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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 2
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
*UPDATED

Prediction: CHI 16, CAR 20

Update: No changes but Dante Rosario is listed as questionable this week and was held out of practice on Wednesday with a sprained foot but returned for limited participation on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play without limitation.

This has to be a fascinating game. Both teams come off road wins over AFC powerhouses that no one saw coming. The Bears took down the Colts in Indy while making it look easy while the Panthers shocked the Chargers by never going away and completing a touchdown pass as time expired. The Bears did have some vested interest in exorcising some Super Bowl demons and hitting the road for a second week after an emotional win makes it tough.

Chicago Bears (1-0)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR - +3 37
3 TB - - -
4 PHI - - -
5 @DET - - -
6 @ATL - - -
7 MIN - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 DET - - -
10 TEN - - -
11 @GB - - -
12 @STL - - -
13 @MIN - - -
14 JAX - - -
15 NO - - -
16 GB - - -
17 @HOU - - -
CHI at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     180,1
RB Matt Forte 80 30  
TE Desmond Clark   40,1  
WR Marty Booker   30  
WR Brandon Lloyd   20  
WR Devin Hester   20  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 1XP  
Pregame Notes: Big defense and a great running game is back for the Bears at least for one week. The rookie Matt Forte looked exactly as they expected Cedric Benson to play and the defense stuffed and stunned the Colts offense in Indianapolis. What has to be answered this week is how much of last Sunday was a simmering grudge and how much was it a true turn-around for the franchise?

Quarterback: Kyle Orton was exactly what HC Lovie Smith wanted. He only passed for 150 yards last week but made no turnovers and was sacked only twice. He only had completed six passes for 50 yards to the wide receivers. This is a short passing game that will be stripped of all fantasy value unless the gunslinging Grossman gets called up to replace an injured Orton. And that is unlikely since Orton doesn't do enough to get injured.

Running Backs: The rookie Matt Forte showed up all his freshman brethren in week one when he rushed 23 times for 123 yards and score a touchdown. He also had 18 yards on three receptions. The Bears were so successful last week that even Kevin Jones had 13 carries for 45 yards. It may only be one game so far, but Forte has exceeded expectations so far. If the defense can continue to dominate, Forte will a force for the entire season.

Wide Receivers: They let the two starters leave in the offseason so it should be no surprise that the wideouts only totaled 50 yards on six catches last Sunday. None had more than two catches and none gained more than 26 yards. No fantasy value whatsoever here for a team that still pins their hope on defense and rushing.

Tight Ends: Both Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark had two catches last week and Clark was the primary target with six passes thrown to him. it is not enough to warrant fantasy consideration until the Bears get into situations where they must throw and discover why not having wide receivers end up as a bad thing.

Match Against the Defense: The Panthers handled the high-powered Chargers offense pretty well last week since Tomlinson was just barely denied a 100 yard game and all scoring came via the pass which the Bears do not like to do. Figure on Forte getting a decent game here from sheer volume of carries but not to score this week. He should see a few more passes this week as well.

Orton is going to play a controlled, short yardage passing game that should eventually end up with one score that favors Clark the most but could go anywhere. The Bears defense is going to have to force turnovers if not score to make this a Chicago win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 30 4 29 10 7 4
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 29 13 21 30 18 10


Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 26-24 +9 42
2 CHI - -3 37
3 @MIN - - -
4 ATL - - -
5 KC - - -
6 @TB - - -
7 NO - - -
8 ARZ - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK - - -
11 DET - - -
12 @ATL - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 TB - - -
15 DEN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 @NO - - -
CAR vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     220,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 50    
RB DeAngelo Williams 90,1 10  
TE Dante Rosario   40  
WR Dwayne Jarrett   30  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   70  
WR D.J. Hackett   60,1  
PK John Kasay 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers picked up a wild win last week with their last second touchdown pass to Dante Rosario in San Diego. Playing without Steve Smith was compensated for by the others and that will have to happen again this Sunday since Smith's timeout is still in effect until next week. It was encouraging that the defense only gave up 24 points in San Diego and that the tandem rushing attack looks good so far. One more game without Smith and the Panthers are back to full-strength. Make it there 2-0 and the NFC South best be forewarned.

Quarterback: The questions about Jake Delhomme's elbow have been answered since he left San Diego with 247 passing yards and one score with no turnovers and just one sack. Against the Chargers defense. In San Diego. Without Steve Smith. The game went as well as could be hoped. Delhomme focused on his "new" wide receivers Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett and even got some help from Dwayne "yeah, still here" Jarrett. A similar effort will be needed against an aggressive Bears defense. Last week suggests the Panthers are up to the task.

Running Backs: And now we know. In a tight contest on the road, the Panthers elected to use roughly a 2:1 ratio for their running back tandem. DeAngelo Williams gained 86 yards on 18 carries ( 4.8 YPC) and Jonathan Stewart gained 53 yards on ten runs (5.3 YPC). Solid effort in a very tough venue. Perhaps troublesome only in a fantasy sense, the backs combined for only one catch for four yards. They only had one pass thrown to them. So by actual use, the offense so far is relying on the backs only as rushers even with Smith is out.

Wide Receivers: Muhsin Muhammad's first game back made him the primary target for Delhomme who threw 15 passes his way. Muhammad caught six of them for 56 yards while D.J. Hackett turned in five catches for 48 yards as the replacement for Steve Smith who is out until week three. The opening allowed Dwayne Jarrett to get some playing time and he had two catches for 36 yards. That was 13 catches for 140 combined yards by the wideouts playing in San Diego. Not bad.

Tight Ends: Certainly the talk of fantasy circles and the Chargers' secondary was second year player Dante Rosario who led all NFL tight ends last week with seven catches for 96 yards and one touchdown which actually was the game winner as time expired. Unlike so many other tight ends who merely have a great game in week one and then slide back, Rosario could well be the start of something significant. He flew under the radar as a rookie but showed up big when the Panthers needed him most. That helps remain in the game plan. In Carolina, they are batting around the name "Wesley Walls" for the first time in a very long time.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears went into Indy last week determined to shut down the rushing game (check) and hope that Peyton Manning would be rusty from his layoff (check) and then ram Matt Forte down their throat (checkmate). This week the two headed rushing game will be harder to contain and while both players will reduce the other's numbers, together they should still provide a very nice showing here. The Colts only had 15 rushing attempts in the game - the Panthers should at least double that and score once via the run.

Delhomme still does not have Steve Smith but he's spreading the ball around very well anyway. The Bears corners are good but gave up 23 completions and a score to the wideouts last week and the Colts were without Dallas Clark for most of the game - now Rosario demands focus by the defense. Expect at last one passing score here and moderate to good yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 17 23 23 2 1 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 20 5 29 5 20 8

The Huddle
WEEK 2
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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