FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: NO 24, GB 37 (Line: GB by 8)

Players to Watch: Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers for any signs of yesteryear

Players Updated: Greg Jennings

This should be one of those great games to watch except these teams combine for a 1-5 record. Say what?

The Packers were shafted come off a tough win loss last week but the defense has been very good and in reality, facing the 49ers, Bears and Seahawks was a trip through some of the best defenses in the league. The Saints? More like ranked #32 on defense. The Saints offense has not been bad, but not quite as prolific as their opponents become whenever they play the defense that has truly earned the moniker "The Big Easy". Expect the Packer win and hope for points all around.

The Packers won their season opener over the Saints last year 42-34

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB ----- 13 @ATL -----
5 SD ----- 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB ----- 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN ----- 17 CAR -----
9 PHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO @ GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 300,3
RB Mark Ingram 30
RB John Kuhn 2-10

Pregame Notes: It is bad enough to be 0-3, but when that comes against the easy part of your schedule it is time to hit the alarm button. The defense has been horrible this year and just made Jamaal Charles look like he was playing in a different time dimension. Untouched for 91 yards? That is not how you draw up a defense. This is all a very bad portent for the future games and by this point we have to hope that Drew Brees and company maintains motivation so our fantasy teams can remain intact.

Brees has scored multiple touchdowns each week and thrown for healthy yardage in his quest to catch up to his opponents. He has five interceptions and is not scoring as well as last year but the scoreboard deficits continue to make him throw 40 or 50 times per game. There is no end in sight for how badly Brees is going to need to throw this year.

The rushing effort has produced only one touchdown by a running back and Pierre Thomas' 110 yards on nine carries in Carolina is a big aberration. Darren Sproles has eked out marginal fantasy value each week but Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas are a big risk to rely on. At least Thomas has been adding four receptions per game.

Jimmy Graham is still cranking out a touchdown every week but is averaging just six catches for 57 yards per week - hardly the sort of numbers that was expected when he was drafted in the first or second round in most leagues. Marques Colston has caught the funk as well with no scores and less than 50 yards these last two weeks. Lance Moore has two scores but only caught two passes for 30 yards in the last road game.

The players are mostly the same from the last couple of seasons but without Sean Peyton there to call plays, the offense has dropped off and the defense has gone into hiding. With Brees throwing in desperation every week, there is still fantasy value here. It is just not nearly as big or consistent as we have been accustomed. And there is no relief in sight because they never get the chance to play themselves.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 4 24 6 23 24
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 8 12 4 4 6 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO ATL 0000032040 ***
Shake off the quiet week from Brees and keep him in starting lineups. Atlanta is the third easiest matchup for quarterbacks, giving up seven touchdowns and picking off only one ball. Brees is a sound choice for the honors as this week's top fake QB.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO ATL 6003200000 ***
It hasn't been a pretty start to the season for Ingram. The Falcons have been terrible against running backs so far, as in the second worst team. This D will be busy trying to keep Drew Brees in check. There's bit of wishful thinking and hopefulness here, and maybe Ingram can get it together in your lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO ATL 0071101000 ***
Drew Brees' top target faces a Falcons team that has given up 12 catches, 144 yards and 1.5 TDs per game so far this season to receivers, ranking in the upper half of the league with regard to toughness of defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO ATL 005601000 ***
Thomas is emerging as the clear WR3 here and a passable fantasy option in a pinch. DFS play, or a flex in PPR setups for owners looking to fill a void.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO ATL 003500000 *
Atlanta hasn't given up a lot of catches (24) or yards (288) to the position, but one out of every eight catches has gone for a touchdown. Snead is a fine PPR play in all formats and benefits from the double-teams on Brandin Cooks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO ATL 004301000 **
Time to give up? Not so fast, impatient one. The Falcons pose a wonderful matchup -- in fact, only the Lions have been worse -- for the position. He's an ideal DFS play with high upside and a low price tag. Traditional games owe it to their preseason-believing-in-Fleener selves to trot him out there once more.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO ATL 2144 ***
A good example of more XPAs than FGAs that quell the fantasy potential.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA 12-14 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 NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 30,1 300,2
WR Randall Cobb 2-30
WR Jordy Nelson 5-70,1
TE Jared Cook 6-60
PK Mason Crosby 3 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers are 1-2* but that comes after facing great defenses. And opponents have only averaged 18 points per week against them. This week should provide a big turnaround with a home game versus a nearly nonexistent defense. With three road games looming on the other side, this one really needs to be a win.

