NFL Super Bowl 51 Preview

Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots

With the Falcons’ 44–21 beating of the Packers, and the Patriots’ 36–17 destruction of the Steelers in Sunday’s conference championship games, the country has seen just two competitive playoff games out of the 10 played to this point. Will the Houston Super Bowl on February 5th be any different? For that answer, let’s get an early look at the factors that will determine the winner of Super Bowl 51 (Play at FanPicks).

It’s all about the quarterbacks

Just about any way you slice it, this is a matchup between the top two passers in the league. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and New England’s Tom Brady ended up No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in pretty much every efficient stats rankings. They are masters of their craft, have plenty of weapons around them, and have two of the best playcallers (Kyle Shanahan and Josh McDaniels) at their disposal. To beat Brady, you have to disguise and change up both the pressure and coverage looks on just about every snap. The Falcons, to this point, have not shown the ability to do that. That will be an important factor in the game. Ryan has trouble with tight, disciplined coverage. With Malcolm Butler locking up either Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu, and Logan Ryan on the other with safety help, Ryan may have to make a living throwing to the running backs and tight end’s Levine Toilolo and Austin Hooper. The Patriots have had more issues with supporting actors than those in starring roles. The Falcons have the ability to exploit that.

Running backs will be a huge factor

Sure, the quarterbacks may get all the attention, but the running backs from each team are used to taking advantage of the shortcomings on opposing defenses. The Falcons have one of the most talented duos in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Freeman is the better runner, but Shanahan loves to use both to exploit mismatches in the pass game. McDaniels likes to use Dion Lewis and James White in a similar fashion via the pass, and Lewis has taken over as the every-down running back. LeGarrette Blount is the short yardage and finish-the-game bruiser.

What’s in common?

The Falcons and Patriots each had five common opponents (Denver, Seattle, Arizona, Los Angeles and San Francisco) and went 4–1 (each team lost to the Seahawks, with Atlanta losing on the road and the Patriots at home). The cumulative scores were 168–88 for Atlanta; 119–82 for New England. The Falcons had an average margin of victory of 20.5 points, and the Patriots were at 11.0. The Patriots didn’t have Tom Brady in their two-point victory over the Cardinals, a team the Falcons beat by 19.

Atlanta’s offense is exceptional

Under the spotlight of the Super Bowl, this Falcons offense may finally get its due. We’re talking about a unit that can rival the Greatest Show on Turf Rams for explosiveness. They scored 540 points this season, which is tied for eighth all time with those 2000 Rams. Sure, the team is uber-talented with wideout’s Jones, Sanu and Taylor Gabriel, and running backs’s Freeman and Coleman, but don’t underestimate the job coordinator Shanahan has done. At this point, everyone thinks it’s all about the talent. But remember, Sanu was an underachieving No. 2 with the Bengals and Gabriel was a Browns castoff before this season. Freeman and Coleman were thought to be nice players, but not game changers. That all changed this season because of the way Shanahan designs plays and attacks defenses. There are few better at taking an opponent’s tendencies and using them against them.

The Patriots defense will have a say

New England’s defense certainly proved its “best scoring defense” was no fluke in the win over the Steelers. And remember who put an end to those 2000s Rams teams (Spoiler Alert: It was the 2001 Patriots). New England may not have many big names on defense (Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Malcolm Butler are about it), but the sum is better than the parts. Certainly the Falcons will be a huge challenge, but everyone knows Bill Belichick and his staff can defend anything with two weeks to prepare.

The Patriots’ offensive line should have an advantage

After a shaky outing against the Texans, the Patriots’ offensive line completely dominated the Steelers. The Falcons’ unit is certainly solid but it’s not quite as good as the Patriots. The Patriots have the edge at left tackle (Nate Solder), right guard (Shaq Mason) and right tackle (Marcus Cannon), while the Falcons have an advantage at center (Alex Mack) and left guard (Andy Levitre).

Experience doesn’t matter

Expect a lot to be made this week about how this is Matt Ryan’s first Super Bowl appearance versus Tom Brady’s seventh (with four victories). Certainly the disparity is notable, but it ignores the fact that several passers have beaten those with more experience in recent years. Some of those on the list: Russell Wilson over Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers over Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning over Brady and Brady over Kurt Warner.

