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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

Projections by Team
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WEEK 4
2010
NYJ at BUF* CIN at CLE* IND at JAC* CHI at NYG
SEA at STL* BAL at PIT* HOU at OAK* NE at MIA*
CAR at NO* DEN at TEN* WAS at PHI DAL, KC
*updated DET at GB* SF at ATL ARI at SD* MIN, TB

Prediction: CAR 7, NO 31

Update: Pierre Thomas has missed practice because of his sprained ankle but is supposed to return on Friday. I will update it after Friday practices if it appears he is going to be limited or not play.

Update #2: Thomas only returned for limited work and remains a game time decision. I am lowering his projection just because he is a risk. Check on his pregame status if you need him. HC Sean Payton was hopeful that Thomas could play.

Every year there is one or two magic teams that suddenly are great and wins lots of games. And every year there are a couple of teams that just implode and suddenly all the parts no longer work. Welcome to the 0-3 Panthers. And the 2-1 Saints could be argued to be the magic team of 2009 and at least all their parts are still working outside of maybe kicker.

The Saints beat the Panthers 30-20 in New Orleans last year. The Panthers lie in bed at night dreaming of scoring 20 points in a game.

Carolina Panthers (0-3)
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 L 7-20 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 NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Jimmy Clausen - - 150,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 60 10 -
TE Dante Rosario - - -
WR Brandon LaFell - 40 -
WR Steve Smith - 40,1 -
PK John Kasay 1 XP - -

Pregame Notes: Times are tough for the Panthers who have already dumped one quarterback for a raw rookie and in the process apparently ruined both the NFL and fantasy value of this offense. The defense has yet to keep an opponent below 20 points and chances are excellent that a 0-5 team will make it to their bye week. Changes could happen then but there's no one else to turn to and too early to consider canning coaches. This all smacks of a very lost season. Just to make matters worse, they are on the road to visit the reigning NFL champions who just lost a close home game last week. Ouch.

QUARTERBACK: HC John Fox has indicated that he intends to remain with rookie Jimmy Clausen as the starting quarterback despite his game last week that was really nothing but some yards in trash time. Clausen ended with 188 yards and two interceptions against the visiting Bengals.

Jake Delhomme passed for 201 yards in New Orleans last year.

Clausen may get his first NFL touchdown here but only if it happens late in the game when the Saints are so far ahead that normal starters are already wearing baseball caps.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams had a respectable 64 yards on just ten carries against the Bengals but is not getting the volume to roll up appreciable numbers. He already has gained 180 yards on 43 carries for a 4.2 YPC on a team where nothing else is working. But he rarely gets any passes and not nearly enough carries to warrant being a RB1 for a fantasy team. The lone rushing score last week was given to Jonathan Stewart who has done nothing else to merit any fantasy consideration this year.

Williams gained 149 yards and two scores on 21 carries in New Orleans last year.

The Saints are likely to roll up the score in this one and the Panthers won't run until they have completely given up. Williams owners can start him and hope for a marginal performance at best.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Sadly the passing game here has declined so much that there are no safe fantasy starts here and that includes Steve Smith who only had three catches for 22 yards last week. Smith has the potential to score on any catch and by that is probably worth starting in all but the smallest of leagues but until either Clausen catches on or they switch quarterbacks again, throw away your Panthers receivers besides Smith and greatly reduce your expectations for him.

Smith caught four passes for 64 yards in New Orleans last season. I am going to credit him with a score only because he is easily the most likely but this could end up as a game with no touchdowns in it just as easily. It all depends on trash time.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 31 21 27 28 28 25
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 18 29 2 32 5 6
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CAR -13 8 -25 4 -23 -19


New Orleans Saints (2-1)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN W 14-9 10 Bye -
2 @SF W 25-22 11 SEA --
3 ATL L 24-27 12 @DAL --
4 CAR -- 13 @CIN --
5 @ARI -- 14 STL --
6 @TB -- 15 @BAL --
7 CLE -- 16 @ATL --
8 PIT -- 17 TB --
9 @CAR -- - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 250,2
RB Pierre Thomas 40 20 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 40 -
WR Marques Colston - 60,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 30 -
WR Devery Henderson - 40,1 -
WR Robert Meachem - 30 -
PK Garrett Hartley 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints missed going to 3-0 last week when Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard chip shot field goal against the visiting Falcons. While HC Sean Payton hasn't yet dismissed Hartley, he may bring John Carney back. If you own Hartley, stay on top of this developing situation since the Saints kicker has definite fantasy value. This should be the easiest game so far for the Saints and as a division matchup it should not be overlooked. Besides the schedule looks pretty sweet until week eight when the Steelers show up. These sort of games get hard to call since the Saints may lighten up on them at some point.

Have to love the chance of a defensive score here.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees comes off his best game of the young season with 365 yards and three scores on the Falcons and that's because the game became a shootout. Brees passed for 330 yards and one score when the Panthers visited last year but this game is less likely to be as close or as taxing. Look for a very solid game from Brees but not a monster game because there is just no need.

RUNNING BACKS: Pierre Thomas appeared to break his ankle last week in a pile-up that had his leg trapped and bent. He left the field and later returned and what looked to be bad apparently was not an issue and I will assume that he will be 100% healthy for this matchup.

Thomas has not bee running as much with Reggie Bush out but his role as a receiver has really increased with 14 catches spread out over the last two games. Chris Ivory is not the #2 and helping out but he only gained 13 yards on seven runs and lost a fumble versus the Falcons.

Thomas gained 50 yards and a score on 13 carries versus the Panthers last year. Expect more rushes and more receptions this year with one score very likely. Ivory will figure in but not enough to warrant projecting for him.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Lance Moore went nuts last week with 149 yards on six receptions but it's hardly a reliable sign on this team that constantly shifts which wideout has a decent game. Marques Colston has yet to score this year and has topped out at 67 yards. Robert Meachem has not seen more than three catches or 33 yards as well. Brees is spreading the ball around too much to rely on any of these receivers. You know one or more will have a big game but there are four equal chances who it might be.

Colston only had one catch for 45 yards against the visiting Panthers last year while Devery Henderson (3-93) and Meachem (5-98, 1 TD) had the long gainers.

I expect the two passing scores to both end up with wideouts. Colston is overdue and the other could go anywhere. The Panthers have been pretty good against wide receivers because teams do not need to throw to beat them. Hakeem Nicks did score three times on them in the opener but only had four catches for 75 yards as an example.

TIGHT ENDS: Jeremy Shockey had a great game against the Falcons when he caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He had been locked at three catches for around 40 yards this year and is far more likely to return to that level once again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 8 17 12 7 16 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 23 24 17 8 21 30
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) NO 15 7 5 1 5 7

WEEK 4
2010
NYJ at BUF CIN at CLE IND at JAC CHI at NYG
SEA at STL BAL at PIT HOU at OAK NE at MIA
CAR at NO DEN at TEN WAS at PHI DAL, KC
  DET at GB SF at ATL ARI at SD MIN, TB
 
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