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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

WEEK 1
2011
NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE * MIN at SD * SEA at SF
* ATL at CHI * DAL at NYJ * NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
* BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL * NE at MIA (mon)
*updated CAR at ARI * IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

Prediction: PHI 31, STL 20

Players to Watch: Mike Sims-Walker, Lance Kendricks

This should be a much better game than it might seem at first blush. The Rams do not yet have the defense to take down top teams but they may have the offense. The Eagles have loaded up for a playoff run this year like none before while the Rams continue to develop behind the arm of Sam Bradford who, hard to believe now, is only coming off his rookie season.

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL - 10 ARI -
2 @ATL - 11 @NYG -
3 NYG - 12 NE -
4 SF - 13 @SEA -
5 @BUF - 14 @MIA -
6 @WAS - 15 NYJ -
7 Bye - 16 @DAL -
8 DAL - 17 WAS -
9 CHI -      
Eagles Report | Statistics | Roster
PHILADELPHIA at STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 50,1 - 250,2
RB LeSean McCoy 50,1 50 -
TE Brent Celek - 20 -
WR DeSean Jackson - 100,1 -
WR Jason Avant - 30 -
WR Jeremy Maclin - 40,1 -
PK Alex Henery 1 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: For all the movement, in the end it is roughly the same set of first teamers on offense this year only with Steve Smith waiting in the wings and over on defense the venerable Nnamdi Asomugha awaits the chance to shut down one wideout per game. This is no pushover this week but the Eagles should manage the win.

QUARTERBACK: Michael Vick was a big surprise last year when he took over as starter and not only had one of his best seasons as a rusher, he turned magically into a good passer. As if Prison Magic had suddenly given him a newfound ability to throw passes at players. He ended with 21 passing and 9 rushing scores on the season with only 12 games played. Sure, he'll miss a week or two along the way but not the opener.

RUNNING BACKS: The Eagles were one of the worst teams in rushing yardage by running backs last year because they only produced 285 total carries and just 207 went to LeSean McCoy who gained 1080 yards and seven scores. But he also added 78 receptions for 592 yards and two more touchdowns and he shares very little. The Eagles scheme just does not run-first and uses McCoy extensively as a receiver. Playing on a fast carpet in a dome this week favors McCoy even more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: DeSean Jackson is still not happy with his contract but ended his 11 day holdout and the Eagles are working on something for him now. Jeremy Maclin was gone almost the entire preseason and training camp due to what was reported as a cancer scare but he is back and reportedly healthy enough to start in week one. The Eagles picked up Steve Smith from the Giants this summer and while he won't be ready for week one, he remains on the roster as the #4 wideout recovering from his knee surgery. He could become a factor later in the year. Jason Avant will take the normal slot role again. The Rams were most susceptible to wideouts last season and that should help both the starters make use of the fast carpet in St. Louis.

TIGHT ENDS: Michael Vick has been a good addition to the Eagles except for Brent Celek who entered last year as a hot prospect with Kevin Kolb but was barely mediocre when Vick was around. Not enough fantasy value to merit consideration.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 1 13 6 22 1 10
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 13 13 22 3 28 11


St. Louis Rams
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PHI - 10 @CLE -
2 @NYG - 11 SEA -
3 BAL - 12 ARI -
4 WAS - 13 @SF -
5 Bye - 14 @SEA -
6 @GB - 15 CIN -
7 @DAL - 16 @PIT -
8 NO - 17 SF -
9 @ARI -      
Rams Report | Statistics | Roster
ST. LOUIS vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford - - 270,2
RB Steven Jackson 70 50 -
TE Lance Kendricks - 40,1 -
WR Mike Sims-Walker - 60,1 -
WR Danny Amendola - 80 -
WR Brandon Gibson - 20 -
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Rams made Sam Bradford the last rookie quarterback with an obscene initial contract but actually - he's probably worth the $50 million. The entire offense in St. Louis has come to life last year and that was despite the receiver ranks being decimated from injury. The Rams brought in Mike Sims-Walker and drafted a receiving tight end in Lance Kendricks. Bradford already did big things with virtually nothing last year. It can only get better in St. Louis.

QUARTERBACK: After passing for 3512 yards and 18 touchdowns against only 15 interceptions, Sam Bradford was deservingly the Offensive Rookie of the Year for 2010. The only comparable rookie to him was Peyton Manning with 3739 yards, 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions along with Marvin Harrison and Marshall Faulk. The sky is the limit for Bradford who is blessed with a mostly easy second half of the season. The Rams are importing the Josh McDaniels offense from the Broncos and that should be beneficial for Bradford who is more talented than Kyle Orton.

The Eagles allowed at least two or more scores in each of their final six road games this year. Asomugha can only cover one guy.

RUNNING BACKS: This may be the final big year for Steven Jackson who is 28 years old and has been in on almost 400 plays in each of the last two seasons. The Rams still have no decent change of pace from Jackson but did obtain Carnell Williams and Jerious Norwood from a nearby garage sale. Jackson at home is always better than the road version but the opener is against a tough Eagles team that will likely press the Rams into passing more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Here is where it gets interesting. It has not been lost on the fantasy crowd that Josh McDaniels made a star wideout out of Brandon Lloyd. It was the third time in history that a receiver recorded their first 1200 yard season after seven years in the league. So who is the Lloyd on this roster? Hard to say. Mike Sims-Walker comes over from the Jaguars as a starter and Brandon Gibson has taken over the #2 role. Both are certainly no more heralded a wideout than Lloyd was coming into 2010. Danny Amendola also set a record of his own when he became the worst ground gainer (8.1 ypc) of the 487 wideouts who had more than 60 catches in a season. He catches the ball and pretty much sits down.

Danario Alexander is also in the mix though his knees suggest a wheelchair may be in the future at some point.

Asomugha would naturally match on Brandon Gibson which hardly seems fair. But there is no big #1 wideout in this offense yet so no reason for Asomugha to switch to someone else.

TIGHT ENDS: The Rams used their 2.15 pick to draft Lance Kendricks as a receiving tight end. In preseason games, it was obvious that the Rams were working on the connection between Bradford and Kendricks who reigned in 11 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Kendricks is both big and fast and throws yet another viable option into the pot for Bradford.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 28 28 24 16 9 23
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 27 16 12 32 11 18

WEEK 1
2011
NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
ATL at CHI DAL at NYJ NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

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