FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: CIN 17, WAS 31 (Line: WAS by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Andrew Hawkins

Players Updated: Pierre Garcon

The Bengals come off a close win over the visiting Browns (which alone says a lot) and the Skins finally get to their home opener with a 1-1 record after getting clipped by the Rams in a game that sort of was given away. With defensive losses by the Skins, this game could be close but you still have to like the home bound Redskins.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG -----
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC -----
3 @WAS ----- 12 OAK -----
4 @JAC ----- 13 @SD -----
5 MIA ----- 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE ----- 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT ----- 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 280,2
WR A.J. Green 7-80
WR Greg Little 5-70
WR Brandon Tate 2-40
TE Jermaine Gresham 3-30,1
TE Alex Smith
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals held off the Browns last week but allowed Brandon Weeden to go from the worst career week one start to a decent showing. Not a good sign when about to go meet Robert Griffin III. Andy Dalton had a big effort of 318 yards and three scores against the Browns who were without Joe Haden but was far less effective in the only road game this year.

Fortunately for Dalton, the Skins lost LB Brian Orakpo and DE Adam Carriker last week which should help a little. Dalton makes A.J. Green the primary receiver each week but so far that has been only marginally effective with a high game of just five catches for 70 yards. Green scored once against the Browns last week and had seven catches but only gained 58 yards. He is getting minimal help from Brandon Tate who only had one catch in the road game in Baltimore. Armon Binns has been better with at least four catches but little yardage.

Andrew Hawkins is the small slot receiver who doesn't play a lot of downs but posted eight receptions for 86 yards in Baltimore as the lead receiver and then two catches for 56 yards and a score against the Browns. This offense seems to miss Jerome Simpson and that has made Green need to stick with shorter receptions and fewer yards after the catch.

Jermaine Gresham had high expectations this season but so far is stuck in sub-40 yard games. The passing offense revolves around Green but he is not getting enough help from the rest to free him up.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been at least a marginally good surprise with 91 rushing yards and a score in Baltimore and then 105 total yards versus the Browns. He's a positive in the offense but no where near big enough to matter much. Bernard Scott has been out with a hand injury and may return this week. If he does, he will cut into Green-Ellis' workload at least a little.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 20 24 3 29 15 16
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 30 13 28 30 17 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN @HOU 0000023022 ***
Dalton bounced back from his choke-job against Cleveland with three TDs in New Orleans. A Houston defense that's allowed multiple passing scores in seven of eight and 250-plus yards in six straight should allow Dalton to squeeze out another fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @HOU 5002200000 ***
Hill is more than capable of carrying the load himself if Giovani Bernard can't go again; even if Gio's back, Hill has carved out enough of a share of Cincy's backfield touches to warrant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @HOU 4003200000 ****
You'd like to think Gio returns at full go here, but he'll likely have to split the workload as he eases himself back into the mix. Still, it's a favorable enough matchup that sharing touches or no Bernard is back in your starting lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN @HOU 0061101000 ***
Green has scored twice in three games since returning to action; safe to say he's regained his every-week-starter card.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @HOU 005601000 **
The Texans have allowed multiple receivers to either score and/or top 90 yards in three of four and five of the last seven, so even with AJ Green back in the mix Sanu warrants fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @HOU 005400000 ***
The Bengals--and fantasy owners--rediscovered Gresham just in time to have him face one of the tougher tight end matchups on the board. Don't chase last week's two TDs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @HOU 1122 ***
Nugent has been good not great; the Texans, on the other hand, have been stingy in allowing just one game with double-digit points over the past two months. You can probably do better, but at least with Nugent you're reasonably safe.

Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO 40-32 10 BYE -----
2 @STL 28-31 11 PHI -----
3 CIN ----- 12 @DAL -----
4 @TB ----- 13 NYG -----
5 ATL ----- 14 BAL -----
6 MIN ----- 15 @CLE -----
7 @NYG ----- 16 @PHI -----
8 @PIT ----- 17 DAL -----
9 CAR ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 60,1 250,2
RB Alfred Morris 90,1
WR Pierre Garcon
WR Leonard Hankerson 3-60,1
WR DeSean Jackson 4-90,1
WR Santana Moss 3-30
WR Andre Roberts 4-40
WR Aldrick Robinson 5-70,1

Pregame Notes: Tough loss last week in a game that should have not been that close, let alone a loss. That should help focus the team though for this first home game of the year and the Bengals show up at the wrong time. The defense lost LB Brian Orakpo and Fred Davis had a concussion last week as did CB Josh Wilson so the defensive effort may be less effective. But playing at home has always been good for the Skins and the Bengals are not good enough to exploit any temporary weaknesses.

