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David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: ATL 27, DET 20 (Line: ATL by 4)

Players to Watch: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones

This is the Saturday game at 8:30 P.M. so you can wrap presents and watch Calvin Johnson. The 12-2 Falcons are 5-2 on the road and have actually lost two of their last three away games including beating the Buccaneers by one point for their only win. What should keep the Falcons honest this week is that they still have not clinched the #1 seed which can happen after this game. The Lions are on a six game losing streak and are only 2-4 at home. They are now nothing more than a vehicle to get Calvin Johnson the single season receiving yard record. But they have two games remaining and only 182 yards left to gain.

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 23-13
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR 20-30
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG 34-0
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB -----
9 DAL 19-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 300,2
QB Matt Schaub 260,2
WR Julio Jones 5-100,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Just one more win - or a loss by the 49ers - should secure that #1 seed and a bye in the first round along with all-important homefield status throughout the playoffs. The Falcons crushed the Giants last week and completely reversed the thinking that maybe they weren't the cream of the NFC. The Falcons don't have to win this game but if they do they can take it easy in the final week, get a week off to rest and heal up and then play at home all the way.

The fortunate part this week is that Matt Ryan typically has the biggest games when on the road. Four of his last five road trips resulted in 340+ yards and multiple touchdowns. Just as important is that Michael Turner has been horrible on the road. He's scored in each of the last five games but his last three away games all resulted in fewer than 20 rushing yards. The score is nice but there is never any yardage attached to it. His ten touchdowns over then different games may be fine if you are in a touchdown-only league but he's fallen off the map when it comes to yardage.

Roddy White was able to play last week despite the sore knee that limited him in practices. He played well over half of the offensive snaps but only came away with two receptions for 16 yards that came on five targets. Julio Jones not only scored at home for the first time all year but did it twice and gained 74 yards on six catches with only one more target than White had. The expectation is that White will bounce back this week though he's been the under performer in road games this year.

The Lions defense has been getting worse as the season goes and allowed 32 points per opponent on average over the last six weeks. This would be a nice spot for the Falcons to give a productive effort in the passing game so they can take it easy next week but the rushing effort has never done much away from home all year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 15 8 4 3 20
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 15 11 17 24 26 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Ryan, ATL @NO 0000023012 ***
Ryan was terrible in the Week 14 game, tossing three picks against one TD and 221 yards gained. He has just three TD passes in his last four games and doesn't deserve consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL @NO 6013200000 ***
Freeman is coming off his best performance of the year and most well-rounded effort. The Falcons could be without Tevin Coleman again, so check back Friday. The Saints provided Freeman 91 yards on 24 carries in the Week 14 contest. He scored once and didn't add a reception. The Saints are a midrange defense stats-wise over the last five weeks.

Update: Coleman has been removed from the injury report.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL @NO 3002200000 *
Coleman remains in the concussion protocol as of Wednesday's session. He last played in Week 14 against these Saints, finishing with 32 yards on nine carries before an early exit. They may not rush him back with the way Devontae Freeman played last week.

Update: Coleman has been removed from the injury report.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hardy, ATL @NO 002301000 ***
Hardy has two scores in the past five weeks (3 games), though gamers can look elsewhere for a deep flier.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julio Jones, ATL @NO 004600000 ***
Jones (ankle) has just two scores (in one game) over the last eight contests, and his season total is somehow only three. The last time he played the Saints was just two short weeks ago, and the veteran saw 11 targets for five catches and 98 yards worth of gains. New Orleans has allowed big receptions (6th) and yardage (4th) figures over the last five games, though only one in 13.6 snares has found paydirt (17th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL @NO 003400000 ***
Sanu (knee) is enjoying his best fantasy season to date, and his strongest PPR effort came two weeks again vs. New Orleans (6-83-1). The veteran sidekick gets another crack at exploiting a defense that will be trained on limiting Julio Jones. Wideouts have scored six times in the last five games vs. this defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, ATL @NO 002300000 ***
The speedster has just four catches in his last three games, including a 1-catch, 10-yard effort vs. the Saints in Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Hooper, ATL @NO 002300000 ***
Hooper has gone five straight games without a score, and his limited role makes the second-year tight end a fantasy anchor without finding the end zone. He caught a 2-23-0 line in Week 14 vs. the Saints.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @NO 2222 ***
Bryant has a midrange matchup, on paper, but anything can happen went two divisional talents face off. The Saints have given up two field goal attempts and 2.4 extra point tries per game, or the 13th-most for both on a weekly average.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN 24-34
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB 20-24
3 @TEN 41-44 12 HOU 31-34
4 MIN 13-20 13 IND 33-35
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB 20-27
6 @PHI 26-23 15 @ARI 10-38
7 @CHI 7-13 16 ATL -----
8 SEA 28-24 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC 31-14 ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 270,1
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 2-20
WR Golden Tate 3-50
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions are on a six game slide and while it was bad with so many close losses - getting waxed by the Cardinals was almost unimaginable. The good part is that the final two games are at home but against teams with winning records. There's a chance that the Lions could catch the Falcons on a down week following their big home win over the Giants but the Detroit defense hasn't stopped anyone.