You have to stop more than one guy

Each quarterback has a security blanket. For the Patriots, it’s Julian Edelman (158 targets in the regular season). Atlanta has Jones (129). Certainly a lot of attention needs to paid to each of those players, but both quarterbacks are deft at distributing the ball. The Patriots had seven players catch at least three touchdowns (tight end Martellus Bennett led with seven), and so did the Falcons (Jones and Gabriel tied with six). In the postseason, both Sanu (Falcons) and Chris Hogan (Patriots) had two touchdowns receiving.

Where’s the pressure?

It looks like the opening over/under line for the Super Bowl is an astounding 59 points. No shock there, considering these two offenses. But it also says something about the defenses, which were both great on Sunday but don’t exactly get a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks. The Patriots didn’t affect Roethlisberger that much and don’t have a dominating rusher, although Trey Flowers is solid. And the Falcons’ only true pass rushing threat is Vic Beasley. The game may very well be determined by which team is able to dial up the most pressure and make that top quarterback move off his spot in the pocket.

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NFL Playoffs NFC Conference Finals Preview

Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons

Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are enjoying the rides of their lives, although one quarterback’s impressive run will come to an unceremonious end at the other’s expense. Rodgers has made good on his confident promise to run the table as he powers the Green Bay Packers into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the host Atlanta Falcons (Enter Contest).

Rodgers posted a 117.9 passer rating with 21 touchdowns and one interception during his eight-game winning streak. The 31-year-old Ryan (franchise-record 4,944 yards) hasn’t been too shabby in his own right, throwing 14 scoring passes without an interception during Atlanta’s five-game winning streak while his 117.1 passer rating this season was tops in the league and his 38 TDs trailed only Rodgers (40). Ryan’s Falcons got the better of Rodgers’ Packers in the first meeting of the season on October 30, with Mohamed Sanu reeling in the quarterback’s third touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining in a 33-32 victory.

ABOUT THE PACKERS (12-6)

While Rodgers has been blistering hot, the two-time NFL MVP will need some wide receivers to reel in his passes. Jordy Nelson (ribs), Davante Adams (ankle) and undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison (hamstring) all are nursing injures. Nelson (NFL-best 14 receiving touchdowns) sat out Sunday’s 34-31 victory over Dallas. He’s dealing with a combination of pain tolerance and medical clearance in his decision to play versus Atlanta. Adams (career-best 76 catches, 997 yards and 12 TDs) won’t practice before Sunday’s pregame workout.  Green Bay converted running back Ty Montgomery, who rushed for two touchdowns in the first half against the Cowboys, easily could provide an increased presence in the passing game should Adams or Allison sit out. Receiver Randall Cobb has gotten healthy with five touchdowns in his last five playoff games.

ABOUT THE FALCONS (12-5)

All-Pro wideout Julio Jones insists he expects to play in the NFC title game despite sitting out his second straight practice on Thursday. He’s been bothered by a toe injury in Saturday’s 36-20 victory over Seattle that has plagued him since Week 13. Jones is the NFL second-best in receiving yards with 1,409. Sanu had nine receptions for 84 yards to go along with his touchdown in the earlier contest versus the Packers. Fellow wideout Taylor Gabriel also found the end zone in that tilt. He has five TDs in his last seven games overall. Atlanta (NFL-best 540 points) has scored a touchdown on its first possession in each of its last seven games.

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NFL Playoffs Conference Championships

A road team was finally victorious in the post-season, but that doesn’t mean the results of last week’s divisional round have taken away any of the appeal to either of the NFL playoffs conference championships matchups (Enter contest). In fact, the outcomes have left us with a pair of regular-season rematches featuring the league’s two hottest teams taking on its two most dominant teams in the regular season for the right to play in Super Bowl LI.

NFC Championship

The NFC Championship Game features Green Bay, winners of eight in a row, against Atlanta. The Packers are coming off of a thrilling, last-second 34-31 win in Dallas over the top-seeded Cowboys, while the Falcons are fresh off of a 36-20 dismantling of the Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers (21 TDs, 1 INT over last eight games) has been playing at an MVP level the past two months, but the award could end up going to Matt Ryan. The first-team All-Pro threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Seattle, and he hasn’t been intercepted since early December.

AFC Championship

New England had little trouble dispatching of Houston 34-16 last week and Sunday will be Tom Brady’s 11th conference championship game, the most of any player in NFL history. To make it to a record-breaking seventh Super Bowl, Brady and the Patriots will need to beat a red-hot Pittsburgh team that has already won in a hostile environment. The Steelers made it nine wins in a row after outlasting Kansas City 18-16 in Arrowhead Stadium last week. Le’Veon Bell has been a beast (NFL-record 337 rushing yards in first two career playoff games) thus far, but Pittsburgh will need Ben Roethlisberger (8:9 TD-to-INT ratio since Week 13) to play better than he has lately.

