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 Nick Foles, PHI @ARI 0000028022 ***
Foles has had one fantasy dog to blemish an otherwise solid season. The Cards held Derek Carr in check last week but for the most part have been a favorable matchup for opposing QBs. Bet on Foles to be more favorable than Carr-like this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @ARI 5004200000 ***
The Cards haven't allowed much on the ground this year, and they kept McCoy out of the end zone in last year's meeting so keep your expectations in check. That said, McCoy's volume and the 115 combo yards he posted against Arizona last year suggest he's still a solid fantasy play this week--especially if Darren Sproles remains sidelined with his knee injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI @ARI 2006400000 ***
Sproles is supposed to be back for this game, but after a limited practice session on Wednesday it remains to be seen if he'll make it to the field on Sunday. Best make a Plan B for now, and if Sproles shows signs of life during the latter half of the practice week you can always elevate him to your lineup.
Update: After a full practice on Friday Sproles is officially listed as questionable. It's not a tremendous matchup, but it sounds like Sproles will at least be an option for fantasy owners.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @ARI 004301000 **
Over the past month Coop has been a consistent provider of 30-50 yards and the occasional touchdown. It's a favorable matchup so he should be at the high end of that range, but he's still playing second fiddle to Jeremy Maclin in this passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @ARI 005600000 ***
Matthews has done little aside from that two-TD game. And while another double isn't out of the question here he's still battling Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz, and the running backs for looks so it's far from likely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @ARI 004500000 ***
Shouldn't matter who covers Maclin; none of the Arizona corners are having particularly good seasons. Speed receivers like DeSean Jackson have had success against the Cards so don't be surprised if, after a down week against the Giants prior to Philly's bye, Maclin storms back with a solid fantasy effort this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @ARI 004701000 ****
The Cards have allowed three TE TDs and four games of 65-plus yards to the position. So even though Ertz still has to share some targets with Brent Celek and James Casey he's a big enough part of this offense to be a reliable fantasy contributor--especially with the favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @ARI 2222 ****
Parkey's been right around 10 points per game on a weekly basis, but the Cardinals don't allow much to opposing kickers so it'll be a battle of wills. Split the difference and hope for "above average".

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 GB 0000031021 ****
Ever since Frankie... uh, Aaron say "relax", the Packers defense has joined in the refrain; they've given up multiple TD passes or the rushing equivalent to four straight opposing QBs. Brees has multiple touchdown tosses in five straight, 340-plus yards in three straight... yeah, he's ready for a shootout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO GB 4013200000 **
It's a reasonably favorable matchup--five of the six RB TDs the Pack have allowed have come on the road--but you may as well put all the Saints' RBs' names in a hat with all the rhyme and/or lack of reason they're employed on a weekly basis. Ingram was ineffective in his return last week, but with no Pierre Thomas does he get more work? Does he handle goal line duties? Do Khiry Robinson and/or Travaris Cadet steal his thunder? Do the Saints go to the freakin' fullback again? Too many questions for this to be anything other than a desperation fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Travaris Cadet, NO GB 2005400000 ***
In theory Cadet should be a great fantasy play in PPR leagues as he replaces the injured Pierre Thomas. But just when you think you have the Saints' backfield mix figured out Sean Patyon shakes it like a Polaroid picture. So Cadet has upside, but factor in the inherent risk of owning any shares of the Saints' backfield.
Update: No Pierre Thomas, no Khiry Robinson... Sean Payton is running out of ways to stick it to fantasy owners of Saints backs. It's a prime opportunity for Cadet... so expect fullback Austin Johnson to score twice. Just sayin'.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO GB 00000000 *****
Robinson disappointed when given earlier opportunities, and now with Pierre Thomas sidelined and Mark Ingram yet to regain his effectiveness... well, Travaris Cadet is the hot pickup if that tells you anything. Sure, there's upside but the Saints' backfield is a fantasy clusterboink that's driven veteran fantasy footballers to the brink of insanity and is best used only as a desperation measure.
Update: Robinson has been ruled out of this week's tilt. Travaris Cadet projects to get his touches, but you know Sean Payton likes to keep fantasy owners guessing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO GB 005601000 **
The Packers have allowed multiple WR TDs in three of their last four, so in the jumbled mess that is the Saints' fantasy receiving corps Colston likely holds his value. That's about as ringing an endorsement as we can deliver here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO GB 002301000 **
Drew Brees' favorite receiver is "whomever is open". Last week that, apparently, was Stills; he posted 5-103-1 after just one catch the previous week. If there's a perceived pecking order it's likely Colston, then Cooks, then Stills, but the good news is this is a favorable matchup against a team that's allowed multiple WR TDs on a regular basis so a dart thrown at Stills isn't entirely misdirected.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO GB 008700000 ****
Green Bay has given up multiple WR TDs in three of the last four--but will it be Cooks, who was merely an observer last week after a team high 11 targets and nine catches the previous week? It's a favorable enough matchup he's worth starting, but don't pull your hair out if Kenny Stills swipes his touchdown.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO GB 004500000 *
Gotta hope Graham shook off the rust with last week's two target, zero catch performance because this is an extremely favorable matchup with a Green Bay defense that's allowed two 100-yard receiving games to tight ends over the past month. If Graham gets some practice work in this week you should be able to slot him into your fantasy lineup with confidence, but it wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan on a Sunday night or Monday night roster just in case.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO GB 2233 ****
Graham has come around with a couple of double-digit games, but the Packers haven't allowed more than six points to an opposing kicker since Week 1 so keep your expectations in check.

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

a d v e r t i s e m e n t