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: GB 27, IND 20 (Line: GB by 8.5)

Players to Watch: James Jones, T.Y. Hilton

The Packers rebounded from their loss to the Seahawks by just barely clipping the Saints last week. Now they head to Indianapolis with a 0-1 road record but the Colts just discovered that HC Chuck Pagano has leukemia and will be undergoing treatment. The Colts are 1-2 and coming off their bye week. How the distraction of the coach's condition helps or hinders the Colts cannot be known, but he is a first year coach and many of the Colts players are new to the team anyway. Probably not going to be a "win this one for the gipper" sort of motivation.

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 28-27 13 MIN -----
5 @IND ----- 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20 310,2
RB Cedric Benson 80,1 4-40
WR Randall Cobb 6-60,1
WR Jordy Nelson 5-70
TE Jermichael Finley 4-50
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: After starting out with three of four games at home, the Packers hit a tougher stretch of the schedule with three straight road trips. Aaron Rodgers finally had a 2011-ish game when he passed for 319 yards and four scores on the Saints after only throwing three touchdowns over the first three games. Another missing element this season has been Rodgers as a runner. He has only averaged 17 rush yards per game and has not scored on the ground yet.

Much of that has to do with the improved ground game afforded by Cedric Benson who still maxes out around 80 yards per game but moves the chains and more importantly allows the Packers to burn up the clock at the end of games without having to punt once every four plays. Benson has been only a moderate fantasy play in any week but has been a benefit to the Packers offense.

Jermichael Finley started out as the main receiver in the Saints game but they quickly turned away from him. Finley ended with four catches for 54 yards which is roughly where he ends up each week. He has not scored since the season opener and only gets five passes per game.

Greg Jennings reinjured his groin against the Saints and may miss this week. James Jones replaced him and posted five catches for 56 yards and two scores in his best fantasy game ever and will continue to take his place if needed. Randall Cobb spent two weeks with only one catch and then reeled in seven receptions for 66 yards last Sunday. He has yet to score and his inconsistency makes him too big of a risk for a fantasy start. Jordy Nelson finally scored this year along with a season best eight catches for 93 yards but his only road game this year resulted in just two catches for 19 yards. He was far more productive at home than on the road in 2011 as well.

The old Packers would roll up a monster score in this game but the 2012 version has been far less prolific so far. But the Colts are weak against the pass which alone is the problem in this game. Even with Jennings out, no reason why the Packers cannot claim this win as they should have in Seattle against a far better defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 15 27 3 10 29 17
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 14 22 28 1 26 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB DET 10000030020 ***
Rodgers was abysmal in the earlier matchup--162 yards, one TD--and he's actually been awful in three straight against the Lions. That run includes two home dates, so it's not just a home/road split. Rodgers hasn't been much of a fantasy helper the past fortnight, and expectations should be kept in check this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB DET 8013300000 ***
Lacy has averaged 60 yards from scrimmage per game against the Lions, with no TDs to boot. Doesn't help when Aaron Rodgers attempts to pad his stats by throwing at the stripe rather than giving Lacy a shot, though Lacy has scored in three straight and five of the last six. It's taken burly backs to crack the Lions' code at the stripe--Matt Asiata, LeGarrette Blount, Steven Jackson--and Lacy certainly has the bulk, if given the opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB DET 006902000 ***
Subdued passing numbers for Aaron Rodgers mean subdued numbers for Nelson, who has been fantastic at home but hasn't scored or topped 100 yards against the Lions since New Year's Day of 2012. Check your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB DET 0071000000 ****
Cobb has been held in check by the Lions as well, with just one career TD and one career 100-yard game against them. He's been a little less volatile than Jordy Nelson, especially on the road, but he hasn't been quite as productive as his running mate in Lambeau either. It's not a great matchup, but at this juncture Cobb is an every-week fantasy play regardless of foe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB DET 003500000 ***
While Green Bay's receiver depth has been especially productive at home, the Lions aren't giving up enough to feed all three mouths so keep Adams in reserve this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB DET 2233 ****
Crosby has multiple field goals in four straight and seven of his last eight, and double digit points in five of his last eight. He posted a season-low single point in the earlier meeting with Detroit but this one's at home, where he's averaging four more points per game than on the road. So he's good for at least five here, right?