Overview

These teams already have some familiarity with each other, as Atlanta beat Green Bay 33-32 in Week 8 at home on a late touchdown pass from Ryan to Mohamed Sanu. Ryan and Rodgers combined for 534 passing yards and seven scores in the high-scoring affair. New England defeated Pittsburgh 27-16 at Heinz Field in Week 7, behind a 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns from LeGarrette Blount. However, Roethlisberger didn’t play because of a knee injury and the Patriots’ leading receiver that day was Rob Gronkowski, who went on injured reserve (back) in December.

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NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Recap

There was no shortage of surprising wins and dramatic wins during the 2017 NFL Playoffs Divisional Round. Before moving forward to next week Conference Finals (Enter contest), here’s what happen this weekend.

Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan may be 0-4 in the playoffs against all other teams, but he is 2-0 versus the Seattle Seahawks. Ryan, building off a spectacular regular season, threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns and the Falcons lived up to their billing as the highest-scoring team in the NFL with a 36-20 victory Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Houston Texans vs New England Patriots

It wasn’t an artistic success, but it was enough for the New England Patriots to return to the AFC title game for a record sixth straight time. Bill Belichick’s team moved on with a 34-16 victory over the Houston Texans in the divisional playoff game on Saturday night.

Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys

The score was tied with 35 seconds remaining to this game and the ball at the hands of Aaron Rodgers. The rest, as they say, was history. The NFL’s hottest quarterback put the Green Bay Packers in position to advance to the NFC Championship and kicker Mason Crosby did the rest, booting a 51-yard field goal at the final gun to beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-31 Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs

It’s not the type of performance that wins many games in the NFL playoffs. Going for 60 minutes without a touchdown generally leads to a sorrowful end to postseason hopes. At least it did until Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The Pittsburgh Steelers did not score a touchdown, yet won the AFC divisional round game against the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16.

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Falcons vs Buccaneers

The Falcons may own the NFL’s top-ranked offense, but the Buccaneers have had their number with Jameis Winston under center. The former Heisman Trophy recipient will attempt to get a second series sweep against Atlanta in as many seasons. The division rivals clash at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Thursday night (Enter Contest)

On Sunday, Winston managed to get two touchdown in the loss against Oakland. He was able to toss four scoring passes during the season-opening victory over Atlanta on September 11.  Trusted target Mike Evans reeled in a scoring strike against the Falcons. His six touchdown receptions are tied for the NFL lead. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan continued his stellar season with three touchdown passes in Sunday’s 33-32 victory over Green Bay. An 11-yard scoring strike to offseason acquisition Mohamed Sanu capped his 32nd career game-winning drive. Ryan, who leads the league in both yards (2,636) and touchdowns (19), has thrown for 1,000 yards and five scores in his last three encounters with Tampa Bay. He will face a Buccaneers defense that ranks 23rd in the league (274.7 yards per contest).

ABOUT THE FALCONS (5-3)

The Falcons leads the NFC South standings. Julio Jones has amassed an NFC-best 859 yards and is averaging 20.0 yards per catch, but the electric wideout finished with 29 yards receiving this past week for the second time this season. He was hobbled by an ailing knee. Jones is expected to play on Thursday. Running back Tevin Coleman (hamstring) is listed as questionable after sitting out last week’s tilt versus the Packers. Devonta Freeman more than picked up the slack with a rushing and receiving touchdown last week. He has 100-plus scrimmage yards in two of his last three contests, although he was limited to just 20 yards on 11 carries in the season-opening loss. Austin Hooper made five receptions for 41 yards during week 8 of the NFL in place of fellow tight end Jacob Tamme (shoulder), who has been ruled out versus Tampa Bay.

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (3-4)

While Tampa Bay’s passing game is pretty well defined, the backfield has remained in motion through most of the season due to injury. Jacquizz Rodgers filled in admirably for Doug Martin (hamstring) before sustaining a sprained foot versus the Raiders. This injury will keep him out of Thursday game. It will open the door for a three-man backfield of Antone Smith, Peyton Barber and Mike James. Linebacker Kwon Alexander recorded 14 tackles versus Oakland last week, his highest total since collecting 17 in the season opener at Atlanta. The Bucs acquired a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft from Detroit for corneback Johnthan Banks on Tuesday.

