FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1 BAL at DEN (THU) GB at SF *NE at BUF *TB at NYJ
*ATL at NO MIA at CLE *OAK at IND TEN at PIT
CIN at CHI MIN at DET SEA at CAR HOU at SD (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at STL *KC at JAC NYG at DAL PHI at WAS (MON)

Prediction: PHI 17, WAS 24 (Line: WAS by 4)

Players of Interest: Bryce Brown, Robert Griffin III

The Redskins swept the Eagles last year, winning 31-6 at home and later 27-20 in Philadelphia in week week 16. This is the early Monday night double header game. And the first time we get to see what the Chip Kelly hype is all about.

1 @WAS - 10 @GB -
2 SD - 11 WAS -
3 KC - 12 BYE WEEK
4 @DEN - 13 ARI -
5 @NYG - 14 DET -
6 @TB - 15 @MIN -
7 DAL - 16 CHI -
8 NYG - 17 @DAL -
9 @OAK - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB LeSean McCoy 60 5-40,1
RB Darren Sproles 20 5-50,1
WR Riley Cooper 3-40
TE Brent Celek 3-30,1
TE Zach Ertz 2-20
PK Alex Henery 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Andy Reid has finally left and a new era in Philly has started. They managed to grab the most coveted college coach in Chip Kelly who commanded a ridiculously productive offense in Oregon. Unfortunately the team lost Jeremy Maclin in July and with him their primary receiver. But this hurry-up, run-oriented scheme should be tailored made for the backfield talent and Michael Vick is getting yet another second chance at being a starter. This is perhaps the offensive scheme that will be most interesting to watch.

QUARTERBACKS: Michael Vick beat out Nick Foles to become the starter this year and the 33-year old Vick still has some wheels that could come into play in this offense. The reality is that you only have to wait to see Foles show up since Vick has not played in all 16 games since 2006 in Atlanta when he still owned dogs. Lots of them. He averages around four games per year missed now.

Vick never played against the Redskins last year and Nick Foles was held to just one passing score in the home game.

RUNNING BACKS: LeSean McCoy dipped below 1000 rush yards last year when he missed four games with a concussion. But he stands to really benefit from the run-heavy scheme proposed by Kelly and OC Pat Shumur. Much of McCoy's value has come from his role as a receiver as well but that is still undefined going into the season. The intention of fast plays and more downs not only will help McCoy but is expected to also involve Bryce Brown more than he was last season. For what it is worth, Kelly used several runners and receivers in Oregon and that could make Brown at least merit consideration as a bye week filler if not potentially more.

Bryce Brown (5-35) and LeSean McCoy (15-45) were both ineffective rushing on the Skins last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The loss of Jeremy Maclin is tough since he was a nice fit for this scheme. But DeSean Jackson has looked good in camp and should end up the #1 receiver as long as he remains healthy. That is something he has not done since 2008 but at least he only misses one or two games in most seasons. He had been producing 900+ yard seasons until last year when he missed five games. Riley Cooper will help out as well so long as he keeps his comments to himself along with Jason Avant. How the scheme employs the receivers remains to be known. But it is expected to throw fewer passes than the old west coast Reid offense.

TIGHT ENDS: This position is more interesting than it may seem. The Eagles spent their 2.03 pick on Zach Ertz out of Stanford for a receiving tight end. But they have also already spoken to upping Brent Celek's role who has been a solid if unspectacular receiver for the last six seasons. That plays out so that Celek will have some fantasy value this year though he'll no doubt be limited in what he can do. Ertz will be incorporated as quickly as he can prove himself worthy. That all adds up to likely no fantasy starter in Philly this year but at least a situation to watch.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is just another NFC East matchup that happens twice a year. What makes it interesting this time around is that new offense by Chip Kelly and that throws a whole new twist on the matchup. The secondary of the Skins has long been the problem but the run-stopping has been very good and especially at home which will affect this matchup. LeSean McCoy is a must start and once we know for sure what the offense is like, DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick and maybe Brent Celek can also be considered but this first week out all but McCoy is going to be a risk and even he had trouble against the Skins last year.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The entire offense is worth watching to see what Kelly brings over and what he keeps. What you want to see is Vick able to run and connect with DeSean Jackson. The role of Brown is also a big question mark so far as he may be one of the #2 backs worthy of fantasy attention.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 18 21 15 15 24 32
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 27 9 30 32 19 1

