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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 Nick Foles, PHI WAS 0000030020 ****
Impressed at the Redskins' pass D numbers? Maybe don't be, as they've faced Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne. Foles has faced them three times, including his second NFL start; the two more recent meetings have yielded 345 and 298 passing yards. Foles has topped 320 yards in both outings thus far this year and should blow up Washington's stats with a big game this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI WAS 7014400000 ***
In two meetings with the Redskins during the Chip Kelly era McCoy has racked up 339 yards from scrimmage and scored three times. He's also hit triple digit yardage in both games this season. What's not to like?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI WAS 5005401000 ***
Sproles has 263 combo yards and two TDs in his new gig in Philly, part of Chip Kelly's 1-2 backfield punch. The Redskins won't know what hit 'em.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI WAS 006900000 ****
Maclin has hit triple digits each of his last three meetings with the Redskins--and that was before Chip Kelly brought the circus to town. He's scored in each game this season, so whether your scoring system is TD- or yardage-heavy Maclin has you covered.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI WAS 002300000 ***
Cooper has yet to recapture his glory days of last year, with just 37 yards to date. He didn't do much against the Redskins last year anyway, so no reason to change expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI WAS 004601000 ****
No question Ertz has stepped up his game this year, seeing 11 targets and producing 163 yards and a TD in two games. The Redskins haven't seen much in the way of tight ends thus far; Ertz might catch them off guard.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI WAS 3333 ****
Big-legged kicker tacking on points for a squad that's hit 30 in both games thus far; gotta like them odds.

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 MIN 0000031030 ***
The Vikings haven't given up much to opposing passing attacks thus far, but it's partly because they faced the Rams' backups and partly because the Patriots backed off when they rolled out to a big lead. Brees won't be as merciful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO MIN 701000000 ****
With no Mark Ingram this week, Robinson should step into the bulk of the carries for the Saints' backfield. Though he may not get to the 25 carries Stevan Ridley had last week, something akin to the 101 and 1 Ridley dropped on the Vikings feels about right.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO MIN 3003200000 ***
Thomas could see an uptick in carries as well as his typical role in the passing game. Either alone would likely be enough to warrant starting against the Vikings; both makes Thomas an even better fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO MIN 006901000 ***
If you can look past the goose egg Colston laid last week, he projects to be a solid fantasy play against the Vikings--especially if cornerback Xavier Rhodes is still nursing a groin injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO MIN 2006701000 ***
Cooks' speed is bound to give the suddenly blitz-happy Vikings fits; as an added bonus he's been steadily targeted so there's little in the way of downside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO MIN 003300000 ***
Just about every Saint should be in play fantasy-wise this week; the issue with Stills is that he hasn't staked out a consistent role in New Orleans' passing game so there's plenty of risk involved as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO MIN 0071001000 ***
The Vikings kept Rob Gronkowski out of the end zone last week--with a little (a lot of?) help from a limited snap count. Graham is unlikely to suffer the same fate, and Minnesota is equally as unlikely to be able to contain him.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO MIN 2244 ***
The Vikes have allowed multiple field goals in each game this season, and the Saints should give Graham plenty of opportunity to swing the leg this week. Even counting by ones he should be just fine fantasy-wise.

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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