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Sunday’s Fantasy Football Players to Watch – NFL Week 7

The NFL goes in it’s 7th week of play. Sunday’s action starts in London with the Giants taking on the Rams (Enter Contests). The Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers will enter their bye weeks. Here are the names that are down for big results this weekend for fantasy football.

QB Matt Ryan & WR Julio Jones – Atlanta Flacons (vs SD)

Atlanta boasts the league’s top offense, averaging 441.5 total yards and 33.2 points, but has failed to hit either mark in the last two games. Ryan and Julio Jones have developed into the league’s most prolific passing duo. Ryan has averaged 369.3 passing yards and thrown nine touchdown passes over his last four home games.

QB Derek Carr, WR Michael Crabtree & WR Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders (at JAX)

The trio of Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper continue to carry Oakland offensively. The quarterback enters Week 7 tied for fifth in the NFL with 12 touchdown passes and has thrown only three interceptions, which is a league-low among signal-callers with at least 225 passing attempts. Crabtree shares the league lead with five receiving TDs and Cooper is averaging 16.3 yards per catch while ranking fourth with 585 overall. Cooper is seeking his third straight overall contest with at least 100 receiving yards. Expect the Raiders to be pumped up, as it is coach Jack Del Rio first return to Jacksonville since being fired as the Jaguars’ coach in 2011.

QB Case Keenum – Los Angeles Rams (vs NYG in London)

Los Angeles’ big problem at the beginning of the season was the offense, but quarterback Case Keenum and company have been doing more than enough to win of late. Keenum threw for 321 yards and completed 19 straight passes at one point against Detroit last week.

TE Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals (vs CLE)

One of the biggest issues for Cincinnati has been its struggles in the end zone, a problem that could be rectified with the potential season debut of tight end Tyler Eifert, who hauled in 13 touchdown passes last season. Three of them came in one game versus Cleveland.

TE Hunter Henry – San Diego Thunder (at ATL)

San Diego TE Hunter Henry has caught a touchdown pass in three consecutive games.

RB David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals (vs SEA)

Arizona featured one of the league’s top passing attacks last season, but second-year running back David Johnson has altered the team’s offensive identity by rushing for 268 yards and five touchdowns over the past two games, giving him a league-best eight scores on the ground. Johnson could be in for a heavy workload if the Cardinals have to turn to Drew Stanton, who threw for 124 yards on 11-of-28 passing in place of Palmer in a Week 5 win at San Francisco. The running back is the first player in franchise history with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in the season’s first six games.

 

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Atlanta Falcons (1-1) vs New Orleans Saints (0-2)

The New Orleans Saints will commemorate one of the more noteworthy games in franchise history when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night in a matchup (Enter Contests) of longtime NFC South rivals. It will mark the 10-year anniversary of the re-opening of the Superdome after the venue was forced to close for one season in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

About the Saints

While emotions certainly will not be as high as in New Orleans’ win over Atlanta a decade ago, the Saints can use any edge to avoid an 0-3 start after dropping their first two games by a combined four points.The Saints were horrendous on defense last season and little has changed. They rank 31st in the league with a staggering 451.5 yards surrendered and have been torched through the air for an average of 336.0 yards. Keeping the defense off the field would be easier if the Saints could crank up their running game, with lead back Mark Ingram producing 88 rushing yards on only 21 attempts, including nine carries in last week’s 19-16 loss at the New York Giants.

Quarterback Drew Brees has a potent receiving duo in Willie Snead and Brandon Cooks, who have combined for 27 catches and four touchdowns. Cooks has accumulated a touchdown catch in six consecutive home games. The Saints are 15-5 versus Atlanta since Brees and coach Sean Payton joined the team, which also includes a season sweep in 2015.

About the Falcons

The Falcons rebounded from a 31-24 home loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1 with a 35-28 road win last week at Oakland, which squeezed out a 35-34 victory at New Orleans in the season opener. Matt Ryan had his fewest touchdown passes (21) since his rookie season in 2015, but he off to a fast start with 730 yards passing with five scores and one interception while leading the league with a 121.4 quarterback rating. There is cause for concern in the passing game with star wide receiver Julio Jones sitting out his second straight practice Friday due to a calf injury, but Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said he expects him to play. Jones has nine receptions for 149 yards in the last meeting against New Orleans.

