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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 5
2011
*ARI at MIN *NO at CAR *SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC *NYJ at NE *SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU *TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
*UPDATED KC at IND PHI at BUF *TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

Prediction: NO 30, CAR 27

Players to Watch: Cam Newton because he is beautiful

Update: Devery Henderson is nursing a calf injury which limited him in practices on Wednesday and Friday and he stayed out on Thursday. He has not been ruled out but would be playing less than 100% if he did. I am removing him from the projections.

This is a far more interesting game than would be expected with the 3-1 Saints alone on top of the NFC South but with their one loss also on the road. And the Panthers who are 1-3 and yet the sort of team that really scares you to play. The best part of this game is that the Saints need to win in their own division and there is no taking the Panthers lightly this year. So start throwing the points on the scoreboard as fast as you can and hope it is enough.

The Saints swept the Panthers last year, winning 16-14 at home and later 34-3 in Carolina.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL -
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG -
4 @JAC 23-10 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 at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 320,2
RB Mark Ingram 40,1 - -
RB Pierre Thomas 20 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 50 60,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 80,1 -
WR Marques Colston - 30 -
WR Lance Moore - 40 -
WR Devery Henderson - 30 -
WR Robert Meachem - 50 -
PK John Kasay 3 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Saints play in Carolina and then in Tampa Bay so these two weeks are big in the division and a sweep both looms big. Getting back Marques Colston means the offense is healthy and ready to plow through the tougher stretch of the season. After the week 11 bye there are no more road games in the division and only a road trip to Tennessee standing in the way to a probable running of the table.

QUARTERBACK: The Money Man in New Orleans fell off his three touchdown pace in Jacksonville but his one touchdown came with 351 passing yards. Drew Brees already has ten scores on the year and three of four games over 350 passing yards. Must start each week.

Brees passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns in Carolina last year.

The Panthers gave up 300 yards and two scores to both Kevin Kolb and Aaron Rodgers. Expect a good game from Brees that could get really big if Newton gets on a roll. The Panthers are susceptible to the run and that could end up lowering Brees' stats.

RUNNING BACKS: No changes to the three-headed monster. Pierre Thomas has not scored but takes about half a dozen runs each game and has been used as a receiver in road games with 40 ore so yards in both Green Bay and Jacksonville.

Mark Ingram is slowly getting better with 58 yards on 17 runs last week but he has almost no role as a receiver yet. That may change with two passes last week but he lost two yards in the effort. Ingram did not perform goal line duty last week. The fullback Jed Collins busted in the lone rushing score. The Saints should run in one touchdown and it has always been the burly back to do that against the Panthers. That mostly means Ingram but could be the full back again.

Darren Sproles Just seems to get better and better. He comes off a season best 75 yards on seven runs with 56 yards on five catches. He did not score as he did in two previous weeks but he totaled 131 yards and already has 26 receptions this year. Of the group Sproles is always the best and in reception point leagues he is a must start.

The Saints combined for 149 yards and one touchdown by the running backs against the Panthers last year. So far they have given up four rushing touchdowns and at least 85 yards to a runner in each game including Forte going medieval on them with 205 yards on 25 carries. The question as always - where does it all get split up to? Only Sproles is a safe play.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Marques Colston returned last week but only had one catch for eight yards and he will be eased back into a full time role. Robert Meachem finally had his first game without a touchdown but has remained good for at least 50 yards or more in all games while Devery Henderson was just blanked last week. He had been on a nice streak with two games over 100 yards and a score in each and then 62 yards against the Texans. Lance Moore fell back to just 50 yards on five catches after turning in nine receptions for 88 yards and a score in the week Colston was gone.

Lance Moore (6-77) and Marques Colston (8-65) had good games against the Panthers but never scored in 2010.

The problem here is that there not only are four viable receivers, but that Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham are both doing more. That means marginal value from these wideouts and even less predictable who has a good game in any given week. The Panthers have been good against the position so far and almost no one has gone over 60 yards against them in a game.

TIGHT ENDS: The Saints offense has always been predicated on spreading the ball around, Until now. Jimmy Graham has become the leading receiver with a touchdown in every game except against the Bears when he still had 79 yards on six catches. He has topped 100 yards and scored in each of the last two games. Automatic start and in ways ruining all the rest of the Saints receivers.

Graham scored once on his three catches for 49 yards last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 4 7 2 5 17
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 6 28 10 9 16 27


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 29-34 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 NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 30,1 - 320,2
RB DeAngelo Williams 60 10 -
RB Jonathan Stewart 40 40,1 -
TE Greg Olsen - 50,1 -
TE Jeremy Shockey - 40 -
WR Brandon LaFell - 30 -
WR Steve Smith - 130 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 20 -
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Panthers are 1-3 but have lost by one touchdown or less each time. Cam Newton left his one rain-soaked bad game and went right back to dropping jaws in Chicago. What makes this team even more dangerous is that the rushing game is starting to return and defenses have enough to do just keeping up with Newton running or throwing. The defense is still the limiting factor here but that will be taken care of next.

QUARTERBACK: What to think? Without being yet another glowing discussion of Cam Newton, what to think? The best rookie quarterback in NFL history was Peyton Manning. Hands down - big gap between him and all other rookie quarterbacks.

Peyton Manning versus Cam Newton for their first four games

Manning - 992 pass yds, 3 TDs, 11 int., rush 37 yds 0 TDs
Newton - 1386 pass yds, 5 TDs, 5 int., rush 133 yds 4 TDs

Where is this headed? Newton is on pace for 5544 pass yards, 20 TDs, 532 rush yards and 16 more TDs. As far apart Manning was with all other rookie quarterbacks, Newton is that much better than Manning so far.

Wow.

The Saints have twice allowed 300 yards and three scores. There is no way anyone is not going to start Newton every week let alone at home in what could be a shootout.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams finally awoke from his well-financed slumber and posted 82 yards in Chicago but - he only had ten carries. Jonathan Stewart had eight runs for 52 yards in that game and added four catches for 33 more yards. So far Stewart is the more valuable player since he is also used as a receiver. This group is still neutered by Newton who has four rushing touchdowns while no running back has scored for the Panthers yet. These backs are going to have to accept getting no more than ten carries per week and that kills the fantasy value here.

The Saints have been very good against the run but have been savaged by receiving backs like Matt Forte (10-117) and James Casey (5-126, TD and maybe a tight end - check your local listings). It suggests that Stewart should have more value this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: As goes Newton, so goes Steve Smith who crashed and burned against the Jaguars but then shot right back up with 181 yards on eight catches in Chicago. Legedu Naanee is good for only 20 yards or so per game and Brandon Lafell so far hangs out around 40 yards per week and has scored once. But Smith has gone from being maybe past his prime to being second in yardage only to Wes Welker and that may change next week.

Smith is a must start but the others are too risky. The Saints are a good cover team and have allowed just one player to exceed 100 yards - Andre Johnson in week three. But you have to play Smith.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen has caught a touchdown in both of the last two games with around 50 yards in each. Granted - last week was in trash time but it all counts. And the Saints have allowed a passing score to each of their last two opponents tight ends as well. Olsen is still a risk but has upside this week. Jeremy Shockey never scores but turns in around 40 or 50 yards per week. He could end up with the score eventually.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 3 29 11 4 16 26
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 22 20 21 16 20 16

WEEK 5
2011
ARI at MIN NO at CAR SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC NYJ at NE SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
  KC at IND PHI at BUF TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

a d v e r t i s e m e n t