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 TB 0000031031 ****
Lovie's defense has held three of the past four QBs they've faced under 250 yards and to one TD toss or less, plus you have to think he has some knowledge of Cutler's game from his days in Chicago. That said, Cutler still has his twin towers plus Matt Forte to lean on, so he should be just fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI TB 8006501000 ***
The Bucs have allowed five 80-plus yard rushers in their past six games, so Forte should get his on the ground. Add in his passing game contributions and another quality fantasy outing is in the offing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI TB 0071101000 ****
It's a solid matchup, Jeffery against a Bucs' secondary that has struggled with big receivers this season. He's a little less consistently targeted than running mate Brandon Marshall, but both are quality fantasy options this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI TB 0081001000 ****
From way back in Week 1, when Kelvin Benjamin debuted with 92 yards and a touchdown, to Week 10 when Julio Jones rolled up 8-119, the Bucs have struggled with receivers of size. The Bears have size times two in Marshall and Alshon Jeffery; no reason to think this passing game can't have the same success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI TB 004400000 ***
The Bucs haven't given up a tight end touchdown since Week 4, and with outside receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery both expected to have big games there may not be enough left over for Bennett this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI TB 2233 ***
Four of the last six kickers to tee it up against the Bucs have scored double-digit points. Unfortunately, Gould hasn't even scored double-digit points in the last month combined so you'll want to get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

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 Blake Bortles, JAC @IND 0000024011 ***
Bortles' first taste of the NFL came against Indy earlier this year, when he tossed two TDs in relief of Chad Henne. He's been inconsistent and mostly ineffective since, and it'll take garbage time for him to carve out fantasy value against the Colts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Denard Robinson, JAC @IND 8012100000 ***
Robinson has either scored or topped 100 yards in each of his four games since taking over the regular gig--a job he did not have when these teams met earlier in the season. After watching Jonas Gray gut the Colts for 201 yards and four TDs, you have to think Robinson can at least carve out some fantasy value here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC @IND 006901000 ***
Shorts has had his share of success against Indy, with three TDs in four games--including one in the earlier meeting this year. With Allen Robinson out Shorts should resume his role as the most targeted Jaguar, and in garbage time odds are he can carve out some fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC @IND 006800000 ***
Hurns should see more looks with fellow rookie Allen Robinson out, and he's always a threat for the home run. But Cecil Shorts is the more viable fantasy option in Jacksonville's passing game, and thus far there hasn't usually been enough to feed multiple mouths.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clay Harbor, JAC @IND 002100000 ***
The Colts have given up four TE TDs in the past three games, but Harbor's role in the Jacksonville offense has declined to the point that even with a favorable matchup on the table you'll want to look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC @IND 0022 ***
Scobee hasn't hit double-digits yet this year, and the Jags have only managed to crack the 20-point mark twice this season. You have better options at your disposal.

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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