 

1 PHI - 10 @MIN -
2 @GB - 11 @PHI -
3 DET - 12 SF -
4 @OAK - 13 NYG -
5 BYE WEEK 14 KC -
6 @DAL - 15 @ATL -
7 CHI - 16 DAL -
8 @DEN - 17 @NYG -
9 SD - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 30 230,2
RB Alfred Morris 110,1 2-10
WR Pierre Garcon 5-70,1
WR DeSean Jackson 5-40,1
WR Santana Moss 2-30,1
WR Andre Roberts 3-40
PK Kai Forbath 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Redskins welcome back Robert Griffin III after he tore up his knee and rehabbed to get back for this week. The Redskins had a very successful 2012 season with a 10-6 finish and a NFC East title. That was won on the backs of both RB3 and the surprising Alfred Morris who literally jumped out of the depth charts in week one to become one of the better running backs in the league. A home opener against the Eagles should be a nice start and a way to let Griffin get his legs under him before going to Green Bay next week.

QUARTERBACKS: Robert Griffin III was all he was billed to be as a rookie when he ran for 815 yards and seven scores while passing for 3200 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was named Offensive Player of the Year but suffered torn ACL and LCL ligaments. He's just now been cleared to play but will wear a knee brace as a precaution. How that impacts his role as a runner is what needs to be known as he's a good quarterback throwing and a great quarterback when he can run as well. The Skins did not add any new receivers of note in the offseason.

Griffin enjoyed a big game when the Eagles visited last year. He ran for 84 yards on 12 scrambles and passed for four touchdowns and yet only 200 yards.

RUNNING BACKS: Alfred Morris is on a quest to prove 2012 was not a fluke which is somewhat scary since he ran 335 times for 1613 yards and 13 touchdowns - how much better can he get? Morris become just another in a long line of Shanahan running back finds and while he rarely catches the ball, he is rock solid each week with rushing yardage. Roy Helu is the primary backup but no threat to reduce his role.

Morris ran for 76 yards on 20 carries in the home meeting with the Eagles. He later had 91 yards and a score on 22 carries in Philly after the Eagles had already given up.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is an area that seemed to need work and yet was left alone in the offseason. Pierre Garcon only played in ten games last year thanks to a problem toe but claims to be all healed and ready to rock as the primary receiver for Griffin. He is easily the best receiver on the team though he has yet to break 1000 yards or six touchdowns during his five year career. Leonard Hankerson is still the supposed high potential guy that drops passes and Josh Morgan will supply the #2 in this offense though he has yet to top 700 yards anytime in his five NFL seasons. Santana Moss also hangs on for his 13th season because no one has the heart to tell the 34-year old to leave. He is good for around 500 to 600 yards per season lately and did score eight times in 2012 while only catching 41 passes for 573 yards.

Garcon may step up in this group but no one else has the look of unrealized potential.

TIGHT ENDS: Fred Davis is back after his Achilles tear in week seven that landed him on injured reserve. He has looked good in camp though with speed and apparently no lingering pain. That could mean he will be a larger factor for 2013 though he never scored in his seven games last year with Griffin and averaged only around three catches per week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Eagles are changing to a 3-4 under DC Bill Davis and they not only cleaned house on coaches, they took out all the starting defensive backs as well. This is a defense installing a new scheme with new players and that is always the best time to face them. Starting Griffin this week is still a risk of sorts though he played so well against the Eagles last year. Morris is an every week starter and none of the wideouts besides Garcon has any real appeal in any week. RG3, Morris and Garcon are the only safe plays here in what should be a nice opener.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: With the same players from 2012, the only real interesting person is Griffin who is cleared to play and claims to not consider changing his style. But 815 rushing yards and seven touchdowns is a huge difference maker both in fantasy and in the NFL. If he continues to run and do it well, all is fine. If RG3 just stands in the pocket every play, then not having decent receivers will become a much bigger issue.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 3 17 11 25 13 8
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 29 14 19 9 23 31

WEEK 1 BAL at DEN (THU) GB at SF *NE at BUF *TB at NYJ
*ATL at NO MIA at CLE *OAK at IND TEN at PIT
CIN at CHI MIN at DET SEA at CAR HOU at SD (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at STL *KC at JAC NYG at DAL PHI at WAS (MON)


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