big game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The return of Julio Jones was a cause of celebration for fantasy owners when he turned in 131 yards and two scores on just three receptions in Indy. That marks his third 100 yard game and there is an odd trend with that. His last three road games were monsters with 110+ yards. And his only two home games were clearly his worst of the year - 2-29 and 1-16. When the Falcons get home, they tend to run well and run often and that takes away from the receivers. Same phenomena for Roddy White who does have two scores in home matchups but never more than 50 yards in a Georgia dome game. This week needs to have both White and Jones show up in a home game for the first time.

I am crediting a score to White since he prefers to do that at home and my projections are higher for the starting wideouts than the previous stats suggest because this game has a better shot at being a shootout and Ryan will need to throw more.

TIGHT ENDS:Tony Gonzalez is a solid contributor every week and has five touchdowns on the season. He is a worthy play this week since the Falcons have played against very few teams that employ a receiving tight end. Gonzo has a good chance for a score this week and moderate to good yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 13 11 21 10 21 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 14 21 19 7 20 14

WEEK 10
2011
OAK at SD (thu) DEN at KC NE at NYJ STL at CLE
ARI at PHI DET at CHI NO at ATL TEN at CAR
BAL at SEA HOU at TB NYG at SF WAS at MIA
  BUF at DAL JAC at IND PIT at CIN MIN at GB (mon)

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