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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: NO 23, ATL 31 (Line: ATL by 4)

Players to Watch: Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers

This is a replay of week 10 when the Saints beat the visiting Falcons 31-27 to hand them their only loss on the year. This is also probably the best Thursday night matchup they scheduled all year. There is an excellent chance that the Falcons will remember what happened three weeks ago and be out for some revenge.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL 31-27
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK 38-17
3 KC 24-27 12 SF 21-31
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI 28-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 320,2
RB Mark Ingram II 40
TE Benjamin Watson 4-40

Pregame Notes: Just when a three game winning streak made it all seem in reach, the 49ers showed up with a reminder that the Saints are not there yet. Trailing the Falcons by five games is plenty clear enough that the division is not in play and now that the 5-6 record dips below the .500 mark again, even a wild card or a winning season is looking like a very outside chance. At least in fantasy terms the Saints still post the points and have several games left to play where high scores are a lock.

Drew Brees is not posting the 300 yard games he once did. It has been five weeks since he threw for that much thanks mostly to an improved rushing effort but he has thrown for multiple scores in each of the last nine weeks and posted 298 yards and three scores when they hosted the Falcons in week ten.

Darren Sproles returned last week and went right back to catching seven passes against the 49ers. He was out in week ten when Mark Ingram rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries and Chris Ivory turned in a touchdown on his seven runs for 72 yards. The success of the rushing effort that week was a surprise but has carried over for the last two weeks. Ingram was held to only 27 yards by the 49ers top-ranked defense but he scored and ran for 67 yards in the previous week in Oakland.

Jimmy Graham has been much lower with his yardage this year and scored eight times. And his best game of the year was when he caught seven passes for 146 yards and two scores on the Falcons.

Marques Colston matches on Asante Samuel again and last time that limited him to only 26 yards on three catches though he scored once. Lance Moore was bigger in that game with seven receptions for 91 yards but he almost never scores and had just one game with a touchdown in the last seven weeks.

Expect lower number for most this week playing in Atlanta in a game they'll be more focused to win. Now that their wideouts are all healthy again, the Saints are sure to be forced to abandon the run in the game which means good things for the fantasy fortunes of Brees and the receivers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 8 7 3 30 23
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 6 25 3 22 10 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @BAL 0000027020 ***
Brees has one game with fewer than 20 fantasy points, and that was when Sean Payton chose to attack the Giants on the ground. The Saints return from their bye week to face a Ravens defense that has surrendered practically nothing to quarterbacks in the last five weeks. The position has averaged only 238 yards and 1.2 TDs a game. Andy Dalton and Baker Mayfield were good for 29.3 and 23.4 points, respectively, while QBs for TEN, PIT, BUF and DEN were held in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alvin Kamara, NO @BAL 3008501000 ***
Kamara can do special things with his versatility. That is the best way he can contribute in fantasy -- none of the 20 catches allowed by Baltimore has scored, and a measly one carry over the past 96 made it into the end zone. Elite players overcome terrible matchups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram II, NO @BAL 6012100000 ***
Returning from his bye week and a two-TD game the week before, Ingram has the worst possible matchup for a fantasy back in either scoring system. The position has scored one time over 96 carries in the last five weeks. This is the fifth-worst matchup for rushing yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cameron Meredith, NO @BAL 003301000 **
Meredith could see more work if Ted Ginn misses another game. The Ravens have yielded only two touchdowns in the last four games after giving up four in Week 2 alone. The Saints are coming back from their bye week and make Meredith a high-risk, likely low-reward gamble.

Update: Ginn was placed on Injured Reserve this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO @BAL 005800000 ***
This is the seventh-worst matchup for receptions and fifth-hardest for yardage accumulation when using data over the past five weeks. The Ravens have granted six TDs in those five games, though, and matchups with the Titans and Browns help depress the rankings. Thomas should be fine in his return from a bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tre'quan Smith, NO @BAL 003500000 ***
Volume isn't expected to be big for Smith, so finding the end zone is his clearest means of producing in fantasy. The Ravens have done a fantastic job at limiting trips to the end zone in the last four weeks, albeit against with Cleveland and Tennessee mixed in.

