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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: CAR 24, KC 13 (LINE: CAR by 3)

Players to Watch: Cam Newton

The 3-8 Panthers come off a rare road win in Philly looking to string together two victories. The 1-10 Chiefs have not scored a touchdown in two weeks and have lost eight straight. The Chiefs are playing opponents nearly even not because they are that good, but because everyone knows they are going to win anyway so why try so hard? Playing the Chiefs is like a partial bye week.

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 30-22
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 @ KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 250,2
RB Jonathan Stewart
RB Mike Tolbert 30 2-10
RB DeAngelo Williams 50 4-30
TE Greg Olsen 5-50,1
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Hard to imagine but the Panthers may actually win not only two consecutive games, but two consecutive road games. Right now the Eagles and Chiefs both are waving the white flag and the Panthers stand to benefit. There's been no real progress made this year with Cam Newton but that's partially the fault of his receivers and the scheme he is in. What is starting to brew is the speculation that HC Ron Rivera will be dumped in the offseason and that any new coach is going to have to on board with Newton and his different style of play. And yes, shades of Michael Vick...

Newton almost always scores in every game and yet never has passed for more than two scores. His yardage has been better in recent weeks and he took advantage of the Eagles last week when he passed for two touchdowns and rushed in two more. Of course that only serves to completely neuter one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL but by now there is no fantasy value in the running backs anyway.

Johnathan Stewart suffered a high-ankle sprain and he been nursing an older one since back in August.This ankle that Stewart injured is not the same as the one from this summer. Of course that calls into question why you would make that person be the primary back, but by now the Panthers have zero confidence in DeAngelo Williams which he justified by rushing for 21 yards on 11 carries in the Philly win. For once it doesn't even matter who is injured - no one is going to offer reliable productivity from the running back position in terms of fantasy points.

While Steve Smith still commands most of the coverage Brandon LaFell has been far more productive in the last month with a touchdown and at least 70 yards in each of the last two games. Smith has only scored once all year and is currently stuck at a ceiling of around 60 yards per game. He's only marginally better than the tight end Greg Olsen.

Playing the Chiefs usually cures whatever ails you. But their weakness against running backs is not as glaring this week with nothing more than DeAngelo Williams coming to town. The Panthers should win this game but there's not likely to be much fantasy value in any of the players outside of Newton and the starting two wide receivers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 8 29 23 13 32 9
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 21 23 15 12 27 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Anderson, CAR CLE 0000023011 ***
Anderson threw for 277 and 1 against the Bucs, a significantly inferior pass defense to the Browns. If he replaces Cam Newton again, no reason to think his numbers will be any better.
  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.

Kansas City Chiefs
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 24-40 10 @PIT 13-16
2 @BUF 17-35 11 CIN 6-28
3 @NO 27-24 12 DEN 9-17
4 SD 20-37 13 CAR -----
5 BAL 6-9 14 @CLE -----
6 @TB 10-38 15 @OAK -----
7 BYE ----- 16 IND -----
8 OAK 16-26 17 @DEN -----
9 @SD 13-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Jamaal Charles 100,1 6-40
WR Donnie Avery 2-30
WR Dwayne Bowe 4-50
TE Anthony Fasano 2-20

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs offense has declined so badly that they have not score more than one touchdown in any of the last seven games and three failed to record any. This was a bad team before the switch to Brady Quinn. Now it cannot even score double digits.the last two weeks. Aside from Jamal Charles, this team has the look of one that either completely gave up or never had the talent to be competitive.

Quinn comes off his second start of the year and still no touchdowns or more than 180 yards in either game. To his credit he only threw one interception and did not make many mistakes but then again - he did not do much of anything. This week he is going against a top ten secondary. He has ruined the fantasy value of Dwayne Bowe and is dragging the offense into the gutter for the stretch run. It gets painful to watch.

Dexter McCluster suffered a concussion last week and will have to clear his tests but he has no history of them and it did not appear to be more than a mild one. McCluster has been providing Quinn with a passing outlet three or four times per game.

Jamaal Charles should be getting half of everyone else's paychecks. On this offense with minimal other talent, Charles is still running yard and comes off 107 yards on 23 carries against the Broncos. He's topped 100 yards four times and is still playing hard even if no one else seems to be. Whatever good the offense can produce will be almost entirely because of Charles who should be productive for the rest of the fantasy season with games against CAR, CLE, OAK and IND remaining.

The passing situation is so dire now that Steve Breaston is being inactive for games. Jon Baldwin has declined until he finally reached no catches last week. Dwayne Bowe did just get 12 targets last week but only ended up with four catches for 41 yards and he was blanked by the Bengals the previous week.

Aside from Charles, there is no fantasy plays left on this team. They have gone into full bore implosion and the only thing left to happen is for the defense to finally give up and allow the floodgates for opponent's scores to open.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 32 3 32 30 21 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 26 6 17 32 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Alex Smith, KC @PIT 0000024021 ***
Smith has thrown multiple touchdown passes in three of his last four games and should be able to replicate that feat against a Steelers secondary that's served up multiple scoring strikes in eight straight. That's what passes for a big game for Smith.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC @PIT 9004401000 ***
Charles is battling head, ankle, and knee injuries so he's been ceding touches to Knile Davis. He's still a must-start, but the fact that Davis swiped two scores last week alone takes some of the luster off.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC @PIT 006900000 ***
It's been 17 games, 222 targets, 132 catches, 1,628 yards since a Chiefs wide receiver last scored a touchdown. That streak ends here, against a Steelers secondary that's allowed at least one WR TD in seven straight games, and Bowe is the most likely Chief to do it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Albert Wilson, KC @PIT 004500000 ***
Wilson matched Dwayne Bowe's catches and yardage last week and recorded the second-most targets among KC wideouts as well. Memo to Wilson: if you're going to emulate someone, aim higher.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC @PIT 004501000 ***
More reliable targets, i.e. not sharing with Anthony Fasano, and this favorable matchup would make Kelce one of the top tight end plays of the week. Settle for solid and hope Fasano stays out of the mix.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC @PIT 2222 ***
Raise your hand if you remember all the way back to Week 8. That's the last time Santos had double-digit points, as well as the last time Pittsburgh gave up double-digit points to an opposing kicker. Two months of evidence suggests you should get your fantasy kicks elsewhere this week.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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