FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

Prediction: ARI 13, NE 37 (Line: NE by 14)

Players to watch: Andre Roberts, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd

The Cardinals come off their close win over the visiting Seahawks and hit the road where they were only 2-6 last season. The Patriots drummed the Titans in Tennessee last week and back at home they almost never lose. The only question here is how big the win will be and how many points they allow the Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 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
ARI @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 270,2
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-90,1

Pregame Notes: Nothing like having a quarterback competition and after deciding the winner between two quarterbacks that you already knew, that one gets hurt in the first game. John Skelton has an ankle sprain that is not believed to be of the "high" variety. He's hoped to only need a few weeks but regardless the start goes over to Kevin Kolb for this game. There is a decent chance that the Cardinals play musical quarterbacks for the rest of the season anyway.

Facing the Seahawks great rushing defense really put the clamps on the running backs so we don't really know what to expect this year. Beanie Wells ran seven times for only 14 yards and Ryan Williams first playing time only produced nine yards on eight carries. There was an even split between the two main backs and then LaRod Stephens-Howling actually ran in the touchdown just to make it all even worse. Ongoing this will remain the Wells and Williams show, with their split determined by game time success. The problem this week is that they face another great rushing defense what equally shut down Chris Johnson only this week the game is played in New England. Not a good thing and hold judgment about the backfield at least until home games against the Eagles and Dolphins. It is a tough schedule for the Cardinals and the impact is not something you can ignore.

Larry Fitzgerald was targeted a team high 11 times with four receptions for 63 yards but Andre Roberts is one to watch since he had nine passes directed towards him and ended with 54 yards and one score on five receptions. Early Doucet (3-37) played the #3 with the rookie Michael Floyd only thrown one pass that he failed to catch.

As with most every year, the use of the tight end is always suggested and yet rarely happens. Todd Heap only accounted for three catches and 32 yards which may be a high side for him.

The Cards face the Patriots defense that is going to shut down the run - make no mistake. How well they can defend the pass is the question and last season they were always among the worse. In Tennessee, they held the Titans to a combined 272 passing yards and one score. That bodes a bit better for the receivers..

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 26 26 16 21 17 15
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 14 12 13 14 15 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Palmer, ARI @DAL 0000027020 ***
Palmer has delivered multiple TD tosses and at least 250 yards in every game thus far. Dallas is the toughest he's faced to date, but it's still tough to see him failing to make his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @DAL 6006300000 ***
Not that Ellington can't score, but it's a good thing he does enough yardage wise that he doesn't usually need to to be a fantasy factor. The Cowboys have surrendered just four RB TDs all year but do give up more than 120 combo yards to opposing backs. Give Ellington a big dollop of the latter, don't sweat the former, and call it a day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @DAL 003601000 ***
Brown's another speed guy who could give the Cowboys fits, a la Odell Beckham and DeSean Jackson the past two weeks. He outgunned Michael Floyd last week, but Floyd is typically more targeted so it's a bit trickier to bank on Brown this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @DAL 004501000 **
Lately it's been speed guys killing the Cowboys: Odell Beckham Jr. scored twice on them and DeSean Jackson went for 136 yards last week. Floyd took a back seat to both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown last week, and it's a little tough to trust him after posting a goose egg. But it's tough to see him posting another dog here--he has yet to go more than one week without scoring or topping 100 yards--so take that leap of faith this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @DAL 005600000 ***
Yes, Carson Palmer knows where to find Fitz. He just doesn't do it consistently, or much at all on the road. If you're parsing Arizona wideouts this week the speed guys have an edge, which puts Fitz at the low end of the pecking order. Plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @DAL 002200000 *****
Carlson had his hands on a ball in the end zone; had he hung on it would have maybe brought the total of fantasy-relevant games by Cardinals tight ends since the Jackie Smith era to one. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @DAL 2222 ***
After a fast start Catanzaro has had back-to-back outings with just one field goal, and he's facing a Dallas team that hasn't been overly friendly to kickers this season. However, Chandler hasn't dipped below the six-point mark this season so at least his baseline isn't a killer.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI ----- 11 IND -----
3 @BAL ----- 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 330,3
RB Stevan Ridley 100,1 3-20
WR Danny Amendola 6-70,1
WR Brandon LaFell 3-50
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-80,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots come off a big opening win and now return home for what should be another year filled with victories for the home town stands. There's only been one game so but several interesting developments hint this could be a year of same great results only they'll get there in a different manner.

