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: SEA 20, ARI 23 (Line: SEA by 2.5)

Player Updates: Marshawn Lynch, Andre Roberts, Robert Turbin, Beanie Wells

Players to Watch: Russell Wilson, Ryan Williams, Michael Floyd

The Seahawks lost 20-23 in Arizona last season but won 13-10 at home in week three. The home team has won seven of the last ten meetings and four of the last five. This is a divisional game and a coin flip that could go either way.

Seattle Seahawks
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI ----- 10 NYJ -----
2 DAL ----- 11 BYE -----
3 GB ----- 12 @MIA -----
4 @STL ----- 13 @CHI -----
5 @CAR ----- 14 ARI -----
6 NE ----- 15 @BUF -----
7 @SF ----- 16 SF -----
8 @DET ----- 17 STL -----
9 MIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks fell to a 7-9 record when they lost their final two games of 2011 but there is an optimism that this season will be better and that at least the potential to reclaim the division exists. There have been a few surreptitious finds along the way that spawn the positive sense that the team is moving forward. Last year it was the discovery that Marshawn Lynch suddenly became the back the 2007 Bills thought he would be when he strung 11 straight games with a touchdown together starting in week four. He had a career best 4.2 YPC and ended with 1204 rushing yards. Throw in the rookie Robert Turbin for a quality backup and the backfield is suddenly in great shape.

The other find was not Matt Flynn who they paid a guaranteed $10 million on a $26 million contract. It was that 3.12 pick Russell Wilson who would decisively win the starting job in his first ever training camp. Wilson fell in the draft in part because at 5-11, 204 lbs he is much smaller than the prototypical quarterback. Then again, incredible accuracy, a big arm and dazzling open field running is not a bad thing. Wilson became a fantasy sleeper overnight and was being drafted far earlier than rational thought would suggest. But - it looks good for Seattle.

The Seahawks have an interesting set of receivers. Doug Baldwin was the undrafted rookie who stole a starting job last year and ended with 51 catches for 788 yards and four scores. Sidney Rice has been the high potential guy that has always been injured for the last two seasons and is coming off two shoulder surgeries in the offseason. Rice finally started practicing in August and is reported to be in good health for now. Terrell Owens was temporarily a Seahawk before the team came to their senses which was also what happened when they acquired Kellen Winslow before someone reminded them that they never use tight ends and that Zach Miller was acquired from Oakland for no apparent reason last year. Braylon Edwards not only made the roster but is 100% recovered from his knee surgery and was making plays and wowing the crowds in camp. At 29 years of age, he could have a rejuvenation of his career if Wilson proves to be an NFL-quality quarterback.

The Seahawks look like a team pointed in the right direction and one that keeps finding good surprises. This week is a coin flip game against a well known divisional opponent but road games have long been the weak spot for the franchise.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 28 13 14 29 20 11
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 14 8 25 10 30 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Russell Wilson, SEA ARI 40000018010 ***
Wilson hasn't topped 200 yards in a month and has as many games without a passing touchdown as with. Fortunately for his fantasy value he also has 244 rushing yards and a rushing TD in that span. The Cards won't be an easy nut to crack on either count--they've allowed only 85 QB rushing yards all year--so consider Wilson a fringe fantasy option at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA ARI 8022200000 ****
Back to back 100-yard efforts, six touchdowns in the past three games... so what if the Cards are a tough run-game matchup on paper, it's Beast Mode. Never go against Beast Mode.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA ARI 004500000 ****
The good news is, Baldwin has the last two Seattle WR TDs. The bad news is, it's taken five weeks to score those two TDs. That's too inconsistent a contribution to be trusted with a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jermaine Kearse, SEA ARI 003400000 ***
Kearse has pieced together a couple under-the-radar fantasy helpers the past two weeks, totaling 124 yards. But if that's the upside, you'll want to look for a higher fantasy ceiling elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Luke Willson, SEA ARI 002200000 ***
The Cards have allowed just one TE TD in their past six games, so it's not a favorable opportunity for the rarely used Willson.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA ARI 1133 ***
Hauschka's been money for at least eight points in every home game this year; no reason to expect different in a big divisional battle.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA ----- 10 BYE -----
2 @NE ----- 11 @ATL -----
3 PHI ----- 12 STL -----
4 MIA ----- 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL ----- 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF ----- 15 DET -----
7 @MIN ----- 16 CHI -----
8 SF ----- 17 @SF -----
9 @GB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals finished with an 8-8 record and a 6-2 home mark for 2011 and continue to work on the offense. A preseason battle between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb ended with Skelton getting the nod though both were already well established in ability last year. Like Flynn in Seattle, Kolb was the pricey free agent brought in only to lose out to the guy they already had on the roster for cheap.

