Game Predictions & Player Projections - PHI vs. ATL

Game Predictions & Player Projections - PHI vs. ATL


Game Predictions & Player Projections - PHI vs. ATL

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Prediction: PHI 27, ATL 23 (Line: PHI by 2.5)

Update: Zach Ertz is expected to be a game time decision on Monday night. I am removing him from the projections. Devonta Freeman will be active but Tevin Coleman will start and will get the bigger workload. Roddy White is expected to play with no limitations.

Injury Report
Thursday – (Limited) Zach Ertz, Devonta Freeman

Friday – (Limited) Zach Ertz

The Eagles ended with a 10-6 record last year and were only 4-4 on the road. The Falcons went 6-10 and were just 3-5 at home. A big difference here is that the Falcons have all new coaches and are installing a new offense and defense. The Eagles are into their third year under head coach Chip Kelly who has successfully purged everyone you can remember from the pre-2013 team. Home field openers are always a positive but the Eagles are already now three years into their scheme and that should make a difference in this opener despite it being on the road.

Philadelphia Eagles

1 @ATL —— 10 MIA ——
2 DAL —— 11 TB ——
3 @NYJ —— 12 @DET ——
4 @WAS —— 13 @NE ——
5 NO —— 14 BUF ——
6 NYG —— 15 ARI ——
7 @CAR —— 16 WAS ——
8 BYE —— 17 @NYG ——
9 @DAL ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 260,1
RB Ryan Mathews 30
RB DeMarco Murray 70,1 2-10
RB Darren Sproles 4-30
WR Nelson Agholor 4-70
WR Jordan Matthews 6-90,1
WR Rueben Randle 6-80,1
PK Cody Parkey 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Eagles return for year three with Chip Kelly but there is still a lot of change to digest on the offense. Swapping quarterbacks with the Rams seemed odd though the week three preseason game made Sam Bradford look great. LeSean McCoy was sent off to the Bills and replaced by the tandem of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews. Jeremy Maclin’s season was so great last year that he too has left for the Chiefs while Kelly’s quest for more Oregon players upgrade to the receivers included first round pick of Nelson Aglohor who is the exact same size as Maclin making it sort of weird. This is truly Kelly’s team now.

QUARTERBACK : Sam Bradford was the Rookie of the Year back in 2010 but he’s been often injured and sat out last year with a torn ACL. He’s had flashes of talent along the way but playing for the Rams hasn’t equated to a benefit to anyone’s passing stats in recent years. Bradford finally played in the third preseason game and went 10-for-10 for 121 yards and three scores. What he can do in the regular season starts now and always depends on him staying on the field. There is a great opportunity here.

RUNNING BACK : DeMarco Murray comes over after leading the NFL with 1845 rushing yards and turning in an incredible 457 touches. That nearly doubled his second best year and it was his first time to play in the NFL and never miss a game. History is rife with examples of backs coming off monster workloads breaking down the next year. The Eagles are going to try to avoid that by using a committee along with Ryan Matthews. Throw in around 40 catches for Darren Sproles and this will be a full blown committee.

The first week will help to understand how the ratio of sharing will happen. Until then assuming a 50/30/20 split is the safest play.

WIDE RECEIVER : There is excitement over the rookie Nelson Agholor who was taken in the first round to replace Jeremy Maclin’s 85-1318-10 from last year. Agholor is the exact same size as Maclin and comes off a 104 catch season at USC where he gained 1313 yards and scored 12 times in 2014. Last year’s second round pick of Jordan Matthews went well with 67-872-8 as a rookie and #2 wideout. Matthews is in line for a breakout season as the new #1 and Agholor should be up to speed sooner than later as he will be pressed into duty as the #2. Riley Cooper is still the other starter but his role is mainly to block and he ended last season with just 577 yards and three scores.

This should be a nice opening weekend against a defense that struggled last year.

TIGHT END : Zach Ertz managed a fine second season when he went 58-702-3 and even turned in one 100 yard effort. The only impediment to any bigger of a season is the other talent on the team. Ertz has likely found his ceiling already but like most tight ends should have the better games earlier in the season. Ertz underwent groin surgery is no lock to play this week. I will update as warranted but expect that he’ll likely end up sitting it out.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons defense was bad last year and at least for this week won’t be significantly better. They allowed fewer rushing yards than their 31st ranking suggests but over eight home games they allowed 11 scores to running backs including four who scored twice when playing there. The passing defense was much better at home as well where only one team threw for one than one score. But the Falcons are installing a new offense and defense and there are plenty of changes to prevent a cohesive effort in their first game. The Eagles are starting new quarterback, running backs and a wide receiver so there’s plenty of unknowns on the Eagles’ part.

