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: DEN 31, CIN 17 (Line: DEN by 3)

Players to Watch: Willis McGahee, Andy Dalton

The 4-3 Broncos served notice to the league when they shredded the Saints while Peyton Manning looks as dangerous as a guy who just figured out how to drive a M1 Abrams tank. The 3-4 Bengals are on a three game losing streak and looking like the Bengals of old. Only with A.J. Green instead of a young Chad Johnson. The Bengals are only 1-2 at home but are coming off their bye week.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC -----
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB -----
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD 35-24 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 300,3
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-40
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-90,1
TE Jacob Tamme 2-20

Pregame Notes: Apparently it only requires three weeks for Peyton Manning to join an entirely new team with questionable receivers and turn it all into a scoring machine. He is setting records now with four straight games with over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. He not only threw 17 touchdowns so far, he has only had one interception in the last five games. He doesn't even get sacked anymore. The scariest thing of all is that he not only has his new versions of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, but he also enjoys his best rushing support in many years. Oh yes, and this has to be the best defense he has ever played with. Add it all together and one guy in every league is giggling about the fourth round pick he made in his fantasy draft.

Willis McGahee continues to provide solid rushing in every game and when he doesn't, he becomes a receiver with as many ass six catches in a game. He evolved into a near lock for 100+ total yards every week and just shifts the amount of rushing and receiving yards around. Ronnie Hillman ran for 86 yards on 14 runs against the Saints but that was just letting the little brother kick the bully when he was already down. Hillman has no reliable fantasy value yet.

The tight ends always figure in at least a little every week but there is no way to discern if it will be Jacob Tamme or Joel Dreessen. Last week it was Virgil Green for the first time. Sadly no reliable fantasy value here.

Simply put, Manning has made both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into must start receivers every week. Decker is on a four game scoring streak and has five touchdowns on the year. He is the lesser used of the wideouts but still has been just a lock for a score for the past month and usually decent yardage as well. Thomas only scored four times on the year and just twice in recent weeks but already logged four efforts over 100 yards. Brandon Stokley also scores on occasion but Decker and Thomas are the primary duo for the offense.

Manning won't post 300 yards and three scores every week. But then again he might. The Bengals are solid against the pass but the only quarterback they faced of any real note was Ben Roethlisberger (278, TD). Otherwise it has been Brandon Weeden (twice), Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin and Blaine Gabbert. None in the same class as Manning.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 6 10 2 6 19 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 16 28 8 27 21 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @NE 0000031030 ***
Think Bill Belichick has Peyton's number? Think again; Manning has multiple TD tosses in five straight regular-season meetings with the Patriots dating back to the 2008 season. He's topped 300 yards in three of those five as well. This iteration of the New England defense has surrendered multiple scoring strikes in four of five; this iteration of Peyton has at least three TDs in four straight and six of seven. Fantasy owners needn't concern themselves with the war; Peyton consistently wins this battle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN @NE 9003201000 ***
Focus too much on Peyton Manning and Hillman will get ya; he's racked up triple-digit combo yardage in all three starts since Montee Ball went down. The Patriots have allowed three 100-yard rushers in the past four games as well as a couple of 50-plus yard receiving games to backs; if they devote too much game plan to Manning, Hillman's fantasy prospects climb from good to very good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN @NE 201000000 **
Thompson looks to be taking over as the goal line complement to Ronnie Hillman--and a a Patriots D that's allowed five RB TDs in the past four games might be susceptible to a goal line back.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @NE 0061001000 ***
The Patriots have to hope adding Darrelle Revis to the roster slows Thomas, because nothing else they've tried to date has; in four career meetings he's averaging almost seven catches for almost 110 yards, though he's scored just once in the four games. He brings a four-game streak of 100-yard efforts into this tilt, and you have to like his chances of exiting with at least a fantasy helper if not a fifth straight above the century mark.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @NE 004500000 ***
Not only have the Patriots allowed multiple WRs to score in two of their last four games, they never had an answer for Sanders when he played for Pittsburgh; in three games he racked up 16-209-1. With four TDs in the past two games he's beyond his scoring slump, and odds are he won't see Darrelle Revis so the run of success should continue.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN @NE 004400000 ***
Welker has never caught a TD pass against his former mates--not as a Dolphin before joining the Patriots, nor in his lone meeting with them as a Bronco. He's also slid down the passing game pecking order in Denver, to the point that he's a reach of a fantasy play even in a six-team bye week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @NE 004601000 ****
After a scorching start Thomas has been kept in check the past two weeks. Don't expect that to continue against a New England defense that's allowed three 90-yard games to TEs and three TE TDs in the past five games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @NE 1144 *****
Kicking behind a Peyton Manning offense has its advantages: four or more PATs in all but one game this year. It also has its disadvantages: only one game with multiple field goal attempts. You'll get solid, but spectacular doesn't appear to be in the offing.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG -----
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC -----
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK -----
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD -----
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 230,2
WR A.J. Green 5-60,1
WR Greg Little 5-80,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 6-60,1
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: At 3-4 and on a three game losing streak, the Bengals are flirting with the return to mediocrity. The schedule is no less challenging either so they need to figure out how to produce more points and expand an offense that has become little more than Andy Dalton passing to A.J. Green. It has been great for Green owners but less so for the actual Bengals.

