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 Logan Thomas, ARI @SF 0000020011 *
If rookie Derek Carr can throw for 254 and 3 against the Niners, why not Thomas? Well, Carr was 13 games into his rookie season; Thomas has thrown nine NFL passes--and completed exactly one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI @SF 800000000 ***
Despite Williams being the more effective back the Cardinals have turned to Stepfan Taylor with Andre Ellington out of the mix. Maybe they'll need to lean on both with Logan Thomas under center, but against the 49ers there's not much fantasy value--certainly not enough to be split two ways.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stepfan Taylor, ARI @SF 3002200000 ***
Andre Ellington did minimal damage (18-62 rushing, 3-13 receiving) in the earlier matchup with San Francisco; Taylor had two yards on one carry. The ground game will need to step up in support of rookie QB Logan Thomas, but it certainly isn't a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @SF 005601000 *
Brown scored twice in the earlier matchup with the Niners, and it's not uncommon for depth receivers to have success against San Fran: among the tertiary targets who have scored against them are Paul Richardson and Wes Welker. Plus, with Logan Thomas at the helm you can expect Bruce Arians to take some deep shots. Just know that there's a tremendous amount of risk with anything associated with the Arizona passing game with a first-time starter at quarterback.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @SF 004600000 **
Floyd's speed gave the Niners problems in the earlier matchup, and QB Logan Thomas' one NFL completion did go for 81 yards so if you're grasping at straws you could hope for a home run completion. But considering Thomas is also 1-for-9 career, there's plenty of risk of strikeout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI @SF 002200000 ***
Brown is better known as "The Other One" when he swipes a touchdown from erstwhile third receiver John Brown. Such a tertiary target isn't a fantasy option with a first-time driver at the wheel for the Cards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @SF 002200000 **
Fitz was an afterthought in the earlier meeting, catching just three balls for 34 yards while Arizona bombed away to John Brown and Michael Floyd. Logan Thomas might be more inclined to look at Larry as a security blanket, but considering the matchup, the quarterback, and Fitz's struggles this year you can find better fantasy options elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @SF 2211 ***
The good news is, Arizona's offensive struggles have mean nine field goals for Catanzaro over the past three games. The bad news is, Arizona's offensive struggles have yielded one PAT for Catanzaro in the past five games. If you believe in Logan Thomas, making his first NFL start in San Francisco, go ahead and chase Catanzaro's threes. Maybe.

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 BUF 0000020020 *
Brady's 361 and 4 in the earlier meeting with Buffalo was easily the biggest game they've allowed to an opposing QB--but, ho hum, the eight time Brady has topped 300 yards against Buffalo and the ninth time he's taken them for at least three TDs. In fact, Brady has multiple scoring strikes in 14 of his last 16 against Buffalo, with the only misses being late December games in 2013 (122 and 1 on 24 attempts) and 2009 (115 and 1 on 23 attempts). See what we're getting at here? Brady owns the Bills, but with nothing to play for don't be surprised if he doesn't take his full bite here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonas Gray, NE BUF 301000000 *
Gray made it out of Bill Belichick's doghouse last week just long enough to score a touchdown. With LeGarrette Blount likely to sit this one out it's between Gray and Brandon Bolden for carries. You call the coin toss, then Bill Belichick decides to give carries to the back you didn't pick. Good luck with that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE BUF 2002100000 ***
Running backs in general haven't done much against the Bills but especially pass-catching backs haven't done much--and that doesn't bode well for Vereen. Only three backs have topped 31 receiving yards all year against the Bills, only one of them since Week 4, and Buffalo has only allowed one flukey RB receiving score--last week to lightly-used Raider Jamize Olawale. There's also the chance of Bill Belichick turning to his JV for much of this game, so look elsewhere for running back help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE BUF 004601000 *
It's already tough enough figuring out which defensive flaw Bill Belichick will exploit in any given week; now factor in the possibility of New England resting regulars after getting in a couple quarters of work, and any Patriot becomes a risky fantasy play in Week 17. At least LaFell tallied a couple TDs against the Bills the last time they met, so he has a track record of production against this secondary. Still...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE BUF 004500000 ***
No reason for the Patriots to expose Julian Edelman to further injury, which might bean another 11 targets for Amendola. He did enough with that number against a bad Jets secondary last week to at least warrant fantasy consideration here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE BUF 001100000 *
Edelman sat out last week's game due to injury, and there's no need to rush him back to the lineup in this meaningless contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE BUF 004501000 *
Gronk bash Bills. Gronk's 7-94 in earlier meeting first time Gronk no score vs. Bills... ever. Gronk score in three straight. Gronk stick around long enough to get TD vs. Bills D that's allowed only two TE TD all year? Gronk no block on extra points, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE BUF 004500000 **
Wright scored in the earlier meeting with Buffalo, one of only two TE TDs they've allowed all year. His value here comes if (when?) the Pats pull Rob Gronkowski from the game, encase him in bubble wrap, and put him on the shelf until the playoffs start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE BUF 1133 **
Gostkowski averages a cool dozen points per game at home and had 13 in Buffalo earlier this year. Assuming the starters put some points on the board in the first half and the backups get him close in the second, it should be another robust outing.

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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