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
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 4 XP

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 @SEA 0000027021 ****
Wash the taste of the Super Bowl out of your mouth, take a deep breath, and tell yourself Peyton has three TD tosses in every game so far. Sure, he's entering the place where fantasy quarterbacks go to be erased--see Aaron Rodgers, Week 1--but you didn't draft Peyton to ride pine behind... well, anybody.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Montee Ball, DEN @SEA 5004200000 ***
No opposing back has topped 40 yards against the Seahawks and only John Kuhn has found the end zone. Temper expectations mightily for Montee this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @SEA 004801000 ***
Sanders cedes his slot position to the returning Wes Welker, which likely means he'll find himself draped by Richard Sherman at some point during the afternoon. He's a fringe fantasy start based on the matchup, and the return of Welker creates some wait-and-see regarding his role going forward as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @SEA 006600000 ***
You can bet the Broncos will move Demaryius around so as to avoid an entire afternoon of Richard Sherman. However, at some point the two are bound to tangle, and with Peyton's overall numbers subdued the same pall needs to be cast over the receiving corps as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN @SEA 00000000 *
Welker's suspension was wiped out under the league's new drug policy, returning him to his familiar slot position against an incredibly tough Seattle secondary. Keep in mind that last season Welker raced out of the gates as Peyton's preferred target, and note that playing out of the slot should help Welker duck the coverage of Richard Sherman.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @SEA 004501000 ***
Antonio Gates took the Seahawks for a hat trick last week, which certainly bodes well for the fantasy prospects of Thomas here; after all, he turned in a hat trick of his own in Week 1 and followed that up by finding the end zone last week as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @SEA 2222 ****
Can the Broncos emulate their AFC West brethren and drop 30 on the Seahawks? Possible. But if you've been riding McManus while waiting for Matt Prater to return in a couple weeks, and with Denver's bye coming up, this wouldn't be a bad time to bail on Brandon and find a more favorable kicker matchup.

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
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 TEN 0000023010 ***
Not to slap a "caretaker" or "game manager" label on Dalton, but he's produced two wins while throwing a total of two TDs and ranking 22nd among QBs in pass attempts. The Titans haven't allowed much in the way of passing success themselves, so keep a lid on fantasy expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN TEN 8015600000 ***
A week after allowing 173 combo yards (167 rushing) to DeMarco Murray the Titans face Bernard, who has games of 110 and 169 yards from scrimmage this season. About the only concern is that Jeremy Hill swipes a touchdown, but that would be quibbling.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN TEN 6011100000 ***
Being the junior partner in a backfield committee isn't all bad--especially when you still get 15 carries of your own, and you face a defense that just served up 220 rushing yards the week before. Getting goal line looks doesn't hurt, either.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN TEN 005700000 ***
Sanu did a serviceable impression of AJ Green last week when Cincy's WR1 went down with a toe injury. And seeing as the Titans seem comfortable allowing stats to whomever is handling a team's WR1 duties at the time (Dez Bryant, obviously, last week but Donnie Avery 7-84 in Dwayne Bowe's absence Week 1), if Green can't go Sanu should again prove worthy of fantasy attention.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Tate, CIN TEN 003400000 ***
The Titans haven't surrendered much of anything to secondary targets thus far this season, nor have the Bengals thrown to them. Plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN TEN 003300000 ***
Despite the absence of the injured Tyler Eifert Gresham remains more of a blocker than a fantasy threat. No reason to reach here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN TEN 2233 ***
The Bengals have given Nugent ample opportunity this season; no kicker has more field goal attempts. He'll need to connect at a better than 25% rate--his percentage last week--to turn those opportunities into fantasy help.

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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