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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: WAS 13, NO 34 (Line: NO by 9)

Player Updates: Marques Colston

Players to Watch: Robert Griffin III, Leonard Hankerson, WAS running backs

The Skins went through their annual personnel upheaval and chances are best that they have not yet meshed well enough to open with a road win. But the Saints may not be as good as the team that went 13-3 last year and won every home game with Sean Payton suspended for the year and the team sporting temporary players and coaches for a few weeks to the full year. Lots of distractions are not good and the effects of Bountygate may end up really affecting this team. But at home against a rookie quarterback for the Redskins. Still plenty good enough this week. Plus something to prove to the world.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO ----- 10 BYE -----
2 @STL ----- 11 PHI -----
3 CIN ----- 12 @DAL -----
4 @TB ----- 13 NYG -----
5 ATL ----- 14 BAL -----
6 MIN ----- 15 @CLE -----
7 @NYG ----- 16 @PHI -----
8 @PIT ----- 17 DAL -----
9 CAR ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: Two years of HC Mike Shanahan have led to 6-10 and 5-11 seasons and a total of 12 different running backs who took a handoff for the Skins. Since Shanahan has not been able to find the next Terrell Davis (since the last Terrell Davis), he set his sites on the next John Elway and drafted Robert Griffin III (AKA "Bob").

Griffin won the Heisman Trophy last year over Andrew Luck and he's a very impressive mixture of a huge arm, pinpoint passing and a an accomplished runner. He came out after his Junior season but has displayed incredible quick learning skills. His final season at Baylor saw him play 13 games with 4293 yards and 37 scores as a passer, and added 699 yards and ten more touchdowns as a runner. He's an exciting player to be sure and rather unlike the never ending cast of signal callers that have gone through Washington in the past few years. The Fantasy world wants to believe there can be another Cam Newton. Griffin may be. Danny Snyder hopes so.

Griffin has already been sharp for a rookie passer and made his receivers look serviceable when not all quarterbacks could do that (certainly none in Washington recently). Pierre Garcon came over from the Colts and while history is rife with #2 wideouts who leave their elite quarterback and then flop as the #1 elsewhere (see Robert Meachem) but Garcon may be an exception. He's looked very good so far and appears to already have nice chemistry with the rookie quarterback. Garcon is joined by Santana Moss who Payroll has forgotten to remove from their files and Leonard Hankerson will take the final starting spot. Hankerson competed with Josh Morgan and won the job. If Bob ends up to be as good a quarterback as is hoped, then Hankerson could develop into a nice complement to Garcon. Moss may get more passes initially but he was no lock to be kept and in his 12th season is starting to lose a step.

Fred Davis is a dark horse here as well. The Skins franchise player, Davis was having a nice season but was suspended for the final four games for violating the drug policy. In only 12 games, Davis already had 59 catches for 796 yards and three scores. That was a pace for a 1000 yard season. Bob has not been working with Davis in preseason games and their relationship is still a bit unclear. Rookie quarterbacks usually love their tight ends but Bob may end up good enough that he doesn't need any crutch.

The rushing game remains Shanahan-esque. Releasing Tim Hightower cuts it down to only three backs that will almost certainly start for the Skins in a random rotation. Not per game, per week. Roy Helu seemed like the best option and he was effective last season. But then Evan Royster looked good in the preseason. And then Alfred Morris did well. Now Shanahan says he knows which will start in week one but is not saying. Why? Because he hates you and wants to punish you for taking any of the three backs. it makes zero difference to the Saints who shows up. We will faithfully do our best to guess what Shanahan is going to do but getting more than 33% of them right will be a success.

Starting out in New Orleans where the Saints are smarting from their Bountygate scandal is not optimal. The Saints will want to start the year with a "we're still the team to beat" victory while the Skins are trying out all the new parts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 21 17 18 16 17 28
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 25 26 26 5 19 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kirk Cousins, WAS NYG 0000030021 ***
In the past five games, the Giants have allowed a five TDs while picking off as many passes. This rates as one of the 10 worst matchups for Week 17. Cousins has the slight benefit of New York probably resting some of its key players since there is nothing on the line. He passed for 296 yards and a pair of scores in Week 3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Robert Kelley, WAS NYG 6012100000 **
"Fat Rob" may have slim pickings against the Giants this week if they don't rest starters. New York has given up only one TD in the last 144 touches to RBs. With the Giants having nothing to play for, it isn't a bad time to toss Kelley out there.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Thompson, WAS NYG 2003200000 ***
Thompson isn't a reliable play and faces a tough matchup. The Giants may rest starters, but this group has allowed one offensive score to RBs in the last 144 touches faced.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Quick, WAS NYG 005501000 **
Quick has fringe appeal for deep leagues. He isn't a volume receiver, and the quarterback play is sketchy. At least the matchup is worthwhile.

