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: SEA 20, CAR 9 (Line: SEA by 3)

Players of Interest: Sidney Rice

This is a replay of week five last year when the visiting Panthers lost 12-16 in Seattle. The Seahawks ended last year 11-5 but only had a 3-5 road mark against their 8-0 home record. The Panthers went 7-9 last season but were only 3-5 at home and won their final four games to end up that well. You can be sure this remains a low scoring game. At least for the Panthers.

1 @CAR - 10 @ATL -
2 SF - 11 MIN -
3 JAC - 12 BYE WEEK
4 @HOU - 13 NO -
5 @IND - 14 @SF -
6 TEN - 15 @NYG -
7 @ARI - 16 ARI -
8 @STL - 17 STL -
9 TB - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Russell Wilson 20 220,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 100,1
WR Doug Baldwin 2-20
TE Zach Miller 3-40
PK Steven Hauschka 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Seattle already had a dominating defense and Marshawn Lynch as one of the premier power backs but last summer a rookie beat out Matt Flynn for the starting job and in the end, Russell Wilson brought them to the playoffs with poise and a winning ability you cannot teach. Playing in the same division as the 49ers mean that the Seahawks need to improve that road record from last year and start being a big and bad when they leave the state of Washington.

QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson won the quarterback competition that no one else guessed existed. He ended up with 3118 pass yards and 26 touchdown passes. He also tacked on 489 yards and four scores as a runner as well. He was whatever the Seahawks needed for that week. He is a game manager on a team that lives by defense and the rushing of Lynch, but he also had as high as 385 yards passing and failed to score in only one game all year. He may have been lighter on pass yards, but he was deadly throwing strikes into the endzone using pretty average receivers to get the job done.

Wilson only ran for 12 yards and passed for 221 yards in Carolina last year. He threw just one touchdown and was intercepted twice.

RUNNING BACKS: Marshawn Lynch was already a stud when he ran for 1204 yards and 12 scores in 2011. He followed that up with 315 carries for 1590 yards and 11 scores last year. He rarely catches more than one pass per game but he is as good as any with rushing yards. He crossed the 100 yard threshold 11 times last year as a runner. The Seahawks also added Christine Michael to the running back depth but he's already done so well that he is the primary backup now ahead of Robert Turbin. Should Lynch ever get injured, Michael looks like a plug-n-play that loses little for the offense.

Lynch ran for 85 yards on 21 carries in Carolina last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is where it remains a weakness, or at least a question mark. Percy Harvin was acquired and then injured his hip which required surgery late August, There is no timetable for his return and he is on the PUP list. Sidney Rice went to Switzerland for a knee treatment he cannot get in the states (read - not legal) but is supposed to be ready for week one but he has never come close to his one shining season in Minnesota in 2009. Then there is also Golden Tate who is the best of the bunch if only because he has healthy limbs and the referees seem to like him. And lastly there is Doug Baldwin who seemed like a player when he was a rookie but then last year not so much. It is a mess and yet Russell Wilson threw 26 touchdowns last year and 18 went to wide receivers.

Tate had the lone touchdown versus the Panthers last year but only managed three catches for 31 yards.

TIGHT ENDS: Combined, Anthony McCoy (18-291-3) and Zach Miller (38-396-3) offered decent fantasy value. Separately, which they were, they remained well below the fantasy radar. Miller's days in Oakland are a faint memory now and McCoy is gone. Still no reason to hop on board the Miller bandwagon.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Panthers might not have been taken as seriously as they should have last year thought the Seahawks still won the game. Their weakness was against running backs which is a bad thing facing the Seahawks. This will be a low scoring game as are most all Seattle matchups but Lynch remains a strong play even on the road this week. Wilson had a quiet game but it was only week five and he improved as the season went on. Other than Lynch, there is no really safe play here though Wilson and Tate are considerations.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nothing new here really. Be nice to see Sidney Rice look healthy and for the wideouts to at least appear that they are going to have chemistry with Wilson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 12 13 26 23 15 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 11 30 5 24 26 17

 

1 SEA - 10 @SF -
2 @BUF - 11 NE -
3 NYG - 12 @MIA -
4 BYE WEEK 13 TB -
5 @ARI - 14 @NO -
6 @MIN - 15 NYJ -
7 STL - 16 NO -
8 @TB - 17 @ATL -
9 ATL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50 190
RB Mike Tolbert 20 2-10
RB DeAngelo Williams 40 1-10
TE Ed Dickson 4-30
TE Greg Olsen 5-50
PK Graham Gano 3 FG

Pregame Notes: The Panthers went on a four game winning streak to end 7-9 on the season but they did nothing to change the personnel of the offense but did bring in a new offensive coordinator in Mike Shula who was promoted up from being the QB coach after Rod Chudzinski left to head coach the Browns. This will be the same offense and while there could be upgrades to both the backfield and receivers, nothing was done. The Panthers spent all their draft picks on defense, offensive line and finally RB Kenyon Barner in the sixth round.

QUARTERBACKS: After his thrilling rookie season, it was assumed that Cam Newton would settle down as defenses figured him out. He did drop from 21 to 18 touchdown passes but maintained nearly the same 4000 yards. And he dropped from 14 rushing scores to only eight. But he ran just as much as he did as a rookie. 126-706 in 2011 and then 127-741 last year.

Newton ran for 42 yards and completed only 12 of 29 for 141 yards against the Seahawks last time.

RUNNING BACKS: This is a mess and worse yet, no real fantasy value if you could somehow get all the parts in the same bag. Jonathan Stewart is the starting running back in title. But he is on the PUP list because of his ankles and there is a real chance that he misses the entire year. That lets DeAngelo Williams be the starter but at the age of 30 he is primed to fall short and has not rushed more than 173 times in any recent years. Mike Tolbert will likely help out again this year but mostly as a receiver and his one season in Carolina has only produced 451 yards though he scored seven times to lead the running backs. The rookie Kenyon Barner may figure in eventually down the road, but for now it will be Williams rushing and Tolbert stealing touchdowns.

The Panthers only gained 22 yards on ten carries by the running backs last year when the Seahawks visited.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No changes here other than adding Domenik Hixon for depth and Tedd Ginn for some special teams work. Steve Smith is now 34 and while he has not really declined so far, he only scored four times last year and broke 100 yards five times while turning in some painfully bad games otherwise. Brandon LaFell enters his fourth season but his career has stalled around the 650 yard mark each year and never more than four scores. He's no difference maker and yet the best they have besides Smith. It seems a lock that the Panthers make some moves to upgrade receivers next year.

Smith was held to 40 yards on four catches against the Seahawks last time.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen comes off a career best season with 60 catches for 843 yards and five scores. He's solid to be sure but has likely met his ceiling now as a 29 year old tight end entering his seventh season. He ends up around 50 yards almost every week with the occasional nice game against soft opponents.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Seahawks are one of the most dominating units in the NFL - if not THE best - and they are death to fantasy football. Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman just plain shut down the opposing wideouts and in this case there is only one to worry about. With a mess at tailback and only Steve Smith as a target, look for a bad week. Cam Newton has his worst game of 2012 against these Seahawks and his passing fortunes are sure to be low. Steve Smith got stuffed last year and now is just a little older and slower. Really none of these players are attractive this week though Newton will add some rushing yards to help.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nothing new here. Williams and Tolbert are likely to be factors in future weeks. But last year, they combined for seven carries for nine yards.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 5 22 27 11 32 16
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 2 8 3 11 2 7

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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