Fantasy Football Predictions: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst ISeptember 23, 2010

Fantasy Football Predictions: Atlanta Falcons Vs. New Orleans Saints

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    The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints have been division rivals since 1970 when both teams joined the newly formed NFC West. In 2002, they continued their heated rivalry as they became members of the NFC South.

    Last year the Saints swept the Falcons but both games were close high-scoring affairs, and this game shouldn't be any different.

    Both teams possess a ton of weapons, and you'd be wise to start players from these two teams if you have them.

Quarterbacks

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    Matt Ryan

    Ryan has faced one really good defense (Steelers) and one awful one (Cardinals).

    Against the Steelers he threw for 252 yards but also one interception and no touchdowns. At home against the Cardinals Ryan totaled 225 yards and three touchdowns.

    The Saints' defense continues to force turnovers but gave up a lot of yards to the 49ers, so expect Ryan to have a decent game.

    Projected Stats: 264 yards, two touchdowns, one interception.

     

    Drew Brees

    Brees' stats (491 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions) are almost identical to Ryan's, but to Brees' credit, he's faced two outstanding defenses.

    It's hard to tell how good the Falcons' defense is because they faced the Steelers and backup quarterback Dennis Dixon and then faced a Cardinals team that's averaging just 12 points per game.

    Brees will be playing in the comforts of a dome as opposed to the swirling winds of San Francisco.

    Projected Stats: 278 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions.

Running Backs

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    Michael Turner

    Turner faced the Saints once last year and gashed them for 151 yards and a touchdown on the Superdome turf.

    The Saints struggle against big, strong backs, so I expect Turner to have another big game as long as his groin injury doesn't give him too much trouble.

    Turner is off to another good start as he is averaging 4.2 yards per carry.

    Projected Stats: 137 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, one reception, eight receiving yards.

     

    Jason Snelling

    Snelling filled in for Turner after he was injured against the Cardinals. All he did was pound the ball for 186 total yards and three touchdowns.

    Projected Stats: 43 rushing yards, three receptions, 38 receiving yards.

     

    Pierre Thomas

    Thomas' role will expand now that Reggie Bush is out several weeks with a broken fibula.

    Right now, Thomas is averaging just over three yards per carry, but that may change against the Falcons.

    Thomas is averaging five yards per carry for his career, and the Falcons have allowed nearly six yards per carry this season.

    He has faced the Falcons three times at home and has scored at least one touchdown each time.

    Bush's absence also means he'll be busy in the screen game.

    Projected Stats: 98 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, six receptions, 50 receiving yards.

Wide Receivers

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    Roddy White

    White received a whopping 23 targets in Week 1 and another 12 in Week 2. He's got 20 catches for 189 yards and touchdown.

    White has had great success against the Saints, particularly on the road. He has three straight 100-yard games in New Orleans and will be seeking his fourth in a row.

    Projected Stats: Eight receptions, 112 yards, one touchdown.

     

    Harry Douglas

    Douglas has assumed the role as the team's No. 2 receiver. However, after missing all of 2009 with a torn ACL, he is understandably off to a slow start.

    However, Saints nickelback Randall Gay has yet to be cleared to practice after suffering a concussion against San Francisco.

    Projected Stats: Four receptions, 46 yards, no touchdowns.

     

    Marques Colston

    Colston is averaging seven targets per game and should see the ball often against Atlanta.

    In seven career games vs. the Falcons, he has one 100-yard game, three others with at least 85 yards, and four touchdowns.

    If this game is close in the fourth quarter, Brees will be looking Colston's way.

    Projected Stats: Seven receptions, 88 yards, one touchdown.

     

    Devery Henderson

    Henderson, like Colston, has had a lot of success against the Falcons. In fact, his best game came against them in 2006.

    Henderson, though, hasn't had fewer than three weeks between touchdown catches since 2007 when he had a touchdown catch in Weeks Ten and Twelve.

    Henderson caught a touchdown against the Vikings in Week One, so you may want to wait until next week to depend on him.

    Projected Stats: Three receptions, 32 yards, no touchdowns.

Tight Ends

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    Tony Gonzalez

    Gonzalez started the season by recording his 1,000th career reception. His season stats have not been impressive, but he is being double-teamed quite often this season.

    The Saints may be the perfect opponent for him to break out.

    New Orleans has allowed a combined eight catches, 154 yards, and one touchdown to the opponent's number one tight end.

    Projected Stats: Four receptions, 60 yards, one touchdown.

     

    Jeremy Shockey

    Shockey is averaging four targets per game for the Saints. He has two career two-touchdown games and his first one came against the Falcons.

    Projected Stats: Four receptions, 40 yards, one touchdown.

Kickers

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    Matt Bryant

    Bryant is already off to a great start, having hit five-of-six field goals, including a 49-yarder outdoors at Heinz Field.

    Projected Stats: Two field goals, three extra points.

     

    Garrett Hartley

    Hartley got off to bad start in by missing two field goals in Week 1. He redeemed himself in Week 2 by hitting all three of his attempts, including the game-winner.

    Projected Stats: Three field goals, three extra points.

Defenses

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    Atlanta Falcons

    The Falcons have allowed just 22 points in two games and already have four interceptions. However, they have not faced a quarterback near the caliber of Drew Brees.

    Both touchdowns allowed by the defense have come on runs of 50 and 80 yards.

    The Saints have yet to turn the ball over.

    Projected Stats: 413 yards allowed, 30 points allowed, one sack, zero turnovers.

     

    New Orleans Saints

    The Saints gave up over 400 yards to the 49ers but stopped them with four turnovers. They did, however, allow them to score the game-tying touchdown and ensuing two-point conversion.

    Projected Stats: 450 yards allowed, 27 points allowed, no sacks, two turnovers.