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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 22, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
  CIN at CLE NYG at TEN   Updated

Prediction: NO 24, ATL 20

This is the replay of the "homecoming" game for the Superdome earlier this year when the Saints won 23-3. It is also the ultimate match-up of the running quarterback versus the passing quarterback since Vick and Brees lead all quarterbacks in rushing or passing respectively. The Saints have hit their tough part of the schedule and are just 1-3 over the last four weeks while the Falcons have lost their last three games. This is round two and these teams are opposites on offense.

Update: Colston did not participate in the team drills this week but has been at practice doing what he can. According to Colston, his ankle is "A lot better" but he also said it was only at "60%". I am not adding him into the projections but he is only listed as questionable and he believes that his ankle could improve in a few days. Worth checking on prior to game time but even if he does play, he won't be completely healthy.

Terrance Copper is also listed as questionable with a knee sprain but has not missed practice and is expected to play. I am not changing the projections but they could obviously change if Colston feels good enough to play.

New Orleans Saints (6-4)
1 19-14 @CLE 10 31-38 @PIT
2 34-27 @GB 11 16-31 CIN
3 23-3 ATL 12 --- @ATL
4 18-21 @CAR 13 --- SF
5 24-21 TB 14 --- @DAL
6 27-24 PHI 15 --- WAS
7 Open Bye 16 --- @NYG
8 22-35 BAL 17 --- CAR
9 31-14 @TB - - MON
NOR at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 0 0 300,2
RB Reggie Bush 50 50 0
RB Deuce McAllister 40,1 10 0
TE Mark Campbell 0 10 0
WR Joe Horn 0 60 0
WR Terrance Copper 0 70,1 0
WR Devery Henderson 0 90,1 0
PK John Carney 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Saints rabbit foot must be all worn down now with a tough schedule taking its toll. Still they are tied with Carolina for the NFC South lead. No team is passing as much as the Saints are and with Reggie Bush getting better every week, this surprising run may not be done. The Saints swamped the Falcons in week three but now the Falcons know what to expect.

Quarterback: Drew Brees leads the NFL with 384 passing attempts, 255 completions and 3120 yards. His current pace would end with just short of 5000 passing yards on the year though 510 yards last week won't likely be repeated since it ranked #6 best for all-time in the NFL.

Brees only threw for 191 yards and no scores when the Falcons came to town in week three of this year. Ends up that was actually his worst game of the year and the only time he failed to throw for at least one score.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush still has yet to run for more than 53 yards in a game but he has been more productive lately with 10 runs for 49 yards (@PIT) and 13 carries for 51 yards (vs. CIN). And though he is rushing better, he is not losing his place in the passing scheme with 15 catches for 98 yards over the last two weeks. Deuce McAllister has been losing out in carries to Bush a bit but remains the obvious choice near the goal line. McAllister has seven touchdowns on the year.

McAllister scored twice against the visiting Falcons this year and had 47 yards on 12 carries while Reggie Bush only turned in five rushing yards on six carries but added eight catches for 68 yards.

Wide Receivers: Marques Colston sprained his left ankle on the third play from scrimmage last week when he was blocking downfield on a running play. That has since been termed a high ankle sprain that will depend upon how much pain Colston can withstand as to how much - or if - he plays. Colston was the #1 fantasy wideout until last week but until there is a clearer indication he can play, I will exclude him from the projections and update if warranted. Even if Colston did not play again he should be a contender for Rookie of the Year.

Devery Henderson stepped in for Colston last week and merely ripped off nine catches for 169 yards (and yes, Colston owners, that should have been yours) while Joe Horn had 93 yards and a score. Horn has now scored in each of the last three weeks and never had fewer than 93 yards. Terrance Copper turned in 87 yards and a score as well and that gives him two straight weeks with a score and around 90 yards. When your quarterback can throw for 510 yards, it is pretty much happy days for all the wideouts.

Colston gathered in seven catches for 97 yards while Horn only had 47 yards on five receptions against the Falcons earlier this year.

