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: CHI 20, GB 31 (Line: GB by 6)

Players to watch: Michael Bush, Randall Cobb, Cedric Benson

Updated Players: Greg Jennings, James Jones

The Bears come off a major thumping of the Colts but that was to be expected. The Packers remain at home after allowing the 49ers to visit with a defense that was actually bigger than the Packers offense. The Packers swept the Bears last season, winning 27-17 in Chicago and later 35-21 in Green Bay. The Packers need this win to get back on track but the Bears won't make it easy with an offense that looks improved.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB ----- 11 @SF -----
3 STL ----- 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 260,2
WR Alshon Jeffery 5-80,1
WR Eddie Royal 2-20
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Opening up the season against the worst team from the previous year can give an unrealistic view of how good you are. But the Bears were hitting on all cylinders and losing the Mike Martz scheme seemed to really do the trick. Where once Jay Cutler was running around throwing to a never-ending cast of receivers, the offense was much more traditional. In fantasy terms, instead of having five or six guys with very mediocre to no fantasy value now there are only a couple but they are really producing.

Cutler ended with 333 yards and two scores against the Colts that was split between Brandon Marshall and everyone else. Marshall had 15 targets and nine receptions for 119 yards and one score. It was a throwback to the pitch and catch days back in Denver. No other receiver or tight end mattered other than the rookie Alshon Jeffrey who took five passes and caught three with 80 yards and a score. Only having to worry about two receivers for fantasy purposes? Nirvana.

The rest of the receivers were even worse than when Martz was still calling plays. Granted - one week at home against the worst team from the previous year hardly proves a major turnaround but then again - it looked every bit as good as you could hope.

Cutler passed for 302 yards and two scores at home against the Packers and later settled for 242 yards and one touchdown in Green Bay.

Matt Forte looked like he was in mid-season form with 16 runs for 80 yards (5.0 YPC) and one touchdown with three receptions gaining 40 more yards. What is troubling - especially for future games where the Bears may not have 28 carries to split up - is that Michael Bush has a significant role. He was given 12 runs and he gained 42 yards with two touchdowns. Both scores were in the first half from the one-yard line. Forte's score game from six yards out. Bush had no role as a receiver which may be a saving grace for Forte. But he was there for the short yardage gimmee touchdowns.

Forte only gained two yards on nine runs in the last game at Green Bay though he added 80 yards on seven receptions. The Packers were softer against the run last week but that was a product of the 49ers defense giving them field position and plenty of reasons to run the ball and chew up the clock - probably not a luxury for the Bears. Bush holds much less attraction here with the Packers likely to not give up many one-yard opportunities. But the passing game should shine once again against a secondary that just allowed two scores and 211 yards to Alex Smith.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 8 2 2 32 10 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 21 20 20 17 26 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CHI @DAL 0000023011 ***
There is no reason to chance it with Hoyer in Week 3. Dallas hosts Chicago on Sunday night and is the 12th easiest matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI @DAL 5012100000 **
The offense may fall squarely on his shoulders without Jay Cutler under center. The likely added volume is nice, but stacked boxes can negate the effectiveness. Langford faces the 12th most difficult matchup for running backs and may struggle if Brandon Hoyer cannot exploit the secondary. Tread with caution, and avoid him in DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, CHI @DAL 004501000 ***
Royal should see an uptick in looks with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and Dallas' weak fantasy WR defense paying mind to Alshon Jeffery. That said, playing Royal is a tough pill to swallow for traditional leaguers. PPR only, and only if you must.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @DAL 004600000 ***
Dallas may look to double Jeffery all day long and force Brian Hoyer to take the checkdowns to backs and tight ends. The 'Boys have given up 24 catches for 316 yards and a trio of TDs to receivers this season. Jeffery is a starter but with much lower expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kevin White, CHI @DAL 004300000 ***
White is basically a late-season rookie at this point in his young NFL journey. Now a quarterback change comes into play, and it's really difficult to put much stock in White at this time. The matchup is respectable, so there's that going for him, but White isn't an quality start in any situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI @DAL 004400000 ***
Miller has been been non-existent through two games (7-47-0). That could change against the fourth easiest matchup for fantasy tight ends. Only Cleveland has given up more catches to the position. Brian Hoyer doesn't have the downfield game of Jay Cutler, something that bodes well for Miller.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @DAL 1122 ***
Brian Hoyer can do some decent things on offense, so maybe Barth gets ample chances. However, it's not worth chancing.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI ----- 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA ----- 12 @NYG -----
4 NO ----- 13 MIN -----
5 @IND ----- 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20,1 320,3
WR Randall Cobb 5-70
WR Jordy Nelson 6-100,1
TE Jared Cook 5-50,1
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers seemed unbeatable in 2011 other than one trap game in Kansas City. Opening at home would surely mean a win regardless of opponent but that's not going to be true. The 49ers came in with a predictably bad-ass defense but their offense fared far better than expected. It wasn't even a lock that they had an offense coming in. But they outscored the Pack in Green Bay and then thwarted the comeback attempt.

