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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 4
2011
* ATL at SEA * DET at DAL * NO at JAC * SF at PHI
BUF at CIN * MIA at SD * NYG at ARI * TEN at CLE
CAR at CHI MIN at KC NYJ at BAL * WAS at STL
* UPDATED * DEN at GB * NE at OAK PIT at HOU * IND at TB (mon)

Prediction: CAR 16, CHI 23

Players to Watch: Steve Smith

The Panthers won last week despite Cam Newton finally looking like a rookie instead of a Hall of Famer and the Bears dropped their second in a row thanks to the visiting Packers. This is only the second road game for Newton and the Bears very much need this win.

The Bears won 23-6 in Carolina last year.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 21-28 10 TEN -
2 GB 23-30 11 @DET -
3 JAC 16-10 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 at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 30 - 280,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 20 20 -
RB Jonathan Stewart 30 30 -
TE Greg Olsen - 60,1 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 50 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 30 -
WR Steve Smith - 70 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 20 -
PK Olindo Mare 3 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The schedule remains very tough with the Saints and Falcons looming after this week but the Panthers are at least good enough to make opponents work for a win. Newton is central to the change and has made a remarkable difference already. This is a new offense and defense being installed in Carolina and the early returns give a lot of optimism to the future - the near future at that.

QUARTERBACK: We had to accept that Cam Newton was not going to pass for over 400 yards every game and last Sunday it happened. In the driving rain he only passed for 158 yards and one touchdown and he did not even score on the ground. HC Ron Rivera pointed at the field conditions as a culprit and it was a win anyway.

The Bears have allowed no less than 270 pass yards in a game this year and six touchdowns in total. Granted - they have faced Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan.

This is a road game against a somewhat desperate Bears team. Assume moderate numbers again from Newton.

RUNNING BACKS: The difference between the underpaid DeAngelo Williams and the recently rich one is significant. Williams is still getting the most carries if only because the team just wasted spent $21 million in guaranteed cash. He has a total of 27 runs for 61 yards and an embarrassing 2.3 yards per carry.

Jonathan Stewart has 23 carries for 90 yards and a much more respectable 4.0 yards per carry and he even added 100 yards on eight catches in week two. There is just nothing happening in the rushing game here when in the past that was all the Panthers were able to do. Neither back has scored a touchdown. The plan is to continue to split carries between the two

The Panthers only rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries when the Bears visited last year. No runner has scored on the Bears this season but they have shown at least some softness against the run. But the Panthers have not been up to the task in easier games so a road tilt in Chicago is even less likely to make the running game here start to work again.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The field conditions last week meant that no wideout had more than 15 total yards and that belonged to Steve Smith who had two straight efforts over 150 yards. Brandon LaFell never had a pass thrown his way. Smith is still the only receiver here that is reliable enough for fantasy consideration and obviously he is not above a bad game.

The Bears have allowed a few scores to wideout so far but this team is still little more than Steve Smith for the secondary to worry about. Expect a decent game by Smith but nothing big and likely no score. What Smith does in Chicago will say a lot about what to expect from both he and Newton. If Smith can bounce back with a moderate or better showing then he'll likely be golden this year. If he throws down another 15 yard game, then the time to sell Smith at high value has passed.

TIGHT ENDS: The Panthers use both tight ends though Jeremy Shockey seems plugged in for three catches each week for around 50 yards. Greg Olsen was the leading receiver against the Jaguars when he had ten targets for seven catches. He gained 57 yards and scored the only touchdown for the Panthers. He also caught a two point conversion as well. This week, Olsen gets to play against his old team that dumped him before the season started.

The Bears have allowed each opponent to feature a tight end with no less than 70 yards per game. Jermichael Finley not only had 85 yards on seven catches, he scored three touchdowns just last Sunday. Expect a decent showing here by both tight ends and a score that likely ends up with Olsen.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 3 31 13 5 21 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 22 16 12 30 27 26


Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 30-12 10 DET -
2 @NO 13-30 11 SD -
3 GB 17-27 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 vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler - - 300,2
RB Matt Forte 60 80,1 -
WR Roy Williams - 20 -
WR Devin Hester - 50 -
WR Johnny Knox - 80,1 -
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: A brutal schedule opened the season for the Bears and losing to the Packers always has divisional implications and it was the home game as well. The rushing game is in reverse and there is a concern that Cutler can remain healthy. OC Mike Martz has said that a more balanced attack is forthcoming but he's said as much his entire career directing pass-happy offenses.

QUARTERBACK: Jay Cutler has been solid enough in a fantasy sense with two games over 300 yards and two scores in those as well. His one trip to New Orleans still had one score and 244 yards. But Cutler continues to battered every week and now leads the league with 14 sacks. The lack of a rushing game has hurt his cause and a Mike Martz system in general is always hard on the quarterback because of fewer blockers.

The Panthers have allowed over 300 yards and two scores to Aaron Rodgers and Kevin Kolb and this game is in Chicago. Expect a good showing here by Cutler as long has he makes it through the game. The Panthers only have five sacks on the season.

RUNNING BACKS: As a rusher, Matt Forte has been bad and is getting worse. Against the Packers he only produced two yards on nine carries and while it is easy to say they gave up too early on the run - can you blame them? Of course, Forte has been outstanding as a receiver and has gained 287 yards in just three games. The balance is not there and as poor as the rushing has been, there is no reason to expect it. But as long as Forte turns in 80+ yards every week as a receiver, Forte has nice value.

The Panthers rush defense is average at best but the Bears have not shown any signs of running any better. Expect the same from Forte as a receiver with moderate rushing at best.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This offense is oddly about throwing to the running back. The wideouts have only combined for two touchdowns so far and both went to little used Dane Sanzenbacher who has topped out at 33 yards in a game. No Bears wideout has gained more than 84 yards in any game and no others have scored. There is remarkably little fantasy value here for a Martz offense that posts 300 yard passing games.

The Panthers are on the road and have allowed a passing score to a wideout every week. Johnny Knox remains the only player that is reliable enough to use for a fantasy start.

TIGHT ENDS: There is the occasional touchdown to a tight end but only five passes for 62 yards over the first three games. No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 16 18 20 17 14 4
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 13 20 17 19 14 24

WEEK 4
2011
ATL at SEA DET at DAL NO at JAC SF at PHI
BUF at CIN MIA at SD NYG at ARI TEN at CLE
CAR at CHI MIN at KC NYJ at BAL WAS at STL
  DEN at GB NE at OAK PIT at HOU IND at TB (mon)

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