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: SEA 17, CAR 20 (Line: CAR by 2.5)

Players to Watch: Russell Wilson

The 2-2 Seahawks hit the road where they are 0-2 and have never scored more than one touchdown. The 1-3 Panthers are at home after nearly beating the Falcons last week. This could go in a number of ways but the Seahawks are sticking with Russell Wilson and the Panthers are at home with a far different sort of offense for the Seahawks to defend.

Seattle Seahawks
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 16-20 10 NYJ -----
2 DAL 27-7 11 BYE -----
3 GB 14-12 12 @MIA -----
4 @STL 13-19 13 @CHI -----
5 @CAR ----- 14 ARI -----
6 NE ----- 15 @BUF -----
7 @SF ----- 16 SF -----
8 @DET ----- 17 STL -----
9 MIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Russell Wilson 20 150,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 120,1 3-20
WR Doug Baldwin 1-10
TE Zach Miller 3-30
TE Tony Moeaki 3-30
PK Steven Hauschka 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Russell Wilson is once again the subject of talk and HC Pete Carroll has said he is sticking with the rookie "for now". Wilson has been there for both of the Seahawks wins but it may be a stretch to say he had a lot to do with them. Wilson has not shown the running skills that were expected and his passing has been marginal at best.

After four weeks, Wilson has averaged only 149 passing yards per game with never more than 160 yards or less than 130 yards. He has four touchdowns and four interceptions. On the plus side he is easy to predict. On the negative - that is Blaine Gabbert numbers. That is worse than Blaine Gabbert which as of last year we did not think could survive as a starting quarterback. But it does. For now.

Matt Flynn could get the call if Seattle loses more games and Russell just chugs along with his 150-1 no matter what is happening in the game. With NE and @SF up next, Flynn might just grab a helmet in the near future. The Pats and 49ers are not going to allow the run to control the game.

The minimal passing stats obviously strips all fantasy value from the receivers and truly the only single passing play of any consequence after four weeks was when Golden Tate caught M.D. Jennings who was holding the ball in the end zone at the end of the Packers games. Otherwise no receiver has more than 43 yards in any game.

Marshawn Lynch has largely carried the team to two victories and has never failed to gain at least 85 yards as a runner. He almost never catches the ball though and has only two touchdowns on the year. Robert Turbin ended up with six runs in St. Louis and gained 45 yards but this still remains not only Lynch's offense but Lynch's team.

It seems a dream match-up for Lynch to face the #32 defense against running backs and indeed it should be a profitable day but realize too that the Panthers gave up yards to runners who were a part of big time passers like Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. And only two runners have actually scored a rushing touchdowns on them. The yardage should be there since four runners turned in 95+ yards but do not underestimate the effect of a team being on the road with no passing game to fear.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 32 19 31 25 23 24
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 22 32 5 17 32 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Russell Wilson, SEA @ARI 70000021010 ***
Unfavorable trends about here. The Cards have given up just one multiple touchdown game in their last seven, while Wilson has just one such outing in his last four--a stretch that includes his 211 and 1 against the Cardinals in Week 12. Wilson will need his feet to salvage fantasy value once again; fortunately for fantasy owners, he proved he can get it done against Arizona with 73 rushing yards in the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ARI 5014300000 ***
Lynch has yet to rush for a road TD, and Arizona isn't overly accommodating in allowing six RB rushing scores in 14 games. Settle for his usual decent dose of yardage and cross your fingers the Seahawks get close enough for him to pound one in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jermaine Kearse, SEA @ARI 003400000 ***
Kearse joins Doug Baldwin as the most-targeted Seahawks receivers; he also joins him at the back of the line for fantasy productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA @ARI 003200000 ***
The Seahawks continue to get by with minimal productivity from their passing game. Baldwin remains the most targeted, but that rarely turns into anything of fantasy note--especially in an unfavorable matchup such as this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Luke Willson, SEA @ARI 002101000 *
Willson competes with Tony Moeaki for looks, and last week they finished in a dead heat: both had zero targets. You can't bank on a share of a low-output position for fantasy help at this point in the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA @ARI 2122 ***
Two of Hauschka's three lowest-scoring games have come in the past fortnight. Slump? Coincidence? Hauschka had 13 against Arizona when the Cards came to Seattle a month ago, there's no real reason to suggest a steep drop-off in the return match.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN -----
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC -----
5 SEA ----- 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL ----- 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI ----- 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 60,1 220,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 3-20
RB DeAngelo Williams 40 2-10
TE Ed Dickson 2-20
TE Greg Olsen 6-70,1

Pregame Notes: Losing to the Falcons was a tough one since the Panthers were ahead in the game until the final seconds and gave up a field goal only after Cam Newton fumbled on third down and forced a punt. There was plenty of other factors in play as well (ie. 59-yard completion to Roddy White with 59 seconds left to play). But Newton already was taking the Giants loss hard and once again had to deal with the emotional realities of being a quarterback.