Several interesting aspects to that game were seen. Cedric Benson's race up the rankings may have been premature since he only gained 18 yards on nine carries and had no receptions which was expected. Aaron Rodgers was still the leading rusher (5-27). The Packers do not want a ground game beyond the ability to punch in a short score (provided Rodgers does not take it like normal) and to get a few first downs along the way. The opportunity should be akin to Stevan Ridley who gets to play defenses on their heels from the Patriots passing attack. At least last week, no such benefit existed against the 49ers still very potent defense.

The Packers had some success running the ball on the Bears last year but it is too early to rely on Benson for anything beyond some marginal rushing yardage. The Bears defense should be good enough to keep him at bay this week as well unless the Packers get a really big lead. On passing downs, the Packers took to using Randall Cobb in the backfield and that resulted in him leading the team with nine receptions for 77 yards. That's bad for Benson but great for Cobb. It seems a genius move really - the speedy and elusive Cobb barely has room on either side. Why not put him in the backfield? If it works it could start something new in the NFL. This is really something to watch.

The 49ers were able to largely take Greg Jennings (5-34) and Jordy Nelson (5-64) out of the game plan but Cobb and James Jones (4-81, TD) both stepped up along with Jermichael Finley (7-47, TD).

Jennings is listed as doubtful to play because of a groin strain and will be a game time decision. That makes James Jones more interesting and Jennings a huge risk to rely on.

This still remains a potent offense with a lot of weapons. The Packers had a rough opening that they lost at the end. This week is a restart at home against a familiar opponent. That should get them back on track.

 

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 7 32 3 6 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 12 6 24 23 2 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB DET 20000027030 ***
Rodgers averaged 303 yards, 2 TDs and 0.5 INTs vs. DET in 2015 without a full complement of weapons. In 2014, he throw a total of 388 yards and 3 TDs in two games, without a pick. He's much better in real life than on the fake gridiron against this defense. Detroit's defense has allowed six TDs to just one interception and may roll over again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB DET 600000000 ***
Nearly half the league is stronger than Detroit against running backs, and the Lions are one of three teams to prevent both a rushing and receiving touchdown to the position. Much of that is because Detroit give up so many plays to tight ends around the goal. Game flow and field position are extremely important to Lacy's odds of finding the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB DET 006601000 ***
Detroit gave up a 6-64-1 line to Donte Moncrief and a 6-79-0 line to T.Y. Hilton in the opener. Tennessee didn't offer a matchup like Nelson. You always start your studs, and it doesn't hurt that he is in game shape right out of the gates.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB DET 003501000 ***
Adams sees a lot of his looks when defenses blanket Jordy Nelson and/or Randall Cobb. He remains on the field, though, since Green Bay uses three-wide sets regularly. The Lions have been respectable by holding receivers to the 12th fewest points through two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB DET 006800000 ***
Cobb's play against Detroit has been a mixed bag. He scored twice in Week 17 of the 2014 season but failed to score in his next two meetings with them. His production this year doesn't compel fantasy owners to take a chance, so it is understandable if sit him against the 12th strongest defense (PPR) of wideouts if you have a safer choice. PPR gamers pretty much have to keep him in their lineups, though, and take the mediocre with the good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, GB DET 005501000 ****
No team has been victimized more than Detroit by tight ends. This unit has ceded four touchdowns on just 15 catches. Cook makes for a sneaky play in daily and a borderline starter in traditional games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB DET 1133 ***
Detroit is giving up only 6.5 fantasy points per outing. Crosby is playable but likely won't excel.

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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