FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: CHI 24, JAC 10 (Line: CHI by 4)

Players to Watch: Maurice Jones-Drew

The 3-1 Bears come off a huge confidence booster smacking the Cowboys on Monday night. The 1-3 Jaguars get their third chance at home to score more than one offensive touchdown. That's probably not going to happen.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF -----
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 10 240,1
RB Matt Forte 80,1 5-30
WR Alshon Jeffery 2-20
WR Brandon Marshall 8-100,1
WR Josh Morgan 2 30
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears put a stamp of credibility on their season with the Monday Night dismantling of the Cowboys in Dallas where they won in all facets of the game. The defense continues to play at a high level if not better each week. Jay Cutler is still somewhat all over the map in production but comes off 275 yards and two scores in Dallas against what used to be good cornerbacks. This week is a second straight road game and comes on a shorter week which could make it tougher. Plus against a weak non-conference team. That is all to say that Cutler could end up with a wide range of potential stats this week. He has been as good as 333 yards and two scores and as bad as 183 yards with no touchdowns.

The most impressive and encouraging part of the Monday night win was the offensive line that limited Cutler to only two sacks and that played noticeably better than they started the season.

Matt Forte returned from his ankle injury and gutted it out but he was clearly still in pain and required his ankle to get rewrapped after having a defender fall on it. Forte was limited to just 13 runs but gained 52 yards while Michael Bush carried ten times for 29 yards. Forte will be six days better this week but that doesn't mean he will be 100%. He is sure to spend much of the practice time resting his ankle. He did not worsen his ankle and should play this week despite the likely practice absences.

Brandon Marshall comes off his best game of the year when he posted 138 yards and one score on seven receptions despite being given the best coverage the Cowboys had to offer. Marshall had two marginal games in recent weeks but came to play in Dallas. If the offense can get more consistency in the passing game, Marshall will be a top wideout for certain. That remains to be seen with the up and down nature of Cutler's passing so far.

No other receiver really matters on this team though Devin Hester caught a rare touchdown last Monday. Alshon Jeffrey has not produced over 45 yards since the season opener. Kellen Davis (3-62) had a freakishly good game for a player that had not been above the 21 yard mark and may not again.

This week Forte gets a shot at a weak rushing defense but he will get help from Michael Bush since he still is not 100% healthy. Cutler goes against a secondary that has allowed two passing scores in the last couple of games and are average at best. WIth the great likelihood that the Jaguars are not going to score much, the Bears won't have to worry about establishing a huge lead to protect.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 25 18 18 31 9 1
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 15 28 12 12 25 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI @NYJ 0000029031 ****
Cutler has multiple TD tosses in each game this year; the Jets have allowed multiple touchdown passes to both Aaron Rodgers (expected) and--in his NFL debut--Derek Carr (far from expected). Assuming one or both of Cutler's top targets manage to make it to the field, he's a rock-solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @NYJ 5006400000 ****
Forte is scoreless on the season, and he'll get no help from a stout Jets' run defense. The saving grace is Forte's contribution to the passing game, though he's still facing an uphill battle to provide his usual fantasy stud-ness.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI @NYJ 0081002000 ****
Even nicked up Marshall was a rock star last week; no reason to sit him against a Jets defense that just got light up for 209 yards by Jordy Nelson and two TDs by Randall Cobb.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @NYJ 005701000 **
If the Raiders can have multiple receivers find the end zone against the Jets, surely a healthy (or at least healthier) Jeffery can join Brandon Marshall in the fantasy winner's circle this week.
Update: Jeffery practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, leaving him as a game-time decision once again. Last week that didn't work out so well for him; maybe this week it's Jeffery's term to have a Brandon Marshall-esque rise from the ashes of an injury?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Santonio Holmes, CHI @NYJ 002200000 ****
Right now Holmes is the third wheel on Chicago's tandem bike of a passing game. Unless one of the starters is ruled out this week, Holmes is an unusable fantasy commodity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @NYJ 006300000 ***
The Jets haven't surrendered much to opposing tight ends, but Bennett serves as the Bears' de facto WR3--and gets an upgrade when one or both of the starters are hobbled or out. He's targeted enough so as to defy the difficult matchup and remain a viable fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @NYJ 2233 ****
The Jets provide a situation where bad offenses get nothing and good offenses often have to settle for field goals. That bodes well for Gould, who was forced to count by ones last week against the Niners.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND -----
2 HOU 7-27 11 @HOU -----
3 @IND 22-17 12 TEN -----
4 CIN 10-27 13 @BUF -----
5 CHI ----- 14 NYJ -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA -----
7 @OAK ----- 16 NE -----
8 @GB ----- 17 @TEN -----
9 DET ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Toby Gerhart 10 2-10
WR Cecil Shorts 2-40
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-40
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: After the season opener, there was much optimism about the offense even though it was an overtime loss. Blaine Gabbert passed for 260 yards and two scores. There were new receivers and Maurice Jones-Drew was back after his ill-fated holdout for nothing. But then it only took one week for the Gabbert we knew to show back up. He passed for just 53 yards against the Texans. He has not topped 186 yards since the first game and is mostly grateful that Russell Wilson is the new guy with even worse yardage.

