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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 12
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thanksgiving
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Monday
*updated

Prediction: TB 13, ATL 24

Update: Michael Turner has been able to have limited practices this week and has not been ruled out. That does not necessarily mean he will play any significant amount or even at all since high ankle sprains normally take longer to heal. The Falcons are being purposefully evasive about his status but it is unlikely they would need him in Tamp Bay anyway. I am not adding him into the projections with those question marks around him but be aware that he could show up this week. Mostly it just makes Jason Snelling's numbers a bit more risky to rely on.

Jerious Norwood has been in all practices and is expected to play at least for a few plays. I am not adding him in since he is not expected to have a heavy role regardless.

The Buccaneers continue their muddy ways with a 1-9 record and an 0-4 road mark. The Falcons have lost their last two games and drop to 5-5 but are still in contention for a wildcard and are 4-0 at home.

These divisional rivals traded home wins in 2008 with the Buccaneers winning 24-9 and later the Falcons won 13-10 in Atlanta.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL 21-34 +5 39
2 @BUF 20-33 +4 41
3 NYG 0-24 +7 44
4 @WAS 13-16 +7 37
5 @PHI 14-33 +16 42.5
6 CAR 21-28 +3 39
7 NE 7-35 +15.5 44.5
8 BYE - - -
9 GB 38-28 +10 43.5
10 @MIA 23-25 +10 43
11 NO 7-38 +10.5 51
12 @ATL - +12 46
13 @CAR - - -
14 NYJ - - -
15 @SEA - - -
16 @NO - - -
17 ATL - - -
TB at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman     200,1
RB Derrick Ward 30 10  
RB Carnell Williams 50    
TE Kellen Winslow Jr.   60,1  
WR Antonio Bryant   40  
WR Michael Clayton   30  
WR Sammie Stroughter   50  
PK Conner Barth 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Hosting the Saints was no fun last week and now on the road the Buccaneers get to see if the Falcons take them seriously and beat them in a close match or if they'll just crush them because playing away from Tampa Bay has gone that way this year. Of course it is losing all the same and the remaining schedule is brutal with four road trips in the next five weeks. This team could be very different next year - at least it should be.

HC Raheem Morris has fired DC Jim Bates and taken over the defensive play calling. It's already happening.

Quarterback: Josh Freeman still has scored in each start but the last two weeks have been single touchdown passes and an ever declining amount of passing yardage. Against the Saints in a blowout loss, Freeman only passed for 126 yards and that was with Antonio Bryant back in the mix.

Brian Griese was the quarterback in both meetings with the Falcons last year and threw for one touchdown in each game. He passed for 269 yards in Atlanta.

There is no contesting that the Falcons have a very soft secondary, the question is what the Bucs can do about it. Playing on the road is bad for the Bucs and the Falcons are in a "win everything possible" mode. Expect only moderate yardage and a score though it could go a bit higher depending on how committed the Falcons are to defense.

Running Backs: No changes to one of the most anemic rushing attacks in the NFL. Carnell Williams hasn't been better than 77 yards since the season opener and has just two scores in the last eight games. He has no role as a receiver in the last three games. Derrick Ward is the change of pace back to a bad back which is to say he is worthless. He has not produced more than 43 rushing yards since the season opener and he has only a minimal role as a receiver.

Williams and Warrick Dunn split 26 carries in Atlanta last season with a total of 99 yards and no scores.

The Falcons in Atlanta have allowed only two rushing scores and never more than 79 rushing yards to a runner so expect more failing of the Buccaneers to grab the brass ring of mediocrity.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Bryant returned after a four game absence but only managed to catch three passes for 40 yards which was pretty much what he was doing before his knee acted up. Michael Clayton had the touchdown catch last week but it was his only of the game and it has been over a month since he had more than one reception. Sammie Stroughter does better with two or three catches per week but Freeman is getting progressively worse at finding his wide receivers. This week should be a bit better at least in theory.

Bryant caught eight passes for 108 yards and one score in Atlanta last season. No other receiver had more than 41 yards.

The passing game here is too inconsistent and unproductive to rely on. Even the one passing score is unlikely to end up here since Freeman has evolved into just looking for Winslow on every pass play.

Tight Ends: Freeman has really zeroed in on Kellen Winslow and thrown him 11 and 13 passes over the last two weeks. That has resulted in a big showing in Miami but only 29 yards on five catches last week. But Winslow is the only receiver here that has any fantasy value and mostly because he only compared to other tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 24 29 31 5 32 20
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 30 23 23 29 19 9


Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
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 45-10 +2.5 41
6 CHI 21-14 -3 45.5
7 @DAL 21-37 +5 47.5
8 @NO 27-35 +10 54
9 WAS 31-17 -10 41
10 @CAR 19-28 -1 43.5
11 @NYG 31-34 +7 46
12 TB - -12 46
13 PHI - - -
14 NO - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @TB - - -
ATL vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     250,2
RB Jason Snelling 90,1 20  
TE Tony Gonzalez   60,1  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   100,1  
WR Eric Weems   20  
PK Jason Elam 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The inability to win a road game is dooming the Falcons chances for postseason play but at least the remaining schedule only has two more away games left. This week will be as easy as it will be short of the Bills perhaps and with the Eagles and Saints left to play the season remains challenging. If the Falcons can lose only to the Eagles and Saints, then a post season berth remains a possibility. Of course it will be on the road where they will just lose but anything in January is a good thing.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan comes off one of his best games of the year when he passed for 268 yards and two scores in New York and he had no interceptions for the first time in seven games. He currently has 16 touchdowns against 12 interceptions and has been scoring in every game since week three. Last week was the first time without Michael Turner and Ryan played very well even if he came up short at the end.

Ryan only passed for 206 yards and no scores against the visiting Buccaneers last season because Michael Turner had a monster game.

The Bucs have only played in four road games this year and allowed a score in each - usually two with moderate yardage. The Bucs have been much softer against the run so that saves the passing stats. Look for a decent game here by Ryan with two scores like everyone else does.

Running Backs: So far Jason Snelling has done well replacing Michael Turner. Two weeks ago, Snelling ran for 61 yards and a score when Turner left the Carolina game and last week had 76 yards and two scores on 25 carries in New York. In both weeks he added three catches.

There is a chance that Jerious Norwood returns this week but I am not adding him in until that seem not only certain but that he has practiced well enough to make him likely to contribute much. He's going to be rusty in whatever his first game is.

Turner rushed for 152 yards and a score on 32 carries when the Buccaneers visited in 2008.

This could be a very nice game for Snelling since the Bucs have already allowed 11 rushing touchdowns and nine different runners topped 90 rushing yards against them. Score or not, this should be no less than a decent game for Snelling and should be a good one.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White continues to be in a scoring drought after logging six touchdowns over six games he now has gone three weeks without a score. After an encouraging 98 yards on seven catches in Carolina, he only managed 45 yards on four receptions in New York though in fairness the secondary there is better and the Giants had no Michael Turner to contend with. Eric Weems scored again on his sole catch but had nothing in the two previous games.

Roddy White caught four passes for 61 yards against the Bucs last year.

Roddy White at home against the Buccaneers - he better score. They have allowed 16 different wideouts to score a touchdown and plenty of big yardage games well. White is a definite fantasy play this week.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez comes off his best game of the year when he caught eight passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in New York. That was the first time he has scored away from Atlanta. Important fact this week - Gonzo has scored in every home game this year. Every one.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 16 7 19 4 21 15
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 28 26 24 21 26 23

The Huddle
WEEK 12
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thanksgiving
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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