Covid Updates coming throughout the weekend on OWS (Posted at 8:30pm ET Dec 16th).
Game Overview ::
By mjohnson86 >>
- Atlanta continues to stay alive by winning games against weak competition (none of their wins has come against a team with a winning record).
- San Francisco has won four of their last five games despite battling some injury issues along the way.
- The 49ers have a chance to be fully healthy at their skill positions for the first time in several weeks.
- All six of the Falcons wins have come away from home (five on the road and one in London).
- The 49ers are likely to control the game and impose their run-heavy, slow-paced approach.
How atlanta Will Try To Win ::
In two of their last three games (both wins), the Falcons have had a 50% or higher run rate, which is up significantly from their 61% rate for the season. They have also adjusted roles in their backfield, with Cordarrelle Patterson taking over the lead back role but ceding most third down and passing situation work to Mike Davis. Unfortunately for the Falcons, this new recipe for success is unlikely to work in this matchup against the very stout 49ers run defense, which is ranked 3rd in DVOA and 7th by PFF’s grades. On the other hand, the 49ers pass defense is a middle to lower-tier unit that is missing multiple pieces, including their best cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. The problem for the Falcons is that they don’t have much talent to expose this situation with their replacement level or lower receiving corps.
Over the last half of the season, the Falcons are playing with the 23rd fastest situation-neutral pace in the league and, as mentioned before, have become more run-heavy. While the matchup won’t let them pound the run at the rate they have been, it is very likely that they will continue a methodical approach and hope their overachieving defense is able to hold up and make this a game in the 4th quarter. The Falcons spent last year and the start of this year as an aggressive passing team that sped their opponents up, but that is no longer the case. We should expect a balanced attack and a continued conservative pace. Kyle Pitts has struggled with extra defensive attention and facing top cornerbacks from opposing teams. It would not be surprising to see Pitts finally have a big game here as the 49ers are short-handed at cornerback with no one who can match Pitts physically and the likely tough sledding they will see in the running game.
How san francisco Will Try To Win ::
The 49ers are built to run with Kyle Shanahan’s elite scheme and their ability to stretch defenses horizontally and vertically. If Elijah Mitchell is cleared for this week, it will be the first time that he, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk have been active together in a game since Week 12 against the Vikings – a game in which they scored 34 points through three quarters before Deebo left with an injury. The 49ers have PFF’s #1 graded run-blocking offensive line facing off against a Falcons defense that is ranked 31st in rush defense DVOA and 27th in yards per carry allowed. This Falcons team is also one of the worst tackling teams in the league, ranking 24th in PFF grades as a tackling unit. This could prove to be a huge issue for them as the 49ers are an offense built around skill players who are elite with the ball in their hands:
- Elijah Mitchell ranks 4th out of 65 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt.
- Deebo Samuel ranks 1st out of 67 qualifying wide receivers in yards after contact per reception (he also averages 5.79 yards after contact on rushes)
- George Kittle ranks 2nd out of 18 qualifying tight ends in yards after contact per attempt.
The game plan for the 49ers should be very straightforward here as they will play their normal style of ball – methodical with a ground-based approach while using creative play calling and schemes to attack the very “vanilla” Falcons defense in a variety of ways. We often measure “aggressiveness” by downfield passing and pass rate, which would make us feel like the 49ers are not going to be aggressive here due to their high run rate and low aDOT. However, while the 49ers will play their brand of football, they are definitely going to do it in an “aggressive” way that sets them up for some big plays.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
This has all the makings of a slow-paced game with relatively low play volume and is unlikely to deliver huge splash plays out of the gate. The 49ers game last week against the Bengals is likely a good barometer of how this game could play out from a purely game flow, and pace perspective, with the main difference being the Falcons have a worse defense and less explosive offensive pieces to become more aggressive with if/when they fall behind.