Robert Griffin III only passed for 206 yards and one score in St. Louis but dusted off his other side when he ran 11 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns. He was effective in either role - like a slightly slower Michael Vick only with much better passing accuracy. He remains the sparkplug of this offense and should be even more motivated for his first performance in front of the hometown fans.

Alfred Morris has started two games which qualifies him for the retirement program. Morris gained 89 yards on only 16 runs but has never been thrown a pass and when Griffin scores - it comes directly out of Morris' stats. Evan Royster and Roy Helu both are getting two or three touches in games but so far, Shanahan has stuck with Morris.

Pierre Garcon was a scratch in St. Louis because of his foot but may be able to play this week. Until injury and practice news is known, I will leave Garcon on the bench and add him if warranted. He was a late week scratch which bodes well for this game.\

The receivers here outside of Garcon are unreliable at best. Leonard Hankerson had the long touchdown in St. Louis but has just two catches on the year. Aldrick Robinson took a golden opportunity with Garcon out and only came up with 40 yards on two catches. Josh Morgan is the one who threw the ball at the Rams player to draw the 15-yard penalty, thereby forcing Billy Cundiff to attempt a 62-yard field goal instead of a 47-yarder. The wide right kick may ensure that Morgan gets the bench this week. It was almost expected he would be released right there on the field. It is rare you can blame a loss on one person. This time, you can. Dress it up how you want, Morgan blew it big time. Way bigger than the Ryan Williams fumble that gave them a chance.

The Bengals defense has not played as well so far though in both cases they faced interdivisional teams and that tends to play out a bit different than the rest. Home opener with RG3 to show off? Has to be a Skins win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 2 16 8 24 10 7
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 25 29 20 24 31 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Robert Griffin III, WAS @SF 0000020012 ***
Still waiting for RG3 to take to this offense; a date with a San Francisco defense that's getting players back and held all quarterbacks not named Brees or Manning to one TD toss over the past two months... well, that's not going to help matters much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Morris, WAS @SF 6002200000 ***
Mark Ingram proved you can grind it out against the Niners, and Morris will get ample opportunity to do the same--though don't look for a TD against a defense that's allowed only five RB TDs all year, just one of them in San Francisco.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Roy Helu, WAS @SF 2003200000 ***
Helu continues to be a PPR helper with three of five north of 40 receiving yards, including each of the past two. That's enough to make him a fringe fantasy contributor in performance based scoring systems.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS @SF 005700000 ****
The theory remains sound: Jackson's speed is the perfect fit for RG3's deep shots. It worked a couple weeks back in Minnesota, and it could work again--assuming RG3 keeps the starting gig long enough. Right now all the inconsistency does is makes DJax a fringe fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Pierre Garcon, WAS @SF 003300000 ***
Garcon appears to have become an afterthought with RG3 at the helm; tough to trust an afterthought with a fantasy start at this juncture of the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Roberts, WAS @SF 002200000 ***
Right now the Redskins' receiver rotation isn't seeing enough productivity for three fantasy options to emerge, and Roberts is most definitely queued up behind DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Niles Paul, WAS @SF 004300000 ***
Update: With Jordan Reed out, look for Paul to step up his looks. It's a somewhat favorable matchup against a 49ers defense that's struggled of late against tight ends, so there's some upside to Paul as a plug-in fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jordan Reed, WAS @SF 00000000 *
A healthy Reed definitely comes into play against a 49ers defenses that's allowed three TE TDs in the past two games. Whether or not Reed is healthy, however, remains to be seen.
Update: We can answer the "Is Reed healthy?" questions with an emphatic "no", as he has been ruled out for this week. Expect Niles Paul to see an uptick of looks in Reed's stead.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, WAS @SF 1111 ***
Wanna blame RG3 for something else? Forbath has a total of nine points in three RG3 starts, less than half his average in non-RG3 starts. So if RG3 is at the helm again this week, get your kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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