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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 CLE 10000025011 ***
Maybe Cam goes this week, but can you trust him to run--key to his fantasy value--with two busted bones in his back? Probably not, which leaves him to his throwing--not nearly enough to warrant a fantasy start in championship week.
Update: Cam is listed as probable and all indications are he'll start this week. Tough to see him running like usual, however, so he'll need to rely on his arm--and specifically on Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen--to carve out fantasy value against a pretty solid Browns secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR CLE 8011100000 ***
You can run on the Brownies; see Cincy's 241 yards and three TDs last week. And with little to no DeAngelo Williams and quite likely no Cam Newton culturing, it'll be another 20-tote day for Stewart. He's produced 228 yards and a touchdown with his last two 20-carry outings; have to like him here as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR CLE 200000000 ***
Williams hasn't played for two weeks and hasn't seen more than 14 carries in a year. All he's doing is harshing Jonathan Stewart's mellow.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR CLE 005600000 **
Joe Haden is not infallible. He also hasn't had a great deal of success with bigger receivers, especially tandems: Mike Evans went for 7-124-6 (or Vincent Jackson had 6-86, take your pick); DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson split 148 yards; and Julio Jones scored (with 68 yards to boot) while Roddy White tallied 96. Benjamin doesn't have nearly as high-profile a running mate, but he's still a solid bet to see his usual volume of targets and provide fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR CLE 004500000 ***
You could play the "not covered by Joe Haden" card here, but Kelvin Benjamin's dramatic size advantage over Haden likely puts that matchup in favor of the receiver, negating the need to lean any more heavily on Cotchery than usual.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR CLE 007801000 **
Cleveland has been pretty good against tight ends--except for Jimmy Graham, whom they misguidedly tried to defend with the much smaller Joe Haden. Unlikely that the Browns sic Haden on Olsen, which should free him up to do his usual damage.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR CLE 3322 ***
Gano is heating up at just the right time; with multiple treys in three straight and double-digit points in back-to-back tilts, it's fortuitous that he bumps into a Browns defense that has served up multiple field goals in three straight and double-digit kicker points in three of its last five.

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 Mark Sanchez, PHI @WAS 0000028020 ***
Can Sanchez turn around his mini-slump of declining numbers? A Redskins defense that ceded 325 and 3 to Nick Foles back in Week 3 and has allowed multiple passing scores in three straight help point all signs towards "yes".
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI @WAS 6001100000 ***
As far as we can tell McCoy is still the starter and feature back in Philly. Last week, however, he played in just 34 of the team's 55 offensive snaps, a two-year low for McCoy. It's a tough matchup to begin with, and if you're taking touches--especially goal line looks--off of McCoy's plate it makes things even more difficult.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI @WAS 0081201000 ****
Maclin remains the man in Philly, with four straight 100-yard games against the Redskins capped by his 8-154-1 earlier this season. He's been the most consistently targeted Eagle, so no matter what shakes down he feels like the best bet for fantasy help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI @WAS 004701000 **
Matthews vanished last week; one drop led to no more targets and zero catches on the day. We'll see if he returns to the coaching staff's good graces, but given what transpired last week he can't be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Riley Cooper, PHI @WAS 004300000 ***
Cooper's targets have taken a turn for the better--second on the team among wideouts in looks each of the past four games--but the productivity hasn't climbed with the additional looks so he's still a risky play at best here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brent Celek, PHI @WAS 001100000 ***
It's a favorable tight end matchup, but Celek's presence only serves to cut into Zach Ertz's fantasy potential.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Ertz, PHI @WAS 002100000 ***
Ertz is the more dynamic target, but he isn't necessarily the most targeted tight end on the Philly roster and that makes him a difficult start at best. On the bright side, both he and Brent Celek will be facing a Redskins defense that has given up 11 TE TDs this year, including four in the past three games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI @WAS 2233 ***
Parker produced 13 points the last time these teams met, the most Washington has allowed to an opposing kicker all year. It's not rare for Parkey, however, who has six games with double-digit points and is averaging 9.5 points per game on the year. Shouldn't be a hiccup here.

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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