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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: GB 27, CAR 17

Players to Watch: Cam Newton, James Starks, Greg Olsen

The Packers won the season opener in grand fashion by scoring five offensive touchdowns and posting 42 points and yet allowing the Saints to stay in the game and end with 34 points. The returning NFL Champions don't look like they are due for "the year after letdown". If anything they look even better with players now healthy. The Panthers lost in Arizona but the rookie passed for 422 yards to set a record. No chance the Panthers are Packer good but they are no longer Panther bad.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NO 42-34 10 MIN -
2 @CAR - 11 TB -
3 @CHI - 12 @DET -
4 DEN - 13 @NYG -
5 @ATL - 14 OAK -
6 STL - 15 @KC -
7 @MIN - 16 CHI -
8 Bye - 17 DET -
9 @SD -      
Packers Report | Statistics | Roster
GREEN BAY at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 10 - 300,2
RB Ryan Grant 50 10 -
RB James Starks 70,1 - -
TE Jermichael Finley - 80,1 -
WR Greg Jennings - 80,1 -
WR Jordy Nelson - 70 -
WR Donald Driver - 40 -
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Packers start out the year with a full complement of everything and apparently will have nothing to do with a 'next year slide". The offense looks every bit as sharp and with healthy players, the Packers even have options now at some positions. They killed the excuses of every other NFL team that complained injuries ruined their season. This game should be a win but three road venues in the next four games will be tough. Almost tempting to look past this game and at Chicago in week three.

QUARTERBACK: The Saints defense against the pass is typically very good - they ranked #1 against quarterbacks in 2010 and yet Aaron Rodgers completed 27 of 35 for 312 yards and three scores on them with no turnovers. He's an even money bet to lead the league in pass yardage this year and to win more than a few fantasy championships for his owner.

The Panthers gave up 309 yards and two scores to Kevin Kolb. That should be the minimum what Rodgers can do though this will be on the road.

RUNNING BACKS: Ryan Grant opened the game and gained 40 yards on nine carries but James Starks sort of took over starting in the second quarter and HC Mike McCarthy said they should have run him more than they did. Starks gained 57 yards and a score on just 12 carries and should be in line for more carries this week. Grant remains a factor, but Starks will continue to pick up more work as the season progresses and he becomes more part of the pass protection packages as well.

Alex Green never had a carry and returns to being just depth for now.

The Panthers gave up 90 yards and a score to Beanie Wells, so expect at least moderate numbers from Starks this week with a chance for a rushing score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Greg Jennings remains the primary receiver and led the team with seven catches for 89 yards and a score last week but the bigger surprise was that Donald Driver (4-41) and James Jones (1-1) were upstaged by Jordy Nelson (6-77, TD) and the rookie Randall Cobb (2-35, TD). While a rotation remains across from Jennings, it is clearly Nelson who is taking most of the work and he had eight targets to tie with Jennings for the team lead. Nelson is not an official #2 per se, but in this high-powered offense he scores like he is. He is worth a watch because he has the confidence of Rodgers and the more success he has, the less the others will be used. He should already be owned in all leagues but he is starting to look like an every week starter if he can keep up his consistency.

TIGHT ENDS: Jermichael Finley is a must play this week. He goes against a defense that yielded 101 yards and a score on four catches to the tight ends of Arizona and no one even knew they had any until last Sunday. Finley gained 53 yards on three catches in the season opener and is poised for a big game this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 5 9 2 20 19 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 20 18 20 28 8 26


Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 21-28 10 TEN -
2 GB - 11 @DET -
3 JAC - 12 @IND -
4 @CHI - 13 @TB -
5 NO - 14 ATL -
6 @ATL - 15 @HOU -
7 WAS - 16 TB -
8 MIN - 17 @NO -
9 Bye -      
Panthers Report | Statistics | Roster
CAROLINA vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 20,1 - 250,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 70 10 -
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 10 -
TE Greg Olsen - 70 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 50 -
WR Steve Smith - 100,1 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 40 -
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Never has a Panther loss felt so satisfying. Sure the Cardinals won by seven but Cam Newton has energized the team and fans in just one game. Where no passing game had lived for years and where we assumed that Steve Smith had been set out to pasture to whither, suddenly it all exploded last weekend. Cam Newton set the record for a rookie debut and that is pretty lofty company considering it covers every NFL quarterback who ever played the game. Granted - this week is probably a loss and not as close of one but the Panthers could not have hoped for much more in their opener.

Sadly the Panthers have lost their MLB Jon Beason for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon and that won't help the defense.

I like a defensive score.

QUARTERBACK: New record. Cam Newton was just impressive. Known as a running quarterback, he did take off on e eight rushes but only gained 18 yards as most were just eluding the rush. He scored once on a run and twice as a passer with his 422 passing yards. Sure, he had the occasional errant pass but he threw some frozen ropes exactly where they needed to go. Imagine the Carolina rushing attack if the defense had to acknowledge there is a chance they'll get burned by the pass.

The Packers were #4 against quarterbacks last year and Newton won't be as big of a surprise. It is still too early to consider him as a starter but watch him this week as he goes against a high quality defense. Post big stats there and we'll have to rethink Newton as an immediate star instead of a project.

RUNNING BACKS: Playing in Arizona left DeAngelo Williams (12-30) and Jonathan Stewart (7-16) short of carries and success last week in Arizona. The duo always plays better at home but the Packers were #3 against running backs last season and the Panthers have already struggled against a weaker defense last week. Jonathan Stewart remains outside of being a viable fantasy start from a lack of carries but Williams is a must start every week. He'll likely come up short this week but he is at home and will get his touches. He is worth the risk. This passing game could help open up the rushing lanes for Williams.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Steve Smith had almost faded from the scene by now but with Newton passing the ball, he turned in eight catches for 178 yards and two scores. His first monster game in years and one of his career best. Smith re-signed with the team but we figured it was because he felt too old to box up stuff and move. Works out he's just been waiting his whole career for a bona fide top stud in the rookie draft to end up on his team. Newton also found Brandon LaFell for 70 yards on four receptions. One game is hard to make anyone remember the malaise and folly of the last couple of seasons but so far - these wideouts have never looked so good.

TIGHT ENDS: The acquisition of Greg Olsen is a success so far. The Ex-Bear debuted for the Panthers and caught four passes for 78 yards. If Newton is going to be this good, this fast, then owning Olsen should be a priority is there is a chance he exits on anyone's waiver wire. Olsen was second only to Steve Smith in targets. This could be the start to a beautiful lucrative relationship.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 3 30 3 9 27 24
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 29 19 29 21 28 19

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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