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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 Pierre Thomas 30 3-20
WR Marques Colston 4-50
WR Robert Meachem 3-40
TE Jimmy Graham 6-70,1
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 4 XP

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 GB 0000031021 ****
Ever since Frankie... uh, Aaron say "relax", the Packers defense has joined in the refrain; they've given up multiple TD passes or the rushing equivalent to four straight opposing QBs. Brees has multiple touchdown tosses in five straight, 340-plus yards in three straight... yeah, he's ready for a shootout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO GB 4013200000 **
It's a reasonably favorable matchup--five of the six RB TDs the Pack have allowed have come on the road--but you may as well put all the Saints' RBs' names in a hat with all the rhyme and/or lack of reason they're employed on a weekly basis. Ingram was ineffective in his return last week, but with no Pierre Thomas does he get more work? Does he handle goal line duties? Do Khiry Robinson and/or Travaris Cadet steal his thunder? Do the Saints go to the freakin' fullback again? Too many questions for this to be anything other than a desperation fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Travaris Cadet, NO GB 2005400000 ***
In theory Cadet should be a great fantasy play in PPR leagues as he replaces the injured Pierre Thomas. But just when you think you have the Saints' backfield mix figured out Sean Patyon shakes it like a Polaroid picture. So Cadet has upside, but factor in the inherent risk of owning any shares of the Saints' backfield.
Update: No Pierre Thomas, no Khiry Robinson... Sean Payton is running out of ways to stick it to fantasy owners of Saints backs. It's a prime opportunity for Cadet... so expect fullback Austin Johnson to score twice. Just sayin'.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO GB 00000000 *****
Robinson disappointed when given earlier opportunities, and now with Pierre Thomas sidelined and Mark Ingram yet to regain his effectiveness... well, Travaris Cadet is the hot pickup if that tells you anything. Sure, there's upside but the Saints' backfield is a fantasy clusterboink that's driven veteran fantasy footballers to the brink of insanity and is best used only as a desperation measure.
Update: Robinson has been ruled out of this week's tilt. Travaris Cadet projects to get his touches, but you know Sean Payton likes to keep fantasy owners guessing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO GB 005601000 **
The Packers have allowed multiple WR TDs in three of their last four, so in the jumbled mess that is the Saints' fantasy receiving corps Colston likely holds his value. That's about as ringing an endorsement as we can deliver here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO GB 002301000 **
Drew Brees' favorite receiver is "whomever is open". Last week that, apparently, was Stills; he posted 5-103-1 after just one catch the previous week. If there's a perceived pecking order it's likely Colston, then Cooks, then Stills, but the good news is this is a favorable matchup against a team that's allowed multiple WR TDs on a regular basis so a dart thrown at Stills isn't entirely misdirected.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO GB 008700000 ****
Green Bay has given up multiple WR TDs in three of the last four--but will it be Cooks, who was merely an observer last week after a team high 11 targets and nine catches the previous week? It's a favorable enough matchup he's worth starting, but don't pull your hair out if Kenny Stills swipes his touchdown.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO GB 004500000 *
Gotta hope Graham shook off the rust with last week's two target, zero catch performance because this is an extremely favorable matchup with a Green Bay defense that's allowed two 100-yard receiving games to tight ends over the past month. If Graham gets some practice work in this week you should be able to slot him into your fantasy lineup with confidence, but it wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan on a Sunday night or Monday night roster just in case.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO GB 2233 ****
Graham has come around with a couple of double-digit games, but the Packers haven't allowed more than six points to an opposing kicker since Week 1 so keep your expectations in check.

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
RB John Kuhn 2-10
WR Randall Cobb 2-30
WR Jordy Nelson 5-70,1
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 @NO 0000029030 ****
Relax; the Saints have given up at least 249 yards and multiple touchdowns in each of the past four games, while Rodgers has multiple scores in four straight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB @NO 6013200000 ****
Lacy's been a road dog this year, averaging 39 yards per game at under three yards a carry. The Saints haven't served up much on the ground in two home dates, and with James Starks swiping more than the occasional series Lacy is no longer the fantasy lock he once was.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB @NO 006902000 ****
The Saints have allowed multiple receivers to score in three straight games, so if you had any qualms about Jordy Nelson stealing all the thunder--don't. Plenty left over for Cobb this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @NO 0081201000 ****
Nelson has scored in four straight and has reached triple-digit yardage each of his last two on the road; he remains an every-week elite fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB @NO 003400000 ****
Adams has been a fantasy factor each of the past three weeks; against a Saints defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to score each of the past three weeks, even after Cobb and Nelson take their bites there should be enough left for Adams to put food on your fantasy table.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB @NO 002200000 ***
The Saints haven't allowed a tight end TD since Week 1, and Quarless's involvement in this offense is far too inconsistent to trust with a fantasy start given the unfavorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @NO 1144 ***
Too many PATs, not enough FGs for Mason to be an elite fantasy helper. He won't be helped by a Saints defense that's allowing a similar pattern to opposing kickers.

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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