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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
vs Rush Catch Pass

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 Mitchell Trubisky, CHI CLE 10000024020 ***
Unless you play in a deep, two-quarterback league or want to take a wild flier in DFS, the rookie should remain out of starting lineups ... even against the Browns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI CLE 7011100000 ***
Since Week 10, Cleveland has given up only two rushing scores on 134 carries, which is 26th. The position has 32 receptions over this time, which is the sixth-highest average. Howard faces an underrated run defense that laid the smack down on a red-hot Alex Collins last week. Howard's versatility will be his best asset in this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI CLE 2004201000 **
Cohen has just one PPR game over 10 points in the last month. He's a fringe option for a lineup spot in championship contests. Cleveland has given up only one receiving TD to RBs over the last 32 catches, but this is a top-10 matchup for weekly receptions and yardage by the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Joshua Bellamy, CHI CLE 004500000 ***
Wideouts have averaged 14.4 receptions (4th) for 148.2 yards (14th) and a TD every 18 hauls (22nd). There is little reason to like Bellamy with a title on the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CHI CLE 002300000 ***
The speedster has just four catches in his last three games, including a 1-catch, 10-yard effort vs. the Saints in Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI CLE 002200000 **
Cleveland has permitted tight ends a touchdown every 7.7 receptions over the last five weeks, so there is the off-chance the rookie finds the end zone. Don't pay to find out, however.

Update: The rook is questionable and didn't practice in full all week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, CHI CLE 1122 ***
This is the eighth-worst matchup for combined kicking chances (18th FGA, 26th XPA), and 82.4 percent of all kicks made it through the posts.

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
TE Jimmy Graham 7-80,1
TE Lance Kendricks 3-30
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 DeShone Kizer, GB MIN 30100019002 ***
Chicago shouldn't have too much trouble putting the hurt on Kizer. For every flash of potential and brilliance, the rookie has displayed a million more hair-pulling whiffs at trying to make a big play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brett Hundley, GB MIN 30000019002 ***
Hundley replaces Aaron Rodgers in Week 16 and faces a Vikings defense that picked him off three times in Week 6. You know what to do....
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Williams, GB MIN 5014300000 ***
Last week's game flow didn't much favor Williams seeing more than the 10 touches he was allotted. In Week 16, Brett Hundley will start, so Green Bay is bound to rely more on Williams, but the matchup stinks in all but the TD department. One in 18 carries has scored, which is fifth in the last five weeks. Being the forecast is for single digits at Lambeau, look for plenty of chances for the rookie.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB MIN 005600000 ***
Davante Adams (concussion) could sit, which improves Cobb's chances. Unfortunately, Brett Hundley returns to the lineup, so any gains are likely washed away. Minnesota offers one of the harshest matchups of the week.

Update: Adams has been ruled out.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Geronimo Allison, GB MIN 003400000 ***
Update: No Davante Adams means Allison will see more chances. There is little reason to consider him in any fantasy situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, GB MIN 004201000 ***
Who are you, and what have you done with Jimmy Graham?!? One catch, negative-one yard in the last two games COMBINED?!? Provided your team somehow managed to escape with a W, the Cowboys are a mid-tier opponent, having given up 4.8 receptions (12th), 46.6 yards (17th) and a TD every 12 grabs (18th).
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB MIN 2211 ***
All eight of the PATs have been accurate, whereas seven of the eight field goal chances were knocked through the pipes. Crosby faces the eighth-worst matchup of the week.

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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