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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CHI
Monday
SD
GB
*updated
NO

Prediction: ATL 16, SF 20

This should be an excellent game with the Falcons coming off their bye week and the 49ers defense looking more formidable with every game. The most telling aspect of this game is the venue with the 49ers playing at home where they have been formidable and the Falcons hitting the road where they are most vulnerable.

Atlanta Falcons (2-1)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 19-7 -4 43.5
2 CAR 28-20 -6 43
3 @NE 10-26 +4 44.5
4 BYE - - -
5 @SF - +2.5 41
6 CHI - - -
7 @DAL - - -
8 @NO - - -
9 WAS - - -
10 @CAR - - -
11 @NYG - - -
12 TB - - -
13 PHI - - -
14 NO - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @TB - - -
ATL at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     250,1
RB Michael Turner 80    
RB Jerious Norwood 10 40  
TE Tony Gonzalez   60,1  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   60  
WR Marty Booker   30  
PK Jason Elam 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The early bye week is not a help for the Falcons who have stewed for two weeks about their humbling loss to the Patriots in their only other trip away from Atlanta. The rushing game is sluggish compared to last season and even the bounce that Tony Gonzalez brought appears to have come at the expense of Roddy White. Perhaps the biggest problem of all is that the Falcons are done with the easier part of their schedule and have five road trips in the next seven weeks and each will be a challenge.

Quarterback: The consistent play of Matt Ryan while at home - around 220 yards and multiple scores in each - disappeared with his 199 yard effort in New England with no scores. He remains almost error-free with just one interception and two sacks allowed on the season. This week will be a bigger challenge for him against a 49er secondary that is improving.

This will also be a test for the 49ers as well since they have faced Warner and Favre on the road and allowed 280+ yards and a score or more but at home has only been Boller and the split when Hasselbeck was injured and Wallace took over. Look for one touchdown pass here but relying on anything more is risky. The Falcons will have to throw more this week and that should at least help with the yardage numbers for Ryan.

Running Backs: Michael Turner has scored in each of his last two games but his yardage is well off his 2008 pace. He's only averaging 75 yards per game and has zero role as a receiver which means mediocre fantasy results unless he scores. Jerious Norwood is expected to play this week after getting a concussion back in week two but his role has been minimal beyond catching passes on third down.

The 49ers defense has yet to allow a rushing touchdown and no runner has managed more than 85 rushing yards against them. Take that as the upper limit of what to expect from Turner who should return to his non-scoring ways again this week. He has the chance of breaking a long run every week but has been less likely than ever to pop a long-gainer.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White has really fallen from his 2008 pace when he only had one score on the season and has yet to top 54 yards in a game - even Michael Jenkins has been better that White so far. The Falcons will need to throw more this week since the rushing game should be held in check and that will help get White more opportunities but he's getting very hard to rely on this year.

The 49ers secondary has allowed three scores by opposing wideouts but Jerheme Urban's 74 yards is the most turned in against them and that includes the Arizona dynamic duo. The one passing score is almost certain to end up with White or Gonzalez but so far Gonzo is the safer bet.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez had scored in the first two games before the Patriots held him in check with only one catch back in week three. And the 49ers present a defense that has been stout against tight ends but the reality is that they have yet to face anyone that has a decent receiving tight end. Start Gonzo this week and he should do no worse than moderate yards and a chance for a score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 21 8 25 10 26 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    SF 10 12 16 3 9 13


San Francisco 49ers (3-1)
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ARI 20-16 +6 46
2 SEA 23-10 -1.5 39
3 @MIN 24-27 +7 40.5
4 STL 35-0 -10 37.5
5 ATL - -2.5 41
6 BYE - - -
7 @HOU - - -
8 @IND - - -
9 TEN - - -
10 CHI - - -
11 @GB - - -
12 JAC - - -
13 @SEA - - -
14 ARI - - -
15 @PHI - - -
16 DET - - -
17 @STL - - -
SF vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill     180,1
RB Glenn Coffee 90,1 20  
TE Vernon Davis   40,1  
WR Josh Morgan   50  
WR Isaac Bruce   40  
WR Arnaz Battle   20  
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: That three point loss in Minnesota is all that has kept the 49ers from a perfect record and with a bye following this game, they'll get to regroup and prepare for what will be their tougher portion of the schedule. The loss of Frank Gore is likely to last another week but gives Glenn Coffee another shot a redemption. But more than anything, the defense is what is making the 49ers a contender again and they come off their first shutout since gold was found in them thar hills.

Quarterback: Shaun Hill is not going to rank highly in any category this year but the offense doesn't ask him to be and he has scored in all but one game this season. He has only thrown one interception against five touchdowns but also rings in with no more than 209 passing yards so far. He's a decent bye week option and nothing more.

The Falcons have allowed one passing touchdown to each opponent and far more passing yardage than Hill is likely (or even capable) to produce. Look for the one touchdown pass and mediocre yardage like every week.

Running Backs: Frank Gore missed last week because of his ankle injury and is expected to miss this game as well. Added to the bye next week would give him three weeks to heal up before the schedule turned a bit tougher. Glenn Coffee ran for 74 yards on 24 carries which was less than stellar but he did add 32 yards on four receptions and the 49ers decimated the Rams anyway.

What was a major positive was that Coffee performed well on picking up blitzes and he should be better this week against a Falcons team that gave up 163 rushing yards to the Patriots and 144 yards to the Panthers running backs. Coffee is a decent start this week with a nice chance for a rushing score.

Wide Receivers: There is no denying that this group is pretty lacking in production and Josh Morgan's score last week was the only touchdown by a 49ers wideout this year. Since week one, none have turned in more than 47 yards in any game which will seem like a squandered opportunity since the Falcons secondary have already allowed two wideouts to top 100 yards against them. Morgan gets the better matchup but none of these players are reliable enough to consider for any fantasy start.

Minor news too is that Michael Crabtree is speaking with the 49ers again and a potential end to his holdout could happen sooner than later according to some sources. That means nothing for this week and probably nothing for the next month but consider Crabtree if you have an empty roster spot and can wait to see if he does anything later in the season. Be prepared for no payback but the less his presence can hurt you means the more his risk is worthy of taking.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis - can this be happening? He now has scored in two straight games and had at least minor yards and catches. He has been the primary target for Hill in these last two games and could sneak into being a fantasy starter very soon. The Falcons are weaker against tight ends and it fits into what the 49ers have been doing. His yardage won't be that high but Davis has a decent chance of pulling off the hat trick with touchdowns in three straight games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 28 11 31 4 10 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    ATL 13 25 8 23 25 2

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CHI
Monday
SD
GB
NO
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