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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: IND 17, CHI 27 (Line: CHI by 9.5)

Player Updates: Austin Collie, T.Y. Hilton, Donnie Avery

Players to Watch: Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Michael Bush, Alshon Jeffrey

The Colts finally found out what life without Peyton Manning was like. Ends up not that great. A complete rebuild is underway in Indianapolis while the Bears look to get back to a winning season after ending 8-8 in 2012. This is a dream season opener for the Bears against a Colts offense led by a rookie and without all those Colts stars from the past.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI ----- 10 @JAC -----
2 MIN ----- 11 @NE -----
3 JAC ----- 12 BUF -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB ----- 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ ----- 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE ----- 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN ----- 17 HOU -----
9 MIA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: Time to start over. The Colts completely imploded in 2011 without Peyton Manning who apparently was the glue. By the bloody end, the team had replaced the entire coaching staff and removed almost all those Colt stars of the past that helped you win your league. Now HC Chuck Pagano takes over and OC Bruce Arians comes over from Pittsburgh. He'll try to build a balanced yet aggressive offense but that may take some time given the lack of running backs.

Foremost was the drafting of Andrew Luck who not only was touted as the most NFL ready quarterback in decades, but so far he has pretty much looked the part. Working with less than stellar receivers he was effective and impressive in the preseason. It is pretty certain that he will be forced to throw a lot this season.

The Colts retained Reggie Wayne who will be the #1 receiver and while initially it was thought that a rookie quarterback was going to really impact the aging star, so far it looks like Wayne is going to be fine. Pierre Garcon left which leaves an opening that has still not been entirely filled. The Colts will be mixing in Donnie Avery, Austin Collie and the rookie T.Y. Hilton and the pecking order will be changing as the season progresses. Especially if Avery and Collie can remain healthy. Encouraging results from Luck indicates all may not be lost here... like last year.

The Colts also brought in Coby Fleener who was Luck's tight end at Stanford. He was a preferred endzone target but never produced more than 35 catches in any season with Luck. The Colts also drafted Dwayne Allen as another high potential tight end and this group of receivers has long-term potential though it may take some time to realize it.

Arians likes his ground attack to be physical but all they have is Donald Brown and Vick Ballard. Brown was heading for the chopping block before late season play made him look better when defenses no longer cared if anyone was rushing by the Colts since it chewed the clock and ended the game faster. Brown is joined by the rookie Ballard as his backup and Mewelde Moore who should contribute on third downs. Overall - this team smacks of using a high pick on a running back in 2013.

This is a must watch game from all the new elements in it but Luck alone cannot be enough to consider this as a likely win for the Colts. On the road against a very good defense will be a nice measuring stick to see what the Colts may end up to be later.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 29 32 17 23 26 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 26 7 25 30 14 1

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jacoby Brissett, IND @BAL 10000018002 ***
Brissett is not a viable fantasy option in any setup and faces a lethal defense to boot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, IND @BAL 6002100000 ***
Gore has scored once over his past 82 offensive touches, and he isn't much of a threat for aerial contributions. Since Week 10, Baltimore has granted a rushing TD at the second-easiest rate, and this is the best place for an offensive touchdown (one every 15.9 touches). It's also the seventh-worst matchup for offensive touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marlon Mack, IND @BAL 2002200000 ***
Mack has been non-existent for fantasy owners over the past five weeks, and unless he scores a touchdown, his contributions will remain insignificant. Tempting fate to find out if he can take advantage of this fruitful matchup is unwise. Baltimore has, for the record, the softest defense when it comes to allowing running backs to score offensive touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @BAL 004500000 ***
Baltimore is a great matchup for receptions (5th most) and yardage (3rd) but ranks as the toughest defense for permitting touchdowns to receivers. Precisely zero have gone into the end zone on the last 71 tries.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chester Rogers, IND @BAL 003300000 ***
The Ravens have not given up a touchdown in the past five games, or 73 receptions worth of action. There is no reason to consider Rogers in any conventional league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jack Doyle, IND @BAL 003300000 ***
The Ravens have surrendered the third-highest average number of receptions to tight ends without giving up a touchdown in the past five games. Doyle should be in the mix for yardage and catches for PPR gamers.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @BAL 1000 *****
The position has missed one of their nine field goal tries and one of the eight PATs provided to them. This combines to create the ninth-fewest kicking chances per game in the last five weeks.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND ----- 10 HOU -----
2 @GB ----- 11 @SF -----
3 STL ----- 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Bears were 7-3 when Jay Cutler went down with a broken thumb last year and then dropped the next five straight before clipping the Vikings in the season finale to salvage an non-losing 8-8 record. In the process, the Bears finally agreed that a Mike Martz offense was a poor fit in Chicago and let him go. Mike Tice was promoted to become the offensive coordinator. Martz has been known as a quarterback killer and the shaky offensive line in Chicago could not prevent the pass rush from reaching Cutler. The offensive line is not expected to be much better this season but at least Tice will look to better protect Cutler. Especially now that they know what happens when he is out injured for a stretch.

