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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  
WILCARDS CIN at HOU PIT at DEN ATL at NYG DET at NO

Prediction: ATL 27, NYG 24

Line: NYG by 3 / OU = 47

The 10-6 Falcons head north for their wild card game and bring a 4-4 road record to New York. The 9-7 Giants are only 4-4 at home and that makes this game a coin flip. Take away two wins over Dallas and the Giants are just 1-5 in recent games. The Falcons are 0-4 in games versus division leaders.

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 16-45
8 Bye - 17 TB 45-24
9 @IND 31-7 - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 290,2
RB Michael Turner 70,1 - -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 50 -
WR Julio Jones - 90,1 -
WR Roddy White - 70,1 -
WR Harry Douglas - 20 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Falcons had no chance to win the division thanks to the Saints but they do belong in the playoffs with both a deep-strike offense and a better defense than most realize. One of the keys for the offense is facing a secondary of the Giants that has ranked in the bottom five for quarterbacks and running backs all year. It doesn't hurt either that Osi Umenyiora reinjured his high ankle sprain last week.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan ended the season with a strong 4177 yards passing and 29 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions and he scored in every game since the season opener. He has tended towards just one touchdown in road games other than the easier opponents but with higher yardage - 275+ in six of eight games away from home.

The Giants have allowed a score to every visiting quarterback and any decent offense showing up has left with higher yardage and two scores. The Falcons have a healthy set of receivers again so expect the better game from Ryan.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner has been far better at home than in road games - eight versus three touchdowns. He has also been more productive in yardage as well at home with significantly higher carries. He had less than 19 carries in just two home games and yet on the road carried more than 19 times only twice. With minimal help from Jacquizz Rodgers, Turner is going to take whatever is there but that's consistently been less when away from Atlanta.

The Giants at home have not been that great against the run though and have allowed half of the visiting teams to notch a rushing score and 98+ rushing yards to the primary running back. Expect moderate yardage but a chance for one score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Since around week 12, this unit has really started to shine with one or more touchdowns every week and a 100 yard performance almost every game - if not two. Roddy White scored eight times this year and has been on fire in the last seven weeks with five scores and four monster yardage games. Julio Jones has scored at least once in each of the last four games and has right touchdowns as well. Jones topped 100 yards in five games - all five were on the road.

The Giants have allowed 13 touchdowns to visiting wideouts this year though no 100+ yard games since week five. Both White and Jones are attractive plays here and Jones even more so since it is a road game.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez has a lesser chance of a good game here since the Giants have only allowed one passing score to a tight end at home - seven touchdowns in road games. Gonzo has been a big player all year but the last three games never had more than 41 yards or scored. He could show up here but he hasn't lately and the Giants are good at home against the position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 9 6 7 10 13 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 28 19 29 28 13 10


New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @WAS 14-28 10 @SF 20-27
2 STL 28-16 11 PHI 10-17
3 @PHI 29-16 12 @NO 24-49
4 @ARI 31-27 13 GB 35-38
5 SEA 25-36 14 @DAL 37-34
6 BUF 27-24 15 WAS 10-23
7 Bye - 16 @NYJ 29-14
8 MIA 20-17 17 DAL 31-14
9 @NE 24-20 - - -
Giants Report | Statistics | Roster
NY GIANTS vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning - - 300,2
RB Brandon Jacobs 40 - -
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 50,1 10 -
TE Jake Ballard - 20 -
WR Victor Cruz - 110,1 -
WR Hakeem Nicks - 80,1 -
WR Mario Manningham - 20 -
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants clawed their way back into playoff contention with major kudos to the Cowboys for laying down twice in the final month for them. But the Giants were very inconsistent this season and the same team that beat the Patriots in New England then dropped four in a row and even lost to the visiting Redskins. The talent is here but it has not always been healthy or worked together every week.

QUARTERBACK: Eli Manning had a tremendous season statistically with 4933 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. He passed for a score in all but three games and had eight efforts surpass 300 yards - three went over 400 yards. Manning has been good for 250+ yards in all home games and usually around 300 yards. He has faced some very weak secondaries along the way but has never been worse than good.

The Falcons secondary has only allowed five opponents to top 300 yards but that included Drew Brees twice and Aaron Rodgers. Almost every opponent has been limited to two or fewer touchdowns. Manning at home should remain with higher yardage though less likely the 320+ sort.

RUNNING BACKS: Ahmad Bradshaw has scored five times over the last three games though he has not rushed for more than 60 yards in any of those or had more than 16 carries. Brandon Jacobs was on a nice streak earlier but since Bradshaw returned, Jacobs has taken a definite step backwards with never more than eight touches in recent games and has not score. The touchdowns have helped the ranking below but they have combined for just two games with a 100 yard rusher and both are only marginally used as receivers.

The Falcons have been solid against the run this year with only two runners topping 100 rushing yards (Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew) and both barely managed to clip the mark. There is a chance for a score here and that would favor Bradshaw but his yardage has been marginal in almost every game and no reason to expect more this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: You could draw similarities between the Giants and Falcons receivers. Hakeem Nicks is the veteran with seven touchdowns though only three 100+ yard games and Victor Cruz is the new young gun with nine scores and seven monster yardage games. Cruz has been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this year and while he is not above a bad game or two, he has been good for 90+ yards ten times and scored in every game with at least 99 yards. He's been a tremendous benefit for fantasy teams.

Mario Manningham is nursing a score knee and played last week but never had a pass thrown to him. He has been a nonfactor most of the year aside from a few touchdowns during midseason.

This is where the game is lost or won for the Giants since the Falcons secondary has been very good and only allowed six touchdowns to the position in the eight road games. Only two players (Calvin Johnson and Steve Smith) had more than 100 yards in a home game against the Falcons and barely so for both. Look for both Cruz and Nicks to figure in big and have a decent chance at scoring once each.

TIGHT ENDS: Jake Ballard may play this week though he has a damaged PCL in his knee that has kept him out the last two weeks. He's a poor play because of the risk and the other tight ends did nothing in his place while he was gone.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 7 8 3 18 24 10
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 9 6 7 10 13 14

WILCARDS CIN at HOU PIT at DEN ATL at NYG DET at NO

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