Update: Ted Ginn was placed on Injured Reserve this week, paving the way for more looks to come Smith's way.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO @BAL 2233 ***
No writeup available

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO 27-31
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI 23-19
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB 24-23
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO -----
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL 19-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 330,3
QB Matt Schaub 220,2
WR Julio Jones 4-80,1
WR Mohamed Sanu
TE Logan Paulsen 5-50,1
PK Matt Bryant 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons currently have a two game lead over the entire NFC and may end up throwing the week 17 finale against the Buccaneers if it doesn't matter. The Giants are the toughest remaining opponent but the Falcons could certainly run the board. They are barely beating teams and seven victories came with less than a touchdown lead. But playing well enough to win every week is the mark of a great team and they're generating nice fantasy points even without blowout wins.

Matt Ryan has been much less productive scoring in the last month where he only managed to throw for one touchdown in Tampa Bay last week and none against the visiting Cowboys and Buccaneers recently. But sandwiched between those two games was the best of the season - 411 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints. Ryan may not be scoring as much but he is on a four game streak of 300+ yard games.

Jacquizz Rodgers is getting more playing time in recent weeks and even ran in a score in Tampa Bay. He only posted 29 rushing yards in New Orleans and added four catches for 33 yards in that game. Michael Turner is running like someone tied a blocking sled to him. His worst game of the year was in New Orleans when he only gained 15 yards on 13 runs and just last week it was only 17 yards on 13 carries in Tampa Bay though he scored in that matchup. The rushing effort should have at least some better success in a home game this week assuming the Saints do not yet again surprise the Falcons with a big lead.

Tony Gonzalez has really slowed down. Over the last six weeks, he's only managed to score in one game or gain moire than 62 yards. He's been stuck mostly at around 30 yards per week. The exception of course was when he caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns in New Orleans for his best game of the year.

No doubt this turns into a lot of passing and in the last meeting, Julio Jones gained 75 yards on four catches while Roddy White ended with 114 yards on seven receptions Jones proved he was plenty healthy last week when he gained 147 yards and White has been outstanding in every home game this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 16 8 4 3 19
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 31 30 25 24 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL NYG 0000033030 ***
Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley are in doubt for Week 7, and Devonta Freeman was put on IR. Ryan's weaponry is trending in the wrong direction. He still has Julio Jones, and tight end Austin Hooper has stepped up in a big way. The Giants are a midrange opponent vs. QBs, but this defense definitely can be had by the position. Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and Carson Wentz all have proven as much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL NYG 5003401000 ***
Devonta Freeman is no concern, and teh Giants really shouldn't be, either. This is the fourth-easiest opponent for scoring rushing touchdowns and third best for combined offensive touchdowns. The yardage figures are average, and Ito Smith keeps stealing touchdowns from the underperforming Coleman.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ito Smith, ATL NYG 2011100000 ***
Being so reliant on touchdowns makes Smith risky. A three-game scoring streak makes it someone easier to stomach. He has racked up no more than 48 total yards of offense in any game since Week 1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Ridley, ATL NYG 004601000 *
Ridley has a bone bruise in his foot and is iffy for Week 7. Check back for clarity on his availability for Monday's contest.

Update: The rookie moved from a DNP to limited in practice Friday. He is hopeful to play but will be a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL NYG 006900000 ***
It's easy to forget Julio is on pace for 117 receptions and 1,883 yards when one looks at that goose egg in the TD column. Scoring just isn't his thing ... it's fine. He'll make up for it in other ways for PPR owners. New York has been among the strongest defenses of the position so far, giving up the fifth-fewest catches per game and only 164.2 yards an outing for the entire team (10th fewest), providing one TD a game, on average, since Week 1. Alshon Jeffery and DeAndre Hopkins showed this group is vulnerable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL NYG 004600000 *
Sanu's status is unclear at this time and will be updated later in the week. Having a Monday game makes things murkier than normal.

Update: Sanu did not practice Thursday or Friday and is, at best, a game-time call for Monday's action.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Hooper, ATL NYG 007701000 ***
Hooper has stepped up his game with injuries to Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley, though he was also formidable the week before. Atlanta has a bye after this week, so there's a decent chance one or both of those receivers are out Monday to give a chance to heal for the rest of the season. Hooper could be a fine start once again, but New York has been among the league's strongest units vs. TEs this year. Hooper's 22 looks in the past two games are hard to ignore.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Giorgio Tavecchio, ATL NYG 1144 ***
No writeup available

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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