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: PHI 24, NYG 30 (Line: NYG by 2.5)

Players of Interest: Michael Vick

The Giants are reeling from their 0-4 start and they have not even remotely been in any game since the opener. The Eagles looked great in their opener but we've come to find out that was more about how bad the Skins defense is and the Eagles are on a three game losing streak that includes home games with the Chiefs and Chargers. Both teams are struggling, have offensive line problems and a defense that cannot hope to keep up in most games. The difference here (if there is one) is that the Eagles have cooled down and now are on the road for the second time while the Giants only home game has been against the Broncos which counts more like an assault than a loss for everyone they play.

These teams traded home wins in 2012. The Eagles won their 19-17 while the Giants won in New York 42-7.

1 @WAS 33-27 10 @GB -
2 SD 30-33 11 WAS -
3 KC 16-26 12 BYE WEEK
4 @DEN 20-52 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 80,1 3-30
RB Darren Sproles 30 6-50
WR Riley Cooper 2-30
TE Brent Celek 3-40
TE Zach Ertz 2-20

Pregame Notes: The Eagles are still searching for that elusive non-Redskin win but have gotten a little worse each game. Last week - a whole lot worse. Now on the second leg of a three game road trip, the schedule is getting lighter and the chances for a win much better. But the problem has been less about the offense than the defense that has allowed no fewer than 26 points each week. This week should be a closer matchup even if it is a loss but then the following week in Tampa Bay is an excellent chance for a road win.

QUARTERBACKS: The schedule is partly to blame, but Michael Vick has been declining each week and in Denver never scored and threw for just 248 yards. To his credit, he has only two interceptions on the season and he is rushing for around 40 yards or so each game. This week should be a good point of reference since the opposing defense will not be as good as recent weeks and Vick should see at least some bounce back.

RUNNING BACKS: LeSean McCoy has been golden every week either as a runner or a receiver with over 150 yards in each of the first three games. He fell to only 94 total yards in Denver but he's been the only consistent player for the Eagles and remains one of the top backs so far this year. Bryce Brown and even Chris Polk are pitching in a few carries but this remains McCoy's job with 20 or more touches every week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: After opening the season with two big games, DeSean Jackson has settled down to very mediocre stats for the last two weeks but that was at least partly about facing far superior teams. It naturally mirrors the problems that Vick has been faced with in recent games. Jason Avant turned in one decent game this year and Riley Cooper hasn't even managed that much. Jackson needs to get back on track of the offense becomes even more dink-n-dunk.

TIGHT ENDS: Brent Celek and Zach Ertz share just one touchdown all year and that was the first one that the Eagles scored. Since then they not only are inconsistent, but they have far too many one or no catch games to risk a fantasy start.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Michael Vick has to take advantage of this matchup against a defense that has given up ten passing touchdowns over four games and only Cam Newton managed to remain below 260 passing yards. McCoy goes against a defense that has yet to prevent an opposing primary runner from gaining at least 100 total yards and almost all opponents see at least one touchdown from their running backs. The Giants are also as bad against the tight ends as they are wideouts. But the inconsistent split here doesn't favor recommending either Celek or Ertz. The Giants allowed five scores to wide receivers this year but none with more than 87 yards and that included facing the Broncos. Vick and McCoy should be strong starts here and Jackson a decent risk for a score and moderate yardage.

WHAT TO WATCH: This is where Michael Vick needs to improve from his recent decline and show that the offense is starting to click, not that the defenses have already figured it out.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 4 3 10 18 16 23
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 27 24 18 29 25 32

 

1 @DAL 31-36 10 OAK -
2 DEN 23-41 11 GB -
3 @CAR 0-38 12 DAL -
4 @KC 7-31 13 @WAS -
5 PHI - 14 @SD -
6 @CHI - 15 SEA -
7 MIN - 16 @DET -
8 @PHI - 17 WAS -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 330,3
RB Rashad Jennings 50 4-20
WR Victor Cruz 7-110,2
WR Rueben Randle 3-40
PK Josh Brown 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Giants offensive line is wrecked and the defense hasn't held anyone under 31 points. Eli Manning is throwing interceptions at the same rate as his brother throws touchdowns (well almost). But the Giants went against very good defenses and was on the road. This week is a chance to get back on a winning track against another team that is struggling as well. Fixing the line problems would be huge and it is not likely to happen, at least not completely. This is the one week the Giants can make it all better because a trip to Chicago in week six is not going to be any better.

QUARTERBACKS: Eli Manning seems central to the problem but he's merely in the middle of all the problems and most visible. He rarely has enough time to throw and has already been sacked 14 times. His nine interceptions and two lost fumbles have been game killers but they are related to the lack of a rushing offense and how well pass rushers are getting to him. If there is any positive to the matchup this week, it is that the Eagles have not intercepted a pass since the season opener. This will be the best chance for Manning to show up with a nice game so far this year.

RUNNING BACKS: This is a huge problem. And again - related to the offensive line problems though you cannot lump all the failures on the line. David Wilson comes off a season high of only 13 carries for 55 yards in Kansas City. He doesn't play on third downs and he is not part of any passing package which means little work in the fourth quarter of any game. But Brandon Jacobs cannot gain any more yardage than he can get by merely falling forward. Da'Rel Scott catches a few passes but nothing enough to merit any fantasy attention. Granted - the line play hurts and the schedule has killed them. After losing two fumbles in the opener, Wilson has not lost any fumbles. What has been noted though is that Wilson isn't trying to gain yards and not fumble. He is just trying not to fumble.

Scott was released in a surprise move by the Giants. That should clear the way for Wilson to get at least a bit more touches per week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Aside from the Carolina loss, Victor Cruz has been outstanding this year with three big yardage games and four touchdowns on the season, all but two that Manning has thrown. Hakeem Nicks opened the year with decent yardage but then was blanked in week three. He complained and was rewarded with nine passes against the Chiefs but he only caught three for 33 yards. Rueben Randle only totals six catches for 61 yards over the last three weeks.

Cruz remains the go-to receiver and has the obvious confidence of Manning. This unit has the potential to be one of the most productive in the league but the reality is that it has only been Cruz and just about no one else.

TIGHT ENDS: No reliable fantasy value. Brandon Myers had no catches last week. No New York tight end did.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Eagles have been decent against the run though almost all teams score once on the ground against them. Where the Eagles are hurt is via the pass and they have already allowed nine passing scores against them this year. The worst any quarterback has done is 270 passing yards. Another positive is that they have not only allowed four receivers to score against them, but each of them had at least two scores and Eddie Royal brought in three. No receiver so far has only scored once against them. Manning and Cruz are strong plays this week and Nicks deserves some consideration. There is a good shot at one rushing score but where that goes is a coin flip between the three runners.

WHAT TO WATCH: Something has to happen. Either more success from a non-Cruz receiver or something from the rushing game. Otherwise, these Giants are going to battle giving up because winning won't come easy or often.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 15 29 6 20 28 29
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 29 22 32 11 32 29

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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