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 Jay Feely 2 FG 2 XP
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 Jimmy Clausen, CHI DET 0000023022 *
Clausen hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2010; heck, he's only thrown nine passes total since 2010. Jay Cutler threw for 280 and 2 in Detroit; sans Brandon Marshall, it's a safe bet Clausen won't approach those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 00000000 *****
Benched for Jimmy Clausen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI DET 3008700000 ***
Worry. Forte's worst game in years came in Detroit in Week 13, when he rushed for six yards on five carries. 52 receiving yards kind of salvaged the day, but with Jimmy Clausen at the helm you can expect the Lions to focus on Forte. It'll be tough to pull the trigger on a replacement, but this doesn't look particularly good for Forte this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI DET 005601000 ***
You might feel positive about this matchup after seeing Jeffery score twice in the earlier meeting, but consider what's happened since then: no Brandon Marshall to draw coverage, and the uber-rusty Jimmy Clausen throwing the ball. He's still reasonably startable, but not with nearly as much confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI DET 003200000 ***
Wilson scored in his first extended action in place of Brandon Marshall, but it's a significantly tougher matchup this week--not to mention a quarterback who hasn't had to progress through his reads in game action for almost four years. Temper your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI DET 007601000 ***
Bennett came up large in the earlier meeting with Detroit, and tight end has been a recent Achilles' heel for the Lions as they've allowed games of 69, 109, and 78 yards and a two-TD game--all in just the past month. Bennett should be a favored target for Jimmy Clausen, but it's still a risky proposition given that Chicago's QB hasn't seen significant action in four years.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI DET 1122 ***
It's a telling sign that in two games as a Bear Feely has more onside kick attempts (4) than total points (3). 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 TEN 10000025011 ***
Bortles has but one multiple passing TD outing in his 11 NFL starts, none in his past five games. He threw for 336 and 1 in the earlier meeting with Tennessee; he's banged up and it's a short week, so that feels like the top end of his prospects here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Toby Gerhart, JAC TEN 5012100000 ***
Gerhart will get first crack at taking advantage of one of the league's softest run defenses. If you're reaching for fantasy help, he's a guy that could pay off--probably not 100-yard help, though the Titans have already allowed seven backs to cross that threshold including five in the last seven games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Storm Johnson, JAC TEN 300000000 ***
Toby Gerhart gets first crack at the carries, leaving Storm with table scraps. It's a favorable matchup, but the Jags need to get one back to fantasy relevancy before worrying about a second.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC TEN 006800000 ***
Shorts has been the more frequently targeted Jaguar, though barely, over the past three games. Unfortunately, he has fewer catches and yardage in those games than either Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns and has failed to reach the end zone. He posted 10-103 on 16 targets in the first meeting with Tennessee, so if you're forced to start a Jaguar receiver he's your best bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marqise Lee, JAC TEN 005700000 ***
Lee has come on of late, but this is still three wideouts equally splitting what amounts to a minuscule amount of passing game production so proceed with caution.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC TEN 004300000 ***
Despite Cecil Shorts getting more targets, Hurns has matched fellow rookie Marqise Lee in catches, yardage and scores over the past three games. Still, it's a one-third share of some pretty ordinary numbers from Blake Bortles, so you can likely do better fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC TEN 003501000 ***
Lewis isn't seeing consistent enough targets to warrant a fantasy start--even against a Tennessee defense that gave up 3-91-1 to Clay Harbor in the earlier meeting with Jacksonville.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC TEN 2222 ***
Scobee has come alive with three straight multiple field goal games, and no team gives up more kicker points than the Titans. Of course, the last time these two juggernauts got together Scobee managed two points so ease back on the throttle a bit.

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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