FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: CHI 17, ARI 16 (Line: CHI by 5)

Players to Watch: Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, ARI Defense

The 8-6 Bears are on a three game losing streak and have lost five of their last six. They are 2-3 on the road and face the 5-9 Cardinals who just ended their eight game losing streak when they took down the visiting Lions after losing the previous week 0-58 in Seattle. This is a messy game because the Bears are very banged up and yet the Cardinals are just short of talent. Whatever happens here is not likely to involve a lot of points.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN 14-21
6 BYE ----- 15 GB 13-21
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 10 220,1
RB Matt Forte 70 5-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
WR Brandon Marshall 7-80,1
WR Josh Morgan 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Bears have gone from the top of the division to now having a very realistic chance of missing the playoffs all together. And with the way they are playing, it would not matter much anyway if they did show up in the postseason. Worst of all is an offense that has scored more than 17 points only once in the last six weeks. The Bears drew a tough schedule to be sure but by now they are so banged up and shaken up that even this game is by no means a certain win.

Jay Cutler is playing but admits that his neck is not 100% and it showed in the Packers game. His offensive line has been horrible all year and just lost a right tackle to make it a little worse. The final two games are on the road as well which will be no help. Cutler is getting pummeled every week and it is almost a miracle he has hung on this long. Then again, playing a clearly limited Cutler shows how little faith they have in Jason Campbell.

Matt Forte has been great in fantasy terms because he's recently gone back to adding five or six catches per week. He's been topping out around 60 rushing yards every week and has not ran in a score since back in week nine. Last week Michael Bush was never given a carry and Forte was allowed goal line duty but he never scored. Bush has been hampered by his sore ribs and the Bears are considering just placing him on injured reserve.

Alshon Jeffery had no catches last week despite four targets as the Bears passing attack literally has declined to looking for Brandon Marshall on every play and throwing him 15-20 passes every week. If the ball doesn't go to him, Cutler just checks down on a back like Forte. No other wideouts caught a pass last week - just Marshall, Forte and RB Armando Allen. Earl Bennett should return from his concussion this week but has no fantasy value.

This team has lost all fantasy value outside of Marshall who is force fed passes every week and Matt Forte. As bad as the Cardinals are - and they are plenty bad - their defense has not been the main problem. The chances that Patrick Peterson tries to climb Mount Marshall every play is very, very high.

I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 25 18 14 32 19 1
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 3 19 10 16 15 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI @DET 0000024021 ****
This "Lions as an elite defense" may feel new, but Cutler has just one multiple TD outing against Detroit in their last seven meetings dating back to 2010. And while the Lions have been softer of late Cutler has hardly been a consistent fantasy contributor and is more likely to honor the holiday with a turkey here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @DET 5006601000 ***
The back end of last season's series with the Lions was the first time in 12 meetings that Forte didn't score and/or top 100 yards from scrimmage against the Lions. He's too big a part of the Chicago offense to be pushed aside, even given the tough matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @DET 006601000 ****
Jeffery topped 100 yards in both ends of last season's series with the Lions, and by virtue of two healthy ankles he may be the better Bears option in a tough matchup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI @DET 006500000 ***
Marshall appears to be hobbling once again, and with this being a tougher matchup and a short week the Bears may opt to lean on Alshon Jeffery instead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @DET 004400000 ***
Bennett has been quiet since the Bears' Week 9 bye, though he could see an uptick in targets if Brandon Marshall is indeed hobbled. That's what his fantasy owners will have to hope for, as aside from that this matchup doesn't play out in his favor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @DET 2222 ***
While the Lions have made visiting kickers quite comfortable over their last three at home, Gould's whopping 11 points in the past five games suggest you keep him far, far away from your fantasy lineup.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL 17-31
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ 6-7
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA 0-58
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET 38-10
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI -----
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Lindley 130
QB Carson Palmer 240,1
WR Larry Fitzgerald 4-40

Pregame Notes: Every so often you see a game score that just begs a closer look at the box score. The Cardinals beating the Lions 38-10 was one of those games. Even after looking at it, the win is still a head scratcher coming after eight straight losses and coming off a 0-58 humiliation. IT ends up that the offense is still plenty bad but the defense showed up and used four turnovers to their advantage.

When Beanie Wells scores three times in one game, it meant it went really well since he only had two scores over the first 13 games of the year. Wells rushed for 67 yards on 17 runs which was his season high on carries and yards as well. Remarkably, he had two home games since returning in week 12 and totaled all five of his touchdowns in those two efforts. He faces a solid defense this week though and at best he has to hope his defense can get him the field position again.

Ryan Lindley passed for only 104 yards on the Lions but that is his second best game of the year and he still has not actually thrown a touchdown in the NFL. This has left Larry Fitzgerald with a weekly stat line that is actually hard to stomach. He has not scored since week nine and has not been above 31 yards in any game. There is no more fantasy value in any of this offense now that Fitzgerald has been completely neutered.

This week could be when the Cards are the ones coming off a big win and play flat but by this point there is no distinguishing what "flat" and "normal" looks like in Arizona. Flat is the new normal. The defense might make it interesting and could keep the Cards in the game but the offense yet again won't have a lot to do with it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 31 30 28 30 28 7
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 6 4 11 9 3 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Stanton, ARI @ATL 0000025010 ***
Yes, on paper it's a favorable matchup for Stanton. However, he has yet to throw a road TD this year and he hasn't topped 167 yards away from Arizona. He may not have Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal, either; it all adds up to Stanton being a lousy fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @ATL 9015400000 ****
No team has allowed more fantasy points to the running back position than the Falcons, including a league-high 15 RB TDs and the fourth-most receiving yards to backs. So even if Ellington loses a goal line touch or two he should carve out plenty of yardage--both on the ground and in the air--and be one of the better fantasy RB options on the board.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @ATL 005701000 ***
You would think with Fitz likely out again this week that Floyd moves up to WR1 status--last week's blanking at the hands of the Seahawks notwithstanding. It's an incredibly favorable matchup against a secondary that's allowed four straight 100-yard games to WR1s, so if you can bring yourself to trust the inconsistent Floyd he has monster fantasy upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @ATL 005700000 ***
Brown could leapfrog the inconsistent Michael Floyd to capture some of the stats the Falcons have made available to WR1s over the past month. Even if he's running as wingman this week he's a big-play threat who could make some fantasy noise in a reasonably favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI @ATL 003300000 ***
Brown is too far down a passing game pecking order that will struggle to produce enough stats for one, maybe two wideouts; you can find better fantasy options elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @ATL 003300000 ****
Carlson has seen an uptick in targets, but the jump to four last week hasn't yielded much in the way of fantasy results. Get your fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @ATL 4322 ****
Catanzaro hasn't had multiple field goals in a game since Week 6, so the switch from Carson Palmer to Drew Stanton isn't necessarily leaving Arizona with more field goal opportunities. This isn't an overtly favorable matchup, so settle for the usual from Chandler--and the usual hasn't been particularly good.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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