The reason the Panthers were in the game against a very tough opponent in their stadium was because Newton rushed for 86 yards and a score and passed for 215 yards and two more touchdowns. That only gives Newton four touchdowns on the season against five interceptions but he has three running scores as well. Newton has been passing for solid yardage every week but he has yet to have a truly big passing day.

The rushing game chugs along unchecked. Jonathan Stewart was back from his toe injury and had no setbacks while gaining 40 yards on ten carries. He and DeAngelo Williams split the carries so neatly that they almost mirror each other in yardage. Unfortunately, that ends up to be a decent game divided by two which equals not a decent game.

Greg Olsen is still the one to watch in the receiving offense. He has about 90 yards in each of the last two weeks and scored in Atlanta for the first time this season. No other receiver has that sort of production. Steve Smith still has not scored this year and since opening with two 100+ yard efforts, he has declined to only 52 yards on three receptions in Atlanta. Brandon LaFell was held to no catches and Kealoha Pilares scored a 36-yard touchdown because defenders thought he was there for the Hawaiian theme half-time show. Ends up he is a second-year wide receiver now with two career catches. The passing game has been off in recent weeks while the Panthers have faced two good defenses.

The Seahawks have been outstanding - #1 even - against quarterbacks though they have not yet faced one that can run. The Seattle rushing defense has been great too but that was facing Beanie Wells, a visiting Demarco Murray who only had 12 carries, Cedric Benson and Steven Jackson nursing a sore groin. This game works out better for the Panthers than it may seem.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 5 20 24 18 32 21
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 1 9 13 5 10 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR CLE 10000025011 ***
Maybe Cam goes this week, but can you trust him to run--key to his fantasy value--with two busted bones in his back? Probably not, which leaves him to his throwing--not nearly enough to warrant a fantasy start in championship week.
Update: Cam is listed as probable and all indications are he'll start this week. Tough to see him running like usual, however, so he'll need to rely on his arm--and specifically on Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen--to carve out fantasy value against a pretty solid Browns secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR CLE 8011100000 ***
You can run on the Brownies; see Cincy's 241 yards and three TDs last week. And with little to no DeAngelo Williams and quite likely no Cam Newton culturing, it'll be another 20-tote day for Stewart. He's produced 228 yards and a touchdown with his last two 20-carry outings; have to like him here as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR CLE 200000000 ***
Williams hasn't played for two weeks and hasn't seen more than 14 carries in a year. All he's doing is harshing Jonathan Stewart's mellow.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR CLE 005600000 **
Joe Haden is not infallible. He also hasn't had a great deal of success with bigger receivers, especially tandems: Mike Evans went for 7-124-6 (or Vincent Jackson had 6-86, take your pick); DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson split 148 yards; and Julio Jones scored (with 68 yards to boot) while Roddy White tallied 96. Benjamin doesn't have nearly as high-profile a running mate, but he's still a solid bet to see his usual volume of targets and provide fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR CLE 004500000 ***
You could play the "not covered by Joe Haden" card here, but Kelvin Benjamin's dramatic size advantage over Haden likely puts that matchup in favor of the receiver, negating the need to lean any more heavily on Cotchery than usual.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR CLE 007801000 **
Cleveland has been pretty good against tight ends--except for Jimmy Graham, whom they misguidedly tried to defend with the much smaller Joe Haden. Unlikely that the Browns sic Haden on Olsen, which should free him up to do his usual damage.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR CLE 3322 ***
Gano is heating up at just the right time; with multiple treys in three straight and double-digit points in back-to-back tilts, it's fortuitous that he bumps into a Browns defense that has served up multiple field goals in three straight and double-digit kicker points in three of its last five.

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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