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: PHI 24, NO 30 (Line: NO by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Michael Vick and/or Nick Foles

Players Updated: Darren Sproles

The 3-4 Eagles are on a three game losing streak with a 1-2 road record and travel to face the 2-5 Saints who were just dismantled by the Broncos. The Eagles are contemplating a change at quarterback as a means of shaking up the offense. The Saints still have a good offense, they merely need a defense that can stop anyone in any way... ever. This is the Monday night game so bad defenses should mean nice points.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL -----
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI 6-27 12 CAR -----
4 NYG 19-17 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT 14-16 14 @TB -----
6 DET 23-26 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL 17-30 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Ryan Mathews 100,1 4-20,1
RB Darren Sproles
TE Brent Celek 4-30

Pregame Notes: Three game losing streak has led to removing the defensive coordinator and Michael Vick may be replaced by Nick Foles because this version of Vick cannot sustain drives or mount comebacks. Vick has failed to deliver on the promise of his first year back from killing dogs. Since this is the Monday game, first practices don't start until Thursday and a change may not happen until then if it even does.

The reality here is that Foles should push hard for the change because no quarterback could ever hope to have a better first game than to face the 2012 New Orleans Saints defense. Foles would put a new slant on the offense but that's hard to call obviously with nothing to go on other than he is not Michael Vick.

LeSean McCoy's caught a touchdown in each of the last three games but his rushing totals point at the glaring need for better blocking. McCoy ran for 120 yards on 46 carries over the last three games. That's only 2.6 yards per carry. He balances out his fantasy value with touchdowns as a receiver lately but overall this is a very disappointing season for McCoy. His role as a runner only gets worse and even as a receiver with as many as seven catches in a game, he's topped out at just 27 yards. All this and he doesn't share any carries. The Eagles offense is in a funk and that extends to McCoy. The problem with a change to Foles at quarterback is that he may not elect to use McCoy as his preferred endzone target. Take away his scores and McCoy is just gaining around 60 or 70 total yards per week.

Brent Celek is still churning out the 30 yard efforts with only one score on the year. He's a marginal fantasy play at best and even that may go away with a change at quarterback.

DeSean Jackson is producing the most consistent stats of any wideout or tight end though he's scored just once all year and hangs out right around five catches for 60 yards in most weeks. He's not broken 100 yards since week two. Jeremy Maclin's numbers have fallen dramatically. While he gained 130 yards and one score in week six, he has been otherwise completely devoid of any fantasy value since week two. His routes are so short now that his last game was six catches for only 33 yards versus the Falcons. He caught five passes for just 39 yards in week five. This group could use some fresh blood slinging passes.

The Saints defense is bad. Though this is played in New Orleans, every opponent pounds on the Saints who gave up at least 250 pass yards every week and over 300 yards five times. The defense has actually been getting worse with the last four games allowing 12 touchdown passes against them. Any quarterback change is going to throw risk into this but it really does not get much better than facing the Saints.

McCoy should also have at least a decent showing against the #31 defense versus running backs.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 10 23 19 12 22 32
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 31 32 6 25 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Wentz, PHI PIT 0000025011 ***
The second overall pick has looked the part. Stats haven't necessarily shown it for fantasy owners, but he more than passes the eyeball test. Wentz has a bright future but is not a smart fantasy start this week. Quarterbacks have hurled nearly 700 yards worth against Pittsburgh but only one touchdown pass.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, PHI PIT 3011100000 ***
The matchup is quite positive, which is great, but can Carson Wentz keep defenders out of the box? Will he be outschemed? Mathews faces the 23rd-ranked defense of running backs, propelled by 15 catches for 162 yards and a score through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI PIT 2003200000 ***
Here's a fair opportunity to toss Sproles into a PPR lineup if you can take the risk. Pittsburgh has been trampled through the air by receiving running backs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI PIT 006901000 ***
Matthews has been on the field for 95 percent of Philly's offensive snaps. Receivers have caught 32 balls against the Steelers, but none of them have crossed the stripe. Matthews could be the first and best be in all traditional lineups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI PIT 004600000 ***
Agholor could turn in a fine game, but trusting in him is so difficult. Pittsburgh's defense ranks 16th against the position. This stems from 32 catches for 405 yards, with zero touchdowns afforded to the position. Truly bend but don't break.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, PHI PIT 002300000 ***
His only real hope for fantasy production is by finding the end zone against a pass defense that hasn't given up a touchdown to receivers yet. That's not a risky owners should be willing to take.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Trey Burton, PHI PIT 004400000 ***
Seven targets, five catches, 49 yards and a score. Not too shabby for the third-year H-back. The Steelers have granted tight ends 14 catches for 128 yards, ranking as the 22nd strongest defense of this position. Play Burton if you like taking unnecessary chances.