Dalton's been a nice surprise again this year with scores in the last six games and a total of 13 passing touchdowns with ten interceptions. He scores more than once in most games and other than the 105 yard flop in week seven to the Steelers, Dalton has produced good to great yardage every week. He's another one of the quarterbacks that can really go off when facing a weak defense but isn't good enough yet to post a big game on a good defense.

The rushing game has been of minor help to the offense with only three rushing touchdowns scored this year and none for BenJarvus Green-Ellis since week three. He still has yet to break 100 rushing yards this year despite taking nearly all the carries for the Bengals. He rarely is used as a receiver so all he really offers is just around 60 or so rushing yards in most games. Not exactly acceptable for a primary back who doesn't really share carries. Even Cedric Benson was markedly better than this.

The entirety of the passing game revolves around A.J. Green who is on a six-game scoring streak but finally was held to just one catch by the Steelers. He's been one of the most productive wideouts this year and generally commands ten to twelve passes per week. Armon Binns only seems to get worse and Andrew Hawkins settled down to more of a typical slot receiver with two or three catches per game. The intention was to try Marvin Jones out across from Green but he's been out for two weeks with a slightly torn MCL.

Jermaine Gresham rounds out the receivers and has become the second best target for Dalton. He's only scored twice but offers up around 60 yards in most games with much more consistency than any of the others.

The Broncos come in with a very good rushing defense to pit against the bad running of Green-Ellis. Dalton has to try to find secondary receivers because the Broncos can cover "one guy" passing schemes.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 13 27 4 19 17 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 15 18 7 30 6 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN JAC 0000026010 ***
You'd think Dalton would be an automatic start against the Jags, but they've actually been a decent defense of late--especially against the pass, but that's because opposing QBs are averaging just 33 passing attempts against the non-threatening Jags. Hue Jackson doesn't need an excuse to run more, so this is less about the matchup and more about Dalton simply handing off too much to be of fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN JAC 5014300000 ****
Curious that after allowing four RB rushing scores in the first two games the Jags have allowed only one RB rushing TD--and only two RB scores overall--in the subsequent six. Also, no rusher has topped 85 yards against them. Gio has been squelched in back-to-back games, but with no AJ Green and this being a home tilt--where he's scored in all four outings this year--it's an opportunity for Hue Jackson to get his meal ticket back on track.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN JAC 401000000 ****
Hill has scored in three of four at home, where he's averaging 10 carries a game. Surprisingly facing the Jags is not a favorable statistical matchup for opposing backs, but you know Hue Jackson is going to run the ball right down Jacksonville's gullet so there should be ample opportunity for Hill to be a fantasy helper as wel.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN JAC 004801000 *
Green returned to practice this week but you needn't rush to get him back in your lineup as Jacksonville is not the cream puff matchup you might expect; they've allowed just one WR TD in the past month. No reason to over-extend Green until he's needed, so there's a good chance he'll get some token snaps while the ground game and Mohamed Sanu do the heavy lifting. It's certainly worth revisiting on Friday, in case Green is lights out in practice.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN JAC 006800000 ***
Sanu is a solid wingman who sparkled when asked to fill AJ Green's shoes as the Bengals feature receiver. With Green back at practice Sanu returns to wingman duties, and a matchup with a surprisingly effective Jacksonville secondary suggests he's a fringe fantasy play at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Little, CIN JAC 003300000 ***
With AJ Green returning to action there's no need to dig any further down the Bengals' WR depth chart than WR2 Mohamed Sanu.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN JAC 004300000 ****
Over the past three games Gresham has 23 targets, 20 catches, and zero TDs. Jacksonville is a decent matchup for TEs so if you're in a bye week bind he's better than a sharp stick in the eye, but don't go overboard with your expectations.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN JAC 1133 ****
Everybody gets their kicks against the Jags, who have allowed multiple field goals in seven of eight and an average of 10 kicker points per game. Nugent should be no exception.

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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