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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: CHI 27, WAS 23 (Line: WAS by 1.5)

Players of Interest: Jordan Reed

Update: Martellus Bennett is questionable to play but it is the same sore knee he had last week and is is not expected to be limited.

The Bears are tied for the NFC North lead at 4-2 and are 1-1 on the road this year. The 1-4 Redskins are still 0-2 at home with only a trip to face the injury-depleted Raiders enough to notch a win. This is a coin toss game but the Redskins are still struggling to find their rhythm on offense.

1 CIN 24-21 10 DET -
2 MIN 31-30 11 BAL -
3 @PIT 40-23 12 @STL -
4 @DET 32-40 13 @MIN -
5 NO 18-26 14 DAL -
6 NYG 27-21 15 @CLE -
7 @WAS - 16 @PHI -
8 BYE WEEK 17 GB -
9 @GB - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 10 300,2
RB Matt Forte 90,1 5-30
WR Alshon Jeffery 6-90,1
WR Brandon Marshall 7-100
TE Martellus Bennett 5-60,1
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears beat the Giants mostly because of an interception returned for a touchdown - otherwise pretty close game against a very desperate opponent. This week winds up what could be a 5-2 start with a win here. After their bye week the only games that they'll likely be underdogs in are against the Packers if even then during the home matchup. The offense is getting better and more balanced while the defense tries to hang on in the face of losing players to injury.

QUARTERBACKS: Aside from the one trip to Pittsburgh, Jay Cutler threw at least two touchdowns in every game and typically remains above 250 yards in most weeks. His 12 touchdowns are balanced by only three interceptions and better yet, he's only been sacked 13 times this year including none last week. Forte is no longer just relying on Brandon Marshall but incorporates all receivers into the game plan.

RUNNING BACKS: Matt Forte continues to churn out 100+ total yard games though he's oddly only scored twice and both were in the only road games he faced. He's a lock each week to catch four to six passes. His lack of scoring prevents him from being a true fantasy stud but his consistency is as good as any other running back.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon Marshall comes off his best game of the year when he caught nine passes for 87 yards and two scores in the win over the Giants. He still hasn't topped 100 yards since week two but unlike Forte, he scores in every home game and never on the road so far. Alshon Jeffrey took a step backwards last week from his two straight games over 100 yards and a score in each. He only caught one pass versus the Giants while Earl Bennett completely disappeared in the last two weeks. With Bennett, you never get much yardage but he too scored in just the two road games and yet never at home.

TIGHT ENDS: While Martellus Bennett is scoreless since week two, he's consistently good with catches and yardage. He produced between 49 and 90 yards in all but one game and his three touchdowns are second only to Brandon Marshall's five. Bennett adds a very useful and much relied on addition to Forte and the two wideouts. Bennett may be held out of some early practices to rest a sprained knee but is expected to play without limitation.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Redskins secondary was victimized for at least one score in every game and gave up 385 yards to Matt Stafford as the last visitor there. This is a very soft defense in every measure and that gives the Bears an advantage because they can choose where they want to attack. Opposing runners have already scored six touchdowns on them. Tight ends netted four scores and that's with lesser players than Bennett. This is the final game before their bye so the focus and preparation should be complete. Cutler, Forte, Marshall and Bennett are all worthy starts and even Jeffery should get back on track.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Bears face one of the weaker defenses in the league but it is a road game and they are getting desperate for a win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 11 15 8 15 17 2
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 25 27 26 16 11 18

 

1 PHI 27-33 10 @MIN -
2 @GB 20-38 11 @PHI -
3 DET 20-27 12 SF -
4 @OAK 24-14 13 NYG -
5 BYE WEEK 14 KC -
6 @DAL 16-31 15 @ATL -
7 CHI - 16 DAL -
8 @DEN - 17 @NYG -
9 SD - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 60 250,1
RB Alfred Morris 120,1 1-10
WR Pierre Garcon 6-70
WR Leonard Hankerson 3-40
WR DeSean Jackson 6-120,1
WR Santana Moss 5-60
TE Jordan Reed 5-60,1
PK Kai Forbath 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Redskins continue to search for that same magic that served them so well in 2012 but the offensive effort in recent weeks was on the decline. The remaining schedule only contains a couple of times that the Skins may be favored and even that may not happen if the offense cannot get out of first gear. The Skins catch a break with the Bears defense hit hard by injuries but the same was true in Dallas and it did not matter.

QUARTERBACKS: Robert Griffin III finally broke out of the pocket and did some running in Dallas. He gained 77 yards on nine attempts and looked very close to the same form that made him so deadly as a rookie before the knee injury. But Griffin's effectiveness as a passer is not improving. For the last three weeks, he's thrown just one touchdown and none in Dallas where they are normally handed out for free with every game program. This same set of wideouts are not clicking as well this year and more than anything, Griffin is just not throwing scores.

RUNNING BACKS: Alfred Morris no longer talks about a 2000 yard season and that is not his fault. He was never a receiver and despite a few claims made by coaches in the summer, he still is not used in that capacity. He is limited by the volume of carries. Morris averages 5.2 yards per carry but never gets more than 16 rushing attempts in any game. All too quickly the Skins fall behind and Morris is left on the sideline watching Griffin not throw any touchdowns. There is nothing wrong here other than a lack of opportunity.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This was a motley crew in 2012 but at least they would catch touchdowns and occasionally turn in a decent game. Santana Moss is showing his age with only one score and just an average of 43 yards per game. Leonard Hankerson teased in week one but remains good for only about 30 or 40 yards per matchup despite being the #2 starter. Pierre Garcon is the only consistent player with at least 60 yards per week but he's only scored twice - both in road games - and topped 73 yards only once. This unit needs someone more than Garcon to step up and it just has not happened.

TIGHT ENDS: The only positive development on offense is the rookie Jordan Reed who is growing as a receiver and turning in 50+ yard games for the last two weeks. That is notable on this team and the Redskins are increasing his playing time and workload. At only 6-3 and 225, he is a pure receiving tight end with speed.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears are hard hit with injuries on defense and just lost MLB D. J. Williams. That will take a bad rushing defense that was bullied by Brandon Jacobs and make it worse. Bullied by Brandon Jacobs. If you have waited for Alfred Morris to have a big game - it won't likely get better than this. Griffin goes against a secondary that has allowed ample yardage but never more than two passing scores to an opponent. Griffin only has one in the last three games. With a bigger focus on rushing this week, expect a more moderate game from Griffin with no more than one score. That lack of veteran linebacker presence should help the emerging Jordan Reed to take at least an incremental step forward. Garcon is always worth a start if only as a third wideout.

WHAT TO WATCH: The two areas to note - how well can Morris run and how that changes the offense. Jordan Reed could take another step this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 12 20 7 14 28 7
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 15 24 14 24 29 20

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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