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: PHI 27, ARI 20 (Line: PHI by 4)

Players to Watch: Brent Celek

Players Updated: Ryan Williams, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Michael Vick

The Cardinals remain unbeaten with their win in New England and they upset the Eagles 21-17 in Philly last year. No looking past these Cards and the Eagles come to the game also undefeated thanks two one-point wins. Flip a coin here but the biggest difference is that the Eagles have a better pass defense and rushing offense.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL -----
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI ----- 12 CAR -----
4 NYG ----- 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT ----- 14 @TB -----
6 DET ----- 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL ----- 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 210,1
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 4-20
RB Darren Sproles 20 6-60,1
WR Jeremy Maclin
TE Brent Celek 6-70

Pregame Notes: The Eagles certainly know how to win with style after posting two victories by a single point. Vick has been a solid fantasy quarterback with dual efforts of 310+ yards and two scores in each game. He still takes off about eight times per game on a run. Aside from that whole "six interceptions are bad" thing, Vick has gotten the job done even if it was ugly, last second and almost unthinkable that it came down to that.

LeSean McCoy remains highly productive with solid efforts in Cleveland and against the Ravens. He continues to get 25+ touches every week while needing only a couple of plays off for Bryce Brown. He is one of the first round backs this summer who is delivering exactly what was expected.

Jeremy Maclin has scored both weeks but only had the one catch against the Ravens and is suffering from his hip pointer that he re--aggravated. He is not a lock to play this week but practice and injury news later in the week will give a clearer picture of what to expect. DeSean Jackson still has yet to score a touchdown but comes off a seven catch, 114 yard effort over the Ravens. This passing attack remains limited to the two starting wideouts and Brent Celek who comes off a career best 157 yards on eight receptions helping to compensate for Jeremy Maclin being banged up. Even in week one, Celek gained 65 yards on four receptions in what is hinting to be his best season ever.

The Eagles were surprised by the Browns but escaped with a win. They had to battle against the Ravens but also escaped with a comeback win. This week will be another surprisingly good defense and a road game. And the answer to the questions - "Are the Cardinals really that good?" and "Can Vick try to throw to his own team this week?"

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 3 20 9 2 26 15
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 8 6 16 15 30 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mark Sanchez, PHI @NYG 0000029021 ***
Nick Foles roasted the Giants for 248 and 2 in a 27-0 win earlier this year; now it's Sanchez's turn, fresh off a 374 and 2 performance in Washington. The Giants just let Shaun Hill take them for 290 and 2, so even a fading Sanchez--playing for a spot next year, be it in Philly or otherwise--should have success against them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @NYG 8011100000 ***
What Chip Kelly needs to do is say, "Merry Christmas, Shady! Here's 20-plus carries!" With that, McCoy should have a field day as all four backs to see that workload against the Giants have topped 120 yards--including McCoy himself in a 22-149 effort earlier this year. Let Chris Polk have all the goal line fun; McCoy will get his via performance points.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @NYG 005601000 ***
The Giants haven't allowed many big games to wide receivers--just enough little ones, especially since losing cornerback Prince Amukamara for the season. Maclin mustered only 16 yards in the earlier meeting but has six touchdowns and five games of 90-plus yards since so mark him down for a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @NYG 005700000 ***
Matthews has been silent for the past month; maybe hitting the rookie wall? This matchup isn't particularly favorable, so there's no need to reach for him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @NYG 006601000 ***
Ertz scored in the earlier meeting with the Giants as Philly tight ends accounted for 118 yards and two TDs. Last week Ertz finally consolidated all those targets; the result was a 15-115 outing against the Redskins. Whether he's sharing or hoarding he's a solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @NYG 2233 ***
Parkey had nine in the earlier meeting with the Giants, though hitting the road and the possibility that Matt Barkley takes meaningful snaps make reaching that number again a little more tenuous.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL -----
3 PHI ----- 12 STL -----
4 MIA ----- 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL ----- 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF ----- 15 DET -----
7 @MIN ----- 16 CHI -----
8 SF ----- 17 @SF -----
9 @GB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 290,1
RB Beanie Wells 40
WR Early Doucet 3-30
WR Larry Fitzgerald 7-100,1
TE Rob Housler 2-20