Tight Ends: 510 passing yards last week and the tight ends still suck. Shame really.

Match Against the Defense: The difference in this game and the one back in week three is that it will happen in Atlanta where Vick is less likely to make the same mistakes that killed him last time. The rushing game will likely be only moderate here with the Falcons one of the better defenses at stopping the run. This is a big match-up and I like McAllister to turn in one score but the yardage will mainly go to the passing game.

Brees faces a secondary that has held most teams to only average passing numbers but this defense can be beaten - as the Saints already have - but this time it will be more via the pass than the run. Look for two passing scores in this game with Horn having lesser numbers from his match-up with DeAngelo Hall.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 8 2 19 8 26
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 13 6 25 17 23 17


Atlanta Falcons (5-5)
1 20-6 @CAR 10 13-17 CLE
2 14-3 TB 11 10-24 @BAL
3 3-23 @NO 12 --- NO
4 32-10 ARZ 13 --- @WAS
5 Open Bye 14 --- @TB
6 14-27 NYG 15 --- DAL
7 41-38 PIT 16 --- CAR
8 29-27 @CIN 17 --- @PHI
9 14-30 @DET - MON SAT
ATL vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 60 0 180,2
RB Warrick Dunn 60 10 0
RB Jerious Norwood 20 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 60,1 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 30 0
WR Michael Jenkins 0 50,1 0
WR Roddy White 0 20 0
PK Morten Andersen 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Falcons were 5-2 with wins over Pittsburgh and in Cincinnati and the bottom just dropped out. Three games later the Falcons are just .500 and on a losing streak they can't seem to shake. Vick is back to being Vick and the running game totals hide the fact that Dunn is just not that effective this year. Throw in a defense that has worsened and the losing may not yet be over.

Quarterback: Michael Vick is #1 in rushing among all quarterbacks with 704 yards - the next best is Vince Young with only 226 yards. Vick is on pace to rush for over 1100 yards this season but he hasn't topped 200 passing yards since his little two game aberration and he has only thrown for one score in each of those three games.

Vick only completed just 12 of 31 passes for 137 yards and no score in New Orleans this year and added 57 yards on six runs.

Running Backs: Whether it is age or health, whatever the cause is - Warrick Dunn is on a downhill slope this year and gaining steam. He only has one game over 73 rushing yards in the last eight weeks of play and has dipped below 60 yards in three of the last four efforts. It is not from a lack of carries, just a decline in what he does with them. Jerious Norwood is back now but only had three runs for two yards last Sunday and no carries in week ten. The stats say the Atlanta rushing game is going great. The reality is that it's just a lot of Vick and not enough Dunn.

Dunn gained just 44 yards on 13 carries in New Orleans this season.

Wide Receivers: The lone positive here is that Michael Jenkins is the go-to guy near the endzone, even if that means Crumpler feels left out. Jenkins has scored in four of the last five match-ups and his six touchdowns on the year represent all the scores made by Falcon wideouts this year. Not one for any other wide receiver. Sure, Jenkins rarely gets more than 30 yards in any game but at least he is scoring now.

Tight Ends: Crumpler still leads all NFL tight ends with six touchdowns this season even though his 36 catches only rank 9th best for the position. But over the last two weeks Crumpler has only totaled six catches for 53 yards and no scores.

Crumpler turned in five catches for 49 yards and no score in New Orleans back in week two.

Match Against the Defense: This is interesting. The Saints have the worst defense when it comes to the passing game but the Falcons are the worst when it comes to actually passing (one of the worst anyway). Vick ran fairly well in week three and should gain those yards again but Dunn is stuck with only moderate numbers every week and there is no reason to expect a change here.

This game hinges on Vick passing - he is better with connecting for scores now with Jenkins but he'll need to move the team via the pass. Look for Vick to throw for two scores here against a soft secondary that favors Crumpler and Jenkins because no other Falcons receiver apparently knows where the endzone is. If Vick can score three times - even including his running - they can win this game. If not - they lose.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 19 32 7 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 31 12 32 29 4 18