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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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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: TB 10, CAR 24

Update: Matt Moore was limited on Wednesday but then practiced fully on Thursday and is not expected to miss this week because of his concussion - barring any setbacks. Brandon LaFell is nursing a hamstring this week but returned to practice on Thursday for some work and could still play. In the unlikely event you are relying on LaFell in this bad matchup, check on his status pregame to ensure nothing has happened. Realize too that a sore hamstring can affect his game and might end up further limiting him even if he plays.

Kellen Winslow has been held out of practice the first two days this week but is expected to return and play. He is resting his surgically repaired knee and will likely do this for the entire season.

Update #2 - Winslow is listed as questionable and returned for only limited work on Friday. HC Raheem Morris said that Winslow is having pain in his knee. He remains a concern for Sunday because of this new knee pain.

The Buccaneers clipped the visiting Browns last week with a minimal amount of offense. The Panthers return after getting swamped in New York by the Giants. Like Kevin Kolb in Philly, both he and Matt Moore left their debuts with a concussion but Moore may be back. No matter - the Panthers at home should handle the Bucs no matter which quarterback they use.

The Panthers swept the Bucs in 2009, winning 28-21 in Tampa Bay and later 16-6 at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CLE W 17-14 10 CAR --
2 @CAR -- 11 @SF --
3 PIT -- 12 @BAL --
4 Bye - 13 ATL --
5 @CIN -- 14 @WAS --
6 NO -- 15 DET --
7 STL -- 16 SEA --
8 @ARI -- 17 @NO --
9 @ATL -- - - -
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 30 - 210,1
RB Carnell Williams 60 20 -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 50 -
WR Mike Williams - 50,1 -
WR Michael Spurlock - 30 -
WR Sammie Stroughter - 40 -
PK Conner Barth 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers outlasted the Browns but that's it for easy matchups for the next five weeks. The Buccaneers were only 2-6 on the road last year and this is largely the same team. There's a spark with the rookie Mike Williams but otherwise this offense looks as lethargic as last year. And even worse when they are not at home.

QUARTERBACK: Josh Freeman had a respectable day against the visiting Browns when he passed for 182 yards and two scores and he is still nursing a broken thumb that had him missing time before the season started. Freeman admitted it bothered him but he should improve each week. The addition of Mike Williams is the best development in this passing game but that still hasn't accounted for too much yet.

Freeman passed for 321 yards and added 30 more via three runs. He never scored.

The Panthers have been weak against the run, not the pass and last week they were good against the run but less so against Eli Manning (263 yards, 3 TDs). But Freeman is not Manning and the Panthers are at home. If Freeman manages more than one passing score it would be a major success.

RUNNING BACKS: The Buccaneers elected to not pursue a better back in the offseason so they got the same sort of showing as 2009 when Carnell Williams only gained 75 yards on 22 carries (3.4 YPC) which is about the best you can expect considering that came at home against the visiting Browns. The Panthers on the road won't be better. Williams rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries in Carolina last year but he's very unlikely to repeat that this time.

When Williams needed rest last week, the Bucs went with Earnest Graham (6-10) and preseason darling Kareem Huggins never played.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The bright spot last week was the rookie Mike Williams who was targeted a team high nine times and caught five for 30 yards and one score. He was wide open and missed for a second score. Freeman's thumb supposedly was a contributing factor so Williams remains an intriguing watch that is already being hailed as the next great wideout in Tampa Bay... or make that the first great wideout in Tampa Bay. Sammie Stroughter (2-32) and Michael Spurlock (2-49, 1 TD) were not very busy and will be more challenged this week.

Antonio Bryant had 116 yards on five receptions in Carolina last year while Maurice Stovall turned in 68 yards on four catches. But the Panthers had been tough on the pass. None of the receivers here are a safe start but at least Williams is worth tracking and holding on your team. I am crediting Williams as the most likely to score but the odds are not great.

TIGHT ENDS: Kellen Winslow Jr. only had four catches for 32 yards against the Browns last week but he snared four passes for 69 yards in Carolina last year. Figure on Winslow having a decent game here. The problem is that the Panthers are going to run the ball and control the clock and there may not be enough time to get much trash time yards.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 10 21 11 21 22 18
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 29 26 31 6 20 31


Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG L 18-31 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 vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Moore 10 - 170,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 120,1 10 -
RB Jonathan Stewart 50,1 - -
WR Brandon LaFell   30  
WR Steve Smith - 60,1 -
WR Dwayne Jarrett - 40 -
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Matt Moore's debut could have gone better but playing in New York is tough enough without getting a concussion. The Panthers were tougher against the run than expected but Eli Manning just carved up the secondary with his Gang of Three. That won't be an issue this week and the rushing game and defense should look much better after the Buccaneers leave town.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Moore only passed for 182 yards and one score in New York last week but he also tossed three interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked four times. He completed only 42% of his passes. By the time he got the concussion it was not all bad if it erased the memory of his debut this year as the starter. The coaching staff has not ruled Moore out yet this week but chances are the Panthers won't need him much. Moore passed for 161 yards and no scores when the Bucs visited last year. If Moore cannot go, the rookie Jimmy Clausen gets the start and even if Moore does start, there is always a chance Clausen could relieve him.

I am projecting for Moore to play and be healthy but will update as warranted.

RUNNING BACKS: When you look at the overall stats from last year, they suggest an even split between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart but that stemmed from Williams being out and Stewart getting games all by himself. When both were healthy it would always strongly favor Williams. This was evident in New York when Williams rushed 16 times for 62 yards. Stewart was only called on five times and gained 12 yards. That game is not truly a measuring stick though since the Panthers had to abandon the run.

Stewart was by himself in week 13 when he gained 120 yards on 23 carries and scored once. Expect a big game here by Williams against a defense that allowed the Browns to gain 5.2 yards per carry. It still isn't safe to start Stewart until he shows he will get an appreciable amount of work. This game should be as good as it gets for Stewart probably for the entire year barring injury to Williams.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The passing numbers last week were low anyway so Steve Smith was lucky to see his nine targets that saw him catch five for 75 yards and one score. No other wideout had more than two catches or 40 yards and that's likely to repeat again this week when the rushing attack should be more than enough to win the game. Smith is still a decent play even if Clausen starts because they'll make a point to keep him happy if possible.

Smith had three receptions for 78 yards against the visiting Bucs last year. He might not make that much yardage this time but is always a good risk for a score in a game at home against a soft defense.

TIGHT ENDS: Minimal fantasy value here. Dante Rosario only had two catches for 14 yards last week. Nothing here to see.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 20 25 14 28 1 6
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 15 21 13 25 3 16

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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