The Falcons are receiving solid production from the backfield tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who have combined for 181 rushing yards and 11 receptions. Atlanta’s defense ranks 29th overall, allowing an average of 412.5 yards per game.

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Fantasy Football Impact

The first day of free agency has come and gone. It was fast and furious, exciting and dramatic depending on who you root for. A ton of players changed uniforms, and it has definitely had a major impact on fantasy football heading into 2016. Over the next few days we will go over some of the players and situations it has impacted the most.

Starting with…DeMarco Murray.

D Mo is heading to the Titans. It’s a big move, but what does it all mean for the fantasy football world?

Word is Murray and his agent worked to find a team who was interested in acquiring the 2014 NFL rushing leader. It’s a terrific fit. They have no one at the position (sorry Antonio Andrews, your day was short lived), they have the money, and are in line to draft a tackle first overall. Oh yeah, and they have this kid named Marcus Mariota playing quarterback. The 2015 second overall pick out of Oregon had his moments as a rookie, but lacked any real support and wore down as the season expired. The Titans know they must insulate their franchise player.

I was inspired to write this article comparing this move to a young Michael Turner joining the Falcons to support an even younger Matt Ryan back in the day. Murray will come in and take the pressure off Mariota. Run, run, run, then throw a play-action pass. That’s Mike Mularkey football. The strategic symmetry was uncanny. Then, halfway through this piece it hit me…Mularkey was the offensive coordinator of the Falcons at that time. I should’ve known immediately, this is the NFL afterall.

This one will likely go down as one of the best fits of the off-season. Yes DeMarco Murray had the same 3.64 yards-per-carry average as current starter Antonio Andrews, but that was in Philly…for Chip Kelly. He is no longer there, and neither are more than half the players he acquired last summer. Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell were also shipped out, heading to Miami in a swap of top picks. It’s clear that what went on there wasn’t good for anybody involved, so look for some of these talented players to land on their feet in the next chapter of their careers wherever it may be. DeMarco Murray might be the most talented one.

Look for Murray to run the rock a ton, and be the Titans number one red-zone threat. This will open up rollouts for Mariota, and eventually things in the passing game. They are not the Cowboys, or Eagles with a deep investment in the 28-year-old. Tennessee will run him until he runs out of gas, the only question is the interior of that offensive line. Chance Warmack isn’t the player he was suppose to be coming out in 2013, while Brian Schwenke and Quinton Spain aren’t exactly household names.

I expect him to grow into the consistent veteran, rather than the enigmatic center of attention he’s been his whole career.

Murray should easily top 1000 (1250?) yards and get close to 10 TDs on over 250 carries. I give him a high second-round grade in fantasy football drafts.

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NFL Fantasy Draft News 1-3-2016

New England Patriots versus Miami Dolphins NFL Fantasy Real Money Preview 1-3-2016

Two AFC East division rivals meet in Week 17 as the Miami Dolphins will host the New England Patriots. NFL fantasy football draft managers can tune to CBS TV on Sunday January 3rd at 1PM Eastern Time to track the scoring results of their one day real money leagues.

New England has plenty on the line as they travel to Miami on Sunday. With a victory the Patriots will earn home field advantage for the entire AFC playoffs. Despite suffering through numerous injuries to their wide receiver position the New England Patriots are still sitting second in the NFL in passing offense as they throw for 297 yards per game. They don’t run the ball very much at 89 yards average per game which is 29th in the league.

The Miami Dolphins have the look of a team that will not show up to play on Sunday. Many of their coaches on the staff will likely not return for next season including the interim head coach. The defense has not performed well for Miami as the team sits 27th in the league by allowing 388 yards per game. Facing teams in recent games with opponents starting quarterback uninjured; the Dolphins surrendered 30 points at San Diego, 31 points to the New York Giants, 38 points at the New York Jets, 33 points at Buffalo and 36 points in their first meeting against the Patriots.

Here are the Fantasy Football Picks

The Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is heavily targeted in the passing game by Tom Brady. Everyone knows that Gronkowski will be getting tons of passes his way but opponents have very little success defending the big tight end. He had one of his best games of 2015 against the Miami Dolphins with six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown averaging 18.8 yards per reception. With the Dolphins appearing to checking out on the season look for Gronkowski to put up some huge numbers on Sunday for daily fantasy league roster owners.

Play Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots TE

New Orleans Saints versus Atlanta Falcons NFL Fantasy Preview 1-3-2016

The Atlanta Falcons will look to finish their season with a winning record as they host the New Orleans Saints. These NFC South rivals get things going from Atlanta at 1PM Eastern Time and DFS draft GMs can tune to FOX TV to follow the results of their fantasy football roster picks.

