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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

Prediction: DEN 30, CAR 17 (Line: DEN by 4)

Players to Watch: Willis McGahee, Cam Newton

The 5-3 Broncos are on a three game winning streak but are only 2-2 on the road. The 2-6 Panthers finally broke their five game losing steak playing the Redskins last week but are only 1-3 at home. This could be a trap game since the Broncos defense is bad against the run and that's about all the Panthers know how to do. But the Broncos have never scored less than 21 points and are on a 30+ point streak. Only four teams have fewer total points than the Panthers.

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 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 280,2
RB Ronnie Hillman 10 5-30
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-60
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-80,1
WR Wes Welker 8-100,1
TE Jacob Tamme 1-10

Pregame Notes: Peyton Manning not only has the ship sailing in the right direction, the waters look incredibly calm from here on out. Only the road trip to Baltimore in week 15 looks tricky and even them the Broncos may be favored. Peyton's getting the credit but the entire team has played better and the defense in particular has come through. Of course it all seems to work better when your Hall of Fame quarterback is roasting every opponent.

Missed it by that much...

Manning set a record when he threw four games in a row with 300 yards and three touchdowns. last week in Cincinnati, he fell all the way down to 291 yards and three scores. What a slacker. Manning already has thrown 20 touchdowns and is on a pace to score 40 on the season which would be his second best year ever. He is worth starting. Probably wish you could start him twice.

Willis McGahee has dropped off rather sharply. While he did rush for over 100 yards and scored in three different games, only one of those was on the road - week two in Atlanta. In the three road games since, McGahee never scored and hasn't rushed for more than 66 yards. His role as a receiver has dipped a bit as well when he only caught one pass in Cincy last Sunday. This would be more concerning if the Panthers weren't already weak against the run. But it does draw a reason why Manning has been throwing so many passes in the last six weeks.

Joel Dreessen caught his fourth touchdown of the year but his production is rarely over 30 yards and he was blanked against the Saints. He is a red zone target but never accounts for many catches.

The wideouts continue to be the engine that drives this offense. Eric Decker scored in each of the last five games and twice in the last two. His seven touchdowns lead the Broncos though he remains lighter on yardage with only one effort exceeding 100 yards. Demaryius Thomas scored just four times but topped 100 yards four times. Brandon Stokley adds in a score on occasion but is a definite #3 in this offense.

The Panthers rank great against wideouts but not to worry. When good quarterbacks show up, their best receivers still end up with good games even in Carolina. Most team just run against them which is why the passing is lower but McGahee has been less effective in road games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 6 19 2 4 21 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 27 2 14 31 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @NE 0000031030 ***
Think Bill Belichick has Peyton's number? Think again; Manning has multiple TD tosses in five straight regular-season meetings with the Patriots dating back to the 2008 season. He's topped 300 yards in three of those five as well. This iteration of the New England defense has surrendered multiple scoring strikes in four of five; this iteration of Peyton has at least three TDs in four straight and six of seven. Fantasy owners needn't concern themselves with the war; Peyton consistently wins this battle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN @NE 9003201000 ***
Focus too much on Peyton Manning and Hillman will get ya; he's racked up triple-digit combo yardage in all three starts since Montee Ball went down. The Patriots have allowed three 100-yard rushers in the past four games as well as a couple of 50-plus yard receiving games to backs; if they devote too much game plan to Manning, Hillman's fantasy prospects climb from good to very good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN @NE 201000000 **
Thompson looks to be taking over as the goal line complement to Ronnie Hillman--and a a Patriots D that's allowed five RB TDs in the past four games might be susceptible to a goal line back.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @NE 0061001000 ***
The Patriots have to hope adding Darrelle Revis to the roster slows Thomas, because nothing else they've tried to date has; in four career meetings he's averaging almost seven catches for almost 110 yards, though he's scored just once in the four games. He brings a four-game streak of 100-yard efforts into this tilt, and you have to like his chances of exiting with at least a fantasy helper if not a fifth straight above the century mark.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @NE 004500000 ***
Not only have the Patriots allowed multiple WRs to score in two of their last four games, they never had an answer for Sanders when he played for Pittsburgh; in three games he racked up 16-209-1. With four TDs in the past two games he's beyond his scoring slump, and odds are he won't see Darrelle Revis so the run of success should continue.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN @NE 004400000 ***
Welker has never caught a TD pass against his former mates--not as a Dolphin before joining the Patriots, nor in his lone meeting with them as a Bronco. He's also slid down the passing game pecking order in Denver, to the point that he's a reach of a fantasy play even in a six-team bye week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @NE 004601000 ****
After a scorching start Thomas has been kept in check the past two weeks. Don't expect that to continue against a New England defense that's allowed three 90-yard games to TEs and three TE TDs in the past five games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @NE 1144 *****
Kicking behind a Peyton Manning offense has its advantages: four or more PATs in all but one game this year. It also has its disadvantages: only one game with multiple field goal attempts. You'll get solid, but spectacular doesn't appear to be in the offing.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN -----
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC -----
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40 240,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 20 3-20
RB Mike Tolbert 10
RB DeAngelo Williams 30 2-10
TE Greg Olsen 6-60,1

