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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Upon Further Review - Week 13
David Dorey and John Tuvey
December 4, 2009
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In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections . The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.

Pierre Garçon (AT ten) - PROJECTION: 50 YDS, SBL RATING: s2

TUVEY: The PP gives a touchdown to Collie (who's also an S2), and that's certainly understandable; he had 97 yards and two scores in the earlier meeting with Tennessee. Since then, however, Garcon has emerged as a more consistent target, which is why he gets pulled into the S2 range as well. As the PP points out Tennessee has demonstrated a weakness to deep speed, and Garcon has just as much if not more than Collie. They're both good plays, but whereas the PP might be limited by picking one the SBL warmly and openly embraces the fantasy upside of both Indy receivers; even the Frenchman.

DOREY: Well, I am not going to hug any frenchmen over this. Hard not to like any wideout going against the Titans with a decent quarterback. Pierre has been solid enough if you can live with around 50 yards and maybe four catches because that is what he has pretty much done every week. He has only produced one game with over 71 yards and his four touchdowns had three in road games. So to me, he is more likely to score on the road (by a factor of three) and he chugs along at 50 yards in most games. His season average right now? 52 yards per game. I like how Collie had a big game against the Titans last time and what we need to recognize is that Garçon has already played the Titans once. He had one catch for nine yards. It was his worst game of the year. I am willing to rely on him for his average, but nothing more. It's already a huge increase from what he did in the last meeting.

CONSENSUS: It is tempting to like Garçon since the Titans have been so kind to receivers this season. But they were not in the first meeting and Garçon's only real value in games is when he catches a touchdown. So far, that has been mostly limited to road games only not the one that he had just one catch for nine yards. He could catch a touchdown at any time with Manning there and the Titans are a weak defense but relying on more than his average is optimistic.

Rock Cartwright  (vs no) - PROJECTION: 50 Rush + TD, 30 Rcv YDS, SBL RATING: b

TUVEY: The return of Sedrick Ellis to the Saints defensive front moves them from soft touch to formidable foe. As the SBL writeup points out, eight of the 13 RB TDs and all three 100-yard games the Saints have allowed came in the five games where Ellis was injured. With Ellis back, Cartwright's chances for a score diminish greatly. Since the Saints don't give up squat to pass-catching running backs—zero RB receiving TDs, an average of less than 35 receiving yards per game to the position—you can further reduce Cartwright's prospects. Now you're banking on the moribund Redskins offense to get Cartwright into position for a shot at a goal line carry. I'm hoping at this juncture you have a better option; according to the SBL, there's at least 31 of them.

DOREY: I am somewhat uncomfortable arguing for Rock Cartwright. Is what Tuvey said possible? Sure. The Saints could crush Cartwright's hopes and dreams. Ellis or no Ellis, the Saints could squash him like a bug. The reason why I did not project as much for him is because I see this game as a step-back game. Meaning, the Saints are coming off a huge, emotional win over the Patriots. Now they travel to Washington that specializes in being very good on defense and playing teams closely though usually losing. I think the Saints start slowly here and Cartwright gets the benefit of the hangover from the Pats game. Come on - he only has 50 yards rushing in an entire game. I gave him 30 receiving yards because since he has taken over as a starter, he had 7-73 in Dallas and 3-26 in Philly as a receiver. I awarded him a touchdown much like eight other teams have done this year against the Saints.

CONSENSUS: Tuvey wants no part of Cartwright and Dorey awards him statistics as the sole runner for a team that gets to follow up the huge win over the Patriots last week. Take any other runner with similar projections and even Dorey would say start the other guy. There's not a lot of weapons for the Redskins so if anything does happen, it is not hard to divide it up. Consider Cartwright a far bigger risk than most and start him only if you think the Saints suffer a temporary letdown from last week.

Chad Ochocinco (vs det) - PROJECTION: 110 YDS + TD, SBL RATING: s3

TUVEY: I It's not that I don't think the Bengals are capable of gouging the Lions via the air; heck, the guys from Brett Favre's Wrangler commercial could probably hang 280 and three on Detroit's secondary. But Cincy's MO has been a whole lot more run-oriented this year. Two of Palmer's three biggest yardage outings have come in losing efforts, suggesting that when the Bengals win—and I like their chances against the Lions—they're content to run the ball and run clock. Could Ocho have a big game against an overmatched Detroit secondary? Of course; that's why he's an S, not a B. But I don't see nearly the upside the PP does, primarily because I don't see Cincy throwing enough for Ocho to compile the big numbers. Twist my arm and I could see Ochocinco at the lower end of the S2 list, but we'd still be debating him because 110 & 1 are S1 numbers. Like the SBL says, it's not the matchup; it's the Bengals' new MO.

DOREY: There is no denying that the Lions secondary is horrible. There is no denying that when possible, OchoCinco prefers to have a big game and score. So we have motive and means, the only real question is opportunity. Tuvey thinks the Bengals just want to run the ball and win. I look at the Lions who have allowed over 320 passing yards to each of their last four opponents. All four. I will grant you that last week against the Browns, the Bengals were surprisingly devoted to rushing the ball and that came out of OchoCinco's stats. But in the previous three home games, he had a bigger role. The two easy matchups then were against the Bears (19-118, 2 TD) and the Texans (5-103). His best games were against the softest secondaries that came to Cincy. I also think how Chad was grousing after last week about how he was not thrown many passes - I think they want to shut him up and give something to the hometown fans.