Once again, the Jaguars live and die by whatever Maurice Jones-Drew does and even then that is usually not enough. He has only one big rushing effort so far when they went to Indianapolis and last week was held to 38 yards on 13 runs. After the game, HC Mike Mularkey said they should have ran him more. The reality is they should probably run him on every play that they are not throwing to him.

Laurent Robinson has a concussion and is expected to miss this match-up. He only had one catch in the last two games combined despite being the primary receiver. Justin Blackmon caught six passes for 48 yards against the Bengals which looked huge because his career so far had only produced four receptions for 41 yards.

The only thing that ever happens in this passing offense is when every other game Cecil Shorts catches what turns into a long touchdown. And in his non-scoring weeks, he literally has no catches. Marcedes Lewis scored twice this season with minor yardage and yet his two off games were both one catch for eight or less yards. You really have to hit these receivers on the right week to avoid taking a goose egg from their fantasy score. Not that any of them have any fantasy merit.

The monumental problem this week is that the Bears defense has only allowed one touchdown all year to a running back. They are allowing only 55 rushing yards TOTAL per game and only 3.4 yards per carry. Last week they held DeMarco Murray to only 24 yards on 11 runs. Not a good situation when the entire offense revolves around Maurice Jones-Drew.

It helps to play the Bears on their second straight road game and in a short week for them. But chances are high it won't matter much to a team that has never had much offensive punch in two years.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 31 15 30 30 28 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 4 8 20 31 5 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Chad Henne, JAC IND 0000024021 ***
It's easy to say the Colts have been carved up via the air thus far, but in fairness to them they've faced Peyton Manning and Nick Foles. Still, Henne dropped 331 and 1 on them last December, posted a solid 266 and 2 in Philly, and would have fared better statistically against the Redskins had he not spent the afternoon running for his life. Should be a solid outing here, the kind you wouldn't be embarrassed to plug into a lineup that just lost, say, RG3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Toby Gerhart, JAC IND 5002100000 ***
At two yards a carry it's going to take some work for Gerhart to carve out fantasy value, even against a Jags D still reeling from the one-two punch of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. But hey, who else they got?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC IND 003501000 ***
Since sneaking up on Philly in the first half of Week 1, Hurns has exactly two catches for 13 yards. Not quite time to discard him into the one-hit wonder bin, but if you're plugging him into your fantasy lineup you must enjoy playing the lottery.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC IND 006700000 ***
Shorts practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, which is a positive step for him. Should he play he's the best (only?) playmaker on the Jaguars' offense and warrants a fantasy start against a defense he's taken for 246 yards and two TDs in three career meetings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marqise Lee, JAC IND 00000000 *
With Cecil Shorts sidelined we've been waiting for Lee to emerge as the go-to receiver Blake Bortles will trust... you know, once the Jaguars hand the keys to Bortles. Through two games, we're still waiting. Not that he can't do some damage against the Colts, but he has yet to demonstrate he's worthy of the trust required to crack a fantasy lineup.
Update: Lee has already been ruled out of Sunday's game, so no need to sweat his availability.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clay Harbor, JAC IND 003301000 *
Hey, Harbor gets the start against an Indy defense that clearly can't cover tight ends! I mean, they've allowed 12-198-3 to... oh, wait, Julius Thomas and Zach Ertz. Never mind; as you were.
Update: Harbor was limited in practice Thursday and Friday, adding a level of risk that dramatically overshadows his potential reward.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC IND 1122 ***
One more PAT and Scobee will join 27 of his NFL kicking mates in double figures. For the season. Yeah, it's that bad.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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