FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS

Prediction: CAR 24, ARI 16 (Line: CAR by 2)

Players of Interest: Andre Ellington

The 1-2 Panthers are favored in this road game but lost to Seattle and in Buffalo by less than six points each time. The 2-2 Cardinals are only home for the second time and beat the Lions there in the only home game so far.

1 SEA 7-12 10 @SF -
2 @BUF 23-24 11 NE -
3 NYG 38-0 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 @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 40,1 230,2
RB Chris Ogbonnaya 20 5-20
RB DeAngelo Williams 50
TE Greg Olsen 7-80,1
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: After losing their first two games, the Panthers went into their bye week pretty pleased after shutting out the Giants in a rout. They only lost by a point in Buffalo and their five point loss to the visiting Seahawks in the season opener seems more impressive with every passing week. The next month will be the easiest stretch of games all year for the Panthers who won't face a winning schedule in that time.

QUARTERBACKS: Playing the Giants didn't hurt, but at least Cam Newton spent one game looking back to form when he threw for 223 yards and three scores while running for a season high 45 yards and one touchdown. The easier schedule looming should see his improvement continue and it is a good sign that new OC Mike Shula is getting a better feel for how to use Newton in the new scheme.

RUNNING BACKS: Jonathan Stewart won't be back for at least another month and when he does, he'll ruin what has been a decent showing by DeAngelo Williams this year. Playing by himself, Williams rushed for at last 85 yards every week though he rarely has any receptions and doesn't score. But he has been worth a flex start. Last year the running backs lost all value.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon LaFell caught two touchdowns against the Giants but after three games played, he only had seven catches for 66 yards. Steve Smith continues to be locked into 40 to 50 yard games with the occasional touchdown. The only surprise here as been Ted Ginn Jr. who actually led the wideouts the last two weeks with games of 3-62 and 3-71 and long touchdowns in each. He has been far too inconsistent in his career to merit fantasy consideration but catching a long touchdown in two successive games with his new team means he needs to be watched. He has been targeted as many as eight times in a game so he is more than just a gimmick.

TIGHT ENDS: He's not exactly a difference maker but at least Greg Olsen is consistent with games of 50 yards or more every week. Oddly enough his one big effort (7-84, TD) was in the lone road game so far.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Cardinals are below average against the pass and already allowed nine touchdowns to quarterbacks in the four games played and that includes facing the Rams and Buccaneers. The rush defense has been outstanding and not allowed any touchdowns to a running back or more than 63 rushing yards. Their weakness has been against tight ends with four touchdowns and 275 yards allowed between just Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham. The offense must use passing to compete here and that makes Newton, Smith and even Olsen a decent play this week. Williams should be held to only moderate rushing yards and no score. Patrick Peterson is likely to spend his time with Steve Smith.

WHAT TO WATCH: Coming off the bye, the Panthers should be prepared for this matchup. Ted Ginn Jr. scored in the last two games and offers a deep strike ability. If Ginn can make it three in a row - even just decent yards without a score - he'll be spreading out defenses more and helping the offense open up.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 11 25 16 15 21 16
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 21 3 8 31 15 21

 

1 @STL 24-27 10 HOU -
2 DET 25-21 11 @JAC -
3 @NO 7-31 12 IND -
4 @TB 13-10 13 @PHI -
5 CAR - 14 STL -
6 @SF - 15 @TEN -
7 SEA - 16 @SEA -
8 ATL - 17 SF -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 250,1
RB Andre Ellington 20 3-30
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-70,1
WR Michael Floyd 4-60
WR Ted Ginn 3-50,1
TE Rob Housler 1-20

Pregame Notes: That win over the Lions is looking more and more like the aberration after the Cardinals were decimated in New Orleans and then barely beat the Buccaneers. And that was all the soft part of the schedule since next up are CAR, SF, SEA and ATL before reaching their bye week. It is very possible that the Cardinals will not be favored in any more games this season. The offense that started out scoring points has gone cold and the team still looks like Larry Fitzgerald and his entourage of 52 guys.

QUARTERBACKS: The hot start by Carson Palmer looks more and more about how bad the Rams are. Over the last three games, Palmer only threw two touchdowns against five interceptions and never broke 250 passing yards. The offense is still limited to just Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd to a lesser degree. That's entirely too one-dimensional to win most games and tough on Palmer when no one respects the rushing offense.

RUNNING BACKS: The Cardinals have long been the NFL's version of Running Back Siberia. No change there for Rashard Mendenhall who reunited with his old offensive coordinator but over the last two games, he combined for just 50 yards on 21 carries. He is consistently out played by Andre Ellington but they have yet to change out the primary back. Mendenhall fumbled twice last week and ran out of bounds to kill the clock for the Buccaneers last week. After publicly calling him out, the Cardinals may finally give Ellington more work but there has been nothing official other than the dissatisfaction with Mendenhall.

WIDE RECEIVERS: What success the offense has enjoyed lies here. Larry Fitzgerald is getting over his hamstring strain and scored once on his six catches for 68 yards despite going against Darrelle Revis last week. Michael Floyd hasn't scored yet but did turn in his second 80+ yard effort and has added at least minor production to the offense. Andre Roberts has been held to single catches in the last two weeks and lost all fantasy value after opening the season with a promising 97 yards in St.. Louis.

If the Cardinals are going to make a game of this, the wideouts have to play a major role or it just doesn't happen.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value. Rob Housler is back for two weeks now and still only catches one pass per game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is the problem. The Panthers are strongest against the only strength of the Cardinals. They have allowed only two passing touchdowns all year and just one rushing score. Mendenhall is even less attractive here though Ellington could be relevant if they still throw to him. Fitzgerald is still worth playing but his outlook is moderate at best. The Panthers should handle the run and keep the wideouts mostly covered. That is all they need to do. Only Fitzgerald appears worth the risk of starting and only because of his potential. Connecting the dots says he wont' have more than moderate yardage.

WHAT TO WATCH: The offense would benefit by a move away from Mendenhall to Ellington and this would be a nice spot for it given the need for Ellington to add more receptions for the offense. That doesn't mean it will happen though since that handwriting on the wall is just not being read by the Cardinals coaching staff.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 30 19 19 30 20 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 2 14 13 2 7 10

WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS


 
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