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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 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU* CIN at CAR* SD at SEA*
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC* IND at DEN*
DET at MIN* TEN at NYG WAS at STL* NYJ at MIA
*updated CLE at BAL* PIT at TB* OAK at ARI* GB at CHI

Prediction: CIN 24, CAR 7

Update: Steve Smith has been limited in practice this week due to a thigh strain but is expected to play without limitation.

The Bengals even up their record with a hard fought win over the resurgent Ravens but the Panthers are missing nearly all signs of an offense and have opted to start the rookie quarterback after only two weeks of Matt Moore. This is a winnable road trip for the Bengals while the Panthers are still struggling to rediscover an offense.

Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NE L 24-38 10 @IND --
2 BAL W 15-10 11 BUF --
3 @CAR -- 12 @NYJ --
4 @CLE -- 13 NO --
5 TB -- 14 @PIT --
6 Bye - 15 CLE --
7 @ATL -- 16 SD --
8 MIA -- 17 @BAL --
9 PIT -- - - -
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer - - 230,2
RB Cedric Benson 80,1 - -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 20 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 80,1 -
WR Terrell Owens - 60 -
WR Jordan Shipley - 50,1 -
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Losing in New England was a tough way to start the season but taking down the divisional rival Ravens plays big. With this week in Carolina followed by @CLE and TB, the Bengals should be coasting into their bye with a 4-1 record. Palmer is still trying to figure out how to incorporate Terrell Owens into the offense and this team could be hitting on all cylinders after the bye when the next eight games are going to be far more challenging than this first month.

QUARTERBACK: Carson Palmer had a big game against the Patriots when he threw for 345 yards and two scores but the Ravens held him to only 167 yards and no scores. He's still trying to mix in his slot receiver and new tight end into the mixture while still focusing enough on both Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens to keep them happy. This should be a very good week going against the same defense that allowed Both Eli Manning and Josh Freeman to throw for two or three touchdowns each. So far the Panthers rushing defense has been solid and actually forced opponents to throw.

Palmer should provide at least a decent showing of moderate yardage and a couple of scores but it could grow bigger if the Panthers find a way to start scoring more touchdowns.

RUNNING BACKS: So far Cedric Benson has not been the workhorse back of 2009 but then again that relates to facing two very tough opponents so far. The Ravens in particular were focused on stopping him after he posted two games with over 100 rushing yards on them in 2009. These next three weeks should be more about Benson getting back to a heavier volume of productive carries but the Panthers should keep him just under the century mark again. Benson should manage a score here.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The wideouts still have much promise but the Ravens kept them in check and Jordan Shipley ended up with a team high five receptions for 42 yards. The Panthers historically were good against starting wideouts but this year have already allowed a good showing by Hakeem Nicks (4-75, 3 TD) and Mario Manningham (4-85). While Benson could have moderate success, the wideouts should be the bulk of yardage and all the passing scores. That has to favor Chad Ochocinco the most but both Shipley and Terrell Owens should be at least decent this week.

TIGHT ENDS: After opening his season with a score, the rookie Jermaine Gresham settled down to only three catches for 15 yards against the Ravens defense. He could show up again this week but the wideouts should command the most attention.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 20 27 9 19 3 25
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 27 22 26 13 24 30


Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYG L 18-31 10 @TB --
2 TB L 7-20 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 CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jimmy Clausen - - 150,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 70 10 -
WR Steve Smith - 60,1 -
WR Dwayne Jarrett - 30 -
PK John Kasay 1 XP - -

Pregame Notes: Same coaching staff and mostly the same offensive players but there's more involved here than the loss of Jake Delhomme. The Panthers only needed two weeks to decide that Matt Moore already was all he could be and that wasn't nearly enough. Now starting a rookie quarterback will have natural bumps but this offense doesn't have much to lose by swapping out quarterbacks. Unfortunately, so far it has been killing the rushing game where most of the fantasy value has been.

QUARTERBACK: HC John Fox has already tabbed the Notre Dame rookie as the starter which was expected later in the season but no time like the present for an 0-2 team with a tough schedule. Jimmy Clausen played the final ten minutes of the Tampa Bay loss and threw 7 of 13 for 59 yards and an interception. He did not throw the score to Steve Smith in that game and inherits a receiver corps that is really very little outside of Smith.

Moore had problems with interceptions and and even making completions but he did throw one touchdown in both games that ended up with Steve Smith. Now even Smith's immediate fantasy value is likely to take a big hit.

RUNNING BACKS: Rough times for a squad that has recently ranked very highly in the league in rushing. But DeAngelo Williams only gained around 60 yards per game and not scored yet. He only has three receptions and his 136 total yards should be just one game - not two. Jonathan Stewart has fared even worse with no more than eight carries for 43 yards in a game and not one catch. The rushing component of the offense has been held to less than 25 carries in both games and when there is going to be a rotation, that ensures that neither runner can post a big game.

This week doesn't look much better against a defense that has not yet yielded a rushing score. Consider Williams worthy to start for what should be moderate yardage but likely no score and Stewart remains on all fantasy benches. Clausen could potentially ignite the offense but until that happens,. Williams may be the only player on this team worthy of a weekly fantasy start and even that is marginal.

WIDE RECEIVERS: As mentioned, Steve Smith scored in both games and his 64 and 75 yard efforts seems meteoric compared to the others on the team. No other wideout has managed more than 40 yards and no other player on the entire team has scored outside of Smith. He's still worthy of a WR3 start but only from his potential. Clausen adds much risk to the equation for now and the schedule is not getting any easier. I am going to predict a score for Smith because at home the Panthers should manage one score and so far he is the only one who can score on this team. But don't figure that as a lock this week by any means as the Bengals will be doubling him from the time he leaves his locker room until he gets in his car to leave.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 24 23 19 25 17 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 18 11 20 22 15 25

WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU CIN at CAR SD at SEA
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC IND at DEN
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL NYJ at MIA
  CLE at BAL PIT at TB OAK at ARI GB at CHI
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