fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    
HOME ARTICLES NEWS DRAFT GUIDE REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS NFL TEAMS MESSAGE BOARDS

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 16
December 22, 2004
Season Ticket
Friday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
GB at MIN CHI at DET ATL at NO * NE at NYJ * CLE at MIA
Saturday NYG at CIN * BAL at PIT BUF at SF * Mon 9 PM
DEN at TEN 8:30 HOU at JAX * CAR at TB WAS at DAL PHI at STL
OAK at KC 5 * SD at IND * Good Luck!!! ARZ at SEA *updated
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 0 0 170,1
RB Warrick Dunn 80,1 20 0
TE Dwayne Blakely 0 10 0
WR Dez White 0 40,1 0
WR Peerless Price 0 50 0
WR Brian Finneran 0 20 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 2 XP -
  New Orleans Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Brooks 0 0 220,2
RB Deuce McAllister 100,1 10 0
TE Boo Williams 0 20 0
WR Joe Horn 0 110,1 0
WR Donte Stallworth 0 50,1 0
WR Jerome Pathon 0 20 0
PK John Carney 2 FG 3 XP -

ATL (11-3) vs NO (6-8)

Game Prediction: ATL 17, NO 27

This is a rematch of the week 12 game when the Falcons won 24-21 in Atlanta.

Update: Michael Vick has been held out of practice with a sore left shoulder and I am removing him from the projections. He has not been formally ruled out yet but reason says that Schaub will get most if not all the work on Sunday.

Pre-Game Notes - ATL

The Falcons come off a thrilling overtime win over the Panthers and have locked down the first round bye with no chance that they can avoid a trip to Philadelphia if they get that far.

Quarterback: Last week was vintage Michael Vick - he ran for 68 yards and one touchdown to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. He also threw for two touchdowns but only completed 11 of 28 passes for 154 yards. two interceptions and one lost fumble.

In the last meeting with the Saints, Vick passed for 212 yards and two scores while rushing in a third touchdown and gaining 69 yards on ten runs. Vick sprained his left shoulder against the Panthers last week and is expected to be fine. The question is if he will play the entire game since the Falcons no longer have anything to win or lose. HC Jim Mora said that he would play the game to win which means Vick plays, but that might change.

Running Backs: Warrick Dunn did not have Duckett to share with last week and ran for a season high 134 yards on 28 carries with one touchdown while never catching a pass. He had every carry in the game for running backs. Dunn only gained 59 yards in the previous meeting with the Saints but that was with Duckett also gaining 58 yards as well.

Duckett had been expected to miss one week or more but even if he is near health there is no real reason to jeopardize him. I assume he will be held out this week until I hear something credible about his status.

Wide Receivers: Dez White had a 54 yard reception last week and ended with 71 yards on three catches in a performance that suggested that the Falcons actually have wideouts on their roster. Brian Finneran also scored his first touchdown for the year during his three catches for 19 yards. This was all very exciting given that there had only been three wideout touchdowns during the entire season until last week. Peerless Price only had one catch for four yards though, just to penalize anyone who had started him this week hoping to get lucky.

Back in week 12, the only wideout with any fantasy significance was Price who had 59 yards on four catches.

Tight Ends: Alge Crumpler continues his slide. He only had 38 yards on three catches last week and that makes three straight weeks of low production from the player that had been the entirety of the Atlanta passing attack. Crumpler suffered a partial tear of his right posterior cruciate ligament last week and will likely not play against the Saints. Just when you needed him the most.

Match Against the Defense: The big question here is how long will notable players be in the game? There is nothing to win here and everything to lose if Vick or Dunn get injured and yet Duckett is still out. I expect that Matt Schaub will eventually see some playing time which will cut into Vick's production.

The Saints have been largely unpredictable lately and now the Falcons enter the game likely to shift roles depending on the game situation. The assumption that I am making is for full efforts from the starters but if the game looks like a dog fight - and it was the last time - then others will be inserted into the game and make starting any Falcon a risky proposition. The loss of Crumpler this week will put a whole new spin on the passing game that already was lackluster anyway.

