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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
RB Mike Tolbert 10
RB DeAngelo Williams 50,1 3-20
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 SEA 30100024020 ***
Seattle has allowed multiple passing scores in five straight games. While they don't appear to offer Cam much room to run, he should account for enough via the air to be on the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR SEA 4003200000 ****
Well, the Seahawks HAVE allowed RB TDs in back to back weeks and 85-plus yards to Tre Mason and DeMarco Murray, so... nope, can't say it with a straight face. Ol' Iron Horse Stewart is a reach at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR SEA 005501000 **
Only once all year have two wideouts scored in the same game against Seattle, and no tandem has topped double-digit fantasy points against the Seahawks this season. Cotchery isn't about to buck that trend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR SEA 003400000 ****
Benjamin will get the looks--from both Cam Newton and Richard Sherman. The latter makes it difficult to bank on Benjamin as a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR SEA 008901000 ****
The Seahawks' defensive Achilles' heel also happens to be the Panthers' strength. Expect Olsen to add his name to the list of eight TE TDs Seattle has given up already this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR SEA 2233 ***
Gano has kicked multiple field goals just once in the past four games, and Seattle's defense isn't likely to suddenly afford him bountiful opportunities.

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
QB Mark Sanchez 240,1
RB LeSean McCoy
RB Darren Sproles 10 5-30
WR Riley Cooper 2-30
WR Jeremy Maclin 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 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".

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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