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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF, CLE
Monday
NYJ, OAK
STL, MIN
* updated

Prediction: CAR 17, NO 38

Late Update: Muhammad never was able to practice and although he is listed as questionable he is not expected to play nor is Dante Rosario.

Early Update: Lance Moore injured his ankle and has not practiced this week. He is expected to miss at least this week and has been dropped from the projections. Jonathan Stewart was held out of practice on Wednesday but returned Thursday like last week. Muhsin Muhammad remains out and Dante Rosario may not play. I may change his projections based on Friday but he has minimal projections anyway.

The Panthers actually swept the Saints last year, winning 30-7 in Carolina and later 33-31 when they visited New Orleans in week 17. Wow. Times change, huh? This would be a gigantic trap game for that to happen and played in New Orleans makes it even less likely. Just ask the Fins how much a big lead on the Saints really means.

Carolina Panthers (3-4)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 PHI 10-38 +2.5 43.5
2 @ATL 20-28 +6 43
3 @DAL 7-21 +9 46
4 BYE - -3.5 37.5
5 WAS 20-17 -5 38
6 @TB 28-21 -3 39
7 BUF 9-20 -7 37
8 @ARI 34-21 +10 43.5
9 @NO - +14 52
10 ATL - - -
11 MIA - - -
12 @NYJ - - -
13 TB - - -
14 @NE - - -
15 MIN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 NO - - -
CAR at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     200,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 20 20  
RB DeAngelo Williams 60,1 10  
TE Dante Rosario 20
WR Steve Smith   70,1  
WR Dwayne Jarrett   30  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Panthers come off their biggest game of the year when they beat the Cardinals in Arizona and it was a success in almost every facet of the game. Almost like a trap game. The Cardinals were sporting the #1 rushing defense and the Panthers dropped 270 yards and two scores on them. That sort of effort would be a tremendous help this week as well but the Saints won't overlook the Panthers now.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme took a major hit to his ribs last Sunday but the X-rays came back negative and he's expected to play this week. Delhomme was little more than the hand-off guy against the Cards when he only completed 7 of 14 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown. He handed off 40 times. The nice part was it allowed Delhomme to have his first game without an interception and he now stands at five passing scores against 13 pick-offs.

Delhomme passed for 250 yards and one score in New Orleans last year.

Make no mistake - Delhomme will need to throw this week. But the Saints have only allowed four passing scores and just two in New Orleans. Delhomme has never thrown for more than one so expect just another average showing by him and one score as the most he will likely do.

Running Backs: The dynamic duo had a monster game last week when DeAngelo Williams rushed for a season high 158 yards on 23 carries and Jonathan Stewart gained 87 yards on 17 runs and scored twice. The rushing attack has been much more productive as of late and the Cardinals were sporting the #1 defense against the run. Problem this week is that the Saints have only allowed three running scores in New Orleans and no runner has gained more than 48 yards against them. There could be one rushing score but the yardage should be moderate at best.

DeAngelo Williams gained 178 yards on 25 runs in New Orleans last season and Stewart tacked on 56 yards on 17 runs with one touchdown scored.

Wide Receivers: Steve Smith finally got a touchdown this year when he left Arizona with three catches for 56 yards and the Panthers even used him on a 17 yard end around. Jake Delhomme's struggles have stripped this unit of almost all fantasy value and Smith not scoring until week eight speaks volumes to how stunted the pass attack here is this year.

Smith caught five passes for 134 yards in New Orleans last season, He had 122 yards and a score in the home meeting. Even Muhsin Muhammad had 79 yards on seven receptions and a score in the road meeting.

The one passing score could go anywhere but I will award it to Steve Smith mostly to put it somewhere that doesn't suggest you should start an obscure player. I will assume Muhammad is replaced by Dwayne Jarrett again this week. That was only worth two catches for 22 yards last Sunday.

Tight Ends: Dante Rosario has marginal fantasy value from time to time but nothing reliable. He has not scored since week three and has been balancing 30 yard efforts with sub-10 yard games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 30 5 28 14 29 14
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 17 9 25 17 12 24


New Orleans Saints (7-0)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 45-27 -13.5 49
2 @PHI 48-22 +3 46.5
3 @BUF 27-7 -5.5 52.5
4 NYJ 24-10 -6.5 46
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG 48-27 -3 47
7 @MIA 46-34 -6 48
8 ATL 35-27 -10 54
9 CAR - -14 52
10 @STL - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 NE - - -
13 @WAS - - -
14 @ATL - - -
15 DAL - - -
16 TB - - -
17 @CAR - - -
NO vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     260,2
RB Pierre Thomas 60,1 20  
RB Mike Bell 50,1    
RB Reggie Bush 20 30  
TE Jeremy Shockey   40,1  
WR Marques Colston   60,1  
WR Lance Moore 40
WR Devery Henderson   50  
WR Robert Meachem   40  
PK John Carney 1 FG 5 XP  

Pregame Notes: There is not a lot left to be said. Even when the Saints let an opponent get a big lead, they can still roar back. When the Saints get the big lead and the opponent suddenly gets close, the Saints just push out the lead again. There will be some tough venues ahead but not in the next three weeks. The biggest concern now is that the Saints wrap it all up so early that every Brees/Colston/Thomas owner is looking at his roster in week 16 wondering who is safer to start.

I like a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: The worst part about Drew Brees is that he's getting unreliable because the Saints are so good they literally pick how they want to win. The emergence of a ground game and a defense means that Brees does not have fill the sky with passes but he certainly can do just that if needed. In three games, Brees totaled just one passing touchdown. In the other four, he had 15 touchdowns. Do you feel lucky? The killer thing is that Brees seems capable of setting passing records if he would commit to the pass each week but he does not have to so it ends up as feast or famine with him.

Brees passed for 386 yards and four touchdowns against the visiting Panthers last year.

You are going to start Brees regardless but he seems more likely for a down game this week since the Panthers are weak against the run anyway.

Running Backs: The three-headed monster lives. Mike Bell started the game last week but only had 49 yards on 17 carries. Pierre Thomas only had 14 carries but gained 91 yards and scored once as a runner and again as a receiver. Even Reggie Bush scored last week even though he only had four touches in the game. Bush has all but disappeared otherwise with a healthy Thomas and Bell.

The Saints rushed for only 50 total yards in the home meeting with the Panthers last year.

Expect more this time. The Panthers have allowed nine touchdowns to running backs though most settle for less than 70 yards and it gets split up three ways on this team. I like two rushing scores to go to Bell and Thomas but a three way split makes it tough to rely on any one player.

Wide Receivers: Marques Colston has scored in each of the last three games and has a team high six receiving scores. While the rest of the wideouts mix in and out each week, Colston is the only reliable receiver who has consistent fantasy value. No other wideout has more than two touchdowns or two consecutive good games.

Colston had seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown versus the visiting Panthers last year and Lance Moore scored twice on his eight receptions for 91 yards. The Panthers have been very good against wideouts this year and only two have scored against them. No wideout has more than 75 yards against the Panthers. I will give Colston a score because he is clearly the best bet but the Panthers secondary is better than the rest of the defense.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey is assuming a larger role this year and comes off a 72-yard effort against the Falcons. He had 105 against the Dolphins the previous week. He's becoming an every week fantasy starter. Finally.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 3 2 7 11 7 1
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 9 24 4 13 7 32

The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF, CLE
Monday
NYJ, OAK
STL, MIN
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