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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT* OAK at TEN* GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB* CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU* CIN at NE* SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
*UPDATED DET at CHI DEN at JAC* ARI at STL* SD at KC

Prediction: CAR 17, NYG 27

Both teams had a disappointing 8-8 ending to their season but fresh in the Giants memory will be when the Panthers served up a major upset in week 16 when they pummeled the Giants 41-9 in New York. They are back but this time the Giants are healthy and unforgiving.

Carolina Panthers (0-0)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG -- 10 @TB --
2 TB -- 11 BAL --
3 CIN -- 12 @CLE --
4 @NO -- 13 @SEA --
5 CHI -- 14 ATL --
6 Bye - 15 ARI --
7 SF -- 16 @PIT --
8 @STL -- 17 @ATL --
9 NO --   - -
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Moore - - 200,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 80,1 30 -
RB Jonathan Stewart 70 10 -
TE Dante Rosario - 30,1 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 20 -
WR Steve Smith - 60 -
WR Dwayne Jarrett - 40 -
PK John Kasay 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Panthers usher in a new era with Jake Delhomme gone and Matt Moore taking over as starting quarterback. The Panthers have been one of the premier rushing teams for the last couple of seasons but the passing game has lagged and Steve Smith has been much less productive than in the past. There are new receivers this year as well so the hope is that the Panthers can be more balanced or at least have the option to pass when needed. But this is a young crew and it may take some time for passing numbers to see improvement.

QUARTERBACKS: This is the fourth season for Matt Moore and he has some experience already having been the starter for the final five weeks of last season including the game in New York. Moore passed for 171 yards and three scores in that matchup and it was his eight touchdowns over the final four weeks that helped make the decision to give him the starting job for good. He has an outstanding rushing game to support him so he won't be asked to do a lot in many games but he will be relied on when the team needs to pass and he has the confidence of the coaching staff.

This rematch is unlikely to go as well given a bit of revenge the Giants will want to extract. Expect only an average outing here with one score. Anything more will be a big feather in Moore's cap.

RUNNING BACKS:The Panthers backfield accounted for an NFL high 2419 rushing yards in 2009 and that was with DeAngelo Williams missing three games. This is a deadly one-two punch and together the duo split 437 carries last year. The ratio typically favors Williams but Jonathan Stewart was a beast in the final four weeks when he had the backfield by himself and turned in four games all over 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in each.

Williams was out in the meeting last year but Jonathan Stewart ran for 206 yards on 28 carries and scored once. Stewart still has problems with his heel but is expected to play this week.

The Giants will not let that happen again but the pair should still produce decent numbers here. Consider both a worthy start in all but the very worst of matchups.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Last season saw Steve Smith break a four year streak of 1000+ yard but he still came in with 982 yards and his standard seven touchdowns. But Smith only managed to eclipse 100 yards twice on the season. Encouraging is that he scored in each of the final three weeks when Moore was the quarterback including his season best 9-157 showing against the visiting Vikings. Smith has been held out of training camp and preseason games from his broken arm he suffered in Jones but is expected to be fully healed.

Muhsin Muhammad is gone and the Panthers will be starting Dwayne Jarrett at the flanker spot after three years of minimal playing time in Carolina. The rookie Brandon LaFell was impressive in the spring but was less so once the pads were on and the games were against other teams. LaFell still has much promise unlike Jarrett so the roles could change over the course of the season.

Both Muhsin Muhammad and Smith scored in New York last year and Smith led the team with 60 on five receptions.

TIGHT ENDS: The Panthers do make some use of their tight ends who accounted for five touchdowns and 753 yards on 63 catches but the problem is that the production was neatly divided between three players making none of them having fantasy value. Jeff King caught a touchdown against the Giants last year on his only catch in the game. The Giants were the worst at stopping tight ends as well and Matt Moore is going to appreciate a quick outlet to get rid of the ball. Expect a score here and Dante Rosario is the most likely but only slightly over Jeff King or Gary Barnridge.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 28 3 27 18 23 8
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 29 18 18 32 14 16


New York Giants (0-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR -- 10 DAL --
2 @IND -- 11 @PHI --
3 TEN -- 12 JAC --
4 CHI -- 13 WAS --
5 @HOU -- 14 @MIN --
6 DET -- 15 PHI --
7 @DAL -- 16 @GB --
8 Bye - 17 @WAS --
9 @SEA -- - - -
Giants Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW YORK GIANTS vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning - - 250,1
RB Brandon Jacobs 50,1 - -
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 70,1 30 -
TE Kevin Boss - 30 -
WR Steve Smith - 70,1 -
WR Hakeem Nicks - 70 -
WR Mario Manningham - 30 -
PK Lawrence Tynes 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants come off an 8-8 season and while the rushing game fell short thanks to lingering injuries, the passing attack was formidable. The receiving crew had a big youth movement that delivered beyond all expectations. Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham did the unthinkable by remaining productive throughout the season and the normal December slide never happened. The G-Men enter the season healthy once again but with a far more balanced offense than in many years.

QUARTERBACKS: What could have been a down year for Eli Manning ended up as a career best when he passed for 4021 yards and 27 touchdowns and that was without Plaxico Burress or Amani Toomer. Manning never faltered down the stretch as has been his annual exercise. Manning started out hot and stayed that was. He had three games in December with over 250 passing yards in each and twice had over 380 passing yards in the second half of the season. The upside to this is that the receivers will only get better as they mature and enter their prime.

Manning passed for 296 yards and one score against the visiting Panthers last year. Those stats were in part from the beating the Panthers gave them so expect lesser stats this time from a much more controlled game.

RUNNING BACKS: Last year saw the traditionally strong backfield of the Giants become far less productive with Ahmad Bradshaw nursing a bad ankle the entire year and needing surgery to insert screws in his feet in the offseason. Brandon Jacobs sufffered from a bad knee all season and had a torn meniscus that saw his rushing average plummet to only 3.7 yards per carry. The Giants offensive line also shared some of the blame but Jacobs is back and healthy this year. He is also grumbling about how Bradshaw has been given the starting role. Both players will figure into the game but there is a preference now for Bradshaw who is not only quicker than Jacobs, he also serves as a receiver as well.

Bradshaw gained 53 yards on 11 carries versus the Panthers last season. Expect a muich better showing this year against a defense that is weaker against the run.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The new strength of the team. Last year saw Steve Smith set a franchise record with 107 receptions and gained 1220 yards with seven touchdowns. That was better than the "other" Smith coincidentally in this game. Mario Manningham (57-822, 5 TDs) was the #2 but was passed by Hakeem Nicks who passes almost all who try to tackle him as well. Nicks became a factor in the second half of the season and is the most dangerous receiver on the team. Smith is the new possession receiver and Nicks is the they want to get the ball as much as they can since good things happen.

Manningham had a team high 87 yards on six catches against the Panthers while Smith scored on his seven receptions for 70 yards. Nicks was held to 44 yards on six catches. Look for lower stats from the opening week against a good secondary that was ranked #2 against wideouts last year. The Giants won't need to throw as much this time anyway so only average stats are likely.

TIGHT ENDS: Kevin Boss also had a career best season when he turned in 42 catches for 567 yards and five scores last year but he's clearly a fourth best option on this team and perhaps fifth if Bradshaw can become a more heavily used target. Minimal fantasy value here and too unreliable to consider.

Boss turned in five catches for 49 yards on the Panthers last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 11 16 3 21 6 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 4 23 2 10 5 29

WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT OAK at TEN GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU CIN at NE SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
  DET at CHI DEN at JAC ARI at STL SD at KC
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