Update: Zach Ertz has been ruled out this week, solidifying Burton's role as a total flier.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, PHI PIT 1122 ***
Sturgis has no fantasy value for Week 3 in a matchup that shouldn't provide enough kicking chances.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 330,3
TE Coby Fleener

Pregame Notes: Times are tough in the Big Easy though getting back coaches can help. The reality here is that the Saints defense is bad. And not "NFC South" bad. Not even 2012 one-of-32-teams bad. Bad as in all of recorded history. No team has ever allowed over 400 yards off offense over the first seven games of any season. Ever. That is a word you do not throw around casually ' "ever". And it applies in this case because this is the worst defense ever. Against both rushing AND passing. It has led to delightful shootouts to be sure.

Drew Brees comes off his worst game of the year when he "only" produced 213 yards and two scores in Denver. Brees already has 20 passing scores on the year and five efforts over 300 yards. In a home game he has never thrown fewer than three touchdowns. Brees fantasy value has been richly increased thanks to playing with a team that has no defense and allows at least 24 points to every opponent so far this year. Shootouts every week mean good things.

Darren Sproles helps the stats with four receiving touchdowns this year but no runner matters for the Saints. With weekly scoreboard deficits to chase, the Saints do not have the luxury of running the ball much and they split up the workload into three pieces anyway. Over the first seven weeks, only twice has any runner been given more than nine carries. Aside from Sproles in a league rewarding reception points, there is no decent fantasy play in this unit.

Jimmy Graham tumbled this year with a bad ankle but was able to return last week and caught five passes for 63 yards and one score to prove he is healthy again. Granted it was almost entirely in garbage time but regardless Graham is reliable again. His yardage and catches are down this year even when he wasn't injured but he's scoring in almost every game that he's played.

Going against Denver last week produced lower stats for the wide receivers but back at home should resume their more productive ways. Marques Colston was on a three game scoring streak that included three touchdowns in Tampa Bay. Lance Moore is consistent enough with 60+ yards in most games though he scored just once since the season opener. The reality is that Darren Sproles actually ends up as another wideout in the way he is used.

The eagles defense hasn't faced many decent passers and yet still gave up two 300-yard games and multiple touchdowns to most. Their rushing defense has been solid and only allowed one rushing touchdown all year. Expect this to once again go through Drew Brees. The Saints are due for a "stand up and fight" game after getting blasted so badly in Denver but the defense is so bad that it's unthinkable that a shootout can be avoided even at home against potentially a rookie quarterback in his first ever start.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 9 3 10 28 27
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 13 10 20 5 30 29

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO ATL 0000032040 ***
Shake off the quiet week from Brees and keep him in starting lineups. Atlanta is the third easiest matchup for quarterbacks, giving up seven touchdowns and picking off only one ball. Brees is a sound choice for the honors as this week's top fake QB.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO ATL 6003200000 ***
It hasn't been a pretty start to the season for Ingram. The Falcons have been terrible against running backs so far, as in the second worst team. This D will be busy trying to keep Drew Brees in check. There's bit of wishful thinking and hopefulness here, and maybe Ingram can get it together in your lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO ATL 0071101000 ***
Drew Brees' top target faces a Falcons team that has given up 12 catches, 144 yards and 1.5 TDs per game so far this season to receivers, ranking in the upper half of the league with regard to toughness of defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO ATL 005601000 ***
Thomas is emerging as the clear WR3 here and a passable fantasy option in a pinch. DFS play, or a flex in PPR setups for owners looking to fill a void.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO ATL 003500000 *
Atlanta hasn't given up a lot of catches (24) or yards (288) to the position, but one out of every eight catches has gone for a touchdown. Snead is a fine PPR play in all formats and benefits from the double-teams on Brandin Cooks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO ATL 004301000 **
Time to give up? Not so fast, impatient one. The Falcons pose a wonderful matchup -- in fact, only the Lions have been worse -- for the position. He's an ideal DFS play with high upside and a low price tag. Traditional games owe it to their preseason-believing-in-Fleener selves to trot him out there once more.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO ATL 2144 ***
A good example of more XPAs than FGAs that quell the fantasy potential.

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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