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 Steve Smith Sr. 5-90,1
WR Mike Wallace 4-70,1
TE Dennis Pitta 4-40
TE Benjamin Watson 2-20
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 @NE 0000027011 ***
A week after shelling Miami, Flacco heads to New England. Aside from the Russell Wilson game, New England has done fairly well at slowing quarterbacks. This is a neutral matchup for fantasy owners.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL @NE 4003200000 ***
No RB has scored in the last 79 rushing attempts faced over a four-game period. The Pats have allowed the fifth fewest points per game to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenneth Dixon, BAL @NE 3001100000 ***
The Pats have stamped out running backs of late, giving up the fifth fewest points and no rushing touchdowns in the last four games (79 attempts). RBs have averaged five catches for 49.3 yards and 0.25 aerial scores, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL @NE 006701000 ***
This is a good matchup when including the damage by Doug Baldwin's three-TD game several weeks back. Removing it, though, makes for a decidedly negative opponent. Smith gets the benefit of the doubt in a game that could feature ample passing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @NE 005600000 ***
The Patriots have given up the second highest average of points per reception but largely because of given up the fourth fewest catches and a three-TD game to Doug Baldwin in the last five weeks. This is a negative matchup otherwise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Breshad Perriman, BAL @NE 002400000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @NE 003300000 ***
Aiken has been involved more of late but has no business being on a fantasy roster.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @NE 004300000 ***
New England is a solidly harsh matchup for fantasy tight ends using data since Week 8. Pitta could be started but not without assuming a good deal of risk.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @NE 2211 ***
Since Week 8, New England has afforded 15 total kicking tries over the last four games. Tucker could be a solid play if Baltimore can't quite punch it in, and he obviously is good from distance when called on.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Ryan Mathews 40 1-10
RB Darren Sproles 30 6-50,1
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 Carson Wentz, PHI WAS 0000022011 ***
The matchup suggests a streaming play, but the desperation of Washington could play a huge role. The Redskins have allowed quarterbacks to average 26.8 fantasy points and 290.5 yards per game. The position, since Week 8, has mustered aerial nine TDs in four games, plus one on the ground.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, PHI WAS 8011100000 *
Mathews returned to practice Wednesday, which suggests he should be in line to play ... how much is anyone's guess. Keep him pegged as a flex in the worst-case scenario. At least the matchup is sweet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI WAS 1005300000 ***
Three running backs with one great matchup ... fantasy cannibalization? Probably. Sproles tackles fantasy's eighth most generous opponent for catches allowed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Wendell Smallwood, PHI WAS 2001100000 ***
No team has been a bigger turnstile for touchdowns than the Redskins have in the last five weeks. The matchup is right, so Smallwood may get on track.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI WAS 004600000 *
Matthews should be back this week but may not be 100 percent. Check Friday for an update on his status. He's likely to draw Josh Norman if he goes, so look elsewhere if you have a better matchup.

Update: Matthews was a full-go Thursday and Friday, which is great news since the Eagles should be without Dorial Green-Beckham.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI WAS 003400000 ***
Update: No DGB means more for Agholor, but Jordan Matthews is back this week, so the second-year wideout will remain unplayable in fantasy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI WAS 007601000 ***
Tight ends have averaged 6.5 catches for 76 yards and 0.5 TDs over the last four games against the Redskins. Ertz caught one pass for 22 yards the last time these teams met.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, PHI WAS 2222 ***
Washington has allowed the second most extra point attempts but the sixth fewest field goal tries per contest in the last five weeks.

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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