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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Upon Further Review - Week 5
David Dorey and John Tuvey
October 8, 2010
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In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections . The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.

ryan torain (vs gb) - PROJECTION:  80 yds + 1 TD SBL RATING:  S3

TUVEY: I know Mike Shanahan would prefer to run the ball; I just don't know that they'll be able to against the Packers, at least not enough for Torain to be a favorable fantasy play. Hey, any time you can grab the guy in line to get the vast majority of the carries it's a smart move; I'm just less confident that a) there will be enough carries to provide for anything more than a fringe start, and/or b) that Torain will have the same success against a good Green Bay run D that he did against a bad Philly one.

DOREY: I realize that the Packers have not allowed a runner to gain more than 64 yards but they are on the road and Torain shouldn't be sharing much this one week at least. The player with 64 yards was Marshawn Lynch but there was also Fred Jackson who gained 39 yards and a score in that week two game. The Redskins will play good defense at home and should allow Torain enough carries to have a decent game. The difference here is the Packers on the road and the Skins defense good enough to keep a low scoring game that allows enough carries to Torain to matter.

CONSENSUS:  We both like running backs who are coming into a heavier load but Tuvey doesn't see the difference in a road game or with the Redskins defense that Dorey does. Consider Torain more of an S2 to be safe and he has upside for a good game here. He is a risk since he hasn't started a game in years but he should be able to produce at least decent stats here.

beanie wells (vs no) - PROJECTION:  80 + 1 TD, SBL RATING: b

TUVEY: Simply put, I don't trust an undrafted rookie at quarterback against the defending Super Bowl champs. That recipe suggests the Cards may try to run, but the more likely scenario is that they fall behind (as they have done to the two quality opponents they've faced) and need to throw to catch up. And Wells' pass blocking keeps him off the field in passing situations, reducing his opportunities. That's too much risk for what is likely to be too little bang. 

DOREY: The Saints have not been starting games by posting a lot of points. On the road to Arizona I fully expect the Saints to win the game, but the Cards are going to establish the run to the extent that they can and after Wells was unhappy with five carries last week they will make it a point to get him the ball. Chances are that Wells running will be the most productive play for the offense anyway.

CONSENSUS:  It all depends on what you think is going to happen in the game. The Saints are the defending champs but have not been playing like it much and now are on the road. Like Torain above, it is a question of the game situation and the play calling and the Saints are more likely to take a lead earlier. Once again, consider Wells maybe as a risky S2 sort of player this week.

Vernon Davis (vs phi) - PROJECTION:  70 YDS + 1 TD, SBL RATING:  S3

TUVEY: Davis is a starter; if he's on your team, it's unlikely you're carrying a spare TE so he's in your lineup. But the S3 suggests that in non-TE mandatory leagues Davis' potential productivity pales in comparison to the larger WR/TE pool of talent. Sure, Davis scored last week; maybe it's a positive sign for the struggling San Francisco offense, maybe it's not. They're going to ride Frank Gore and, according to their new OC, use more three-receiver sets. Tough to have much confidence in the Niners right now, so in a mixed WR/TE format I'm looking for other options.

DOREY: I ended up with my projections for Davis (who we apparently disagree on weekly) because he is clearly the #1 weapon for the 49ers when they pass and they are going against one of the best secondaries against wide receivers. The 49ers wideouts are anemic even against a soft matchup. The Eagles have only played one road game where the opponent had a tight end much used in the passing game and Brandon Pettigrew of the Lions ended with seven catches for 108 yards. Cooley caught a score on them last week. I like the 49ers to throw for one score and Davis is by far the most likely to catch it.

CONSENSUS:  I consider Davis as a wideout playing tight end whereas Tuvey sees him as a tight end who does not compare as well with wide receivers. This is another situation where I like the road aspect of the Eagles allowing the 49ers some added benefit this week and being without Vick or McCoy will slow down the game. Frank Gore takes a lot of defensive attention so consider Davis at least as an S2 for a tight end required league.

Jonathan STewart (vs chi) - PROJECTION:  Not projected, SBL RATING:  S3

TUVEY: The Bears' lofty ranking vs. the run heading into last week was a house of cards; predictably, Ahmad Bradshaw and the Giants collapsed it. And even sled dog Brandon Jacobs produced a fantasy helper on just seven touches. The Bears' loss of Cutler means less pressure on the Carolina offense to keep up. And since there's nothing to the Panthers' passing game, they're going to run the football. And I'm comfortable projecting that with a third of the backfield touches—quite possibly many of them at the stripe—Stewart will produce helpful fantasy numbers.

DOREY: Stewart is the #2 back on a bad offense that now has no element in the passing attack that the opponent has to worry about. The loss of Steve Smith is catastrophic both in his lost production and what his presence did to the defense. Stewart is facing the Bears who have a decent rushing defense. Stewart is averaging 22 rushing yards per game. Why would anyone want to start him? He had a 55-yard freak of a catch and score last week. His other three games? He had two catches for 18 yards. Unless you want to wait every three or four weeks for a touchdown and even then never have any real yardage, then Stewart is your man. But why project for a player who has no place in a fantasy start?

CONSENSUS:  Tuvey barely likes him with a "S3" rating but that's related to game situation this week and the chance that he might score. As a replacement player for a bye week you could do worse, but if he ends up with around 22 rushing yards don't be surprised since the Bears defense is facing Jimmy Clausen throwing to Brandon LaFell and David Gettis. Could you name LaFell and Gettis before you read this? It is a risk to use Stewart any week and the loss of any passing with no Steve Smith doesn't alleviate that this week.

Start Bench List Ratings:
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.

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