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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

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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: GB 31, PHI 23

Both these teams were 11-5 wildcards last year and yet have not met since 2007. The Packers return all the same players from 2009 but the Eagles open up with a new quarterback in Kevin Kolb and therein is a difference. This should be a very good game and both teams sport good defenses. In the end, the Packers had the more balanced team though the Eagles will quickly get back on track since Kolb's learning curve will be short.

I like the chance for a defensive score in this game for the Packers.

Green Bay Packers (0- 0)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PHI -- 10 Bye -
2 BUF -- 11 @MIN --
3 @CHI -- 12 @ATL --
4 DET -- 13 SF --
5 @WAS -- 14 @DET --
6 MIA -- 15 @NE --
7 MIN -- 16 NYG --
8 @NYJ -- 17 CHI --
9 DAL -- - - -
Packers Report | Statistics | Roster
GREEN BAY at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20,1 - 260,2
RB Ryan Grant 70 10 -
TE Jermichael Finley - 80,1 -
WR Greg Jennings - 50 -
WR Donald Driver - 50,1 -
WR James Jones - 40 -
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: It was a big 2009 season that witnessed Aaron Rodgers become the new Brett Favre or better yet - just Aaron Rodgers. The Packers passing game was among the most productive and the defense was opportunistic. The schedule may end up a bit more challenging this year but this team is becoming elite again and a challenger in every sense of the word.

QUARTERBACKS: Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times last year for tops in the league but he passed for 4434 yards and 30 touchdowns and also added 316 rush yards and five more scores. That was good enough to land him at the top of most fantasy leagues out there for 2009. Rodgers returns with the same cast of receivers and an emerging Jermichael Finley at tight end. There have been no major receiving stars on the team because Rodgers spreads the ball around so well.

Look for Rodgers to open with a good effort here and though the Eagles will try to make him pay for dropping back with blitzes, Rodgers will burn them enough times to make it hurt.

RUNNING BACKS: Ryan Grant enters his third season in Green Bay and so far he has just improved each year. Grant gained 1253 rushing yards last year and scored 11 times along with 25 receptions for 197 yards. He's a solid and consistent fantasy scorer who has few truly big games but almost never a very bad game. Merely accepting the castoffs of this prolific passing offense is good enough to make Grant a suitable fantasy starter.

The Eagles at home in their opener will be tougher against the run and should keep Grant out of the endzone. This will be one of the tougher venues for him this year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Donald Driver remains as the reliable possession receiver and comes off his sixth straight 1000 yard season despite being 35 years of age. Driver rarely has more than half a dozen scores but he turns in consistent numbers each week. Greg Jennings fell back slightly last year when he had 68 receptions for 1113 yards and four scores but that was partially a function of Rodgers spreading the ball around and finding other targets. Both Jordy Nelson and James Jones keep vying for more playing time and Jones has been given the slot again this year. He comes off a season with 440 yards and five scores but he'll need Driver or Jennings to leave before he'll get enough action to merit fantasy consideration.

The Eagles have been very good against wideouts historically and more so when they are at home. Expect decent numbers here but likely not a monster game.

TIGHT ENDS: The second-year tight end really came to life during the second half of 2009 and ended with 55 catches for 676 yards and five scores. Five of his last six games had more than 70 receiving yards including the wildcard game where he had a career best 159 yards on six catches. This should be the true breakout year for Finley.

That dovetails nicely into facing the Eagles who have been one of the worst teams against tight ends. Look for nice yardage and a score here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 1 14 10 4 4 3
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 23 12 10 31 15 7


Philadelphia Eagles (0-0))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 GB -- 10 @WAS --
2 @DET -- 11 NYG --
3 @JAC -- 12 @CHI --
4 WAS -- 13 HOU --
5 @SF -- 14 @DAL --
6 ATL -- 15 @NYG --
7 @TEN -- 16 MIN --
8 Bye - 17 DAL --
9 IND -- - - -
Eagles Report | Statistics | Roster
PHILADELPHIA vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Kevin Kolb - - 270,2
RB LeSean McCoy 50 40 -
TE Brent Celek - 70,1 -
WR DeSean Jackson - 60 -
WR Jason Avant - 30 -
WR Jeremy Maclin - 50,1 -
PK David Akers 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Eagles are no longer about Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. Now it is the Kevin Kolb and LeSean McCoy era and it could be just as good. The Eagles thought so little of McNabb that they allowed him to go to their divisional rival Redskins but the team had been considering parting ways for longer than just this offseason. The defense remains top notch and now the offense just has to hit the ground running.

QUARTERBACKS: There is precious little game film on the 4th year quarterback because he has only started two games. And while those were both 320+ yard efforts, Kevin Kolb was at home facing the Chiefs and Saints. Kolb was a prolific passer at High School in Stephenville, Texas and again at the University of Houston. Kolb has been learning the offense for three years now and comes in with a nice set of targets in Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

Kolb opens at home and goes against a defense that will allow yardage and even scores but that will rough him up and force turnovers. If you are holding Kolb, go ahead and start him. This won't be his best game but he should start the year out on the right foot going against a team that is likely to turn this into a shootout.

RUNNING BACKS: The Eagles finally released Brian Westbrook and feel good about turning to LeSean McCoy who has been encouraging in the offseason and training camp. McCoy only had 155 carries last year but gained 637 yards and scored four times. He also added 40 catches for 308 yards while Westbrook came in and out of the lineup. The Eagles also acquired Mike Bell to fill the "Buckhalter" role. But Bell has been hampered by a calf injury for much of the past month and he's fallen behind where he should be now.

I am only projecting for McCoy until Bell proves to have any appreciable role in the offense. Unfortunately this week he is facing one of the best rushing defenses in the league last year so temper week one expectations.

WIDE RECEIVERS: They may be young but DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are two dangerous weapons that Kevin Kolb can get used to having. Jackson has averaged around 60 catches and 1000 yards per season so far and he scored nine times in 2009. He now hits his third season ready to take the next step. Maclin also had a fine rookie campaign when he turned 56 catches into 773 yards and four touchdowns. Kolb was specifically trying to connect with Maclin in the final preseason game when he threw 11 passes at him. This duo is joined by Jason Avant but really only Jackson and Maclin matter - and that's going to be enough in most games.

Look for solid efforts here by both since the Packers depress the run and force the pass.

TIGHT ENDS: Brent Celek took a major step forward during his third season when he had 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight scores last year. Even better yet, two of his best efforts came in the only two games that Kolb started and they both produced exactly eight receptions for 104 yards. Expect Celek to figure in every week as a major component of the passing game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 2 26 11 7 2 2
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 19 4 16 19 1 10

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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