The Atlanta Falcons appear as a team that has not given up on their season. Rookie head coach Dan Quinn can finish with a winning 9-7 record with a victory against one of their hated rivals on Sunday at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons sit sixth in the NFL in passing offense by tossing for 270 yards per game.

The Saints are going through another down season by entering the finale with a 6-9 record. The play on defense has been atrocious as they sit 31st by allowing 413 yards per game. New Orleans is 32nd and worst in the NFL in scoring defense as they give up 30.6 points per game to their opponents. In recent games the Saints allowed 47 at Washington, 41 home to Carolina and 35 points home to Detroit.

Here are the Fantasy Football Picks

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones is having a fantastic year with 127 catches for 1722 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 178 receiving yards last week at home to Carolina.

Play Julio Jones

Atlanta Falcons WR

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will look to close the season in high style with some stat padding to his 2015 campaign. Ryan has thrown for 4257 yards and 19 touchdowns and is licking his chops to pass against a bad Saints defense.

Play Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons QB

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NFL Week 17 Stacks to look out for

Choosing your stack in week 17 is a difficult thing to do. Most playoff implications are already determined so a Cam Newton/Ted Ginn stack will not be beneficial, even against the Bucs. The other side is true as well, even against the Saints defense, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones may not bring full effort with nothing on the line.

Stafford and Johnson Stack

While Calvin Johnson has been very unproductive lately, catching only one pass in each week 14 and 15, he has since turned things around with 6 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. While not huge fantasy value, this is a good sign going into week 17 against the Bears. While neither team has much to play for, Stafford and Johnson may be able to load up on the garbage time points.

Eli Manning and Odell Beckham

While the Giants don’t have anything on the line this week against the Eagles, Odell could be looking to have a big game after his week 16 suspension. The Eli Manning and Odell Beckham connection is one of the most dangerous in the NFL, and facing the Eagles poor secondary, they will connect for more than a couple long balls.

Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed

After two consecutive high scoring weeks between these two, it may be too much to ask for another one. Reed has shown to be the Redskins top receiver scoring 4 touchdowns in the past 2 weeks. Although they have locked up their spot in the playoffs, they may come out strong against the Cowboys before starting to rest up starters.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

This stack is somewhat risky with both of these two showing poor performances as of late. After a strong start to the season, the Falcons seem to be falling apart. They however did upset the undefeated Panthers last week, moving in a positive direction for these two players. We all know how valuable this stack can be when they are both on their game. Plus, with the Saints secondary on pass coverage, Julio should not have much opposition.

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NFL Week 16 Review

Washington Shows up when it Counts

The Redskins won a “must-win” game against the Eagles on Saturday night locking up their playoff position. Kirk Cousins continues on his hot streak. He threw for 365 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns totaling 32.2 fantasy points. He connected with the weekend leading tight end, Jordan Reed 9 times for 129 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns for 36.9 fantasy points.

Big upsets around the League

This week saw losses from the top teams all over the league. These teams are already locks in the playoffs though so who knows if they were playing at the full level. The first loss was the Patriots overtime loss against the Jets. Brady played the whole game and produced very poor numbers: 231 passing yards, 1 passing touchdowns, and an interception for only 14.8 fantasy points. Fitzpatrick for the Jets provided some good fantasy value with 3 passing touchdowns (2 to Marshall and 1 to Decker), with 296 passing yards for 26.9 fantasy points.

The next big upset was the Falcons taking down the undefeated Panthers. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones got back in sync with Ryan totaling 306 passing yards and a touchdown (19.2 fantasy points) while Julio had 178 yards and a touchdown on 9 catches (35.8 fantasy points). Cam Newton threw for only 142 passing yards, no touchdowns.

Lastly, the Seahawks, who have been red hot over the past 4 weeks, fail to generate much offense against the Rams. Doug Baldwin, who totals 10 receiving touchdowns over the previous 4 weeks scored only 1 this weekend for 1 of 2 passing touchdowns by Wilson.

Johnny Football plays Running Back

Manziel put up the worst game of the weekend as far as passing stats but he helped save a little fantasy value by running the ball. While passing only 136 yards and 1 interception, he ran for 108 rushing yards on 11 attempts. This brought his total score to 17 fantasy points.

