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
PHI @ NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 4-20
RB Darren Sproles
WR Jeremy Maclin 6-80,1
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 Mark Sanchez, PHI @DAL 0000030022 ***
The Chip Kelly system has produced three straight 300-yard games for Sanchez, and while the Dallas D hasn't been as bad as anticipated they've given up 248 yards or better in five straight and three three-TD games in that span. Believe in the system, believe Sanchez can help your fantasy team this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @DAL 8011200000 ***
Two of the last three feature backs to face the Cowboys have carved out 100 combo yards, and Dallas has allowed five RB TDs in those three games. No reason to think McCoy can't follow up last week's big numbers with another solid fantasy showing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI @DAL 1004400000 ***
Spirals should see double-digit touches, but he'll likely need to swipe another goal line look--and convert it--to be a fantasy factor. Against a Dallas defense that's allowed five RB TDs in the past three weeks, we're saying' there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @DAL 007801000 ***
Matthews has bulled his way into WR2 status in Philly, sharing targets and productivity with Jeremy Maclin. The Cowboys have tended to allow only one WR to go off per week, so nudge the rookie back a bit--but not too far, as there's still upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @DAL 0061000000 ***
Maclin has scored in three of his last four meetings with the Cowboys, and after watching Dallas give up big games to Odell Beckham Jr., Cecil Shorts and DeSean Jackson over the past month you have to like the speedster's chances of extending that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brent Celek, PHI @DAL 005601000 **
It's worth noting that four of the past six TE TDs the Cowboys have allowed have gone to TE2 types--like Celek. So if you're scraping the bottom of the barrel for fantasy help, Philly's second TE target is an option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @DAL 004400000 ***
There's definite fantasy value here, as the Cowboys have allowed three TE TDs in the past four games. The concerns, however, are Ertz's health and the vulture capabilities of Brent Celek and James Casey.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @DAL 2233 ****
Dallas hasn't allowed a field goal in a month, but Parkey is such a consistent point producer--at least seven points in every game except one this year--that he remains a solid fantasy option despite the matchup.

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
RB Pierre Thomas 40 4-30
WR Marques Colston 5-70,1
WR Robert Meachem 2-30
TE Jimmy Graham 6-80,1
TE Benjamin Watson 2-30
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 3 XP

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 @PIT 0000030031 ***
The Steelers have allowed multiple TD tosses in five straight; Brees has multiple scores in nine of his last 10, so no reason to let his three-game losing streak lead you to believe he won't be a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @PIT 7002200000 ***
With Pierre Thomas back in the mix it was business as usual for the Saints' backfield--and that's a bad thing, as it means productivity spread too thin for any member to be a reliable fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO @PIT 006901000 ***
Stills was Drew Brees' target of choice last week, and while it's still a bit of a cluster in New Orleans he appears to be the most reliable fantasy option--especially against a Pittsburgh defense that's given up some big fantasy games to speed guys.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @PIT 005700000 ***
Colston scored last week and remains in the mix of New Orleans receivers, but we've learned by now he's more of a fringe option than someone to be banked on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @PIT 007802000 ***
Not that you'd deviate from Graham, but you really have to like his chances against a Steelers defense that's already served up eight TE TDs on the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @PIT 2133 ****
The only favorable trend working for Graham is that the Saints' offense is struggling, but even then they're going for it on fourth and close rather than kicking more field goals. He's not the sterling option you'd think tacking on points for this offense.

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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