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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN* CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR* PHI at DET* SEA at DEN* JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL* STL at OAK* NYG at IND*
*Updated MIA at MIN* KC at CLE* NE at NYJ NO at SF*

Prediction: ARI 13, ATL 27

Update: Early Doucet has been removed from the projections as he has a sports hernia that will keep him out for a month or more. The rookie Stephen WIlliams will take his place in the interim and if he performs as well as he did in training camp, he may end up making it tough for Doucet to reclaim his job. Larry Fitzgerald has been limited this week to make sure his knee continues to improve. He is just staying fresh for the game.

Update #2 - Wells remains limited in practice and would be a game time decision. Safest bet is to leave him on your bench again this week.

The Cardinals start the year with a win but there was nothing impressive about barely clipping the Rams who were starting a rookie quarterback. The Falcons lost to the Steelers in overtime in one of the many snore-fests last week. Back in Atlanta, the Falcons and Cardinals should both be .500 on the season after this game. The Falcons are better and the Cards are not that good.

Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL W 17-13 10 SEA -
2 @ATL - 11 @KC -
3 OAK - 12 SF -
4 @SD - 13 STL -
5 NO - 14 DEN -
6 Bye - 15 @CAR -
7 @SEA - 16 DAL -
8 TB - 17 @SF -
9 @MIN - - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson - - 220,1
RB Beanie Wells 60 10 -
RB Tim Hightower 60 40 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 60,1 -
WR Steve Breaston - 90 -
WR Early Doucet - 30 -
PK Jay Feely 1 XP 2 FG -
Pregame Notes: Opening with a win is great but it was very apparent this was not the same team from last year. And with a sputtering offense no longer moving the ball as well, the defense is finding itself in new situations. The stretch to the week six bye is tough and using week one as a measure - it could be a 2-4 Cardinals team that takes that week off. Just when the Cardinals finally had become the dominant team in the NFC West, the offense takes a major step back and those Seahawks up north appear back to form.

QUARTERBACK: Derek Anderson had his big debut for the Cardinals and the results - 297 yards and one score - look better than they should. While playing in St. Louis, he fumbled once and was sacked twice. Larry Fitzgerald was held to three catches for 43 yards though one was a score. Anderson only completed 22 of 41passes. He gets a pass this week for high yardage in his first week but the Cardinals just got through facing the weakest defense on their schedule. Anderson needs to step up his completions and using Fitzgerald.

The Falcons were effective holding Dennis Dixon to only 236 yards and no score in game played in Pittsburgh but he was obviously a step down from Ben Roethlisberger anyway. The same problem from last year still existed - corner play. Second road game for Anderson but this will be tougher. Expect lesser yardage and no more than the one score.

RUNNING BACKS: Beanie Wells was held out with his sprained knee but HC Ken Whisenhunt said he expects him back this week. In his place Tim Hightower was effective running for 54 yards on 13 carries and scoring once and even LaRod Stephens-Howling (7-49) had success but that was playing the Rams who traditionally have a bottom three defense against running backs. Hightower also tacked on four catches for 40 yards and provided Anderson with a target that he used only those four times.

The question this week is how healthy Wells will be. He is slated to have full practices and he could have opened the season with a good game had he played in St. Louis. The Falcons were pretty tough on on the Steelers until the one 50 yard scoring run they allowed in overtime.The Cards are going to split up the workload and Wells is returning from a knee sprain that was worse than initially let on. That makes both the backs here very marginal plays this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It may seem good that Anderson threw a score to Larry Fitzgerald but the reality is that he not only had just three catches for 43 yards, he was also thrown the ball FIFTEEN times to get that. That was more than double the throws to Steve Breaston who caught all seven of his passes and gained a team high 132 yards. Early Doucet (2-37) was quiet in his new role as a slot receiver. Anderson is really trying to get the ball to Fitzgerald, but completing only three of 15 passes to him says it is not starting out well.

Fitzgerald is still not 100% recovered from his sprained knee which impacts his production. Doucet had a groin injury last week and will be removed from the projections if he doesn't practice.

This week Fitzgerald gets the same matchup that held Mike Wallace to just two catches though one went for 52 yards. It is more likely that Breaston again has the bigger share simply because he is not Fitzgerald. Both are decent starts.

TIGHT ENDS: Still do not use the position. Stephen Spach had one catch for zero yards.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 12 6 5 32 23 7
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 9 25 15 12 29 11


Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PIT L 9-15 10 BAL --
2 ARI -- 11 @STL --
3 @NO -- 12 GB --
4 SF -- 13 @TB --
5 @CLE -- 14 @CAR --
6 @PHI -- 15 @SEA --
7 CIN -- 16 NO --
8 Bye - 17 CAR --
9 TB -- - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 250,2
RB Michael Turner 110,1 10 -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 50,1 -
WR Eric Weems - 40 -
WR Roddy White - 100,1 -
WR Harry Douglas - 40 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Opening the season in Pittsburgh is about as bad a venue as it gets. Predictably the offense was stifled but the defense delivered up until that final play in overtime. The Falcons also got a taste of what the Steelers are like with Troy Polamalu. It was a lackluster start for the offense and this week is a chance to start anew against a team that will be much softer.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan did not throw a score but did manage to pass for 252 yards in Pittsburgh and he completed over 60% of his passes with just one interception and two sacks allowed. Ryan tried to play pitch and catch with Roddy White who had 23 targets of the 44 passes thrown. When the going gets tough, the tough just look for Roddy.

This week will be far easier on Ryan than playing at Heinz Field. The Cards just allowed Sam Bradford to throw for 253 yards and a score in his first game ever and he had no receivers the quality of White or Gonzalez.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Turner also had the worst venue to start when he only managed 42 yards on 19 carries last week but he is completely healthy again and this week will be far more profitable going against a defense that allowed Jackson to gain four yards per carry without a passing game to worry about. Look for Turner to be the burner again at home where he always plays better. He is a must start and will repay owners for last week.

Side note- Turner only had 19 carries last week and both Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood both had a couple of runs. This week should be a better confirmation if the Falcons intend on limiting Turner in anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No changes here. Roddy White had 23 targets and managed to catch 13 for 111 yards. Michael Jenkins was replaced by Brian Finneran who once again made it a full game without a catch. Harry Douglas only had three catches for 39 yards and Eric Weems went for four receptions for 36 yards. Basically, you are either Roddy White or you are a part of everyone else who combined still is not as good as Roddy White.

This week the Falcons will look to exploit the same matchups that gave Mark Clayton ten catches for 119 yards last week. The Rams are weaker on the corners but other than White there is no safe play in this unit. I will assume that Michael Jenkins remains out with his shoulder injury and update if warranted.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez only had two catches last week on just five passes. That should pump up this week against a Cardinals team that saw the Rams complete eight passes to their tight ends - none of which who are en route to the Hall of Fame. Definite week to start Gonzo. Last week he became the first tight end in NFL history with 1000 catches.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 21 31 16 17 5 19
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 17 6 25 14 21 25

WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR PHI at DET SEA at DEN JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL STL at OAK NYG at IND
  MIA at MIN KC at CLE NE at NYJ NO at SF
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