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: NYG 23, PHI 24 (Line: PHI by 2)

Players to Watch: Ahmad Bradshaw, Brent Celek

Players Updated: Jeremy Maclin, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden

This is a game where you can throw out records. The Giants won 29-16 in Philly last and then lost 10-17 at home. That was their only win in the last five trips to Philadelphia. The Eagles have won seven of the last eight times they met. For whatever reason, the Eagles matchup well with the Giants who are looking better as long as they stay in the NFC South. Flip a coin here.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN -----
2 TB 41-34 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR 36-7 12 GB -----
4 @PHI ----- 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE ----- 14 NO -----
6 @SF ----- 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS ----- 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL ----- 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 260,2
RB Peyton Hillis
WR Victor Cruz 7-90,1
WR Mario Manningham 2-20

Pregame Notes: The Giants are 2-1 but Eli Manning has only posted one big game - his 510 yard effort in the comeback win over the visiting Buccaneers. Otherwise he has just one score per week and only moderate passing yardage. Hakeem Nicks sat out last week because of his foot but plans on playing this week even if he only practices once. In his place Ramses Barden had a career best nine catches for 138 yards versus the Panthers. Nothing is ever so motivating as watching your backup look great.

Martellus Bennett remains the newest weapon that has caught a touchdown in every game and turns in around five catches for 70 yards in recent weeks. Bennett is supplying a needed and valuable additional outlet for Manning beyond the wide receivers. The Giants don't throw to the backs much so Bennett fills that shorter, over the middle role. So far he's been one of the best fantasy tight ends and a must start each week.

Ahmad Bradshaw has been cleared to practice after missing last week with a neck injury. Until he has a week of full practices and looks strong, you have to assume that Andre Brown remains in the rotation if not remains the primary back. Brown has shown power unlike anything that Bradshaw can provide even when healthy and as the only "big" back on the roster, should remain mostly on the field no matter what is done with Bradshaw and David Wilson. The problem of course is that we cannot know how much work Bradshaw gets and how much is taken away from Brown. Figuring that Wilson still gets a few token touches as well means those two nice games by Brown may end up his best of the season.

Domenik Hixon has been cleared to practice after suffering a minor concussion.

The Eagles have a top ten defense in almost every category and will be back at home. This is a game where previous performances are less indicative because the two teams know each other so well. The one main carryover that should be reliable is that Nnamdi Asomugha will cover Nicks who he handled last season when Nicks was healthy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 7 12 2 9 1 13
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 3 9 6 5 26 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG @WAS 0000024021 ***
Before you get too giddy about Eli's back to back semi-respectable fantasy efforts, consider that in 19 career outings against the Redskins he's had exactly one multiple touchdown game--and that came almost five years ago. Washington checked ordinary QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne before ceding 325 and 3 to Nick Foles; Eli is much closer to the former than the latter, so plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG @WAS 5005500000 ***
Washington's run D numbers are a bit puffy; the Jags only ran the ball seven times against them, and while they did keep Philly's dynamic duo of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles bottled up they had no answer for Arian Foster. Jennings is more like Foster, a bruiser that will get 20-plus carries and forge a solid fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Victor Cruz, NYG @WAS 005801000 **
Signs of life from Cruz last week, and the surge should continue against a Redskins defense that has struggled to cover Jeremy Maclin, DeAndre Hopkins, and even Allen Robinson. Plus, in four career meetings with Washington Cruz has averaged almost 90 yards per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @WAS 004400000 ***
Even with a couple improved weeks under their collective belt the Giants are still barely feeding one fantasy receiver--and right now that guy is Victor Cruz. Starting Randle here means crossing your fingers and hoping for a red zone look.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @WAS 006601000 ***
Donnell is ceding touchdowns to Daniel Fells and facing a defense that, aside from one long Marcedes Lewis pass, has shut tight ends down cold. You can find a better fantasy alternative.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @WAS 1122 ***
Brown kicked his first field goal of the season last week, but this offense is still a work in progress and not nearly equipped to bring along a kicker fantasy-wise.

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 6-27 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 vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 210,1
RB LeSean McCoy 110,1 3-20
RB Darren Sproles 10 6-50,1
WR Jeremy Maclin 4-60,1
TE Brent Celek 6-80,1

Pregame Notes: The Eagles finally found a way to not win by just one point. Instead they were waxed in Arizona where all the same problem with Vick still existed. He finally did not throw any interceptions but held the ball too long and coughed up two fumbles - one of which was returned for a 93-yard touchdown by the Cardinals defense. Vick only managed 217 passing yards there after at least throwing for over 310 yards in the first two games. In fantasy terms, Vick has been a disappointment with never more than 34 rushing yards in a game to help counteract those turnovers. He scored in his one home game so far though.

LeSean McCoy was only used for 13 runs (70 yards) last week and HC Andy Reid admitted that he should have run McCoy more. After 25+ touches in the first two games, he was only given 16 touches in Arizona and that should prove to be a low spot in the season. McCoy should be relied on more ongoing since the offense has long revolved around what he does.

Jeremy Maclin was out because of his hip last week but is expected to return. His presence helps balance the passing game which will be very important against the Giants. DeSean Jackson was held to only 43 yards on three catches versus the Cardinals in part because the defense really focuses on him with Maclin out. Jason Avant cannot seem to break 40 yards in a game whether he is the replacement starter or just the #3 called in occasionally.

Brent Celek left his monster 157 yard game at home against the Ravens to only come up with 36 yards on two catches in Arizona. For what it may be worth, his only big game was at home this year and the Giants just watched Greg Olsen go nuts with 98 yards last week.

This game could turn on more Vick turnovers but the Giants are not getting as good a pass rush as last season and have only six sacks on the season. The rushing defense has been decent but McCoy brings in their first real dual threat back. So far the weakness of the Giants remains in their secondary which could help Vick from making more mistakes. In the last ten games, the Eagles are 7-0 when Maclin plays and 0-3 when they do not.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 9 24 16 7 28 17
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 19 10 26 8 5 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Nick Foles, PHI @SF 0000027021 ****
Foles has rolled out 300-plus yards in every game thus far; the once-vaunted Niners D has allowed multiple TD tosses in each of the past two games. No reason to think Foles can't keep it up here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @SF 6004300000 ***
DeMarco Murray and Andre Ellington had solid outings against the Niners, but those both came away from Levi Stadium. Matt Forte's visit to the Bay wasn't nearly as productive, so limit your expectations for McCoy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI @SF 2005300000 *
The Niners aren't giving up much to opposing backs via ground or air, making Sproles a tricky fantasy play given that LeSean McCoy should see the majority of the Eagles' backfield touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @SF 005501000 ****
Maclin's target volume makes him a must-play, and while San Francisco hasn't been soft against opposing wideouts there's been enough put on the board against them that using Maclin here shouldn't be a concern.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @SF 004501000 ***
Matthews emerged as a red zone favorite last week, but he's nursing an ab injury so check the injury report on Friday before chasing last week's scores.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @SF 004400000 ***
At this juncture Cooper is too far down the Philly passing game pecking order to be banked on for fantasy contributions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @SF 004500000 ***
San Fran has been pretty tough on tight ends, but Ertz is a big enough part of the offense that he's at least worthy of fantasy consideration regardless of matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @SF 3322 ****
Parkey's had multiple field goals in each game this season; no reason to think he can't extend that streak against the Niners.

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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