In yesterday's post, I examined how the Falcons offense will most likely take advantage of the Lions' perceived weaknesses. In short, the crux of my argument was this: the Falcons will look to attack a run defense that is currently allowing about 129 rushing yards per game.
What's more, the Lions have a top-10 passing defense (ironically featuring a very competent Chris Houston at cornerback) with a fantastic front four, and will also own home field advantage in this one. That's also a loud stadium, meaning the no-huddle offense might not be so great this week. Thus, less passing and more running. Hey, it worked against Carolina and Philadelphia didn't it?
So now that we've established that Turner will get his prescribed 20+ carries this week, let's get into who should and shouldn't ride your fantasy bench this week:
RB Michael Turner
numberFire Projections: 13.51 points (16.60 carries, 75.03 yards, 0.51 TDs)
TE Tony Gonzalez
numberFire Projections: 6.42 points (3.92 recs, 43.09 yards, 0.36 TDs)
Perhaps the most consistent guy on offense has been Gonzalez. This year he's been a touchdown machine, and he'll likely see a bunch of targets this week given Detroit's thinness at linebacker. He'll be a huge factor on play-action as well as the Falcons will hopefully find success on the ground with Turner.
QB Matt Ryan
numberFire Projections: 14.59 points (20.40 completions, 236.41 yards, 1.46 TDs, 0.94 INTs)
His performance last week wasn't fantastic, but it was certainly a step up from his outing against Green Bay. His lone rushing touchdown essentially was the difference between a good week and a mediocre one. Sure, the team will be leaning on Turner all game. But the Falcons will need to attain at least some balance in order to keep the Lions honest. He'll get his share of points this week, but at this point he's a pretty average fantasy option at QB.
WR Roddy White
numberFire Projections: 9.48 points (4.49 recs, 66.56 yards, 0.44 TDs)
Man, what has been up with Roddy this year? I know he hasn't exactly been playing at 100% this season, but at what point do you say "ok, are you better yet?" He was very quiet against Carolina, and while I fervently pray he doesn't get shut down by Houston (he won't), the defense will certainly be able to key on him given Julio's likely absence. Should you start him? Yes. But don't expect big day.
K Matt Bryant
numberFire Projections: 7.26 points (1.58 FG, 1.94 XP)
He's yet to miss a field goal this year and is inside this week. Do I even need to say it? If somehow available, he'd be an excellent bye week pickup as well.
WR Julio Jones
He's listed as doubtful, and I would reckon that the Falcons treat any injury related to Julio with extreme caution. Given Mike Smith's track record, "doubtful"=no chance of playing. Best find another option for this week.
WR Harry Douglas
numberFire Projections: 3.48 points (1.54 recs, 23.61 yards, 0.18 TDs)
Though he had a couple of nice catches last week, he's still yet to really prove he can turn in a big-time game. Or really, even a semi-impactful game. If there's a week Douglas breaks out, this isn't it.
numberFire Projections: 5.57 points (23.29 points allowed, 1.98 sacks, 1.48 turnovers)
This group had a much better outing against Carolina, but on the whole there really must be a better option for you out there on the waiver wire somewhere. Zero return touchdowns on the year, and a struggling pass defense that's set to take on Calvin Johnson. Bad combination. Look elsewhere.