Pregame Notes: Hard to argue with beating the Seahawks and their big time defense and then going to New England and taking down the Patriots offense. The fantasy value from the games has been scant and low scoring but in NFL terms the Cardinals have clearly been impressive on defense and won as the underdog twice. All this with a still shaky quarterback situation and one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL.

Kevin Kolb gets his chance to go at his old team but he has already lost his starting job to Johns Skelton who was injured, thus handing it back. Kolb only managed to pass for 140 yards and one score in New England. The fact that this team is 2-0 is remarkable given that the only have two passing touchdowns - both to Andre Roberts - and no runner has exceeded 44 rush yards in a game.

Last week Ryan Williams even lost a fumble at the end of the game to give away the victory and one of the most accurate kickers in the league could not make a 42-yard field goal. These Cardinals are living right somehow but that sort of luck is hard to count on every week.

At least in theory.

Once again, one of the worst offenses (Arizona) meets one of the best defenses (Philly) and it seems a mismatch. But this week the luck should finally run out.

I like a defensive score in this game. How else are they going to keep this interesting?

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 24 27 27 20 17 17
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 2 15 4 8 27 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Logan Thomas, ARI @SF 0000020011 *
If rookie Derek Carr can throw for 254 and 3 against the Niners, why not Thomas? Well, Carr was 13 games into his rookie season; Thomas has thrown nine NFL passes--and completed exactly one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI @SF 800000000 ***
Despite Williams being the more effective back the Cardinals have turned to Stepfan Taylor with Andre Ellington out of the mix. Maybe they'll need to lean on both with Logan Thomas under center, but against the 49ers there's not much fantasy value--certainly not enough to be split two ways.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stepfan Taylor, ARI @SF 3002200000 ***
Andre Ellington did minimal damage (18-62 rushing, 3-13 receiving) in the earlier matchup with San Francisco; Taylor had two yards on one carry. The ground game will need to step up in support of rookie QB Logan Thomas, but it certainly isn't a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @SF 005601000 *
Brown scored twice in the earlier matchup with the Niners, and it's not uncommon for depth receivers to have success against San Fran: among the tertiary targets who have scored against them are Paul Richardson and Wes Welker. Plus, with Logan Thomas at the helm you can expect Bruce Arians to take some deep shots. Just know that there's a tremendous amount of risk with anything associated with the Arizona passing game with a first-time starter at quarterback.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @SF 004600000 **
Floyd's speed gave the Niners problems in the earlier matchup, and QB Logan Thomas' one NFL completion did go for 81 yards so if you're grasping at straws you could hope for a home run completion. But considering Thomas is also 1-for-9 career, there's plenty of risk of strikeout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI @SF 002200000 ***
Brown is better known as "The Other One" when he swipes a touchdown from erstwhile third receiver John Brown. Such a tertiary target isn't a fantasy option with a first-time driver at the wheel for the Cards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @SF 002200000 **
Fitz was an afterthought in the earlier meeting, catching just three balls for 34 yards while Arizona bombed away to John Brown and Michael Floyd. Logan Thomas might be more inclined to look at Larry as a security blanket, but considering the matchup, the quarterback, and Fitz's struggles this year you can find better fantasy options elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @SF 2211 ***
The good news is, Arizona's offensive struggles have mean nine field goals for Catanzaro over the past three games. The bad news is, Arizona's offensive struggles have yielded one PAT for Catanzaro in the past five games. If you believe in Logan Thomas, making his first NFL start in San Francisco, go ahead and chase Catanzaro's threes. Maybe.

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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