The 49ers are likely to have a great deal of offensive success in this game as their elite skill position players will be able to move the chains consistently while also being capable of breaking free for a big play at any time. While their attack will likely not be vertical in nature, Shanahan will scheme ways for his playmakers to get the ball in space to break tackles and make people miss. This makes it highly likely that San Francisco takes control of this game early on and is able to control the pace and rhythm of the game by extending drives and keeping their defense fresh – which will, in turn, make it more difficult for the Falcons to start sustaining drives. The Falcons have played five games against teams ranked in the top 10 in offensive DVOA. In those five games, they have given up an average of 35.6 points per game.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- 2nd highest total (46)
- Total has dropped 1.5 pts
- SF is favored by 9
- ATL avgs 18.8 pts/g (7th fewest) // SF allows 23.2 (13th most)
- SF avgs 25.3 pts/g (13th most) // ATL allows 27.2 pts/g (T-4th most)
- SF pts last 5: (26, 23, 34, 30, 31)
- ATL pts last 5: (29, 17, 14, 0, 3)
- SF leads NFL in RZ scoring %: (72.97)
- ATL allows the 5th highest RZ scoring % (68.75)
- Both teams are 6-7 ATS
- $5.3k is a season low price (also $5.3k last week)
- Ryan has thrown only 2 TDs the last 5 games
- SF allows 1.5 pass TDs/g (T-10th lowest)
- In his last 5, he’s only passed for 200+ once
- DK pts last 5: (11.9, 12.1, 11.2, 4.1, 2.7)
- He had at least 20 DK pts in 5 out of 8 to start the season
- SF allows the 11th most DK pts/g to QBs (19.8)
- Russell Gage tgts last 6: (6,12,7,8,3,8)
- Gage had 130 rec yds two weeks ago
- He hasn’t had more than 67 in any other game
- Snaps (of 68):Routes run (of 31) last week vs CAR: Gage (51:27) // Tajae Sharpe (51:27) // Olamide Zaccheaus (28:13)
- Sharpe is $200 cheaper than Zaccheaus
- Sharpe’s price has dropped $600 since WK 11
- Zaccheaus’ price has dropped $900 since WK 11
- SF allows the 12th most DK pts to WRs (37.6)
- Pitts has seen at least 5 tgts in every game since WK 3 but only has one 10 tgt game on the season
- He leads the team w/ 88 tgts
- $5.5k matches his price last week
- It hasn’t been lower since WK 5
- He hasn’t scored since WK 5, his only TD on the season
- 12 RZ tgts is tied w/ Patterson for the 2nd most (Calvin Ridley still has the most w/ 14)
- SF allows the 4th least DK pts/g to TEs (8.6)
- Cordarrele Patterson atts last 3: (16,13,16) // Mike Davis (11,4,5)
- Patterson rush yds have went down each of the last 3: (108, 78, 58)
- Davis’ have went up: (16, 32, 44)
- Patterson has 12 RZ tgts (T-2nd behind Ridley)
- He’s 2nd in team tgts (62) & avgs 5.2/g
- SF allows 6.7 RB tgts/g (15th most) & 5.3 rec (14th most)
- SF allows the 15th most DK pts to RBs (24.3)
- Jimmy barely fell short of 300 pass yds the last two games (296, 299)
- ATL allows 225.3 pass yds/g (17th most)
- Jimmy has zero 3 TD games this season
- ATL allows 2.0/g (T-2nd most)
- He’s thrown 2 TDs in 6 games & had a 2 rush TD game in another
- Jimmy is priced the same as last week, tied for his season high ($5.8k)
- ATL allows the 2nd most DK pts to QBs (21.6)
- Tgts last 3: Deebo (1,DNP,4) // Aiyuk (10,6,6) // Jennings (5,1,3) // Sherfield (0,5,1)
- Deebo hasn’t had more than 1 rec in his last 3 games
- He had 90+ rec yds in 6 of the first 9
- Deebo rush atts last 5: (8,DNP,6,8,5)
- He’s priced as the 3rd highest WR (8.2k) (Kupp $9k, Adams $8.9k)
- Aiyuk ($6.3) is $500 more than his previous season high last week
- Jennings played 47 of 71 snaps and ran 36 routes of 49 last week
- He seems to be taking over SFs 3rd WR spot
- ATL allows the 6th most DK pts to WRs (39.2)
- Kittle last 2: (13:151:1TD, 15 tgts, 37.1 DK pts) // (9:181:2 TDs, 12 tgts, 42.6 DK pts)
- 42.6 DK pts was highest on the slate WK 13 // 37.1 was tied for 3rd highest last WK
- Kittle has 6 TDs in the last 6 games
- ATL allows 12.5 DK pts to TEs (14th least)
- Eli Mitchell is Q w/ a concussion
- Mitchell’s last 3 games: (22:66:1 TD, 3:18, 3, tgts) // (27:133:1 TD, 5:35, 6 tgts) // (27:91, 0 tgts)
- Rushing last week w/o Mitchell: Wilson (13:56) // Hasty (0 atts) // Deebo (8:37:1 TD) // Kyle Juszczyk (0 atts)
- SF rush atts // pass atts in an OT game last week vs CIN (but one that the 49ers led by 14 to start the 4th qtr): (23 rush atts // 41 pass atts)
- CIN ranks 10th in rush DVOA, 18th in pass DVOA
- ATL ranks 23rd in rush DVOA, 29th in pass DVOA
- SF season avg: (29.1 rush atts // 30.7 pass atts)
- Rec: Wilson (no tgts) // Hasty (3:10, 2 tgts) // Juszczyk (1:5, 2 tgts)
- ATL allows the 9th most DK pts/g to RBs (25.9)