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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 2
2011
ARI at WAS CLE at IND * JAC at NYJ SD at NE
BAL at TEN * DAL at SF * KC at DET SEA at PIT
* CHI at NO GB at CAR * OAK at BUF TB at MIN
*updated * CIN at DEN * HOU at MIA PHI at ATL * STL at NYG (mon)

Prediction: ARI 10, WAS 30

Players to Watch: Todd Heap, Fred Davis

The Cardinals come off a home win that was far tougher than anyone imagined. The Skins also won their home opener and get to remain in Washington for one more week. This week answers if the Redskins really are that much better this year or last week was just a lethargic Giants team that stumbled out of the gate. This could be a huge road win for the Cards but highly unlikely. Figure this one to be on a number of suicide contests.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 28-21 10 @PHI -
2 @WAS - 11 @SF -
3 @SEA - 12 @STL -
4 NYG - 13 DAL -
5 @MIN - 14 SF -
6 Bye - 15 CLE -
7 PIT - 16 @CIN -
8 @BAL - 17 SEA -
9 STL - - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA at WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Kevin Kolb - - 240,1
RB Beanie Wells 60 10 -
TE Todd Heap - 30 -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 90,1 -
WR Andre Roberts - 50 -
WR Early Doucet - 30 -
PK Jay Feely 1 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals thought they were getting an easy opener against the worst team from 2010 visiting with a rookie quarterback but one NFL record later, the Cards were lucky enough to get out alive. They allowed Cam Newton to pass for a record 422 yards in a rookie debut. But offensively there is reason to expect progress this year with Kevin Kolb a definite step up from last year and Beanie Wells not yet turning back into a pumpkin. The reality of last week too was that the Cardinals would have lost if not for a punt return TD and Doucet catching a 70 yard score.

QUARTERBACK: For his first game out, Kevin Kolb met expectations by passing for 309 yards and two scores against the Panthers with no interceptions. Impressive even more was that he not only connected well with Larry Fitzgerald as per his contract, but he made throws all over the field from a nice bomb to Early Doucet to making use of both tight ends. That never happens in Arizona. The Cardinals have been in the bottom three of the league in using tight ends for years. That Kolb made good use of aging Todd Heap and journeyman Jeff King gives even more optimism that this passing attack can get better.

The Skins held Eli Manning to only 268 yards and no scores last week though the Giants have been struggling this year anyway. Still, the Skins defense at home has always been solid and their fortunes were always tied to whether or not the offense could score. Expect a lesser game from Kolb this week.

RUNNING BACKS: Beanie Wells is looking like a great fantasy draft pick so far thanks to facing the visiting Panthers. He took what is likely to be his softest matchup of the year and gained 90 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown and he even turned in four catches for 12 yards. The Cards almost exclusively relied on Wells in the game and while he looked good on some runs, that was to be expected. He averaged five yards per carry but three road games in the next four weeks is likely to dip that back under four yards. And with games like @BAL, PIT and @PHI waiting after the bye, Mr. Wells stock may never be as high as it is today.

The Skins only allowed the Giants to gain 73 yards on 19 carries and there is a chance that Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are better than Beanie Wells. This is where Beanie is more likely to just be Beanie.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Kolb threw a team high seven passes at Larry Fitzgerald who caught three for 62 yards last week. But Early Doucet led the group with 105 yards on three receptions thanks to a fourth quarter catch that turned into a 70-yard touchdown. Andre Roberts not only also figured in but had four targets versus the three for Doucet. It is too early to think Doucet has replaced Roberts who had been the better player in camp.

The Skins allowed Hakeem Nicks to gain 122 yards last week but no other wideout managed more than 49 yards. Figure Fitzgerald as a decent start here but none of the other wide receivers.

TIGHT ENDS: That the Cardinals would passed six times to their tight ends is freakish compared to past history but so far that is one game and not a trend. Todd Heap only ended with two receptions for 40 yards and Jeff King scored once on his two receptions for 61 yards. Until they show up for more than one game, don't buy into any major changes in the offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 13 15 13 5 25 8
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 13 12 14 14 4 14


Washington Redskins
Homefield: FedEx Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NYG 28-14 10 @MIA -
2 ARI - 11 DAL -
3 @DAL - 12 @SEA -
4 @STL - 13 NYJ -
5 Bye - 14 NE -
6 PHI - 15 @NYG -
7 @CAR - 16 MIN -
8 @BUF - 17 @PHI -
9 SF -      
Redskins Report | Statistics | Roster
WASHINGTON vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman - - 300,2
RB Tim Hightower 80,1 20 -
TE Fred Davis - 70,1 -
TE Chris Cooley - 20 -
WR Santana Moss - 80,1 -
WR Anthony Armstrong - 40 -
WR Jabbar Gaffney - 50 -
PK Graham Gano 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Skins walked away with a solid win over the Giants last week and for a rare moment sit atop the NFC East. So far the decision to go with Rex Grossman looks good but only one game is not enough to assume that the passing game is taking a permanent step up. With two road games up next, the early week four bye should give the Skins a reasonable idea of what kind of team they will be - unless HC Mike Shanahan starts messing with the starters again.

QUARTERBACK: The Skins start out well with Rex Grossman throwing for 305 yards and two scores against no interceptions last week though he was sacked four times by the Giants. He had a nice spread between passes to the wideouts and tight ends but did not rely much on the running backs so far. The Cardinals just gave up 422 passing yards to a rookie quarterback who may or may not be the second coming of Superman but so far, safe to say this should be a nice matchup for Grossman. Especially since the Cardinals rushing defense was very good last week.

RUNNING BACKS: In fantasy terms it was sweet. No Ryan Torain. Roy Helu only ran once for two yards. But Tim Hightower rushed 25 times for 72 yards and one score and added three receptions for 25 yards. That's a 28:1 ratio for Hightower vs. Helu. Not exactly a committee. But it is only one week and Shanahan does not have a reputation for leaving things as is. Until something changes though, Hightower is a safe play.

The Cardinals defense was tough on the Panthers and held their duo of backs to only 56 yards on 19 carries though they were clearly loaded up to stop the run. Figure on Hightower being a decent play this week but with limited upside.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Santana Moss was the best of the bunch by a large margin last year and led the group last week with 76 yards on six catches but it was encouraging to see the other two getting significant play. Anthony Armstrong posted a score on his two catches for 24 yards from the slot and new comer Jabbar Gaffney gained 54 yards and a touchdown on his three receptions. The Giants were dealing with injuries to their secondary but then again, the Cardinals were scorched by a rookie quarterback. Moss remains a decent start but no other wideout here offer much reward without even more risk.

TIGHT ENDS: On the plus side, Chris Cooley was able to play with his chronically sore knee and did catch two passes for 21 yards. But Fred Davis was the best receiver on the team with 105 yards on five receptions. Cooley is good enough to play, just not good enough to play well. Allowing the faster, more explosive Davis more playing time is a major benefit here and there is every reason to expect that Davis remains a better play than the gimpy Cooley.

Consider Davis an attractive play this week with the incoming Cardinals allowing seven completions for 129 yards to the tight ends last week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 14 19 9 10 26 9
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 30 3 30 24 6 5

WEEK 2
2011
ARI at WAS CLE at IND JAC at NYJ SD at NE
BAL at TEN DAL at SF KC at DET SEA at PIT
CHI at NO GB at CAR OAK at BUF TB at MIN
  CIN at DEN HOU at MIA PHI at ATL STL at NYG (mon)

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