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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 @BAL 10000025012 ***
Cam needs the rushing stats to push him from fringe fantasy contributor to viable fantasy option--and the past two weeks he's set and then re-established career lows for rushing attempts in a game. Nothing special here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR @BAL 3002200000 ***
The Panthers hope Williams will be able to shoulder the load in their injury-ravaged backfield, but even if he's healthy and flying solo he's looking at an upside well shy of 100 yards and an outside chance at a score.
Update: Williams is probable while fellow feature back Jonathan Stewart is questionable, so Williams at least will see the bulk of the touches. What he'll do with them, on the other hand...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR @BAL 300000000 ***
Reaves could wind up being the last man standing in the Carolina backfield. That's hardly enough to warrant a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR @BAL 00000000 *
Update: Stewart officially lists as questionable, but since he's expected to miss about a month with his current knee injury that seems optimistic.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR @BAL 006601000 ****
Talented and targeted receivers have had success against the Ravens, and Benjamin is both.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @BAL 004500000 ***
Cotchery missed last week's game with an injury, but he should return to his usual pedestrian production this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @BAL 005600000 ***
Olsen will see his targets and put up his yardage as essentially the number two target in this offense, but don't expect much more against a Baltimore defense that has surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @BAL 1122 ***
Baltimore has allowed multiple field goal attempts in every game thus far; Gano has kicked multiple treys in each game this season. It's a match made in fantasy football heaven.

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 @SF 0000027021 ****
Foles has rolled out 300-plus yards in every game thus far; the once-vaunted Niners D has allowed multiple TD tosses in each of the past two games. No reason to think Foles can't keep it up here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @SF 6004300000 ***
DeMarco Murray and Andre Ellington had solid outings against the Niners, but those both came away from Levi Stadium. Matt Forte's visit to the Bay wasn't nearly as productive, so limit your expectations for McCoy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI @SF 2005300000 *
The Niners aren't giving up much to opposing backs via ground or air, making Sproles a tricky fantasy play given that LeSean McCoy should see the majority of the Eagles' backfield touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @SF 005501000 ****
Maclin's target volume makes him a must-play, and while San Francisco hasn't been soft against opposing wideouts there's been enough put on the board against them that using Maclin here shouldn't be a concern.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @SF 004501000 ***
Matthews emerged as a red zone favorite last week, but he's nursing an ab injury so check the injury report on Friday before chasing last week's scores.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @SF 004400000 ***
At this juncture Cooper is too far down the Philly passing game pecking order to be banked on for fantasy contributions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @SF 004500000 ***
San Fran has been pretty tough on tight ends, but Ertz is a big enough part of the offense that he's at least worthy of fantasy consideration regardless of matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @SF 3322 ****
Parkey's had multiple field goals in each game this season; no reason to think he can't extend that streak against the Niners.

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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