Per Yahoo’s projections (Lies, damned lies, and then Yahoo’s projections…), it’s Sproles and Colston. Sproles projects to 15/0.1, 6.3 recp/56.6 rec yds/0.4 rec TD. Colston projects to 5.8 recp, 85.9 yds, and 0.5 TD. 11.7 and 13.0 FF points, respectively. Broyles would project to 9.5, Hilton to 8.5.
ESPN’s projections are a little off, IMHO. They don’t allocate any rushing yds to Sproles, for one thing. They have him getting 5/41 and 0 TD. For the WRs, they have Colston getting 5/67 and 1; Broyles getting 4/55/1; and Hilton getting 5/69/0. All pretty comparable, to my eyes, other than the TDs and you can’t really handicap those much anyway.
From Football outsiders, the ATL DEF is poor against RB receptions (11.1% DVOA (negative is better) 25th overall, 4.9 average receptions for 31 yds.) and poor against rushing (1.9%, 24th overall.) So, you’d think it’s a good matchup for Sproles. Start him, if healthy. And he’s not on their latest injury report. That said, evidentlyhe wasn’t all that in last week’s game, getting 1/2 of his yardage on a garbage time catch and run. I’m attributing that to getting his game legs back, and think he’ll be better this week.
That leaves one of three WRs. If Colston is the Saints’ #1 WR, then FO rates the ATL DEF against #1s this way: -16.0% DVOA, 10th. 7.7 recp, 41.3 yds. Not All-World, but pretty good by the Falcons. Against #2s (assuming Lance Moore is the #1), ATL has this from FO: -26.9% 2nd 6.3 rec, 39.6 yds. Yikes. So, not the best matchup.
How about Broyles? He’s going against Indy, who is the worst rated defense, and 31st rated pass defense, in FO’s database so far this year. Broyles definitely isn’t the #1 WR for Detroit (LOL), but if he’s the #2, then the matchup looks like this: 0.6%, 18th, 7.5 rec, 53.2 yds. Not as great as it could be. If he’s classified as the “Other” wide receiver, though, it looks like this: 45.6%, 32th, 7.5 rec., 80.1 yds. Much better. Who plays slot for Detroit, anyway?
Finally, Hilton against Detroit: 20th ranked pass D overall, and 26.6%, 30th, 6.3 rec., 59.4 yds. against #2 WR. Against “Other”: 8.8%, 24th, 6.4 rec., 55.5 yds. So, a really good matchup.
IMHO, it depends on whether you think Colston can overcome the harder matchup, and whether you think that Broyles has become Stafford’s BFF as far as targets go. Colston’s been averaging 5.25 targets/game over the last 4 (Philly, ATL, Oakland, SF) and pulling down a hair less than 4 receptions/game over those 4 games. He averages a bit over 8 targets a game for the season. He has had a TD in three of the four games though, so he’s getting his points, even if he’s not exactly torching people. In the ATL game a few weeks ago, at home, he went 3/26/1.
You know, the more I look at this, the more I want to take Broyles over Colston, especially if you need a knockout punch.
Advice on the Internet is worth what you pay for it, and I’m probably going to miss the playoffs in both of the leagues I’m in, may Peyton Hillis burn in flames for eternity. So keep that in mind when taking my advice.