Pregame Notes: The Panthers mercifully won a game to end the losing streak but it's probably just going to start all over again. This is still an offense with only one decent receiver ("Champ, this is Steve. Steve, this is Champ") and a running game that still ranks among the worst in the league. HC Ron Rivera already had his talk this week with the owner about the need to actually win games and what happens when you do not. The team needs to show "progress" in order to qualify for another Rivera year. Probably not going to happen.

Cam Newton is one reason why. The offensive rookie of the year from 2011 has fallen on hard times not unlike the offensive rookie of the year from 2010 Sam Bradford. Newton's passed for only six touchdowns this year against eight interceptions. His rushing touchdowns also stopped after week four other than last week against the Redskins who can stop no one. Newton has not thrown a touchdown in two consecutive games since week two and he just scored once on the Redskins.

That whole change to Jonathan Stewart as the primary back has meant nothing so far. He still has yet to gain more than 51 yards in any game or run in a score. He rushed more than 11 times in only one game. Basically, he ends with 40 to 50 total yards in games and that just sad for a primary back on a team that once sported one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. DeAngelo Williams was demoted but he still gets half a dozen carries or more and scored his third rushing touchdown on the year last week. This is just a marginal unit that splits up meager production to ensure no one is really worth any fantasy consideration.

Kick returner and sometimes wideout Kealoha Pilares was placed on injured reserve this week with a shoulder injury that requires surgery. Only Steve Smith matters from the wideouts and yet his first touchdown of the year was just last week when he only gained 41 yards on three catches against the Redskins and their horrible secondary. Smith is worth a fantasy start each week but is not above having a bad game every so often and his scoring is now up to "one". The only receiver of any note remains tight end Greg Olsen who also scored only once this year and usually ends up with just 30 or 40 yards in most games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 10 27 27 19 32 7
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 15 16 8 29 11 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR NO 30000025020 ***
The Saints have held Newton in relative check--single touchdown, sub-250 passing yards, sub-50 rushing yards check--the past three meetings, and Cam's coming off a subpar performance against the Seahawks last week. But New Orleans is a different animal outdoors, so we're putting a little more stock in a Newton bounceback effort here--especially considering the Saints have allowed multiple QB TDs in four straight games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR NO 5011100000 **
The last time both Williams and Jonathan Stewart played in the same game for the Panthers it was a 14-9 split on carries (and 14-12 on touches) in favor of Williams. He's also scored in four of the last five meetings with New Orleans where both he and Stewart have suited up. So odds are he's the lead dog here, though if his share of the workload is still in the 15-touch range it'll be tough to bank on him for much of a fantasy contribution.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR NO 3001100000 **
In the last five times both Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have suited up against the Saints--and you have to go back five years to come up with those five games--Williams has scored in four of them and Stewart in just one. The last time both were available this season Stewart was on the short end of a 14-12 split in touches. So if Williams truly is back this week, Stewart isn't likely to be much of a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR NO 0051002000 ***
In the last three games alone the Saints have allowed five WR TDs and three 100-yard games. Since Benjamin is the Carolina WR most likely to (insert just about anything here), he's the best bet to take the helpful cut of those stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR NO 006601000 **
Olsen hasn't scored on the Saints since October of 2011 and has never topped 50 yards against them. Seattle, notoriously soft against tight ends, provided a blue print for covering him last week in holding him to one catch for 16 yards, and the Saints haven't allowed a TE TD since Week 1. He's still an every-week starter in TE-mandatory leagues based on his role in the Carolina offense, but there isn't much to like about this particular matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR NO 22332 ***
Gano's been a solid point provider, averaging around eight points per game, and the Saints are surrendering around nine points per game. You could do worse for a kicking option this week.

WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

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