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 0000023011 ***
Since being held to 240 and 1 by the Cardinals in Week 10 Wilson has ripped off six straight with multiple touchdowns, averaging better than 32 fantasy points per game during that span. The difference is that the six defenses Wilson faced during that span have an average rank of 19 against QBs; the Cardinals rank ninth. Don't discount Wilson entirely, but don't expect nearly the robust performance you've been enjoying the past six weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Christine Michael, SEA @ARI 4002200000 ***
We've seen nothing from Michael--against a legit run defense, anyway--to suggest he's capable of filling Marshawn Lynch's (or even Thomas Rawls') shoes. The Cards haven't allowed a back to top 70 yards against them since Week 6; Michael's no threat to that streak.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bryce Brown, SEA @ARI 200000000 ***
Brown was more productive than Christine Michael last week--if you can call seven carries for nine yards more productive than six for six. Half a share of a shaky backfield against a top-10 run defense does not a fantasy starter make.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA @ARI 004601000 **
Prior to facing the Cardinals back in Week 10 Baldwin was just another guy with two TDs averaging 43 yards per game. His 7-134-1 kicked off an epic second half of the season that's seen Baldwin score a dozen times and top 100 thrice. Perhaps Arizona will pay more attention to him this time around, but it's not as if the previous teams in his five game scoring streak didn't see him coming so business as usual for the new and improved Baldwin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA @ARI 003500000 ***
Lockett has been more than just an observer to Doug Baldwin's second-half blow-up, contributing five TDs and 60-plus yards per game over the past six weeks. But he'll run headlong into an Arizona defense that held him to one catch in the previous meeting and has allowed just two WR TDs and only one secondary target to top 52 yards since that earlier matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jermaine Kearse, SEA @ARI 003300000 ***
As the third man in to Seattle's sudden passing game surge Kearse has had fantasy value when facing softer matchups. This isn't such a matchup, so don't reach for him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA @ARI 3311 ***
Tough to score on Cards
Hauschka's eight points in first game
feels like a ceiling

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 Carson Palmer, ARI SEA 0000026020 ***
Been a while since the Seahawks saw a legit threat at quarterback. How long? Keen, Manziel, Clausen, Bridgewater, Roethlisberger (who threw for 456 yards but only one TD), Gabbert... almost two months back to Palmer's 363 and 3 in Seattle. With a shot at home field throughout the playoffs on the line the Cards will turn Palmer loose early, giving him a legit shot at solid fantasy numbers even in the face of a tough matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB David Johnson, ARI SEA 8014400000 ***
It won't be easy against the top RB defense, but Johnson has 120 or more combo yards in each of his four starts since taking over for the injured Chris Johnson, with five touchdowns in that span. The last time Arizona faced this defense CJ and Andre Ellington combined for 119 and 1 on the ground while DJ touched the ball just once (for eight yards). So... tough, yes, but not impossible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI SEA 004501000 ***
Brown was still battling a hamstring injury and targeted just three times without a catch in the earlier meeting with Seattle. He's the third wheel in this offense, but that might just mean he draws lesser coverage so don't bench up just because you fear the matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SEA 006501000 ***
Fitz has taken a back seat to other members of the Arizona receiving corps for the better part of three months. However, his touchdown last week and 10-130 in the earlier matchup with Seattle suggest that just because he's not the top target on his team doesn't mean he won't help your fantasy squad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SEA 003300000 **
Floyd owns 40 percent of the WR TDs allowed by the Seahawks this season, and he's accounted for a third of the 100-yard WR games they've given up as well. With the Legion of Boom spread thin across Arizona's sterling receiving corps, plenty of opportunity for Floyd this week.

Update: Floyd missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and was limited on Friday by a knee injury. He's listed as questionable, but there's mostly optimism in Arizona that he'll be available this weekend.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI SEA 2233 ***
Season-high thirteen
last time he faced the Seahawks
Like his chances here

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