Pre-Game Notes - NO

Go figure. Just when the Saints future looked the darkest, they have reeled off two impressive road wins against at least comparable teams. At 6-8, they are still in the race for the final NFC wildcard and almost beat the Falcons earlier this season.

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks has scored in all but one game this season and has six touchdowns in the last three games. He had two scores against the Buccaneers last week and finally stopped throwing interceptions. Brooks only had 189 yards and one score in the last meeting with the Falcons but this week should prove more productive at home against a team that will struggle with motivation.

Running Backs: Deuce McAllister has been much less effective this season and even though the Saints have been winning games again, he still has not been a big factor. His last 100+ yard rushing effort was back in week 12 against these same Falcons when he had 23 carries for exactly 100 yards. He's only scored in one of the last five games but this week has a good chance from what should be a shorter field.

Wide Receivers: Don't tell Joe Horn that he is getting older or that he is injury prone. Horn has scored in the last four games starting with the last meeting against Atlanta when he had 101 yards on nine catches. He's only had marginal help from any other receiver though Donte Stallworth has scored three times in the last six weeks - every other week actually and his last one was just last Sunday. The offense remains all about Horn when the ball is passed and he typically gets at least double the number of throws of any other receiver.

Tight Ends: Brooks continues to throw to Boo Williams, it's just that little ever happens. Williams is typically the #2 target behind Horn and yet he rarely exceeds 20 yards and has not scored in the last six games.

Match Against the Defense: The Saints played the Falcons to a close match last time and the main question here is how well the resurgent Saints will do against the banged-up Falcons who have nothing to win in the game.

Expect that McAllister has a good game here with a chance for a score and good yardage if the Saints decide to tank in the second half. It's all speculation really in a game hard to predict but McAllister should be the most likely to do well.

Expect Brooks to continue his string of throwing touchdowns and that always goes to Horn first. His production will also be a function of what they game turns into but the safest assumption if for him to continue the more impressive performances that he has generated lately.

ATL NO 2004 Averages NO ATL
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
163
256
Pass yards
241
244
0.9
1.5
Pass TDs
1.4
1.1
0.9
0.7
Interceptions
1.0
1.1
63
9
Rush yards
13
3
0.2
0.1
Rush TDs
0.2
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
103
135
Rush yards
78
95
1.1
0.9
Rush TDs
0.6
1.1
30
43
Receive yards
31
43
0.1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.0
---
---
WR's
---
---
80
162
Receive yards
180
161
0.4
0.7
Receive TD's
1.1
0.8
---
---
TE's
---
---
57
53
Receive yards
29
40
0.4
0.6
Receive TD's
0.3
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
2.0
Field Goals
1.5
1.1
2.6
2.9
Extra Points
2.3
2.3
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1.0
0.8
Fumbles
1.1
1.0
1.1
0.9
Interceptions
0.8
0.9
0.4
0.3
Touchdowns
0.2
0.1
2.9
2.5
Sacks
2.0
3.1
0.0
0.1
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Falcons (11-3)
Score Opp.
21-19 @SF
34-17 STL
6-3 ARI
27-10 @CAR
10-17 DET
21-20 SD
10-56 @KC
41-28 @DEN
Week 9 bye
24-14 TB
14-10 @NYG
24-21 NO
0-27 @TB
35-10 OAK
34-31 CAR
Week 16 @NO
Week 17 @SEA
Saints (6-8)
Score Opp.
7-21 SEA
30-27 SF
28-25 @STL
10-34 @ARI
17-20 TB
31-38 MIN
31-26 @OAK
Week 8 bye
17-43 @SD
27-20 KC
13-34 DEN
21-24 @ATL
21-32 CAR
27-13 @DAL
21-17 @TB
Week 16 ATL
Week 17 @CAR