Beanie Wells remains the starter though he sat out the entire offseason while recovering from knee surgery but he was cleared and played in the final preseason games. Wells comes off his first 1000 yard season (1047) and only missed one game in 2011 though as always he played with a bad knee most of the year. Wells started the season with seven touchdowns in the first half of the year but then was less consistent in part because of his knee. Ryan Williams was the hot rookie back last year that blew out his knee and spent his first year on injured reserve. He's back after a lost season and looks impressive so far. The pair of backs will share the load though if history serves Wells will miss more games with some injury. In fantasy terms, there is limited value in the backfield until Wells is either out injured or Williams proves to be a significantly better back.

Larry Fitzgerald ended with 80 catches for 1411 yards and eight scores while playing with a 50/50 split between Kolb and Skelton which only shows how great he truly is. In most cases, the quarterback makes the receiver. In this one - the receiver makes the quarterback better. The Cards also drafted Michael Floyd with their 1.13 pick in the NFL draft to become a needed complement to Fitzgerald but Floyd's progress has not been rapid so far. Andre Roberts opens the season as the starter with Floyd mixing in.

Tight end remains a primarily blocking position and Todd Heap is not doing much in the waning years of his career. Robert Housler is the ex-basketball player that you could talk yourself into thinking he is a sleeper type until you realize that the Cardinals have never, ever used the position as a receiver much.

At home should be the key for a win here and this is much the same team that played last year with Williams added to the backfield and Floyd playing as the #3 receiver.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 19 26 10 22 30 19
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 6 14 5 19 17 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Stanton, ARI @SEA 10000022012 ***
Remember how we were talking about the demise of the Seahawks' defense earlier this season? Well, they've held five straight quarterbacks under 20 fantasy points. Stanton isn't such a step up in class over Davis, Newton, Carr, Eli and Smith that he should be expected to snap that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @SEA 4005500000 ****
Yes, Jamaal Charles carved up the Seahawks last week and yes, Ellington has drawn comparisons to Charles. Let's just nip that in the bud right now and look for something similar to the 60 rushing yards he posted against Seattle last year and mix in 20-some receiving yards as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @SEA 005600000 ***
You beat the Seahawks' secondary by throwing deep at them, and odds are Brown is the target of choice. Not that you should go out of your way to start a receiver against Seattle, but if you do...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @SEA 004500000 ***
Wildly inconsistent, Floyd does fit the model of receivers who have success against Seattle in that he can get deep; in fact, he scored the last time these clubs met. But he's bound to draw plenty of defensive attention, to the point that John Brown may be the better fantasy deep threat this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @SEA 00000000 *
Fitz has exactly two games of fantasy note against the Seahawks so far this decade. He's banged up, with a back-up quarterback, and hopefully you have a better option this week.
Update: Fitz did not practice all week and is listed as questionable. It's a tough enough road matchup as is; add in the injury and Fitz is a monumental fantasy risk this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @SEA 003201000 **
The matchup says tight ends are in play against Seattle, but they've shut down Larry Donnell and Travis Kelce the past two weeks so another positive blip from Carlson is hardly a sure thing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @SEA 2211 ***
It's been a while since Catanzaro provided double-digit points, and Seattle is certainly not the venue to expect him to right that ship. Wouldn't be a bad week to find another fantasy option.

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)

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