Aaron Rodgers was the early draft pick in every league but so far his performance has owners cringing. He opened with 303 yards and two scores on the 49ers but then was held to 219 yards and one score by the Bears and no touchdowns against the Seahawks when he ended with just 223 yards. Granted - tough defenses. But this was also a prolific offense above the vexations of match-ups. The Packers have already lost more games than they did in all of 2011 and it is only coming up on week four. But reason to expect a turnaround.

The Saints have been decent against the pass but only faced Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and Matt Cassel. And Griffin posted 320 yards and two scores on them. Stomping on the Saints won't prove the Packers are back to form but it will make fantasy owners a lot happier.

Cedric Benson gained 81 yards on 20 carries against the Bears and then scored once on the Seahawks with 45 yards on 17 carries. The tough defenses in these first three games have been a factor but that should change this week - and if only for this week - because the Saints have allowed six touchdowns to running backs and over 100 rushing yards to every opponent. This is the best week to start Benson... maybe in his entire career. Last year the Packers rushed for 102 yards and two scores on the Saints.

Jermichael Finley has only scored once this season and averages only 43 yards per game. He's not been nearly the factor expected but then again everyone is off in this offense. Jordy Nelson was a scoring machine in 2011 and still has yet to reach the endzone. Greg Jennings not only has not scored, but his best game has been six catches for 35 yards.

This game is going to answer some important questions. Are the Packers just stumbling through a slate of great defenses or has the offense finally gone stale? There should be no excuse for some monster performances in a home game against a defense that has allowed 34 points per game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 24 26 11 13 26 10
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 25 32 21 2 32 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB DET 20000027030 ***
Rodgers averaged 303 yards, 2 TDs and 0.5 INTs vs. DET in 2015 without a full complement of weapons. In 2014, he throw a total of 388 yards and 3 TDs in two games, without a pick. He's much better in real life than on the fake gridiron against this defense. Detroit's defense has allowed six TDs to just one interception and may roll over again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB DET 600000000 ***
Nearly half the league is stronger than Detroit against running backs, and the Lions are one of three teams to prevent both a rushing and receiving touchdown to the position. Much of that is because Detroit give up so many plays to tight ends around the goal. Game flow and field position are extremely important to Lacy's odds of finding the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB DET 006601000 ***
Detroit gave up a 6-64-1 line to Donte Moncrief and a 6-79-0 line to T.Y. Hilton in the opener. Tennessee didn't offer a matchup like Nelson. You always start your studs, and it doesn't hurt that he is in game shape right out of the gates.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB DET 003501000 ***
Adams sees a lot of his looks when defenses blanket Jordy Nelson and/or Randall Cobb. He remains on the field, though, since Green Bay uses three-wide sets regularly. The Lions have been respectable by holding receivers to the 12th fewest points through two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB DET 006800000 ***
Cobb's play against Detroit has been a mixed bag. He scored twice in Week 17 of the 2014 season but failed to score in his next two meetings with them. His production this year doesn't compel fantasy owners to take a chance, so it is understandable if sit him against the 12th strongest defense (PPR) of wideouts if you have a safer choice. PPR gamers pretty much have to keep him in their lineups, though, and take the mediocre with the good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, GB DET 005501000 ****
No team has been victimized more than Detroit by tight ends. This unit has ceded four touchdowns on just 15 catches. Cook makes for a sneaky play in daily and a borderline starter in traditional games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB DET 1133 ***
Detroit is giving up only 6.5 fantasy points per outing. Crosby is playable but likely won't excel.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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