Aaron Hernandez (6-59-1) and Rob Gronkowski (6-60-1) start the year as apparent bookends so no change to the team with the most productive tight ends in the history of the NFL. These weapons are not going anywhere and there is no reason to change. But the addition of Brandon Lloyd (5-69) has made a difference in the sense he was the most targeted player with eight passes thrown his way. Wes Welker only caught three of his five throws and ended with a paltry 14 yards. For a guy who has four seasons of 110+ catches, Welker was suddenly just another receiver and not even one who had many looks. He's in his final year of his contract with the Pats and if week one means much, he's truly in his final season there. It is only one game and yes, it seems reasonable to sound an alarm. It just looked different with Lloyd there.

Another change is Stevan Ridley who gashed the Titans for 125 yards and one score on 21 carries and added two receptions for 27 yards. Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead combined for 11 carries but only gained 31 yards. This looked very much like the Ridley show. He'll always carry at least a little risk because of the history of the Pats backfield but he undeniably looks like an answer for them that they need not change. Ridley was effective enough that Tom Brady only passed for 236 yards and two scores.

This week should be fascinating because the Patriots generally rush better at home and Brady has lesser games because they win handily. No defense is going to load up against Ridley with Brady under center. And yet that may actually mean those 5000 yards from 2011 have little chance of repeating. The offseason was a hype machine of the Pats passing and how Brandon Lloyd might become a stud there. So far the reality is that the Pats remain a tight end machine with a really nice rushing attack.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 14 10 30 1 14 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 5 8 7 7 21 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE DEN 0000028030 ****
Roughly half the quarterbacks who attempt to shoot it out with Peyton Manning put up helpful fantasy numbers, and Brady will definitely be in that upper half. He' rolls in with four straight multiple TD games, including 12 in his last three, while averaging 317 yards per game in that span. He threw for 344 and 3 in last year's meeting and won't take a back seat to Peyton in this tilt, fantasy or otherwise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE DEN 3005601000 ****
Vereen caught eight balls for 60 yards in last year's meeting with the Broncos; this year's iteration has already allowed 5-70 and 4-112 receiving games to opposing backs. Projecting what Bill Belichick does with his backs on a weekly basis is always a sticky wicket, but this one has all the markings of a monster PPR outing for Vereen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonas Gray, NE DEN 300000000 ***
Backs have done virtually nothing against Denver over the past three games, and while Gray has become the team's go-to back for now this one likely shakes out as more of a Shane Vereen production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE DEN 006801000 ****
The Broncos haven't given up a 100-yard game to an opposing receiver' it's taken high volume just to squeeze out a decent yardage game against them. LaFell saw that volume last week, but he could easily fall behind Gronk, Vereen, and Edelman in the pecking order this week so it's tough to bank on him here--especially if he draws Aqib Talib.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE DEN 002300000 ***
Edelman took a back seat to Brandon LaFell last week, but he was Tom Brady's go-to guy when the Pats beat Denver last year so don't be surprised if he returns to his high-volume role this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE DEN 008901000 ****
The Broncos didn't have an answer for Gronk last year as he rolled them for 7-90-1. They didn't have an answer for Antonio Gates (5-54-2) last week, and they haven't had much of an answer for any competent tight end this year in giving up four 50-yard games and four TE TDs. Gronk comes off a three-TD, 9-149 monster and there's little preventing him from a repeat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE DEN 002300000 ***
Wright has had success with Gronk's leftovers with touchdowns in three of the last four games, and he may fall into that situation again this week. At minimum he's worthy of consideration in a week with six teams on the bye.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE DEN 2233 ***
It's an immovable force--the Broncos have yet to allow a kicker to top eight points--against an irresistible object--Gostkowski has multiple field goals in seven of eight outings this year. Sounds like a solid kicker showing but nothing to write home about.

WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

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