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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Wildcard Kansas City at Indianapolis 4:35 PM EST San Diego at Cincinnati 1:05 PM EST
*UPDATED  New Orleans at Philadelphia 8:10 PM EST San Francisco at Green Bay 4:40 PM EST

Prediction: NO 27, PHI 24 (Line: PHI by 2.5)

Update: Pierre Thomas is now out and removed from the projections.

The 11-5 Saints had to accept a wild card after losing to the Panthers in week 16. They are only 3-5 on the road though they are bringing the same great offense and a top defense as well. The 10-6 Eagles snuck into the playoffs thanks to facing the Collapse-Boys in Dallas but are only 4-4 in home games.

1 ATL 23-17 10 DAL 49-17
2 @TB 16-14 11 SF 23-20
3 ARI 31-7 12 @ATL 17-13
4 MIA 38-17 13 @SEA 7-34
5 @CHI 26-18 14 CAR 31-13
6 @NE 27-30 15 @STL 16-27
7 BYE WEEK 16 @CAR 13-17
8 BUF 35-17 17 TB 42-17
9 @NYJ 20-26 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 320,2
RB Darren Sproles 20 4-25 -
RB Mark Ingram 50,1 1-10 -
RB Khiry Robinson 30 1-10 -
TE Jimmy Graham   6-80,1  
WR Marques Colston - 7-100,1  
WR Lance Moore - 5-40 -
WR Kenny Stills - 2-60 -
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Drew Brees concludes yet another great year as an elite quarterback and he even added rushing scores to his repertoire with two over the final three games. What is even more powerful is that the offense enters the post season with a healthy crew.

Brees passed for 5162 yards and 39 touchdowns but he was held to single passing scores in five different matchups. He also posted four or more touchdowns in six different games. Aside from facing a top defense, he's been consistently worth 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in every game.

The Eagles defense improved as the season progressed but still gives up multiple scores and high yardage to quarterbacks much less talented than Brees. Just last week they let Kyle Orton pass for 358 yards and two scores in his first game in over two years.

The running backs combined for good numbers here but still involve up to four different backs per game. Darren Sproles only scored in two games this year and both were at home. He's been a minor contributor this year compared to his first two seasons in New Orleans.

Mark Ingram is largely a non-factor but can show up in unexpected ways as when he ran for 145 yards against the Cowboys. Khiry Robinson is another back who shows up and then disappears. Pierre Thomas was a consistent contributor until around week 12 but since bounces all around both as a runner and a receiver. He scored just last week but never reached the end zone in the six previous games.

The Eagles are good against the run and in Philly only three runners scored and none topped 100 yards.

Jimmy Graham stands alone as the elite tight end this year. His yardage waned from the start of the season but he scored 16 touchdowns in the regular season. And a bad yardage game is still maybe 50 yards. The Eagles have been outstanding against tight ends in Philly where only one touchdown was allowed. But Graham is obviously a cut above all others.

Marques Colston is the primary wideout in a passing scheme that has de-emphasized them in favor of running backs and Graham. Colston scored five times this year and is a safe play for 65 yards or more each week. Lance Moore just scored in week 17 but that was only his second touchdown on the season. Kenny Stills provides the deep threat that usually ends with minimal yardage but scored five this this season and each time was a long pass.

The Eagles secondary is weakest against wideouts and that covers all NFL teams as they rank #32. That will involve Colston and likely Stills again.

This is forecasted to be dry and around 30 degrees or so. No reason so far to expect any real impact to the passing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 3 3 23 1 16 29
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 26 12 32 9 13 18

 

1 @WAS 33-27 10 @GB 27-13
2 SD 30-33 11 WAS 24-16
3 KC 16-26 12 BYE WEEK
4 @DEN 20-52 13 ARI 24-21
5 @NYG 36-21 14 DET 34-20
6 @TB 31-20 15 @MIN 30-48
7 DAL 3-17 16 CHI 54-11
8 NYG 7-15 17 @DAL 24-22
9 @OAK 49-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles 20 - 250,2
RB LeSean McCoy 110,1 5-35,1 -
TE Brent Celek - 4-50,1 -
TE Zach Ertz - 2-30 -
WR DeSean Jackson - 4-50  
WR Riley Cooper - 3-50 -
PK Alex Henery 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles salvaged their season winning seven of their last eight games and the Chip Kelly offense coming into focus better as the season progressed. The only odd part of them being here is that they are one of the very rare teams that struggle much more at home than on the road.

Nick Foles did not really get going until week six but he's far exceeded all expectations and sent Michael Vick to the bench. Foles is so good that Vick wants to return next season just to stand on the sidelines and watch. Foles proved to be a very accurate passer who scores multiple touchdowns in almost every game and already tied the NFL record with seven touchdowns in just one game. He tends to either throw for lower 200's in yardage or face a weak defense on the road and pass for 400 yards.

The Saints will bring the best defense that Foles has yet faced. They've only allowed ten passing touchdowns in their eight home games and most remained below 200 yards. On the road they are not quite as fearsome as when in New Orleans though and that works better for Foles who already is sacked three times or more in almost every game.

LeSean McCoy ended with an NFL-best 1607 rushing yards and the last six of his nine rushing touchdowns happened at home. He topped 100 rush yards in seven games. He's not only topped 100 total yards in 11 games, he's maintained that level for the last seven weeks.

Running backs are the bigger weakness for the Saints who have allowed seven scores to the position as visitors and half the time the opponent features a runner with 95 yards or more. There is no doubt that McCoy will be taking a heavy load this week to try to keep the Saints off the field and attack their weakness. Bryce Brown and Chris Polk both get a few carries and could score but McCoy is the only reliable and highly productive back here.

Brent Celek scored six times this year and is a bigger factor in recent games when he ends up with 40 yards or more. The rookie Zach Ertz is less reliable but did score four times when the Eagles faced weak defenses. There is a good chance for a score again this week that would favor Celek over Ertz.

The wideouts have been mostly limited to whatever DeSean Jackson can accomplish and with nine touchdowns, he's been one of the best players in his position. The problem with Jackson is that he best games not only came on the road but also when facing weak secondaries. Seven of his touchdowns were away from Philly. Riley Cooper occasionally shows up as well but with marginal yardage and only one score in the last six weeks.

The Saints are solid against wide receivers and only allowed two scores to the position in the last five away games. That should hold Jackson at bay and only he matters.

This is a great test for Foles versus a defense that will harass him. But this game turns on how well McCoy runs along with either Polk or Brown. Foles is not going to fare as well in a shoot-out against the Saints.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 2 7 9 10 20 17
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 5 10 6 11 5 6

Wildcard Kansas City at Indianapolis 4:35 PM EST San Diego at Cincinnati 1:05 PM EST
*UPDATED  New Orleans at Philadelphia 8:10 PM EST San Francisco at Green Bay 4:40 PM EST


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