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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 5
2010
*TB at CIN GB at WAS *STL at DET *PHI at SF
*ATL at CLE JAC at BUF *NO at ARI *MIN at NYJ
*NYG at HOU *DEN at BAL *SD at OAK MIA, NE
*UPDATED *KC at IND *CHI at CAR TEN at DAL PIT, SEA

Prediction: CHI 17, CAR 10

Update: Jay Cutler has been ruled out because of his concussion and Todd Collins will start. I am adjusting the projections but leaving the score as is. The unattributed touchdown is defensive/special teams.

The Bears tumbled from the ranks of the unbeaten in New York but are still 3-1. The Panthers are 0-4 and while they came closer last week, they also lost Steve Smith and any semblance of a passing game. This game will be boring and lower scoring but one that the Bears should win.

Chicago Bears (3-1)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DET W 19-14 10 MIN --
2 @DAL W 27-20 11 @MIA --
3 GB W 20-17 12 PHI --
4 @NYG L 3-17 13 @DET --
5 @CAR -- 14 NE --
6 SEA -- 15 @MIN --
7 WAS -- 16 NYJ --
8 Bye - 17 @GB --
9 @BUF --   - -
Bears Report | Statistics | Roster
CHICAGO at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler - - 250,2
QB Todd Collins - - 190,1
RB Matt Forte 30 30 -
TE Greg Olsen - 50,1 -
WR Devin Hester - 50 -
WR Earl Bennett - 20 -
WR Johnny Knox - 30 -
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: All those hits add up. Jay Cutler was sacked nine times last week and knocked out of the game. That's been the problem all along - the offensive line cannot protect Jay Cutler or give Matt Forte a rushing lane that isn't clogged with defenders. But the Bears have a kind schedule for now and could actually end up 6-1 when they reach their bye week and then fall apart for the rest of the season.

QUARTERBACK: The early prognosis is that Jay Cutler is going to be fine and can return to the lineup this week where he will once again be subject to bone-jarring hits. Cutler is getting beaten up weekly and the Giants in particular had his number last week. Cutler has to play because without him the entire offense crumbles. He'll be given tests all week long but so far Lovie Smith has been upbeat about Cutler's chance to play in this game. Cutler had been scoring in each game and posting over over 220 yards in each matchup. Todd Collins came in against the Giants and only completed 4 of 11 for 36 yards and one interception. The Bears have to use Cutler to win a game.

The Panthers have allowed at least one score to every opponent and Cutler - provided he is healthy - should get his standard two touchdowns with nice yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: The Bears are getting exactly 50 yards per week from their rushing attack. Not one run, the entire load averages 50 yards. Matt Forte has managed one game with 50 yards and then none over 29 yards since week one. There are no rushing scores for the Bears. Forte's role as a receiver has also shrank with only two catches for minimal yardage in the last two games. This unit is plagued by poor blocking but Forte has never been an effective runner anyway. Over the last three games, Forte has never had more than 12 rushes.

The Panthers have been good against the run and not allowed over 81 rushing yards to any runner. Forget about Forte as a runner and his role as a receiver has diminished so much that he's hardly worth any fantasy consideration.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Last week was a tough one on the wideouts with three different quarterbacks throwing the passes when they were not being crushed by defensive linemen. Devin Aromashodu remains the odd man out who is not even made active anymore. But Devin Hester had only one game with more than 17 yards (and it was the lone road game). Earl Bennett has yet to exceed 30 yards in a game and Johnny Knox has been the best of the bunch though he has not scored yet. In fact, Hester has the lone score thrown to a wideout by Cutler.

The Panthers have a decent secondary but nothing above average. The Bears may end up throwing 40 times but these wideouts should turn in at least marginal numbers. The problem is that Forte had the catches in the first two weeks but has since been accounted for by the defense. The tight ends have been surprisingly effective and only the wideouts really lag - the one position that should be central to the Martz offense. Look for a diverse passing attack likely favoring no wideout and Knox is in the best position for a score but the confidence on that is low.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen has turned in more than 39 yards only once but for three of the weeks he was right around that mark. He's been the most consistent receiver on the team and his two scores trails only Matt Forte for team high. The Panthers have been very accommodating to tight ends though none have scored on them yet. I like Olsen to to change that with a touchdown and better than usual yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 11 21 20 17 14 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 18 18 20 16 28 28
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CHI 7 -3 0 -1 14 17


Carolina Panthers (0-4)
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 L 14-16 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 CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jimmy Clausen - - 130
RB DeAngelo Williams 60,1 10 -
TE Dante Rosario - 30 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 40 -
PK John Kasay 1 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers came so close to winning a trap game in New Orleans and for the first time all year, the running backs showed up even if only a a few long plays. But Steve Smith suffered a bad high ankle sprain and the passing game is going to be even more sparse without him. This would be a nice spot for a win - at home against a team coming off a bad loss but the Panthers cannot rely purely on DeAngelo Williams to win this game. He couldn't get it done in the other four.

QUARTERBACK: The rookie Jimmy Clausen had his first ever NFL touchdown last week when Jonathan Stewart scored an improbable 55-yard touchdown on his only reception in the game. But otherwise Clausen continues to learn the ropes slowly with a team that is not giving him much support. The loss of Smith could be good in a developmental way to force him to use other receivers. In terms of winning now, it is catastrophic.

The Bears have only allowed two passing scores so far and chances are Clausen will not match Tony Romo or Aaron Rodgers. No reason to consider for a fantasy start or to have him on a redraft roster.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams finally scored this year when he broke a 39-yard touchdown run against the Saints. That allowed him to end with 86 yards on 13 carries. Take away the 39 yards and Williams was right back at the 50 to 60 yard mark he has produced in all previous games. He had one catch for 14 yards as well but half his games have featured no receptions.

Jonathan Stewart scored on his one catch but otherwise only produced 21 yards on seven carries. He's lost all fantasy value by now other than scoring twice this year. This backfield had been one of the most productive in the league but now cannot even rank as average.

The Bears had been tremendous against the run but gave up 191 yards against the Giants. Consider Williams as a lower end start since he could end up breaking a long gainer or scoring a touchdown if Stewart doesn't steal it from him.

WIDE RECEIVERS: While the official status is that Steve Smith is out "day to day" with an ankle sprain, the reality is that he has a bad high ankle sprain and will likely miss more than just this week. He'll probably miss a few games. Unfortunately, he takes with him the entirety of the passing effort. He has the only touchdowns caught by a receiver and the only games with more than 47 receiving yards. The wideouts have done next to nothing on this team. This will probably be ugly. After four games, all other wideouts besides Smith have combined for only 194 yards on 13 catches. In total. With a rookie quarterback at the helm.

The Panthers also just released Dwayne Jarrett.

TIGHT ENDS: There has been no fantasy value here all season long but with Smith gone there is a small chance that either Jeff King or Dante Rosario might do more than the two catches per game. It's no worse than the wideouts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 29 15 30 28 32 23
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 14 20 17 27 7 29
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) CAR -15 5 -13 -1 -25 6

WEEK 5
2010
TB at CIN GB at WAS STL at DET PHI at SF
ATL at CLE JAC at BUF NO at ARI MIN at NYJ
NYG at HOU DEN at BAL SD at OAK MIA, NE
  KC at IND CHI at CAR TEN at DAL PIT, SEA
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