Megatron gets some attention

Calvin Johnson put up a decent game this week after catching only 1 pass in each of the previous 2 weeks. He caught 6 passes for 77 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. This made 19.7 fantasy points. Far from the 3 touchdown game he put up on Thanksgiving, but an improvement.

Brees and Bortles Shootout

The Jaguars and Saints had a high scoring shootout game, which is no surprise with those aggressive quarterbacks and weak secondaries. Although injured, Brees threw for 412 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns in the win, totaling 31.5 fantasy points. One was a long 71 yard touchdown pass to Cooks, giving him a 5 catch, 123 yard, 1 touchdown game (26.3 fantasy points)

Bortles was less effective throwing 2 interceptions, but with 368 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns, he stayed close to Brees with 32 fantasy points.

Steelers finally stopped

Big Ben and Antonio Brown seemed unstoppable after putting up big numbers against the Broncos defense last weekend. They were finally stopped this weekend however by the likes of Baltimore. Roethlisberger only there for 215 yards and 2 interceptions, a measly 10.6 fantasy points. Brown had a touchdown get called back and ended the day with 7 receptions for 61 receiving yards and 13.1 fantasy points.

Cardinals and Vikings prove contenders

The Cardinals had a big 38 to 8 win over the Packers. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals prove to be serious contenders, especially with the other big teams showing poor results. There was no huge individual fantasy value in this game, only team contentions.

The Vikings won a blowout of their own winning 49 to 17 against the Giants. Minnesota was very effective running the ball with Peterson rushing 104 yards with a touchdown and McKinnon rushing 89 yards with 2 touchdowns.

Some Premium Receivers Deliver

Brandon Marshall caught 8 passes for 115 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. 31.5 fantasy points.

Deandre Hopkins caught 7 passes for 117 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. 24.7 fantasy points.

Julio Jones caught 7 passes for 178 receiving yards and a touchdown. 35.8 fantasy points.

Allen Robinson caught 6 passes for 151 receiving yards and a touchdown. 30 fantasy points.

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Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans Saints Thursday Night Football Fantasy League Picks 10-15-2015

Thursday Night Football has two rivals from the NFC South going head to head as the New Orleans Saints will host the Atlanta Falcons. NFL fantasy football draft GM’s can tune to CBS TV on October 15th at 8:30PM Eastern Time to follow the scoring results of their roster picks.

Many had pegged the Falcons to be a turnaround team with the head coaching change during the offseason. Atlanta is now 5-0 after they got past the Washington Redskins at home in overtime on Sunday afternoon. The win came from their defense as Robert Alford intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass and returned it 59 yards for the overtime game winning touchdown. The Falcons moved the football last week with 408 total yards with 176 coming from their ground game. Atlanta did a good job defensively last week against the good Washington run game by limiting the Redskins to just 51 yards rushing on their 24 attempts for just about two yards a carry. On the season the Atlanta Falcons are third in the league in scoring offense as they produce 32 points per game on the season. The Falcons are the top rush defense in the NFL and sit in the middle of the league in scoring defense by giving up 22.4 points per game on the season.

The New Orleans Saints were pegged as a team on the decline by many industry pundits. So far the critics have been right about this team as they enter this home date with a 1-4 record. Their only win came at home in overtime to a Dallas Cowboys team without their starting quarterback Tony Romo and top playmaker in the passing game in Dez Bryant. They traveled to Philadelphia last week and were routed 39-17 in a game where they turned it over four times. The Saints defense was ripped by the Eagles offense for 519 yards with 186 yards rushing by Philadelphia. On the year the Saints are the worst defense in the NFL by surrendering an average of 409 yards per game to their opponents. New Orleans still hasn’t been able to get a run game to support their passing game. The Saints rush for 85 yards a game which is 29th in the league.

Atlanta Falcons QB:

Matt Ryan

The veteran quarterback has hit on 65% of his throws this year with six touchdowns and four picks. He had his worst game of the year against a good defensive team in Washington and completed 57% of his throws for 254 yards with no touchdowns and two picks. A check of the odds for this game and we see an over under line of 51 points which is high for a Thursday night game with little rest and prep time. Still the oddsmakers think this will be a high scoring game so Ryan could provide value on one day fantasy leagues.

Atlanta Falcons RB:

Devonta Freeman

There were some whispers that rookie Tevin Coleman would take away carries from Freeman. Devonta Freeman had his best game of the year last week with 153 yards rushing on 27 carries and a touchdown. Prior to that performance he had nearly five yards a carry in the home win to Houston.

