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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 16
2011
HOU at IND (thu) * JAC at TEN OAK at KC * STL at PIT
ARI at CIN MIA at NE * PHI at DAL TB at CAR
* CLE at BAL * MIN at WAS * SD at DET * CHI at GB
* UPDATED DEN at BUF * NYG at NYJ * SF at SEA * ATL at NO (mon)

Prediction: ATL 20, NO 33

Update: Mark Ingram remains out with his turf toe but Michael Turner returned to practice and is expected to play despite the groin injury.

The Falcons are 9-5 and trail the Saints by two games but are only 4-3 on the road. The Saints have clinched no worse than a wild card and get the division outright with a win here. Throw in a win in Tampa Bay next week and the Saints get a first round bye. Here is a very well chosen Monday night game with meaning.

This is a replay of week 10 when the Saints beat the Falcons 26-23 in Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 12-30 10 NO 23-26
2 PHI 35-31 11 TEN 23-17
3 @TB 13-16 12 MIN 24-14
4 @SEA 30-28 13 @HOU 10-17
5 GB 14-25 14 @CAR 31-23
6 CAR 31-17 15 JAC 41-14
7 @DET 23-16 16 @NO -
8 Bye - 17 TB -
9 @IND 31-7 - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 330,2
RB Michael Turner 60 - -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 80,1 -
WR Julio Jones - 100,1 -
WR Roddy White - 80 -
WR Harry Douglas - 50 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: This is where the Falcons spotty road record burns them. It is safe to assume a win in the season finale against the Buccaneers but a loss here means that a wild card is the best they can get (which is already reality since the Saints play the Panthers next week). But 10-5 will guarantee a wild card in January which only means another road game against a top team. One and done? The Falcons will probably play in either New York or Dallas, so probably.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan started the season with a down note when he only had one or no scores in the first seven games but he has turned it on since mid-season and has thrown 17 touchdowns over the last seven efforts. He's topped 300 passing yards three times in that span as well. In the previous meeting with the Saints, Ryan threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns.

No doubt that this could end up a big passing game for Ryan since the last two visitors to New Orleans passed for over 400 yards each (NYG, DET). But only two teams have thrown for more than two scores on the Saints this year. THis should be another high yardage game but the scores are likely to remain only a couple.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner has been a better back at home this season with a total of six touchdowns and four efforts over 100 rush yards compared to only three scores and two games over 100 yards in road games. Add in that Turner has not been as effective in the second half of the season. His last five games only produced one performance over 76 yards and that was at home. Turner rushed for 96 yards on 22 runs versus the visiting Saints this year. It was only one of two home games here he did not score.

The Saints are brutal to runners who visit and none have gained more than 89 yards there and only three have scored. Safest bet here is just moderate yardage and no score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Roddy White is on a tear with four straight games with a touchdown or more and he has totaled three 100+ yard efforts over the last five weeks. But those were all home games. White has only turned in around 50 to 70 yards in most road games and in week 10 ended with just four catches for 62 yards versus the visiting Saints. Julio Jones scored in the last two games and his four efforts over 100 yards were all in away venues. But he was held to just nine yards on two catches when he injured his hamstring. Harry Douglas stepped in and recorded a season best eight catches for 133 yards in that game.

Have to like the chances this ends up as a passing game trying to catch up and with that both Jones and White are attractive plays this week.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez is having a very strong season even if it ends up as his last. He's been on a string of five consecutive games with 70 yards or more and score three times in that span. This includes week ten when he posted six receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown when the Saints visited.

Gonzo is winding down a tremendous career and a second score on the Saints is likely. He was under used last week and pulled from the game but he'll be a factor in this matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 9 13 8 7 13 19
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 25 24 25 6 20 3


New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL 26-23
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG 49-24
4 @JAC 23-10 13 DET 31-17
5 @CAR 30-27 14 @TEN 22-17
6 @TB 20-26 15 @MIN 42-20
7 IND 62-7 16 ATL -
8 @STL 21-31 17 CAR -
9 TB 27-16 - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 330,3
RB Pierre Thomas 30 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 20 30 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 80,1 -
WR Marques Colston - 100,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 40,1 -
WR Devery Henderson - 20 -
WR Robert Meachem - 30 -
PK John Kasay 4 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints have not been all that kind at home this year since their average winning margin has been around 23 points and not just because of the 62-7 pasting of the Colts. No visitor has come within 11 points in New Orleans since week three. Fortunately the Saints have to win to maintain their division title and #2 seeding and the Falcons are good enough to prevent the Saints from considering sitting players later in the game.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees is in striking distance of Dan Marino's all-time single season passing mark of 5084 yards. As in 305 yards away and he is at a home game after passing for 322 yards against the Falcons in week ten. Hmm... wonder what might happen. Brees is President of the 300-3 Club this year and 305 should be about as sure of a thing as going to Bourbon Street on Friday night and finding a drunk guy, a person sleeping in the shadows and some chick who is just crying for no reason. Done deal.

RUNNING BACKS: Mark Ingram remains out with turf toe and the Saints are likely to just stash him until the playoffs so he can get healthy. The Falcons have a great rushing defense that held the Saints to only 16 carries for 41 yards in Atlanta. Pierre Thomas only gained 29 yards on six carries and Darren Sproles had his worst game of the year with one yard on two carries and only two yards on four receptions.

None of the running backs are that attractive this week against the #3 defense versus the position.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Playing at home in a game where Brees is likely to set an all-time record will mean the wideouts have a nice showing this week. In the previous meeting, Marques Colston posted eight catches for 113 yards while Robert Meachem caught two passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. Lance Moore only recorded one reception for 38 yards. But this is at home and should mean that Colston is a safe play with a good shot at a touchdown. Moore was held down in week ten but has scored five times over the five games since. Colston is a must start and Moore should make amends for the first meeting.

TIGHT ENDS: Jimmy Graham is a must start every week as the #2 fantasy tight end in the league. Graham turned in 82 yards on seven catches with one score in Atlanta this year and has been very consistent around the 80 yard mark in home games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 1 6 2 3 29
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 19 3 17 15 10 8

WEEK 16
2011
HOU at IND (thu) JAC at TEN OAK at KC STL at PIT
ARI at CIN MIA at NE PHI at DAL TB at CAR
CLE at BAL MIN at WAS SD at DET CHI at GB
  DEN at BUF NYG at NYJ SF at SEA ATL at NO (mon)

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