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 Drew Stanton, ARI SF 0000019011 ***
In this offense Carson Palmer posted matching gems of 298 and 2 and 407 and 2 against the Niners. Stanton is capable of running Bruce Arians' offense, but until we see more--a touchdown pass would be nice, for starters--he can't be banked on for fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI SF 7003200000 ***
At this point the injury risk--the limited practice time, the questionable status, the game-time decision--is assumed. But thus far Ellington has produced, 181 yards from scrimmage in two games of work. He racked up 131 combo yards and a touchdown on 24 touches in last season's series; with a greater workload his numbers should uptick as well, especially against a San Fran D that served up 143 combo yards to DeMarco Murray in its last road game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SF 004601000 **
Floyd has yet to make the love connection with Drew Stanton, but six targets suggest it wasn't due to lack of trying. It's not a tremendously favorable matchup, but Floyd has scored or topped 90 yards in each of his last three matchups with the Niners and can't be discounted here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SF 006500000 ****
Fitz loves when the Niners come to town; over his 10 year career he's posted five 100-yard games and scored six times in home games against San Francisco. He may be slipping down the Cardinals' passing game pecking order, but don't dock him due to Drew Stanton helming the club rather than Carson Palmer; after all, he's succeeded with worse.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI SF 003400000 ***
Drew Stanton isn't digging as deep into the Arizona receiver depth as Carson Palmer did, which dings Brown's fantasy value. So does a matchup with a San Francisco secondary that has yet to allow a wideout to top 60 yards against them this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI SF 003300000 ***
The Cards have yet to generate 100 yards among its tight ends this season; the Niners have allowed but 60. Nothing to see here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI SF 2122 ***
Catanzaro has multiple field goals in each game this season... but the Niners have allowed but one trey all year. In what will likely be a low-scoring affair, best side with the defense and seek your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

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 OAK 0000021020 ***
Brady has been downright awful for fantasy purposes, and given the success opponents have had running the ball right down the Raiders' throats there's little reason to think Tom will have to dust off the golden days here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stevan Ridley, NE OAK 701000000 ***
The Raiders have allowed a whopping 363 RB rushing yards through two games; no reason to think the Patriots haven't taken notice and will run Ridley another 25 times this week. And at the 5.2 yards per carry Oakland is allowing, that will add up quickly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE OAK 4006300000 ***
Vereen should touch the ball enough to be effective, and there's always the possibility of a Ridley fumble or some other wrinkle that turns Vereen's share of the Patriots' backfield workload into a majority one.
Update: Vereen is listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis all week... which is what the Patriots say about pretty much everyone on their roster with a nick, cut, or boo-boo. There has been no indication he won't be available to take his usual turn in the New England backfield, but that turn can vary from week to week so the risk is multiplied here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE OAK 006801000 ****
The closest thing to a sure thing among Patriots receivers, Edelman is consistently targeted and a solid PPR play; he's also the only New England wideout with a touchdown this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE OAK 002200000 ***
All non-Edelman Patriots wideouts have accounted for nine catches and 66 yards this season. Total. Amendola's inconsistent share of that paltry sum isn't worth a fantasy play, even against Oakland.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE OAK 004401000 ***
Even on a snap count, the prospect of a Gronk TD is too likely to have him sit on your fantasy bench. So long as he's only on the field a little over half the time, however, he's a riskier play in yardage-heavy or non-TE mandatory formats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE OAK 2244 ***
Gosty's a lock for multiple treys and a handful of PATs; what more could you ask for in your fantasy kicker?

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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