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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 DET 10000023021 ***
After tapping out in Week 1, Cam makes his 2014 debut against a Lions defense that just stymied Eli Manning. Okay, so that's not overly impressive. But they do have guys up front who won't be shy about hammering Cam's ribs so this may have to be an air show rather than a run fest. That's a matchup Cam can win as well, making him eminently startable here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR DET 6003200000 ***
It's a three-way job share against a defense that held the Giants to 55 RB rushing yards; none of that smacks of fantasy potential.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR DET 00000000 *
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, and in the land of Carolina backs Williams at present is getting the most carries. Doesn't mean he warrants a fantasy start, however.
Update: Williams did not practice all week due to a thigh injury. He's listed as questionable and doesn't offer enough upside in his role in Carolina to offset the risk of not playing here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR DET 005801000 ***
Hard to get a read on the Lions' secondary, as they were barely tested by the Giants in Week 1. But Benjamin has clearly vaulted to the top of the Panthers' receiver depth chart; now he needs to get on the same page with Cam Newton and magic is sure to ensue.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR DET 003400000 ***
You may not have noticed but the Panthers line up some other guys at wide receiver besides Kelvin Benjamin. Cam Newton hasn't noticed much beyond one go-to guy in the past, no reason to think that will change here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR DET 007801000 ****
The Lions made Larry Donnell look like a Pro Bowler last week; does that mean an actual talented tight end like Olsen will look like a Hall of Famer against them? Quite possibly, yes.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR DET 3322 ***
The Giants couldn't get close enough to attempt a field goal last week against Detroit, but the Panthers shouldn't have a similar dilemma so go ahead and go with Gano.

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 @IND 0000028022 ****
Foles picked up right where he left off, tacking a 322 & 2 effort to a streak of eight straight games with the equivalent of multiple passing scores. An Indy defense fresh off surrendering 269 and 3 to Peyton Manning should help him run that string to double digits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @IND 5006501000 ***
Shady got his triple digit combo yardage in the season opener but failed to find the end zone--ceding the score and 15 touches to Darren Sproles. No reason to think McCoy can't reclaim his touchdown here, and the yardage is all but a given as he's now topped the century mark in yards from scrimmage in eight straight regular season contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren Sproles, PHI @IND 3004200000 ***
Sproles' running game role was a bit surprising, but you knew Chip Kelly would find a way to get him touches. Even if you can't bank on the consistent TD he's a PPR and yardage league fiend who warrants lineup consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @IND 005801000 ****
Indy's secondary did a reasonably competent job of limiting Denver's wideouts in the season opener. Still, that shouldn't affect your plugging Maclin--the team's target leader last week--into your fantasy lineup with confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @IND 003400000 ***
There are more mouths to feed than ever in the Philly offense, and Cooper appears to have fallen behind Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles in the pecking order. That doesn't bode well for his fantasy prospects on a week-to-week basis, certainly when the position is deep during non-bye weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @IND 003400000 ***
Matthews remains mostly potential; until he moves into a more defined role in Chip Kelly's offense he's a fantasy non-entity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @IND 005801000 ****
Ertz is still splitting the tight end gig with Brent Celek, but he's doing more with his opportunities plus he gets to face an Indy defense that couldn't find Julius Thomas with a map and a flashlight last week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @IND 3222 ****
Thus far Parkey is making the decision to jettison Alex Henery--as well as the decision to plug him into your fantasy lineup--look smart.

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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