FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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 Andrew Luck, IND @NYG 20000031030 ****
Luck has six straight 300-yard games and multiple touchdowns in every game this season; you're going to trot him out against any defense, doesn't matter who. Though it doesn't hurt that the Giants have allowed multiple TDs in back-to-back games, does it?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND @NYG 5004401000 ***
Bradshaw gets the third-down work, a healthy share of the goal line work, and if Trent Richardson isn't fully healthy an increased share of all the other stuff as well. He's the more dynamic and more effective back in Indy's stable, so he's at least as good of a bet as Richardson to capitalize on a Giants' defense that's allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers and at least one RB TD in six of seven games this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @NYG 401000000 **
Richardson returns to action just in time to face a Giants defense that's allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushing efforts and at least one RB TD in six of seven games. Whether or not he returns to his lead role in the Indy backfield remains to be seen however, and even if he does Ahmad Bradshaw has been the more effective fantasy play anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @NYG 004601000 **
It's a revenge game for Nicks, who dogged the Giants with a zero-TD swan song last season. Revenge would be more likely has Nicks not amassed a paltry 8-86 in the five games since he last saw the end zone. It's not a matter of targets, either; that 8-86 came on 26 targets. It would take a concerted effort by the Colts to rub Tom Coughlin's face in a Nicks TD for revenge to happen here, and Indy probably doesn't care that much about a free-agent-to-be WR3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @NYG 0081100000 ****
Three straight 100-yard efforts, six straight with at least 80 yards... yeah, Hilton's handling the transition to WR1 just fine. No reason for his roll to slow against a Giants secondary that's already allowed four feature receivers to reach triple-digit yardage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND @NYG 004500000 ***
Update: Wayne practiced in full on Friday and may return to action this week. It being a Monday game, however, you can't afford to risk the zero so don't plan on using him in your fantasy lineup this week unless you have a Monday fallback plan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND @NYG 002300000 ***
Moncrief has moved into the WR2 role in Indy, just in time to capitalize on a matchup with a Giants' secondary that's allowed fantasy helpers to multiple WRs in three of the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND @NYG 002201000 ****
Over the past two games the Giants have allowed 210 yards and four TDs to opposing tight ends. The Colts have a TE TD in every game this season, and even if Allen has to share some stats with Coby Fleener this is a favorable enough matchup that Allen--heck, maybe both Indy TEs--belongs in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @NYG 2144 ***
Multiple PATs in every game, multiple FGs in every game since Week 1... Vinatieri is getting ample opportunity to swing the leg on an every-week basis.

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

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