Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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* 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
  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.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 8 2 2 32 10 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 21 20 20 17 26 13

QB Brian Hoyer, CHI @GB 0000031020 ***
Hoyer has thrown for at least 302 yards in each of his four starts this season, finding the end zone six times without an interception. Quarterbacks have mustered 287.4 yards per game against the Packers' injury-pocked secondary. Hoyer's opponent has permitted two touchdowns, on average.
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @GB 6004400000 ***
Following two hot games, Howard was crushed by the Jags last week. Chicago faces what is statistically the hardest matchup, but the opponents leading up to last week were flimsy at best, and Ezekiel Elliott proved it. Howard is a playable.
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @GB 005801000 ***
This should be a great matchup for Jeffery to take on, as Green Bay's secondary is beaten up and giving up fantasy points. His QB has thrown for 300 yards or more in four straight starts. Green Bay has allowed a touchdown every 7.6 catches.
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI @GB 007801000 ***
Meredith has stepped up in a huge way and draws fantasy's seventh easiest matchup for receivers. This defense has allowed a touchdown once every 7.6 catches, which is the fourth worst in the NFL. All. Day. Long.
TE Zach Miller, CHI @GB 006500000 ***
Miller has been playing through a rib injury and gets the 10th best matchup for his position in Green Bay this Thursday. He's a viable play in PPR and a little riskier in standard with only two bye teams.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @GB 1122 ***
Barth has hit only 72.7 percent of his field goals, making all 11 XPAs. He faces a friendly matchup, on paper. It probably won't be enough, though. The main reason Green Bay is a positive matchup is that kickers have been a perfect 10-for-10 from long range. Only three other teams have allowed 100 percent of the FGAs faced.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  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.


Gaining Fantasy Points GB 7 32 3 6 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 12 6 24 23 2 22

QB Aaron Rodgers, GB CHI 0000029020 ***
Rodgers was downright awful last week. In two games versus Chicago last year, he didn't top 202 yards passing and threw four TDs to one interception. Historically, he has torched the Bears. Chicago has allowed only seven passing and one rushing over six games. Despite the stats working against him, expect Rodgers to look more like Rodgers.
RB Don Jackson, GB CHI 400000000 *
Just called up from the practice squad but at least is familiar with the offense and could become a factor with Eddie Lacy now on IR. First game out complete unknown.
RB Knile Davis, GB CHI 200000000 *
Eddie Lacy is out. James Starks is out. Newcomer Knile Davis is in. The former Chief is a sneaky receiver and has some speed. The system isn't all that different from KC's. He's a wild gamble in any format.
WR Randall Cobb, GB CHI 006901000 ***
Chicago is a neutral matchup overall, but it has allowed 83 catches for 1,097 yards in six games. Five TDs against is what holds this matchup from becoming higher in the rates. Cobb is a fine play.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB CHI 006701000 ***
Nelson should contribute nicely against a team allowing 37.3 fantasy points per game to the position. Aaron Rodgers usually plays well against the Bears, and this one should show as a rebound effort for the duo.
WR Ty Montgomery, GB CHI 1005600000 ***
Montgomery should fill in for Davante Adams (questionable) if he cannot go ... there's some PPR appeal here against a team that has allowed 13.8 catches per game.
TE Richard Rodgers, GB CHI 002200000 ***
Chicago presents a matching that leans negative, but it could go either way for a better tight end. Rodgers struggles to gain separation and is low on the pecking order of any given play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB CHI 3322 ***
Green Bay's offensive struggles, coupled with a short week, should lead to more field goal kicks than usual for Crosby. Chicago has allowed 11 field goal kicks, although only eight have gone through.

* 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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