Atlanta Falcons WR:

Julio Jones

Health has always been an issue for the Falcons star wide out. He leads the team with 43 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns. Jones is without touchdown reception the past two games.

New Orleans Saints QB:

Drew Brees

Brees has hit on 66% of his throws this year for 1304 yards with six touchdowns and three picks. He threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns last week in the loss to Philadelphia.

New Orleans Saints RB:

Mark Ingram

The veteran back leads New Orleans with 68 rushes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. He has yet to rush for 100 yards this season with his high just 77 yards. Ingram is running for just 3.8 yards a carry.

New Orleans Saints WR:

Willie Snead

Seeing his first year on the field Snead leads the Saints with 22 catches for 381 yards and a touchdown. He caught six balls last week against the Eagles for 141 yards.

NFL Thursday Night Football Cash League Fantasy Picks

QB: Matt Ryan (Falcons)

RB: Devonta Freeman (Falcons)

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons), Willie Snead (Saints)

TE: Benjamin Watson (Saints)

Posted in NFL

Atlanta Falcons versus Dallas Cowboys NFL Fantasy Football Preview

NFL Fantasy Football Draft News 9-24-2015

Two NFC undefeated teams square off as the Dallas Cowboys will meet the Atlanta Falcons. NFL fantasy draft managers can tune to FOX on Sunday September 27th at 1PM Eastern Time to track the results of their roster picks.

Many had pegged a turnaround in 2015 for the Atlanta Falcons. They cited the positive coaching change and good health of the squad. Also an NFC South division that saw weaknesses with Tampa Bay overall, as well as the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints offenses suffering player turnover via injury and free agency. Atlanta has picked up wins against the Eagles and Giants to open up at 2-0 on the year. The team has been throwing the ball effectively at 318 yards passing per game good for third best in the NFL. Defense will be the issue for this club. Can they improve that pass rush that has been the cry from critics for years. They played pass happy teams early in the Cowboys and Eagles so they rank 29th against the pass by allowing 313 yards a game. But something that gives this unit some hope for improvement is they are giving up 22 points a game ranking 13th best in football. That is a step in the right direction for this franchise.

The Dallas Cowboys are a 2-0 team. They have two victories and no defeats both sparked by outstanding defensive efforts against the Cowboys and Eagles. Last week against Philadelphia the Dallas defense limited Philadelphia to just 10 points total. The Cowboys sit third best in total defense, ninth best against the pass and are tops in defending the run. The team allows just 18 points a game ranking sixth best in football. But there are major injury issues on the offensive side of the football to two very important players. Dez Bryant has a broken foot and is out for over a month. Last week in the win against Philadelphia Tony Romo got a broken collar bone and is sidelined for 8-10 weeks.

Atlanta Falcons QB:

Matt Ryan

Ryan is hitting on 66% of his throws on the year with three touchdowns and two picks. Last week against the Giants the veteran signal caller completed 30 of 46 throws for 363 yards with a touchdown.

Atlanta Falcons RB:

Tevin Coleman

This is an area for the Falcons where improvement was needed from previous years. The running game has been pretty much non-existed for the team preventing them from running clock with leads in the second half. Coleman was drafted from Indiana to help and the rookie has rushed for 112 yards on 29 carries for 3.9 yards per run with a touchdown.

Atlanta Falcons WR:

Julio Jones

Julio is healthy and leads the club in targets and receptions by far. He has 22 catches for 276 yards with two touchdowns and a long gain of 44 yards. He has two grabs for 20 or greater yards.

Dallas Cowboys QB:

Brandon Weeden

Cowboy backup has been inserted in a starting role with Romo sidelined. Last week he hit on 7 of 7 throws for 73 yards with a touchdown. He spent much of his career with Cleveland putting up some very poor stats with lack of talent for him to pass too.

Dallas Cowboys RB:

Joseph Randle

This was sore spot entering the season and still is in week three. Randle is getting most of the work and has 116 rushing yards on 34 carries for just 3.4 yards a carry.

Dallas Cowboys WR:

Terrance Williams

With Bryant out, its Terrance Williams leading the Cowboys with 144 receiving yards and nine catches. He has one touchdown and two receptions for over twenty yards.

Dallas Cowboys TE:

Jason Witten

The dependable veteran tight end leads the Cowboys with 15 catches and two touchdowns on the campaign. He has 116 receiving yards.

Posted in NFL