FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: CHI 27, TEN 13 (Line: CHI by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Chris Johnson

The 6-1 Bears maintain a two game lead over the NFC North and are on a five game winning streak. The 3-5 Titans are just 2-2 at home and come off a loss to the visiting Colts last week.

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 41-3 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Kendall Wright 3-40
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears were blessed with a fairly light schedule to open the season and this game is just another that they should be able to win. But starting in week 10 it all gets much tougher with the Texans and Seahawks coming to town and a road trip to San Francisco in addition to four more divisional matchups. The division title may well end up decided in week 15 when the Packers come to town after handing the Bears their only loss so far this year.

Jay Cutler's been good enough to score in all but one game so far but never more than twice and on the season he stands at just nine touchdowns against eight interceptions. He was banged around in the Panthers game last week and that porous Chicago line has given up 11 sacks over just the last two games - both at home no less. The offense is getting pretty predictable when it passes though almost no one has slowed down the connection between Cutler and Marshall.

Marshall averages seven catches per game and he's done better than that in recent weeks. Marshall topped 100 yards in three games already and has not been under 80 yards per game since week three. Problem is that he gets almost no help from his fellow wideouts who collectively share only two scores all year. Alshon Jeffrey is hoping to return in week ten but even he was of marginal production prior to hurting his hand. The tight ends are of no help either though Kellen Davis scored last week on his only catch in the game.

The Bears offense runs through Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. Michael Bush began the year as a factor of sorts with three scores in the first three weeks and nearly splitting carries with Forte but has since declined until bottoming out last week with just three runs for five yards. Forte gets the goal line work now as well and finally scored against the Panthers for the first time since the season opener. Forte's been solid with 90+ total yards in the last three weeks and is in full health again.

This week should see both Forte running well and plenty of chances for Marshall to increase his weekly averages for catches and yardage. The Titans defense remains one of the worst in the league and ranked at #32 against tight ends makes Davis a chance for another score. Though again - it would be his only catch in the game. The Bears are #2 against running backs. That should be plenty good enough to control this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 25 13 12 31 10 1
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 28 30 18 32 28 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mitchell Trubisky, CHI CAR 30000015011 ***
Despite Trubisky's flashes of optimism, he will go through some growing pains and isn't a fantasy-worthy commodity at this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI CAR 8011100000 ***
Howard has an interesting matchup with Carolina. This defense has granted TDs with the eighth-highest frequency (one per 31 totes) but the fourth-fewest rushing yards and little else.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI CAR 2002100000 ***
Cohen threw a TD pass last week but has been less than inspiring for fantasy purposes in recent weeks. Against Carolina, running backs have allowed a lot of catches (6.6/game) but no touchdowns through the air. In PPR, this is the ninth-hardest opponent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, CHI CAR 004400000 ***
The Panthers have been exploited to the tune of giving up the 11th-most points in non-PPR, 12th-most in PPR, 12th-most receptions and 15th-most yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI CAR 004401000 *
Tight ends have averaged only three catches per outing (31st) vs. Carolina, yet the position has scored once every 3.8 grabs (2nd). The matchup is garbage without finding the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI CAR 2222 ***
This is a squarely neutral matchup for kickers, with the position averaging a pair of FGAs and 2.4 XPAs. This is a positive-leaning rating for Barth.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU 14-38 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN 7-30 14 @IND -----
6 PIT 26-23 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF 35-34 16 @GB -----
8 IND 13-19 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 280,1
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Eric Decker 7-60,1

Pregame Notes: The Titans have three wins but each time it seems like a trap game that goes well for them. The passing effort remains in neutral with game manager Matt Hasselbeck under center but the rushing effort via Chris Johnson appears to have taken a permanent turn for the better. That still doesn't make the Titans a competitive team yet. What is most germane this week is that the three wins all featured 26 points or more scored. When they lose, they have not scored more than 14 points in any game and that's with ample garbage time. Since no team scored more than 23 points on the Bears this year, the Titans are not looking at a good situation this week.

