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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WILDCARD
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 

Prediction: GB 24, ARI 20

Update: Anquan Boldin never practiced this week and is considered very unlikely to play. They will bring him to gametime before making an official decision but all signs are that he is not going to play. I am going to remove him from the rankings.

The Packers won 33-7 last week in Arizona and are back with the Cardinals a 2.5 point favorite. Like other games last week, the Cardinals has nothing to win and rested players and the Packers took advantage of that. This game could go either way and the injury to Anquan Boldin could be telling. This game comes down to whether Warner's passing can out produce a more balanced attack by the Packers offense.

Green Bay Packers (11-5)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 21-15 -4 46
2 CIN 24-31 -9 42
3 @STL 36-17 -6.5 41
4 @MIN 23-30 +3.5 46
5 BYE - - -
6 DET 26-0 -13.5 47.5
7 @CLE 31-3 -9.5 41.5
8 MIN 26-38 -3.5 46.5
9 @TB 28-38 -10 43.5
10 DAL 17-7 +3 48
11 SF 30-24 -6 42
12 @DET 34-12 -11 48
13 BAL 24-14 -3 44
14 @CHI 21-14 -4 41
15 @PIT 36-37 +2.5 41.5
16 SEA 48-10 -13.5 43.5
17 @ARI 33-7 +3 42
GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers   280,2
RB Ryan Grant 50,1  
TE Jermichael Finley   6-70,1
WR Greg Jennings   3-50
WR Donald Driver   5-70,1
WR Jordy Nelson   2-30
WR James Jones   3-40
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: No arguing that the Packers offense has been outstanding this year and has scored over 20 points in every game other than the win over the Cowboys. The offense was more prolific last week than it will be here but this has been one of the most productive offenses in the league and more balanced than most realize since Ryan Grant finished 7th best in rushing yardage.

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers has scored in all but one game this year and not only had 30 passing touchdowns, he added five more scores via the run. Rodgers passed for 235 yards and one score last weekend in Arizona and ran in one score. That was actually one of his lowest games of the year and he has thrown for five 300 yard games so far.

The Cardinals have allowed every visitor to pass for at least one touchdown but only Peyton Manning had more than two scores in Arizona. Look for two scores and solid yardage this week from the only game played in beautiful weather. Rodgers is going to have to pass more this week than last for the Packers to win.

Running Backs: As noted, Ryan Grant finished with the 7th best rushing yardage but he only had three games that exceeded 100 rush yards. Grant has scored at least once in each of the last four games and ended the regular season with 11 rushing touchdowns. Brandon Jackson had a monster game against the visiting Seahawks in week 16 but then only produced 46 total yards last week.

The Cardinals had been better at home against the rush and only allowed six rushing scores there this year - one from Grant of course. The yardage has been low in most games though and even Grant only had 51 yards last week. Look for another score but moderate yardage as a runner.

Wide Receivers: The Cardinals are weakest against wide receivers and the Packers are bringing four of them that will be used. Last week, Donald Driver led the crew with 65 yards on six carries and Greg Jennings was held to only 29 yards on three receptions. Both James Jones (3-17) and Jordy Nelson (1-51) played a role though none scored. Jennings had been on a roll with two straight games over 100 yards until last week but drew Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who held him down.

I like Driver to score here but it could go anywhere almost as easily. Rodgers-Cromartie bruised his knee cap last week but is expected to play. If he is healthy, Jennings will be held back again this week. That gives Jones and Nelson more opportunities.

Tight Ends: Jermichael Finley has one of his lowest output games in the last six weeks when he only had 34 yards on four catches last week but he scored once and had a 30 yard score called back on an unrelated penalty. Finley is the lowest risk receiver to score of them all.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 1 15 10 3 4 3
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 18 13 25 24 6 23


Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SF 16-20 -6 46
2 @JAC 31-17 +3 43
3 IND 10-31 -2.5 48
4 BYE - - -
5 HOU 28-21 -5.5 48
6 @SEA 27-3 +3 47
7 @NYG 24-17 +9 46.5
8 CAR 21-34 10 43.5
9 @CHI 41-21 +3 44.5
10 SEA 31-20 -9 46.5
11 @STL 21-13 -9.5 46.5
12 @TEN 17-20 +3.5 44.5
13 MIN 30-17 -3.5 48
14 @SF 9-24 -3.5 48
15 @DET 31-24 -14 46.5
16 STL 31-10 -16 44
17 GB 7-33 -3 42
ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner   250,2
RB Chris Wells 50 1-10
RB Tim Hightower 20 1-10
WR Anquan Boldin 4-50
WR Early Doucet   3-40,1
WR Larry Fitzgerald   7-110,1
WR Steve Breaston   4-60
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals threw in the towel last week but then only watched Matt Leinart remind them how valuable Kurt Warner is. Anquan Boldin was injured as well and that could be a very big loss for a team that will be hard pressed to rush the ball. The Cardinals had been playing well and scoring over 30 points in three of the previous four weeks but had only faced the Vikings as a team that would provide a challenge. The Cardinals are only 4-4 in home games this year. The desert has not been nearly so much of an advantage this year as in most.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner only played for one series last week but had scored in all but one game this year. He has thrown for over 300 yards four times and had two or more scores in nine different games. Five of the last six home games have seen two or more passing touchdowns.

The Packers secondary has been good in most weeks with only one team passing for more than 270 yards against them - but that was 503 yards by Ben Roethlisberger just three weeks ago. With the Packers so good against the run, expect Warner to air it out this week. He'll really miss Boldin if he cannot play healthy.

Running Backs: Beanie Wells had been on a hot streak with a score in each of the three previous games but then again SF, DET and STL were hardly the top defenses. Wells has only gained over 100 yards once this year but has seven touchdowns and has taken over as the primary runner from Tim Hightower. Wells only gained 19 yards on six carries last week.

Tim Hightower has been very de-emphazized in recent weeks and has not produced more than 40 total yards for the last month though he scored on the Lions and Rams. Hightower should be a non-factor again this week. He only gained 24 yards on six runs last Sunday.

The Packers are ranked #2 against running backs and only allowed four rushing touchdowns all year long. No runner has gained more than 70 yards on them since mid-season. Expect lower efforts from both Wells and Hightower.

Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald played last week and scored but Anquan Boldin injured his ankle and knee and was on crutches as recently as Monday. He is not expected to be healthy by the weekend but even though he is a gametime decision, he may play even if injured as we have seen earlier this season. I will project for a limited Boldin to play but he may not. And with Boldin, he is also hard to count out of having a decent game.

Fitzgerald scored once last week but only had three catches for 17 yards. He ended the regular season tied with Randy Moss for most touchdowns by a wide receiver (13).

Steve Breaston will have a bigger role if Boldin does not play but if he remains as the #3, he'll be hard pressed to post very big numbers. He has not scored since week ten and has not had more than 65 yards in the last six games.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 12 10 2 32 21 9
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 16 2 12 18 1 10

WILDCARD
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 
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