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 ATL 0000027021 ***
Atlanta has held quarterbacks to just 194 yards, which is the third fewest in football. The matchup, luckily for Wilson, is inflated by two rushing TDs against, in addition to the six passing scores in the last four games. The Falcons have one interception. Wilson averaged 19.2 fantasy points in two meetings last season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB J.D. McKissic, SEA ATL 2004300000 ***
Atlanta has ceded 5.6 catches for just 35 yards to running backs since Week 5. One of those 28 snares has scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Thomas Rawls, SEA ATL 4002100000 ***
Not a good time to trust Rawls ... one of the last 122 carries and one of 28 receptions have scored. No team has been stingier at allowing rushing scores. The "highlight" is this being the 14th-worst defense for rushing yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, SEA ATL 300000000 *
Lacy's status is unclear, and even when it is clear, steer clear.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA ATL 006801000 ***
It was a mixed bag in two games last year vs. the Falcons. Baldwin was held to 7.1 PPR points in Week 6 and went for 5-80-1 in the playoff matchup. Since Week 5, Atlanta has limited receivers to 9.8 catches per contest. This ranks seventh-hardest. Correspondingly, the yardage figure has been limited as the seventh-lowest, too. Baldwin has a decent shot at a defense permitting a WR TD every 12.3 snares, so there is at least that upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Paul Richardson, SEA ATL 003501000 ***
Richardson saw action in the playoff meeting in 2016 and went for 83 yards on four balls. The Falcons have been rock-solid vs. WRs in the past five games, giving up the seventh-fewest fantasy points in both scoring formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA ATL 002300000 ***
Atlanta has allowed receivers to average 9.8 catches (26th), 120.6 yards (26th) and a TD every 12.3 grabs (14th). Last year, in two meetings with Atlanta, Lockett failed to be healthy enough to play in the second contest. He went for 23 yards in Week 6 that season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, SEA ATL 005400000 ***
Only three teams have been stronger vs. tight ends. Atlanta has permitted just one TD in the last five games and only 36 yards per contest in this time. Both of those are bottom-five figures. Graham posted a combined 26.2 PPR points in two games vs. the Falcons last year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, SEA ATL 3333 ***
Of the 21 total kicks faced, nine of 12 field goals connected. This is a routine matchup overall, but giving up 2.4 three-pointers per contest is at least mildly encouraging. Now if only Walsh could hit one of those pesky field goals....

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 Blaine Gabbert, ARI @HOU 0000023021 *
Update: Gabbert was named the starter for this week with Drew Stanton on the mend, even though the latter is officially listed as questionable. Regardless, Gabbert is not a worthy fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Adrian Peterson, ARI @HOU 6002100000 ***
Houston has made it a tough row to hoe for running backs in the past five weeks. The position has averaged only 70.5 rushing yards and hasn't scored over the past four games, or 75 carries worth.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @HOU 005701000 *
Fitz is quarterback proof, and the Texans have been anything but receiver proof. The position has gashed them for 228.3 yards and a TD every 7.7 receptions. Houston provides the best matchup, regardless of scoring format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR J.J. Nelson, ARI @HOU 002201000 *
Despite a wonderful matchup, Nelson is too fringe of a player to consider in anything but a deep DFS contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @HOU 003400000 *
There is reason to like Brown as a flier this week. The Texans offer fantasy's best matchup in both scoring formats, and there will be plenty of attention paid to Larry Fitzgerald. Houston has given up the most yards per game and fourth-highest TD efficiency mark in football. Be aware of the suspect quarterback situation, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI @HOU 002300000 *
The matchup is the best in both scoring formats, so maybe he could give you something in return. Chancing it isn't advised.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, ARI @HOU 003301000 **
Houston has given up three TDs to the position in the last four games, which is more significant because the Texans have allowed one every seven catches. With Blaine Gabbert starting, Gresham could be a flier play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, ARI @HOU 1122 ***
All of the 21 kicks against Houston (9 FGs) have split the posts. This is a top-five matchup for Dawson.

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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