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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
PK Matt Prater 3 FG 3 XP

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 @SEA 0000027021 ****
Wash the taste of the Super Bowl out of your mouth, take a deep breath, and tell yourself Peyton has three TD tosses in every game so far. Sure, he's entering the place where fantasy quarterbacks go to be erased--see Aaron Rodgers, Week 1--but you didn't draft Peyton to ride pine behind... well, anybody.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Montee Ball, DEN @SEA 5004200000 ***
No opposing back has topped 40 yards against the Seahawks and only John Kuhn has found the end zone. Temper expectations mightily for Montee this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @SEA 004801000 ***
Sanders cedes his slot position to the returning Wes Welker, which likely means he'll find himself draped by Richard Sherman at some point during the afternoon. He's a fringe fantasy start based on the matchup, and the return of Welker creates some wait-and-see regarding his role going forward as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @SEA 006600000 ***
You can bet the Broncos will move Demaryius around so as to avoid an entire afternoon of Richard Sherman. However, at some point the two are bound to tangle, and with Peyton's overall numbers subdued the same pall needs to be cast over the receiving corps as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @SEA 004501000 ***
Antonio Gates took the Seahawks for a hat trick last week, which certainly bodes well for the fantasy prospects of Thomas here; after all, he turned in a hat trick of his own in Week 1 and followed that up by finding the end zone last week as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @SEA 2222 ****
Can the Broncos emulate their AFC West brethren and drop 30 on the Seahawks? Possible. But if you've been riding McManus while waiting for Matt Prater to return in a couple weeks, and with Denver's bye coming up, this wouldn't be a bad time to bail on Brandon and find a more favorable kicker matchup.

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 PIT 40100024010 ***
Cam's 2014 fantasy debut was underwhelming, and he's unlikely to get much of a boost from a Steelers' defense that has allowed a total of 396 passing yards through two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR PIT 800000000 ***
Williams sat out last week and we are awaiting news of his return to work. If he goes it's an extremely favorable matchup, so it's a situation worth monitoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR PIT 3002100000 ***
In a rare confluence of Stewart's good health, a DeAngelo Williams injury, and a favorable matchup with a Pittsburgh run D that's allowed 175 and 152 RB rushing yards the past two games... we have an honest to goodness opportunity to give Stewart a fantasy start. Of course, if Williams returns things could change but for now, revel in the possibilities.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR PIT 005800000 ***
The Steelers haven't surrendered much to opposing wideouts, and last week Cam threw as much to Jason Avant as he did Benjamin. Best wait for a more favorable opportunity to plug the rookie into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR PIT 004400000 ***
Cam Newton got Cotchery involved last week, but there isn't much to go around and the Steelers will reduce that number even further. It adds up to Cotchery being a risky fantasy play at best this week.
Update: As an added bonus, Cotchery didn't practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. The risk side of the scale is almost touching bottom.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR PIT 007801000 ***
Olsen remains the Panthers' most reliable pass-catcher, and against a Steelers defense that surrendered two TDs to the position last week and 90 yards to tight ends the week before he's as good a bet as any for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR PIT 1133 ***
The Steelers have allowed multiple field goal attempts in each game thus far this season; Gano has attempted multiple field goals in each game as well. It adds up to... well, multiple opportunities for Gano to be a fantasy helper 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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