This is still a decent place to start the healthy Bradford, Matthews, Ertz, Murray and even Agholor. There is risk of course but this is a good situation against a bad defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 12 12 6 8 2 1
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 22 31 25 8 27 12

Atlanta Falcons

1 PHI —— 10 BYE ——
2 @NYG —— 11 IND ——
3 @DAL —— 12 MIN ——
4 HOU —— 13 @TB ——
5 WAS —— 14 @CAR ——
6 @NO —— 15 @JAC ——
7 @TEN —— 16 CAR ——
8 TB —— 17 NO ——
9 @SF ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 300,2
RB Tevin Coleman 60 4-30
RB Devonta Freeman 30 3-20
WR Julio Jones 6-110,1
TE Jacob Tamme 3-30
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons disastrous 2014 season led to bringing on Dan Quinn as head coach after leading the Seattle defense. He tabbed the much-traveled Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator but most of the personnel remains the same. Steven Jackson is gone as is Jacquizz Rodgers but the Falcons are going ahead with Devonta Freeman and the rookie Tevin Coleman for the backfield. Harry Douglas is no longer there to step in and save the day whenever Julio Jones or Roddy White cannot play but Leonard Hankerson comes in for that role. This team remains a core of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. The focus on the defense this year is needed but the offense should be in capable hands.

QUARTERBACK : Matt Ryan enters his ninth season and has remained above 4100 passing yards for the last five years including a relatively solid 2014 with 4694 yards and 28 scores. He’ll need to see Roddy White remain healthy and for Hankerson to contribute but this has long been a solid, good passing offense.

RUNNING BACK : The Falcons are considering Devonta Freeman as the starter so far despite his rookie year that only turned in a total of 473 yards and two scores. As the complement to Steven Jackson, Freeman only had 65 runs and averaged only 3.8 yards. Tevin Coleman, the Indiana star who ran for 2036 yards last year, was Atlanta’s third-round pick. Coleman’s development has been hampered by a hamstring strain this summer and he’s been seen little.

The head coach Quinn spoke about the explosiveness of Freeman though it never showed last year. Freeman seems unlikely to become a breakout star so Coleman holds most of the optimism of this backfield. It may take a while before he can prove worthy of being the primary back since he missed invaluable time in camp. Both will play so Coleman at least gets a chance to let the Falcons comparison shop between him and Freeman.

Freeman was reported to still be nursing his hamstring strain and that puts week one into jeopardy. If he misses the game, Tevin Coleman becomes a much more attractive start. Expect a probably late week update unless Freeman is cleared to play.

WIDE RECEIVER : Julio Jones comes off a monster season with 104 catches for 1593 yards and six scores. That buries any other season for workload and results. At 26, Jones in in the middle of his prime and ranks among the elite wideouts in the NFL. Roddy White is now 34 years old and in decline for two years now. He remains the starter and is capable of a 800 yard season but already had elbow surgery recently and he may not be back in time for this game. His balky knee was an issue last year and that won’t improve either. For now, I will assume a less than 100% White plays and update when more is known.

Leonard Hankerson becomes an interesting play this week particularly if White is held out. Hankerson spent four seasons in Washington making coaches wonder why he looked do good in the summer and never in the regular season.

He’s always had potential and now he gets another opportunity.

TIGHT END : Jacob Tamme is new to the offense but his spotty career is winding down at the age of 30 and he’s totaled more than 20 catches in a season only twice in seven years – none in the last two. His fantasy value is not increasing here

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Installing a new offense is tough in the first week but at least the Falcons are at home and going against another bad defense. Since the split between Freeman and Coleman remains to be seen, playing either is a big risk. But Ryan and Jones and slam dunks this week along with White if he plays and Hankerson if he doesn’t. If the Eagles can hold Ryan under 275 yards the game they should consider it a success. Start Ryan and Jones and wait to see if Hankerson is a sneaky play in Daily Fantasy.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 8 13 1 32 13 17
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 30 25 32 3 12 29

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