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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: CAR 24, PHI 20 (Line: PHI by 3)

Players Updated: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown

Players to Watch: PHI QB and RB

Here's a bitter loss for one team. The 2-8 Panthers have lost six games by a touchdown or less and are 1-3 on the road. The 3-7 Eagles are on a six game losing streak and lost their last four by at least 13 points each. One team will win this and gain a temporary reprieve from being a terrible football team. One won't. This one is hard to call with the status of both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy uncertain. What's worse is that this is the Monday night game and waiting may mean you have no alternatives.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB 21-27
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 @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 240,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 20 2-10
TE Ed Dickson 4-30
TE Greg Olsen 5-50
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers are hallmarks of consistency this year. No matter what - high score or low score - they are never quite good enough. It is getting to be like the older brother holding something right above the little brother's reach. Somehow the NFL's best rushing offense a few years back has evolved into one of the very worst and one that has shockingly little fantasy value.

Cam Newton hasn't really taken the next step this year and to some it appears he's gone backwards. He does score in almost every game though rarely more than once and his rushing yardage and scores are sharply off from last year. This is central to the theme - Cam is not showing any real improvement and maybe "he is what he is" already. His remarkable season last year was really on the wane later in the season anyway.

The running backs have lost all fantasy value and while Jonathan Stewart rushed in a touchdown last week, it was his first this season. No running back for the Panthers has yet topped the 69 yards gained by DeAngelo Williams back in week two. Even combined these runners do not amount to more than a very mediocre attack.

The only fantasy plays here are Newton in a big league, Greg Olsen and Steve Smith. Olsen is just a play for about 40 yards per week and he's had just one good game in the last six weeks. He is a starter value in a big league while Steve Smith still merits a WR3 start if only from his potential. Smith scored only once this year and has been held to around 60 yards ort less in most recent games. Brandon LaFell has been marginally better than Smith in recent games but has far too many clunkers to consider him viable for a start.

To their credit, the Panthers have not quit. Perhaps it was about coming into the season with far lower expectations than the Eagles, but Carolina remains competitive in most weeks because they still give it their best.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 11 28 31 15 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 20 13 13 9 27 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR @NYJ 30100019020 ***
This is a top-five opponent for fantasy points allowed. Adding the one rushing TD against to the nine aerial throws and we have 2.5 QB touchdowns a game against this defense. Newton should be ready to roll after a bye week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR @NYJ 2005401000 ***
Not a good matchup ... McCaffrey will have to defy the odds to live up to this projection. No team has permitted fewer receptions to RBs, and the position has accounted for one score every 71.3 offensive touches -- the strongest in football.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Funchess, CAR @NYJ 004500000 ***
Wideouts have turned this into a top-10 opponent for receptoins (3rd), yards (8th) and TDs (8th) on a per-game basis. The Jets are allowing 1.5 TDs an outing, and this is the the No. 2 matchup for PPR types.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Russell Shepard, CAR @NYJ 002300000 ***
Shepard should see steady looks with Curtis Samuel out for the rest of the year. The Jets provide a brilliant matchup, although it would take a tough situation for gamers to feel compelled to chance it with Shepard during a bye-free week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @NYJ 004501000 **
Olsen should return and resume his place atop the pecking order for Cam Newton. The Jets are a positive-leaning matchup, mainly because two of the last 19th receptions have scored.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @NYJ 1133 ***
The magic number is 18. New York ranks 18th in FGAs, XPAs, combined kicks, and possible points against per contest. Gano probably will see far more work after TDs than instead of them.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL 23-38
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS 6-31
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 13-28 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles 250,1
RB Darren Sproles 10 5-30
WR Torrey Smith 5-70,1
TE Brent Celek 5-50

Pregame Notes: Well. That wasn't pretty. Michael Vick sat out last week with his concussion and watched as the fans got what they wanted - not Michael Vick. It came in the form of the rookie Nick Foles and with him optimism and a chance to turn the season around. Didn't happen. Ends up all the Eagles woes are not directly connected to Michael Vick.

Foles was only able to complete 21 of 46 passes for 204 yards and two interceptions while also being sacked four times. This came against arguably the worst secondary in the league that had doled out 300 yards and a few scores to pretty much every single opponent. Now, suddenly, it seems that Vick may be feeling better and could be ready by this week potentially.

HC Andy Reid sounds like he wants Vick back ASAP but he has not passed his baseline tests early in the week. Foles has to be considered the most likely to start but he's already not the answer either. Week 13 looms as a tough passing matchup in Dallas as well.

Making this horrific slide of the Eagles even more complete was LeSean McCoy getting a concussion at the end of the blowout loss. He too will need to pass tests this week in order to play though it prompts the question - why rush him back to play in a lost season? Bryce Brown will take his place if he cannot play which has to be the assumption until he can practice. Again - he may end up a game time decision in a Monday night affair and unless you own Brown as well it is not advisable to hope for the best and leave yourself no options.

Brown has not been given more than five carries in any game and generally they were short yardage plays. He did gain 35 yards on five runs versus the Skins last week.

There is much that could change here depending on Vick and McCoy.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 15 22 16 13 24 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 13 27 10 21 32 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Wentz, PHI CHI 10000024020 ***
Chicago has been rather strong against quarterbacks. Matt Stafford was above average last week, accounting for two of the three TDs this group has surrendered in the last four games. Wentz has some upside, but he's more safely a low-end starter than an elite option in Week 12.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jay Ajayi, PHI CHI 901000000 ***
Big plays have kept Ajayi's fantasy value afloat of late. The Bears have been a midrange matchup, which makes him a fringe choice. The position has averaged 88.5 rushing yards on 24.5 attempts, and on in 32.7 carries has found the end zone (10th-highest frequency).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Corey Clement, PHI CHI 4011100000 ***
Clement has proven to be valuable of late. The matchup is favorable, especially for scoring touchdowns, and Chicago has yielded the ninth-most receptions a week. One of 24 catches has scored vs. the Bears since Week 6.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, PHI CHI 300000000 ***
Flip a coin ... Blount is useless without scoring a touchdown. The matchup is at least favorable for that to be accomplished, but game flow will dictate his success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI CHI 004701000 ***
Chicago has given up the seventh-highest weekly average for receiving yardage, but that is about all. This is the ninth-worst matchup for scoring touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI CHI 004501000 ***
The only way Agholor offers fantasy value is if he scores a touchdown, which is something Chicago has done a good job of limiting. Only two of the last 44 balls have scored. Overall, this is a moderate matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, PHI CHI 002200000 ***
Smith's only return on investment comes by way of a touchdown. Chicago, conversely, hasn't allowed more than two of them in the last four games against wide receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI CHI 005600000 **
Ertz has cooled lately. The matchup isn't ideal, either. Da Bears have no allowed a score in the last four games against tight ends, rating as the second-hardest opponent overall.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jake Elliott, PHI CHI 0000 *
Elliott is in the concussion protocol and is unclear for this week. The Bears have given up 7.8 fantasy points, on average, which is in the middle of the league.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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