FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: GB 27, CIN 24 (Line: CIN by 1)

Players of Interest: Tyler Eifert

What an interesting game. The Packers are 1-1 thanks to a trip to San Francisco while the Bengals are also 1-1 scoring fewer points but playing better defense. While this could go either way based on how well the Bengals can slow down the Packers, this is more likely to end up as a shoot-out and that should favor Green Bay with just too many receivers to cover.

1 @SF 28-34 10 PHI -
2 WAS 38-20 11 @NYG -
3 @CIN - 12 MIN -
4 BYE WEEK 13 @DET -
5 DET - 14 ATL -
6 @BAL - 15 @DAL -
7 CLE - 16 PIT -
8 @MIN - 17 @CHI -
9 CHI - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 10 320,3
RB James Starks 50 3-20
WR Randall Cobb 8-100
WR Jordy Nelson 4-70,1
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: No matter where the game is, Aaron Rodgers has been on the mark so far and rolled up plenty of points. Having all receivers healthy has been a major help of course along with a better rushing game when needed. With only a bye on the other side, the Packers need this game to take a week off with a winning record rather than fall any further behind the Bears.

QUARTERBACKS: Last year Aaron Rodgers had a slow start to the season. No so for 2013. After two weeks, he has scored seven times and averaged a mere 406 passing yards per game. Averaged. Of course 480 yards and four scores on the Redskins was a big help. Rodgers has not been running the ball almost at all and with upgraded running backs has not hawked a goal line run. No need - he's passing as well as ever.

RUNNING BACKS: The week two win over the Skins came at a price. Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion that was bad enough to keep him out Sunday and likely bring him back in week five after the bye. James Starks stepped in and looked great running for 132 yards on 20 carries and scoring once. Before deciding that suddenly Starks has turned into a stud running back, consider that it was the same defense that let LeSean McCoy gain 184 yards and he was a visitor. Starks gets the start this week and without any need to share the load.

John Kuhn also went down last week with a hamstring injury.. His status is uncertain but he has no fantasy value other than he is the lead blocker for Lacy and now Starks.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Other than James Jones in week one, you could not have started a Packers wideout this year without reaping a very rich reward. Randall Cobb has topped the 100 mark and scored both times. Jordy Nelson has 196 total yards and three touchdowns. Even James Jones rang up 11 catches for 178 yards against the Redskins after being blanked in the season opener. This is the motor of the passing attack and it is hitting on all cylinders.

TIGHT ENDS: Oh yeah, and Jermichael Finley has turned in bookend games of around 60 yards and a touchdown both times. This is the first time that Rodgers has been able to make all four starting receivers so productive and it isn't just the schedule with one game in San Francisco already.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bengals front line has been topnotch against the run and even Matt Forte only ran for 50 yards on 19 carries against these Bengals. No matter - the Bengals have been good against the pass but only faced Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler (242 yards, 2 TD). So while Starks is going to have to accept something under his 132 yards of last week, the passing game should still be strong here. No reason to bench any of your normal Packer starts. Just temper expectations about Starks and realize he probably only gets one start this year.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Just the guy with the ball. Always the guy with the ball. But who will that be next play?

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 2 17 1 11 22 32
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 11 5 17 13 8 2

 

1 @CHI 21-24 10 @BAL -
2 PIT 20-10 11 CLE -
3 GB - 12 BYE WEEK
4 @CLE - 13 @SD -
5 NE - 14 IND -
6 @BUF - 15 @PIT -
7 @DET - 16 MIN -
8 NYJ - 17 BAL -
9 @MIA - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 320,2
RB Giovani Bernard 50,1 2-20
WR A.J. Green 8-120,1
WR Marvin Jones 3-30
WR Mohamed Sanu 4-40
TE Tyler Eifert 6-80,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 3-30
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The schedule has been less than kind with great defenses or offenses to start the first three weeks. But the Bengals barely lost in Chicago and then held off the Steelers with more ease than usual. The defense has been very good and now the offense is seeing definite signs of life from their prized rookie running back. This team will always be about A.J. Green but getting Giovani Bernard up to speed can only help.

QUARTERBACKS: Andy Dalton has been highly consistent, throwing for 282 and then 280 yards this year with one or two touchdowns. When the Steelers were able to shut down Green, Dalton moved to using the rookie tight end and bumped up both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. There is still a glaring difference between Green and ever other receiver but at least there is improvement.

RUNNING BACKS: Giovani Bernard has only carried the ball 12 times and caught two passes but he made the most of limited work when he ran in a score on the Steelers while rushing eight times for 38 yards and caught a 27-yard touchdown as well on his only catch in the game. Two scores help the fantasy points that were otherwise marginal. He'll grow as the season progresses and has already served notice that getting him the ball out in space can make good things happen.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 75 yards on the Steelers as well though he need 22 carries to get there. Overall, this is still a below average backfield but it is making progress.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Aside from the touchdown catch by Bernard, the only other two scores both went to A.J. Green who racked up nine receptions for 162 yards in Chicago. But he was limited to only 41 yards on six catches by the Steelers. No other wideout has gained more than 40 yards in a game or scored. This wideout crew is truly one-dimensional with Green getting over a dozen targets every week. The lack of diversity is what hurts the Bengals whenever Green can actually be held in check.

TIGHT ENDS: A nice development has been that Dalton is turning to his tight ends. Jermaine Gresham has been an average sort of tight end but while he maintains his 40 or 50 yards per week, the rookie Tyler Eifert is also contributing. He's already gained 113 yards on the season from eight catches and plays more like a wideout than a tight end - which is why they brought him aboard this year. What is likely to happen is for Eifert to become the primary receiving tight end but not at the expense of Gresham. Until the wideouts can step up, both tight ends are needed.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is a week that will likely only have marginal rushing since the war goes to the air sooner than later against the Packers. Both opponents threw for 320+ yards and three scores on the Packers. Anquan Boldin blew up with 208 yards in the opener against the visiting Packers. Both Green-Ellis and Bernard are only moderate starts at best but Dalton, Green and Eifert should all have a good game here if not one or more of the other receivers. This may be as good as it gets for Dalton this year.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tyler Eifert is already asserting himself and faces a defense that has already allowed three scores to the position. This should be Eifert's chance to turn in a very nice game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 16 18 16 6 24 28
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 29 9 29 29 13 7

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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