CONSENSUS: Anytime a team faces a defense that can be beaten by either the run or the pass (or both), it makes it risky to rely on just one aspect of the offense but the Lions have been about as kindly to that as any team. The pass is there for the taking and Cedric Benson is back. Consider him as a safe play as an S2 and know he has the means and motive to be the S1. Question is if they give him the chance.

Laveranues Coles  (vs det) - PROJECTION: 70 YDS + 1 TD, SBL RATING: s2

TUVEY: If you read the SBL and you read the Ochocinco blurb above, you know how I think this one will play out. I'm willing to cede viable fantasy numbers to Ocho; he's the lead dog, he's been barking, and the Bengals want him fully on board for the postseason push. But while the match-up suggests the entire Cincy passing game should be in play, I'm just concerned that after the running game takes its bite and Ocho gets his, there just won't be enough left to make secondary targets like Coles and Caldwell trustworthy of a fantasy spot. 

DOREY: I am slightly concerned that Coles is limited in practice and he's a risk to be sure in any game. But as a function of assigning the passing yards that I believe the game holds gives him 70 yards which would be one of his best games. And I liked him more than Caldwell for the score because Coles last two touchdowns were against those visiting Bears and Texans discussed above. As I mention in the P and P, whatever happens here is probably as good as it gets for the Cincy passing game.

CONSENSUS: Figure Coles to be a risk for anything more than S2 because he has only scored three times this season and not at all in the last four games. Thanks to the visiting Lions, Coles should hold some decent value but anything more than moderate numbers would be from a touchdown catch.

Frank Gore (AT sea) - PROJECTION: 70 rush + 20 rcv YDS, SBL RATING: s2

TUVEY: Yes, Seattle is a better team at home than on the road. Doesn't hurt their numbers that they've hosted Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, and Jacksonville—a combined 13-31 overall and 4-18 on the road. Gore's five-game scoring streak has included visits to Indy and Green Bay, so Qwest Field shouldn't scare him. And as for his workload being reduced, Gore has actually thrived in San Fran's new pass-happy offense; his three best receiving games have come with Alex Smith at the helm, and his last two scores have come on receptions. I'll go back to Crash Davis; you don't mess with a streak. Gore's scored in five games, and he's not facing the 85 Bears; I'll take my chances he'll extend the run in Seattle. Of course, add a touchdown to Gore's projected 90 yards and then everybody is wondering why he's not an S1.

DOREY: I'd completely agree - 90 total yards seems like a solid output for a running back. Gore has rolled up nice reception numbers lately and had a score both weeks as Tuvey noted. He already had his season high game against these Seahawks - 246 total yards and two scores so 90 yards is a major step down but reflects the change in venue to Seattle and where both teams are at now.

CONSENSUS: We both agree that Gore is a solid choice for a starting running back this week and should prop up his value with receptions.

Felix Jones (AT nyg) - PROJECTION: na, SBL RATING: s2

TUVEY: The concern, as stated by the PP, is a viable one: secondary Cowboy backs haven't done jack on the road. I don't think he's allergic to travel; Felix scored in two of three road games last year prior to his season-ending injury. This year he's been lightly used on the road, but of late he's been a larger factor in the Cowboys game plan. Some fast talk from DMD could persuade me to give Jones a Drew Pearson-like push down to an S3, but ultimately I'll let potential trump location and comfortably plug a home run threat like Jones into my lineup against a Giants defense that has been fading fast.

DOREY: Given that it is the home town team, I have no problem keeping up on the Cowboys. It all boiled down to one thing with Felix Jones for me. He has played in five home games and had both his touchdowns there. He had around 70 or more total yards in four of the five games there. But on the road - he disappears. He has never caught a pass in any of his three road games though he always has at least one at home. And he has never had more than 22 rushing yards in an away game. He has averaged four runs for 13 yards in away games. He lives and dies by the long gainer but he never has them away from home. Never. Way back in week two he had his best game of the year versus the Giants but he is not at home this week.

CONSENSUS: Hard to go against always and never. Sure, Jones could pop the long gainer and even score. But so far he has never done that away from Cowboys Stadium. So he is a very big risk to rely on this week.

Miles Austin (AT nyg) - PROJECTION: 70 YDS, SBL RATING: s2

TUVEY: If you have a leftover Y2K shelter I suggest heading there now; that a born-and-raised Minnesotan is taking the positive spin on not one but TWO Cowboys over the native Texan DMD is surely one of the signs of a pending apocalypse. But we all know that when push comes to shove fantasy trumps team loyalty. The PP's projections reflect a concern that the Giants will be aware of Austin and focus on shutting him down; the SBL's S2 notes that the Giants haven't had much success taking away other team's No. 1s, so why would they start now? The PP is rolling with Crayton as the more likely to score; at this critical juncture of the year, I'm more comfortable sticking with the more targeted and more productive Austin.  

DOREY: It must be the apocalypse since I am higher on the quarterback-with-no-name that plays for the Vikes than Tuvey. I would blame no one for starting Austin and why not? He's reached the level where his upside alone dictates that he should always be started. Realize too that 70 yards in a game would be the fourth best game of the season for Austin. The only times he had more was against the Chiefs, Falcons and Raiders. So I am looking for one of Austin's better games with 70 yards, I just did not give him a touchdown.

CONSENSUS: He has eight touchdowns already, he deserves to be a starter every week. The potential outweighs the risk in every game.

Start Bench List Ratings:
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.

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