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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: CHI 17, NO 27

Players to Watch: Johnny Knox, Saints backfield ratios

The Bears come off a big win over the previously admired Falcons and used both defense and a true Mike Martz offense to take them down in complete fashion. The Saints had the point fest loss in Green Bay for the NFL's season opener last Thursday and while they lost, it was very close and the Saints look just as explosive as ever. Back at home you have to like them this week with a need to get a first win and against a defense that while good, it is likely just short of Packers good.

Update Roy Williams has not been ruled out and is listed as questionable but never practiced until some limited drills on Friday. I am not adding him back in because there is still a good chance that he does not play and he has not been productive when he does anyway.

Lance Moore has been limited each day in practices but he is back at practice. HC Sean Payton said he had high hopes that Moore would suit up this week against the Bears. He is fighting a groin issue and those can be easily reaggravated so it is actually a good sign that they have had him practicing every day. I am adding him back into the projections because it looks better than even that he will be there and contribute. That mostly just decreases what Devery Henderson would have done since Moore remains a risky start in his first game back from the injury.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 30-12 10 DET -
2 @NO - 11 SD -
3 GB - 12 @OAK -
4 CAR - 13 KC -
5 @DET - 14 @DEN -
6 MIN - 15 SEA -
7 @TB - 16 @GB -
8 Bye - 17 @MIN -
9 @PHI -      
Bears Report | Statistics | Roster
CHICAGO at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler - - 280,2
RB Matt Forte 60 70 -
WR Devin Hester - 60,1 -
WR Earl Bennett - 30 -
WR Johnny Knox - 90,1 -
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The defense shut down the Falcons last week but just as impressive was the offense clicking on all cylinders and doing so in true Mike Martz fashion. The passing was very effective and used eight different receivers. There was no keying on any one guy since they were all roughly equals. The Bears have to resist looking past this game to next week when they host the Packers but after that game, the Bears could easily by on a four game winning streak by their week 8 bye.

QUARTERBACK: While he was less impressive last year, there is a chance that Jay Cutler is starting to understand the new offense better and passed for 312 yards and two scores on a good Atlanta secondary on Sunday. He had no problems spreading the ball around and was on target. His two scores went to a running back and a tight end but he managed 13 completions to the wide receivers and using the tight end was no start of a trend.

The Saints just gave up 312 yards and three scores last week but that was to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. No doubt that the Bears will be throwing a lot in this game so expect at least a decent showing from Cutler if only out of desperation.

RUNNING BACKS: Matt Forte looked fast and powerful as he tore up the Falcons for 68 yards on 16 rushes and added 90 yards and a score on five catches. If Forte is to become the new "Marshall Faulk" in this offense, he is off to a nice start. The offensive line will be less help in a road to be sure though and the Saints only allowed four rushing touchdowns to visitors last year. Chances are best that Forte won't be a major factor as a rusher in this game but will be one of the best receivers again this week. He is a must start.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Roy Williams left the game last week with a groin injury and his stats for this game is not yet known. I will assume he is out this week and his four catches for 55 yards was nothing special anyway. The wideouts did not score against the Falcons but Johnny Knox (3-60), Devin Hester (3-60) and Earl Bennett (2-11) all were contributors in the more complex passing scheme.

The wideouts are mostly used in rotation and that helps keep the defense off-balanced and your fantasy team from relying on these players to be consistent producers. The more injuries there are, the most confident you can be with who will be catching the most passes in any given week. The Saints were victimized by three wideouts last week so look for a better effort here from Knox and Hester, particularly if Williams remains out.

If Williams is out, watch for Knox to assert himself as the primary wideout.

TIGHT ENDS: Matt Spaeth did score once last week on his two catches for seven yards but there still is no reliable fantasy tight end in a Mike Martz system.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 12 8 20 14 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 28 24 31 13 15 23


New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL -
2 CHI - 11 Bye -
3 HOU - 12 NYG -
4 @JAC - 13 DET -
5 @CAR - 14 @TEN -
6 @TB - 15 @MIN -
7 IND - 16 ATL -
8 @STL - 17 CAR -
9 TB - - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 310,2
RB Mark Ingram 80,1 - -
RB Pierre Thomas 30 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 10 50,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 60 -
WR Lance Moore - 30 -
WR Devery Henderson - 50 -
WR Robert Meachem - 70,1 -
PK John Kasay 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints lost last week but by the smallest of margins and on the road against the Super Bowl champ. Drew Brees was in top form and the two new additions to the offense look solid. Back at home the defense should have an easier time. Get past this game and the Saints may end up 9-0 when they finally head to Atlanta for their next tough road game.

QUARTERBACK: Nothing wrong here. Drew Brees posted 419 yards and three scores on the Packers vaunted defense while never turning the ball over. It doesn't help that he will probably be without two starting wideouts but with so many options the Saints can adjust. Matt Ryan put up 319 pass yards last week so Brees should have a nice one here that could be big if the Bears make it close and do not prompt the Saints to start running the ball with a big lead.

RUNNING BACKS: Very interesting. The Saints opened up with Pierre Thomas as the starter and he ended with five runs for 31 yards and 37 yards on four catches. But the rookie Mark Ingram not only had the bulk of carries - 13 for 40 yards - but he was given the final play when the Saints went for the potentially game tying score from the one-yard line. Granted, Ingram was crushed in a pile of Packers but he already has inspired enough confidence to be considered "the man" at the goal line when the game is on the line.

Darren Sproles only carried twice but was deadly as a receiver. He accounted for 75 yards on seven receptions and returned a kick for a touchdown. His role won't be nearly as big in games where the Saints can run the ball more and are not chasing an opponent on the scoreboard. But in a tough matchup, Sproles has to be considered an option in a reception points league. On the second to last play of the game, Brees threw to Sproles in the endzone and he was interfered with. Brees already has the confidence in Sproles who looks like everything Reggie Bush was supposed to be at half the cost.

The backfield is worth watching again this week. Thomas was good but Ingram was obviously the preferred rusher. And yet he had no catches. What is expected is to see Thomas with the same level of runs. And both he and Sproles with fewer receptions in a game where the Saints should not be playing from behind. But if this remains a three-headed attack, that will limit the fantasy value of the individuals. Ingram has the best long-term outlook but it may be a while to get there.

The Bears gave up 100 yards on ten carries to Michael Turner last week. The Saints should see some success on the ground this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Saints will be without Marques Colston for at least a month thanks to his broken collar bone and he is doing nothing to shake the "brittle" tag. But Lance Moore remains out this week with a strained groin which means the depth is taking a hit. Devery Henderson stepped up last week with 6-100 and a touchdown and Robert Meachem did as well when he turned in 5-70 and a score. But Adrian Arrington will need to be called up to help out at least this week and until Moore can get back. I'm not going to project for Arrington since he is clearly a lesser talent but be aware he will be playing. Arrington is one of those camp stars that has not translated into prime time playing.

The Bears secondary is good and allowed no scores to the Falcons wideouts. But the starters had 13 catches between them do expect at least some success here by Henderson and Meachem.

TIGHT ENDS: Jimmy Graham caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Packers though it came late in the game. Graham had seven targets and with the absence of Colston, he'll be no less a viable outlet for Brees.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 14 4 12 6 14
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 9 21 10 17 12 27

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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