Hasselbeck will take the start again this week since Jake Locker remains out with a fracture in his left non-throwing shoulder. HC Mike Munchak insists that Locker remains the starter when healthy but that is looking more like week 12 at the earliest. Hasselbeck threw only one touchdown in every start this year and with the recent success of the rushing offense, he's been mostly a game manager only throwing 30 or 40 passes at most.

After a year and a half of Chris-Johnson-Lite, his jump in production is hard to completely buy into. After running for 141 yards in Houston (who let him burn up the clock for them), he only gained 24 yards on 15 runs in Minnesota where Doug Martin went nuts just last week. But Johnson's totaled over 100 yards against the Steelers, Bills and Colts. In Buffalo, he not only ran for 195 yards, he scored two touchdowns. His only touchdowns in fact. It is undeniably encouraging to see him deliver against good defenses like the Texans and Steelers and then post even bigger stats against weaker teams like the Colts and Bills. This week is a major challenge with the Bears sporting the #2 defense against the position and not allowing any running back scores since the season opener. No running back has rushed for more than 81 yards on them. Johnson can prove definitively that he is back with at least a decent performance this week.

Kenny Britt insists he will play this week despite needing a precautionary MRI Monday because of soreness in his surgically-repaired knee. But he's only scored once all year and three of the four games since he returned have produced fewer than 35 yards. Nate Washington is the most consistent receiver but in Tennessee that doesn't mean much. When Britt, Washington or Kendall Wright end up with more than 60 yards in a game, it means it went really well.

If the Titans can only post 13 points on the Colts last week, chances are they not scoring a lot against the Bears. The only interesting aspect this week is to see what Chris Johnson does against a very good rushing defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 21 28 20 8 23 20
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 6 2 12 18 7 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN @CLE 10000023021 ***
Mariota's mobility was limited last week and he still posted a quality fantasy effort. The Browns have given up only 236.2 yards per game (18th) but touchdowns with the second-easiest frequency (one per 8.9 completions). This is the fifth-best matchup rating for Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN @CLE 7011100000 ***
Power backs haven't done so well against the Browns. Only two of the last 126 carries have scored, and the 78 yards per contest against this group rates 22nd. Short of another huge run, Henry may slide back into the realm of fantasy mediocrity.

Update: Henry should see more work, even if DeMarco Murray plays. Murray is a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN @CLE 3001100000 *
The matchup suits Murray's versatility nicely. Don't expect a monster game, because Cleveland is at least respectable against the position, allowing a combined 128.4 yards per game (22nd). One of every 63 rushing attempts in the past five games has made its way into the end zone.

Update: A questionable status with hamstring, Murray sat two days before being limited Friday. This one is iffy, at best, and he's a true game-day call.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN @CLE 004501000 **
While allowing the third-fewest receptions and sixth-lowest yardage figures in per-game data, this is the second-weakest defense against which to score a TD. Last season, Matthews posted a 3-70-1 line in Week 6 vs. Cleveland.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN @CLE 004500000 ***
Decker should signs of life in Week 6 and has a reasonable matchup this time out. Cleveland has given up only 8.6 catches per game (3rd fewest) while surrendering a TD every 6.1 grabs (2nd highest). Decker is an intriguing boom-or-bust start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taywan Taylor, TEN @CLE 002300000 ***
The rookie is showing a knack for making splash plays, which inherently makes him a risky fantasy choice. The Browns only fuel the temptation, since this is the second-easiest team to score a TD on and also No. 2 in fantasy points per play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jonnu Smith, TEN @CLE 003201000 **
Update: The rookie has a great matchup and appears to be in line for a start with Delanie Walker missing Friday's practice with a calf injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @CLE 002200000 *
In 2016, against Cleveland, he caught one pass for 21 yards. The Browns have been pounded by the position, giving up the highest average of receptions per game (7.4) and the third-most yardage (75.4). PPR TEs rate third and non-PPR go fourth against this group.

Update: Walker is questionable and didn't practice Friday after being limited Thursday. Not good. Not good at all. Look for Jonnu Smith if you need a one-week replacement.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @CLE 3333 ***
Succop is a lock from inside of 50 and draws a Browns team that has given up a mess of extra points (15-for-16) but only five three-pointers.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

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