Matt Stafford went flat last week in Arizona but he's usually much less productive in away games. At home he's typically turned in 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns. Against the Texans he threw for 441 yards and two scores and 352 yards and three touchdowns on the Seahawks so it is not so much about the quality of the defense.

Mikel Leshoure is back at home where he scored in each of the last three games there but he rarely has more than 60 rush yards and has almost no role as a receiver. He plays like Michael Turner only with fewer touchdowns and marginally better yardage.

The only thing that matters anymore is getting the record for Calvin Johnson who currently needs just 182 yards to surpass Jerry Rice's 1,848 yards set back in 1995. Breaking 2,000 remains out of reach for a wideout but Johnson has to be a lock to reach the mark with only 92 yards per game needed. He's currently on a seven game streak of 100+ yard efforts and is getting upwards of 20 targets per game. It is the only gift the Lions can give their fans and it will happen in a home game.

On the road after a blowout win at home, have to assume the Falcons defense is not going to be nearly so dominating this week. But on this team all that means is throwing 20 times to Calvin Johnson and letting Leshoure score on a short run when Megatron gets tackled inside the 5-yard line.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 13 6 6 5 27
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 11 23 3 20 9 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CIN 0000027020 ***
Quarterbacks have posted top-10 figures in fantasy points and yards per game against the Bengals over the past five weeks. The downside is this is the eighth-hardest defense for registering passing touchdowns. Stafford, if for nothing but volume alone, is a midrange starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CIN 2004301000 *
Riddick underwent double wrist surgery last offseason, so we played it safe with this one and omitted him from the projections. He'll return Friday after practicing in full Wednesday -- barring a setback, of course. Statistically, Washington has given up substantial gains on the ground but almost nothing via the sky to running backs over the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CIN 3002100000 **
Abdullah is likely to be removed from the rankings after Theo Riddick enters in Friday's update. Riddick had a scare with his surgically repaired wrist but is good to go. The matchup is pretty positive, but there is little reason to trust Abdullah even if Riddick were to wind up sitting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tion Green, DET @CIN 300000000 ***
Green figures to be the lead back when Friday's rankings update comes out. Theo Riddick was removed because we were being cautious about his wrist injury. He's now ready to go. This means Ameer Abdullah is poised to return to fantasy obscurity. At any rate, the matchup is rock-solid for Green, should gamers be in a position to take a chance. He's best left for DFS lineups only.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CIN 006801000 ***
Tate belongs in lineups, but the matchup is not overly appealing. Cincinnati has given up bottom-half figures in relation to the rest of the league in the past five weeks. Detroit's passing volume should keep his fantasy value afloat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CIN 004600000 ***
Receivers have averaged 11 catches (21st) for 134 yards (23rd) and a touchdown every 18.3 balls (23rd) since Week 10. That is 11.3 percent below league average, and in the last three weeks the number jumps slightly to being 3 percent off the mark. Kendall Wright (20.7) and Stefon Diggs (14.7) have been solid over the last two outings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @CIN 002400000 ***
There is nothing redeeming about the matchup for such a fringe player. Cincinnati is the ninth-worst opponent for the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CIN 004400000 ***
Tight ends have averaged 4.8 snares (11th) for 50.6 yards (15th) and a score every 12 grabs (17th) since Week 10. Ebron has 33 targets, 27 receptions, 248 yards an a TD over that span, making him a viable flex or low-tier TE start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CIN 3322 ***
Kickers have made 12 of 13 point-afters and 11 of 13 three-point attempts in the past five weeks against the Bengals. This is the fourth-best prospective matchup and third most favorable in reality.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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