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
CHI @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 10 260,2
TE Logan Paulsen 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 Brian Hoyer, CHI @DAL 0000023011 ***
There is no reason to chance it with Hoyer in Week 3. Dallas hosts Chicago on Sunday night and is the 12th easiest matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI @DAL 5012100000 **
The offense may fall squarely on his shoulders without Jay Cutler under center. The likely added volume is nice, but stacked boxes can negate the effectiveness. Langford faces the 12th most difficult matchup for running backs and may struggle if Brandon Hoyer cannot exploit the secondary. Tread with caution, and avoid him in DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, CHI @DAL 004501000 ***
Royal should see an uptick in looks with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and Dallas' weak fantasy WR defense paying mind to Alshon Jeffery. That said, playing Royal is a tough pill to swallow for traditional leaguers. PPR only, and only if you must.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @DAL 004600000 ***
Dallas may look to double Jeffery all day long and force Brian Hoyer to take the checkdowns to backs and tight ends. The 'Boys have given up 24 catches for 316 yards and a trio of TDs to receivers this season. Jeffery is a starter but with much lower expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kevin White, CHI @DAL 004300000 ***
White is basically a late-season rookie at this point in his young NFL journey. Now a quarterback change comes into play, and it's really difficult to put much stock in White at this time. The matchup is respectable, so there's that going for him, but White isn't an quality start in any situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI @DAL 004400000 ***
Miller has been been non-existent through two games (7-47-0). That could change against the fourth easiest matchup for fantasy tight ends. Only Cleveland has given up more catches to the position. Brian Hoyer doesn't have the downfield game of Jay Cutler, something that bodes well for Miller.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @DAL 1122 ***
Brian Hoyer can do some decent things on offense, so maybe Barth gets ample chances. However, it's not worth chancing.

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 Matt Cassel 10 230,1
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Andre Johnson 6-90,1
WR Kendall Wright 3-40
TE Anthony Fasano 3-30

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 OAK 0000031021 ***
There isn't much Oakland's defense is doing well at this point, including stopping quarterbacks. Mariota is a solid choice to top 300 yards and find the end zone multiple times. Use him as a cost-saver in DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN OAK 7016500000 ***
Murray is a fine fantasy play this week. The Raiders have given up two total touchdowns (rush, receive) and 140 offensive yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN OAK 0071001000 ***
The best receiving matchup for receivers should lead to a career day for the rookie. Oakland has surrendered 35 receptions for 564 yards and five TDs to wideouts in two games -- nearly 23 more PPR points than the next closest defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, TEN OAK 003301000 **
Johnson doesn't belong on fantasy rosters. Or in DFS lineups, for that matter, even against a miserable pass defense. TE Delanie Walker (hamstring) is unlikely to go, so there's that, if you're willing to throw caution to the wind.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN OAK 004500000 ***
The matchup is ripe for the pickin', so take a shot in DFS. Matthews could slide into flex spots in traditional formats against the easiest WR fantasy defense to exploit in football.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN OAK 003400000 *
Cleveland is the only team that has given up more yards to tight ends than Oakland. The Raiders rank 26th at stopping the position. Walker is an offensive focal point and must be started in traditional games.

Update: Ruh-roh ... Walker is questionable and did not practice Friday. Not good. Check the inactives, but the late-blooming vet has a hammy injury and should be avoided for safety purposes.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN OAK 1133 ***
The Titans shouldn't have problems scoring touchdowns against Oakland, and TDs don't move the fantasy kicker needle.

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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