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: BAL 27, PHI 20 (Line: PHI by 2)

Players to watch: Dennis Pitta, Michael Vick

Players Updated: Jeremy Maclin, Desean Jackson

The Ravens come off a big Monday night win over the Bengals and are looking like a playoff run is already in the cards. The Eagles slink back home after late game theatrics managed to post a comeback win over the Cleveland Browns who almost won that game with virtually no offense. The Eagles get favored here at home and it is a coin tosser but the Ravens are hitting on all cylinders. That's enough to merit an upset if only from the chance for more errors by the Eagles who were only 3-5 at home last year anyway.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI ----- 11 @PIT -----
3 NE ----- 12 @SD -----
4 CLE ----- 13 PIT -----
5 @KC ----- 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 240,2
WR Jacoby Jones 3-40,1
WR Steve Smith 5-90,1
WR Torrey Smith 3-60
TE Owen Daniels 4-40
TE Dennis Pitta 4-40
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: It all came together after halftime on Monday when the Ravens reeled off 27 straight points to end the game with the Bengals. How much of it was facing the visiting Bengals and how much are true changes will be known in the next few weeks but so far - the offense has kicked it up a notch or three. Joe Flacco was to be "set free" and allowed more freedom and more passing in a more open offense. Mission accomplished. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 299 yards and two scores with no turnovers. He made good decisions and distributed the ball very well with seven different receivers catching two or more passes. He had five completions over 25 yards. This is no dink-n-dunk "let's give it to Ray" offense.

Consider too that Ray Rice only had ten carries. He gained 68 yards and score twice while adding three catches for 25 more yards. But that was only 13 touches for Rice. And that is a change. If Rice continues to be so wildly productive, it does not matter.

Torrey Smith was the hot sleeper for some and he looked sharp with a 52 yard catch but only added one more reception for five yards and a run for 13. They did not need much more from him obviously but it was slightly disappointing to see him with just three touches in the game. Anquan Boldin had a nice effort with 63 yards and a 34-yard touchdown where he wrestled the ball away from the defender in the end zone. It all worked for the offense. Jacoby Jones added three receptions for 46 yards as the newest addition to the receivers. Even Dennis Pitta ended up as the lead receiver with five catches for 73 yards and one score. It all worked. And everyone got some. And no one had a lot other than Ray Rice.

This is just one game but a very nice start to the season. And to the benefit of the Ravens, no longer can a defense just stop one or two players.

The Eagles defense was stout against the Browns but how much of that was the defense and how much was just the Browns offense can be argued. Back at home the Eagles will play tougher but they have to stop a whole lot of pieces on the Ravens now. That's unlike the Browns where nothing worked.

If Vick can throw four interceptions and fumble twice against the Browns, I love a defensive touchdown for the Ravens. The interception return by Cleveland for a score almost beat them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 6 4 19 3 5 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 1 4 3 3 19 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @HOU 0000024020 ****
Mostly "meh" trends here, as the Texans are neither a bad nor great matchup, Flacco's a little worse on the road but not awful, etc. You'll be okay starting Flacco, but at this juncture hopefully you've got some "wow" arsenal at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @HOU 9012200000 ***
The key number is 20 carries. Forsett hasn't been there for a couple games, and not coincidentally Forsett's three-game streak of 100-yard games came to an end at that juncture. The Texans have allowed only three 100-yard rushers on the year, and not coincidentally they've faced only three players who received 20 carries. Yes, the same three. If Forsett was healthy enough to get 16 carries against Jacksonville last week he should make it to 20 this weekend--with appropriate results.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @HOU 400000000 ***
No reason for Pierce to handle too many touches here, and he'll need some fortunate timing for them to carry any fantasy weight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @HOU 006801000 ***
Smith likes facing the Texans: he's scored in all three career games against them while averaging a robust 108 yards per outing. More recently, the Texans have been giving up big yardage to primary receivers but letting secondary targets find the end zone. Hard to tell which Smith is which in any given week for the Ravens, but suffice it to say both have reasonably high fantasy expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @HOU 004601000 *
Only two teams have allowed more WR TDs than the Texans, so if Smith is healthy enough to play he's a quality fantasy start; the question is whether or not he or Steve Smith will take a turn as Joe Flacco's favorite.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @HOU 002300000 ***
Daniels, fresh off returning to the end zone last week, against his former team--who just allowed a TE TD last week. Not a particularly strong trend in Daniels' favor, but who's gonna know how to get a tight end open against that defense better than Gary Kubiak?
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @HOU 1144 ***
Tucker's been solid, with multiple field goals in three of his last four overall and three of his last four at home. Don't expect Houston to disrupt Tucker's flow; in fact, the Texans' QB issues might make it that much easier for the Ravens to play defense and settle for field goals.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL -----
2 BAL ----- 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI ----- 12 CAR -----
4 NYG ----- 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT ----- 14 @TB -----
6 DET ----- 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL ----- 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 10 200,1
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 4-20
RB Darren Sproles 30 6-50,1
WR Jeremy Maclin 6-80
TE Brent Celek 4-40