Update: Kenny Britt is doubtful, which makes Quick a playable option against the best matchup of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., WAS NYG 005500000 **
Pryor faces a tough matchup and perhaps a tougher battle with his own team's quarterback woes. He's merely a flex against Pittsburgh this week. He caught a 5-97-0 line in Week 11 versus the Steelers, so there is a little hope.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS NYG 004500000 **
Crowder has fallen on hard times lately, and trusting him for a huge game is a bit much. The Giants should rest some starters, so there is some hope. Otherwise, this is a tough opponent for his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Vernon Davis, WAS NYG 003300000 ***
Davis will split work with the ailing Jordan Reed in what isn't the best of matchups. Just one of the last 27 catches by his position has scored on the Giants. Look for help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS NYG 001200000 *
Reed will gut it out once more with a playoff berth on the line. There isn't much reason to risk it. The Giants have allowed only one of the last 27 catches by tight ends to cross the stripe.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dustin Hopkins, WAS NYG 2233 ***
This is the second lowest opportunity rating for kicking chances in Week 17. New York has provided just three opportunities for both XPA and FGA combined in the last five weeks.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS ----- 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR ----- 11 @OAK -----
3 KC ----- 12 SF -----
4 @GB ----- 13 @ATL -----
5 SD ----- 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB ----- 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN ----- 17 CAR -----
9 PHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Saints lost to the 49ers in the Divisional Round last January after yet another great 13-3 season where the offense recorded seven games of more than 40 points and topped out at 62-7 against the visiting Colts. But Bountygate would ripple through the organization. HC Sean Payton is gone for a year, Interim Head Coach Joe Vitt is gone for eight games along with the GM Mickey Loomis. OL Coach Aaron Kromer will be the replacement replacement Interim Head Coach. LB Jonathan Vilma has eight games and DE Will Smith chills out for four games. The Saints are itching to prove they are above this significant disruption and week one at home against the Skins - they probably will look like it.

All this will happen under the Stalin-esque huge picture of HC Payton looking down on the field at the Superdome.

Really no personnel changes outside of losing Robert Meachem which is only a marginal loss. Drew Brees returns from his 5476 yard record setting season which was followed by his holdout. $100 million dollars later, Brees has a five-year contract that has $60 million guaranteed. He has all the same weapons this year and the chance that the defense is not as good which only prompts even more passing.

The Saints had the highest scoring backfield in the league for 2012 and yet that was all divvied up among Darren Sproles, Mark INgram and Pierre Thomas. Throw in a dash of Chris Ivory and you have a highly productive committee in total. Sproles led the NFL with 86 catches by a running back and totaled nine touchdowns and 1313 yards. Mark Ingram came in as a very highly anticipated rookie that never took over anything from anyone other than goal line duty in games when he was healthy (just 10). Ingram scored five times as a rookie and should see more use this season health permitting. Thomas gets the third most use unless Ingram is out which then he has fantasy value. Makes you long for the days when Edgerrin James would literally have every running back touch for the Colts. For the year.

Jimmy Graham exploded in his second season with 99 catches for 1310 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's been the first tight end taken in most leagues because he is the primary receiver for the Saints now. in a reception point league, he's a gold mine.

The wideouts continue to never be as good as the prolific passing seems to indicate. Marques Colston continues to be around 100 yards per season with eight or so scores. Lance Moore is the clear #2 this season and should improve on his 52 catches of 2012. Back in 2008, Moore turned in 928 yards and ten scores - that is not out of the question again this year. Beyond that it gets ugly with Devery Henderson as the #3 that never quite produces enough for any fantasy value.

"Start your Saints"is maybe rule #1 in fantasy football. In week one at home against the Skins with a rookie quarterback. Yeah. This will be a good week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 1 5 2 2 27
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 15 12 12 28 31 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @ATL 0000031031 ***
Brees connected on 36-for-54 passing for 376 yards, three TDs and an interception the last time out. Since Week 11, stats against the Falcons have amounted to this being an average opponent for quarterbacks to exploit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @ATL 5004301000 ***
Ingram put up 20.7 PPR points in the early-season meeting between these teams. The veteran has four TDs in his last five games and should be used in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Travaris Cadet, NO @ATL 003301000 ***
Playing Cadet is a big risk. He has limited value in traditional formats and is best used in DFS with PPR scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., NO @ATL 004501000 ***
Ginn is a weekly flex flier, and the last time he played Tampa illustrates his risky ways. The veteran landed only one ball for five yards. Play him only if you are struggling to find a clearer path to points.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO @ATL 006700000 ***
Thomas had a fine day in Week 3 against Atlanta, hauling in seven balls on 11 targets. He went for 71 yards and a score. The Falcons have given up only two TDs on the last 61 receiver catches entering Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO @ATL 005600000 ***
Snead faces a midrange matchup has has little fantasy utility without assuming a sizeable degree of risk. Atlanta is the 19th best PPR matchup for Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO @ATL 005501000 ***
Fleener enjoyed one of his best fantasy games of the year versus Atlanta in Week 3, logging seven catches for 109 yards and a score. The Falcons have given up the 10th highest average of fantasy points in the last five weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO @ATL 1133 ***
Atlanta has allowed the second fewest fantasy points, which correlates to providing the second fewest three-point kicks since Week 11.

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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