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 Mark Sanchez 10 200,1
WR Kendall Wright 5-70

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 @PHI 0000018001 ***
The rookie has made a few plays here and there, which is to be expected, but fantasy upside is nonexistent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @PHI 700000000 ***
Since Week 6, running backs have averaged 76 rushing yards, 33.3 receiving yards, and a touchdown of either type every 48.5 combined touches. This is the fifth-hardest PPR matchup and fourth-worst in standard scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI @PHI 2002200000 *
We had a Cohen sighting last week! The pint-sized rookie reemerged after a slumber that has endured the Mitchell Trubisky era. Philly hasn't given up much of anything meaningful to RBs. The position has scored twice through the air on 21 catches, at least, so there is a hint of hope.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, CHI @PHI 004500000 ***
Inman has no business around a starting lineup in a week without bye teams.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tre McBride III, CHI @PHI 003300000 ***
McBride has been targeted just three times in the past two games combined. Avoid him in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, CHI @PHI 004300000 ***
Even though he has been targeted at least four times in all but one game this season, Wright has just one score and has failed to produce meaningful yardage totals. The Eagles have given up just one WR TD in the past 44 catches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI @PHI 004400000 ***
The massive rookie showed up last week in the stats sheet. He faces a Philly defense that has given up reasonably positive figures to tight ends. One of every 9.5 catches have scored.

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 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 Brett Hundley, GB @PIT 20100020003 ***
Hundley does not belong in a fantasy lineup. In fact, he really has no place on a roster. The Steelers have been up and down against passers, but this defense shouldn't have a problem exploiting him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Williams, GB @PIT 5004400000 ***
This is the worst matchup for both scoring systems using data since Week 6. The Steelers have not allowed a running back to score over the past 92 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ty Montgomery, GB @PIT 00000000 *
Montgomery's status remains unclear at this time. Check back later in the week for an update.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB @PIT 005600000 ***
This is the fourth-best matchup for fantasy points per play by wideouts, despite being the 17th-best for reception volume. The Steelers have yielded one TD per game to wide receivers. Adams has proven to be about the only reliable option with Brett Hundley at the helm. On the road, this may go south in a hurry.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB @PIT 003400000 ***
Cobb has seen a few dump-offs here and there but has not carved out a role with the limited Brett Hundley tossing the ball. Pittsburgh has given up only 11.3 receptions a game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @PIT 004400000 ***
Nelson has plummeted to basically being unplayable without Aaron Rodgers. There is no chemistry or timing with Brett Hundley. The Steelers have granted receivers one touchdown a game on 11.3 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @PIT 1111 ***
The matchup is neutral but skews negative. The Packers may struggle to move the ball with any regularity, and this isn't a reasonable time to chance it.

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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