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 70000021010 ***
Unfavorable trends about here. The Cards have given up just one multiple touchdown game in their last seven, while Wilson has just one such outing in his last four--a stretch that includes his 211 and 1 against the Cardinals in Week 12. Wilson will need his feet to salvage fantasy value once again; fortunately for fantasy owners, he proved he can get it done against Arizona with 73 rushing yards in the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ARI 5014300000 ***
Lynch has yet to rush for a road TD, and Arizona isn't overly accommodating in allowing six RB rushing scores in 14 games. Settle for his usual decent dose of yardage and cross your fingers the Seahawks get close enough for him to pound one in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jermaine Kearse, SEA @ARI 003400000 ***
Kearse joins Doug Baldwin as the most-targeted Seahawks receivers; he also joins him at the back of the line for fantasy productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA @ARI 003200000 ***
The Seahawks continue to get by with minimal productivity from their passing game. Baldwin remains the most targeted, but that rarely turns into anything of fantasy note--especially in an unfavorable matchup such as this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Luke Willson, SEA @ARI 002101000 *
Willson competes with Tony Moeaki for looks, and last week they finished in a dead heat: both had zero targets. You can't bank on a share of a low-output position for fantasy help at this point in the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tony Moeaki, SEA @ARI 003400000 ***
Moeaki had four catches in the previous meeting with Arizona, a total that constitutes a big game for a Seahawks tight end. However, he's still splitting looks with many people, most notably Luke Willson, so his fantasy value is slim at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA @ARI 2122 ***
Two of Hauschka's three lowest-scoring games have come in the past fortnight. Slump? Coincidence? Hauschka had 13 against Arizona when the Cards came to Seattle a month ago, there's no real reason to suggest a steep drop-off in the return match.

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 Ryan Lindley, ARI SEA 0000018001 *
It's been nine games since an opposing quarterback delivered a fantasy helper (two TDs and 250-plus yards) against the Seahawks. Lindley, who has yet to throw a touchdown in 181 NFL attempts, is not the next. The last time he saw the Seahawks he was on the butt end of a 58-0 thrashing in which the only highlight of his 8-17-59 performance was that he wasn't picked off.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stepfan Taylor, ARI SEA 2004300000 ***
Taylor will get the pleasure of between-the-tackles work against the Seahawks. His share of the Arizona workload won't amount to much if any fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI SEA 3001100000 ***
Williams was the slightly more effective back last week as he and Stepfan Taylor split the workload. Neither will do much this week against a Seattle defense that has allowed exactly one running back (Jamaal Charles) to top 50 yards in the past two months.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI SEA 003500000 *
Brown's 61 yards in Week 12 is the best showing by a wideout against the Seahawks in the past five games. So if 61 yards floats your boat, enjoy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SEA 003400000 *
In three previous full games with Lindley at the helm, Fitzgerald has been targeted 24 times. Unfortunately only eight of those were close enough for the sure-handed Fitz to grab, and they resulted in a meager 76 yards and zero TDs. Tough to expect any of those stats to improve against Seattle's stout secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI SEA 003300000 ***
Ryan Lindley leaned heavily on tight ends (23 targets, one shy of Larry Fitzgerald over that same span) in his earlier stint as a starter, so there's that upside for Carlson. Also, Seattle's softest spot defensively this season has been tight end. Nope... can't quite muster up enough enthusiasm to warrant a fantasy play for Carlson this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI SEA 1100 ***
Maybe Catanzaro does all the Cards' scoring again, but the Ryan Lindley-led offense may not even get him across midfield.

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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