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC -----
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE -----
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB ----- 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ ----- 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE ----- 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN ----- 17 HOU -----
9 MIA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck 250,2
QB Andrew Luck 20 300,2
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 60 5-50
RB Trent Richardson 60 5-50
WR Josh Cribbs
WR T.Y. Hilton 3-60,1
WR Hakeem Nicks
WR Reggie Wayne 8-110,1
TE Dwayne Allen 2-20
TE Coby Fleener 2-20
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Colts come off their bye week with a 1-2 record but already have some positives to build upon. They also have new challenges with Austin Collie placed on injured reserve thanks to a ruptured right patella tendon. This is a rebuilding year and progress has already been made.

Andrew Luck has thrown a touchdown or two in every game and two of his three games posted over 300 yards. After three games, Luck has a total of 846 passing yards and five touchdowns against four interceptions. Peyton Manning only had 683 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions after his first three games as a Colts rookie. There is no denying that Luck has been impressive while working with an aging Reggie Wayne and little else. He even ran for 50 yards in the last game. Granted - not winning a lot but he is posting the statistics and shows fantasy relevance already.

The rushing effort is every bit as bad as expected with Donald Brown leading the way though he has yet to run for over 62 yards per game and has just one score. Brown is averaging 3.6 yards per carry which seems high if you have watched him play. Vick Ballard is even worse so Brown remains in place.

Though Coby Fleener started out with six catches for 82 yards in the season opener, he has only managed two receptions for 16 yards over the last two weeks and is not even getting the looks. As Luck becomes more comfortable, he is throwing farther down the field and has little use for tight ends. Reggie Wayne is the lone consistent play here but both Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton have one game over 100 yards sandwiched by far lesser efforts.This is an offense in progress and Luck is still sorting out who does what. With 40 targets in three games, Wayne has seen a nice increase in production after a horrible 2011 had many questioning if his career was in sharp decline.

The Packers show up with a very good rushing defense and there is hardly anyone from the Colts to worry about when they run. This will, as will most games, end up as a passing shootout with Luck trying valiantly to keep up and offering some decent fantasy value. The Packers pass defense was exposed last week when they finally faced a better passer than Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Russell Wilson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 12 28 5 22 26 23
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 17 16 19 9 9 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND @TEN 0000023010 *
Luck blew up the Titans to the tune of 370 and 4 when they met back in Week 3. He's been somewhat off that pace of late, with three straight under 200 yards, but as long as the Colts don't get cute and sit him down for Matt Hasselbeck he's as dangerous a fantasy quarterback as there is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dan Herron, IND @TEN 6013200000 **
Plenty of opportunity here against a defense that's allowed at least one RB score in nine straight games and 12 of the last 13. The Colts had Ahmad Bradshaw (9-65, 2-18-1 and Trent Richardson (14-57, 3-23) do the damage last week; sans Bradshaw, Herron should see plenty of opportunities with this favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @TEN 5002100000 ***
Richardson has been usurped as the Colts' primary ball-carrier, but that doesn't mean he can't hang out--and maybe fall into some fantasy value. Prior to last week Richardson had been splitting carries with Dan Herron, then in last week's blowout loss to the Cowboys things started getting weird. In a favorable matchup you could wring Richardson's last remaining drops of fantasy value from him, but the yield isn't likely to be very big.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @TEN 008800000 **
With TY Hilton out Nicks was Eli Manning's go to guy last week. He's playing for a contract, but what Nicks really needs this week is for Hilton to miss another game and leave Nicks in charge of the receiver rotation. Otherwise he's a risky bet for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND @TEN 004300000 ***
Wayne remains firmly in the twilight of his stellar career; there's not much fantasy value here, either.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @TEN 002300000 *
Hilton didn't play last week, and his status for this week's game has yet to be determined. However, Indy's in the playoffs so even if TY is ready expect reduced snaps as the Colts attempt to keep him fresh for a run at the Lombardi.
Update: Hilton is listed as questionable, and with nothing to play for it would be surprising if the Colts gave him more than a few "stay warm" snaps this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND @TEN 005601000 **
Like his running mate, Dwayne Allen, Fleener also scored in the earlier meeting with Tennessee. That's a formidable one-two punch for Andrew Luck to lean on, and there's no reason to think he won't do just that this week.
Update: Indy's TE punch will be limited to just a "one" with Allen ruled out due to a knee injury, but the last time Fleener flew solo he was a fantasy stud so this might just work out in Coby's favor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @TEN 2222 ***
You can't rest the kicker, so even if the rest of Indy's JV is on the field they should still provide ample opportunity for Vinatieri to swing the leg--maybe even to the tune of the 11 points he scored against the Titans earlier this season.

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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