Pregame Notes: Sure it was a win but it was Sylvester Stallone in drag kind of ugly. The Eagles squeaked past the Browns (a phrase I have never written) thanks to a touchdown pass to Clay Harbor with only 1:18 left to play. The sad part was that the Eagles literally produced three times the offensive yardage and yet beat them in turnovers 5 to 4. Michael Vick passed for 317 yards and two scores but was intercepted four times.

LeSean McCoy ran for 110 yards on 20 carries and gained 26 yards on six catches but lost a fumble. It was sloppy play for a team that seemed vastly more talented and yet drastically under prepared. Hard to do with only nine months to get ready.

Jeremy Maclin was the top receiver with seven receptions for 96 yards and one score but he was injured multiple times in the game only to return. He has been diagnosed with a right hip flexor which may impact this game. Updates as injury reports are released during the week but Maclin has a history of playing through dings. DeSean Jackson posted 77 yards on four catches and even Brent Celek ended with 65 yards on four receptions. The passing game worked well enough to get close and then not score. Or just stopped when Vick for threw another interception.

The Eagles were move the ball on a good defense but mistakes and turnovers almost ruined it.

Now facing the Ravens who throttled the Bengals will be an even bigger challenge. This game turns on mistakes and Vick needs a solid effort here to get past. After last week, that is hard to rely on.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 9 16 7 5 26 11
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 3 14 21 6 13 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mark Sanchez, PHI @WAS 0000028020 ***
Can Sanchez turn around his mini-slump of declining numbers? A Redskins defense that ceded 325 and 3 to Nick Foles back in Week 3 and has allowed multiple passing scores in three straight help point all signs towards "yes".
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @WAS 6001100000 ***
As far as we can tell McCoy is still the starter and feature back in Philly. Last week, however, he played in just 34 of the team's 55 offensive snaps, a two-year low for McCoy. It's a tough matchup to begin with, and if you're taking touches--especially goal line looks--off of McCoy's plate it makes things even more difficult.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @WAS 0081201000 ****
Maclin remains the man in Philly, with four straight 100-yard games against the Redskins capped by his 8-154-1 earlier this season. He's been the most consistently targeted Eagle, so no matter what shakes down he feels like the best bet for fantasy help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @WAS 004701000 **
Matthews vanished last week; one drop led to no more targets and zero catches on the day. We'll see if he returns to the coaching staff's good graces, but given what transpired last week he can't be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @WAS 004300000 ***
Cooper's targets have taken a turn for the better--second on the team among wideouts in looks each of the past four games--but the productivity hasn't climbed with the additional looks so he's still a risky play at best here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brent Celek, PHI @WAS 001100000 ***
It's a favorable tight end matchup, but Celek's presence only serves to cut into Zach Ertz's fantasy potential.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @WAS 002100000 ***
Ertz is the more dynamic target, but he isn't necessarily the most targeted tight end on the Philly roster and that makes him a difficult start at best. On the bright side, both he and Brent Celek will be facing a Redskins defense that has given up 11 TE TDs this year, including four in the past three games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @WAS 2233 ***
Parker produced 13 points the last time these teams met, the most Washington has allowed to an opposing kicker all year. It's not rare for Parkey, however, who has six games with double-digit points and is averaging 9.5 points per game on the year. Shouldn't be a hiccup here.

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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