Matt Forte comes off his big pay day and finds Michael Bush from Oakland there to help out with those goal line runs. Bush is not expected to take a significant amount of carries from Forte. He is expected to take away short yardage touchdowns and Forte has only averaged five per season for his career. Forte has been good for 50+ catches in each of his four seasons and that is expected to continue. Bush is the new guy here and the one to watch to see just how much playing time he gets.

Where the Bears spent their money on offense was to get Cutler some better receivers. Under Martz, there was no real #1 wideout and in fantasy terms, it was a wasteland because none of them had appreciable stats. Now Brandon Marshall is reunited with his old Denver quarterback and Alshon Jeffrey has sparked even more optimism as a credible #2 receiver. Devin Hester also starts if only as a tribute to yesteryear but his value to the team will always be mostly as an elite return man. Out with the old, complicated passing scheme that favored no one and produced little and in with a more traditional attack using just two very talented players - a great thing for fantasy purposes.

Kellen Davis has languished with Martz there as would any tight end. There is reason for optimism with ex-tight end Mike Tice running the offense but Marshall and Jeffrey may end up taking up too much of Cutler's time and not leave much for any tight end.

Nice way to open the season - at home against the worst team from the previous year. Can't ask for more.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 16 13 24 25 22 26
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 17 30 19 26 28 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mitchell Trubisky, CHI CLE 10000024020 ***
Unless you play in a deep, two-quarterback league or want to take a wild flier in DFS, the rookie should remain out of starting lineups ... even against the Browns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI CLE 7011100000 ***
Since Week 10, Cleveland has given up only two rushing scores on 134 carries, which is 26th. The position has 32 receptions over this time, which is the sixth-highest average. Howard faces an underrated run defense that laid the smack down on a red-hot Alex Collins last week. Howard's versatility will be his best asset in this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI CLE 2004201000 **
Cohen has just one PPR game over 10 points in the last month. He's a fringe option for a lineup spot in championship contests. Cleveland has given up only one receiving TD to RBs over the last 32 catches, but this is a top-10 matchup for weekly receptions and yardage by the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, CHI CLE 0071001000 ***
Wright has emerged in the past two games, landing 17 receptions on 24 targets. He hasn't scored since Week 4. This projection is rose colored but attainable. Cleveland has given up the fourth-most receptions for moderate yardage (14th) per game, with one in 18 landing in the end zone (22nd).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Joshua Bellamy, CHI CLE 004500000 ***
Wideouts have averaged 14.4 receptions (4th) for 148.2 yards (14th) and a TD every 18 hauls (22nd). There is little reason to like Bellamy with a title on the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, CHI CLE 002300000 ***
Inman has enjoyed a few decent games this year but remains too much on the peripheral to be trusted in fantasy. Cleveland has given up just four WR scores in the last five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI CLE 002200000 **
Cleveland has permitted tight ends a touchdown every 7.7 receptions over the last five weeks, so there is the off-chance the rookie finds the end zone. Don't pay to find out, however.

Update: The rook is questionable and didn't practice in full all week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CHI CLE 1133 ***
All 11 extra points and 11 of 13 field goal tries have made it through the verticals vs. the Browns in the last five weeks. This is the sixth-best matchup for possible points and No. 4 for success.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t