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 @CIN 0000027020 ****
Flacco threw for 345 and one in the earlier meeting. Now he rolls in with multiple TD tosses in two straight and three of four, facing a Cincy D that's allowed multiple touchdowns in three straight. What's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @CIN 4006501000 ***
Forsett racked up 84 combo yards and a TD in the season opener against Cincy; he remains a solid fantasy bet against a Bengals defense that's allowed RB TDs in four straight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL @CIN 301000000 ***
Working in Pierce's favor is that the Ravens inexplicably prefer him to Lorenzo Taliaferro, and that other sluggish backs such as Shonn Greene and Stevan Ridley have found the end zone against Cincy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @CIN 0051001000 ****
Steve has hit triple digits three of the past four times he's faced the Bengals, including 118 and 1 in the season opener against Cincy. While Torrey Smith has seen an uptick in production of late, Steve remains the go-to receiver and top fantasy bet in this passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @CIN 004800000 ****
Torrey produced 3-50 in half the targets of Steve Smith back in the season opener against Cincy. His role in the Baltimore offense has expanded of late, so expect an improvement on those numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL @CIN 003300000 **
Update: With Owen Daniels out, Gillmore gets the call as the Ravens' tight end. He's more of a blocker, though the team has thrown to him more frequently of late. Tough to bank on him for production right out of the gate, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @CIN 00000000 *****
Daniels scored last week and is seeing plenty of targets in an offense he's intimately familiar with. That should serve him well in an extremely favorable matchup against a defense that's served up four TE TDs and let five different TEs top 50 yards in just the past three games.
Update: Daniels surprised everyone by having a knee procedure on Friday. He'll miss this week's game, leaving third-stringer Crockett Gilmore as the Ravens' tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CIN 1133 ****
Cincy has surrendered almost 14 kicker points per game over the past month, while Tucker is averaging double-digit points per game for the season and has multiple field goals in every road game. He's a rock-solid fantasy kicking option again this week.

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 Nick Foles, PHI @ARI 0000028022 ***
Foles has had one fantasy dog to blemish an otherwise solid season. The Cards held Derek Carr in check last week but for the most part have been a favorable matchup for opposing QBs. Bet on Foles to be more favorable than Carr-like this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @ARI 5004200000 ***
The Cards haven't allowed much on the ground this year, and they kept McCoy out of the end zone in last year's meeting so keep your expectations in check. That said, McCoy's volume and the 115 combo yards he posted against Arizona last year suggest he's still a solid fantasy play this week--especially if Darren Sproles remains sidelined with his knee injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI @ARI 2006400000 ***
Sproles is supposed to be back for this game, but after a limited practice session on Wednesday it remains to be seen if he'll make it to the field on Sunday. Best make a Plan B for now, and if Sproles shows signs of life during the latter half of the practice week you can always elevate him to your lineup.
Update: After a full practice on Friday Sproles is officially listed as questionable. It's not a tremendous matchup, but it sounds like Sproles will at least be an option for fantasy owners.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @ARI 004301000 **
Over the past month Coop has been a consistent provider of 30-50 yards and the occasional touchdown. It's a favorable matchup so he should be at the high end of that range, but he's still playing second fiddle to Jeremy Maclin in this passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @ARI 005600000 ***
Matthews has done little aside from that two-TD game. And while another double isn't out of the question here he's still battling Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz, and the running backs for looks so it's far from likely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @ARI 004500000 ***
Shouldn't matter who covers Maclin; none of the Arizona corners are having particularly good seasons. Speed receivers like DeSean Jackson have had success against the Cards so don't be surprised if, after a down week against the Giants prior to Philly's bye, Maclin storms back with a solid fantasy effort this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @ARI 004701000 ****
The Cards have allowed three TE TDs and four games of 65-plus yards to the position. So even though Ertz still has to share some targets with Brent Celek and James Casey he's a big enough part of this offense to be a reliable fantasy contributor--especially with the favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @ARI 2222 ****
Parkey's been right around 10 points per game on a weekly basis, but the Cardinals don't allow much to opposing kickers so it'll be a battle of wills. Split the difference and hope for "above average".

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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