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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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DIVISIONAL
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 

Prediction: ARI 21, NO 27

The Cardinals look to repeat their surprising 2008 playoff season and they are 6-2 in road games this year. The Saints come off their bye week but after a thoroughly impressive season, they dropped their last three games and have shown few signs of their prolific offense. But the Saints are 6-2 at home and have not won there since week 11. Vegas has the Saints as seven point favorites this week.

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     280,2
RB Chris Wells 70,1    
RB Tim Hightower 30 20  
WR Early Doucet   60,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   100,1  
WR Steve Breaston   80  
PK Neil Rackers 3 XP    
Pregame Notes: It took overtime and a defensive touchdown but the Cardinals managed to hold off the Packers last week in one of the most wonderful playoff games in history. 51-45 is the sort of game of dreams in the fantasy world and it could happen again this week. At least we can hope.

Quarterback: Nice timing. Kurt Warner had his best game of the year when the Packers showed up. He passed for 379 yards and five touchdowns and did that without Anquan Boldin. What is interesting this week is that other than a trip to Chicago, Warner has been much less productive in road games. But his use of Early Doucet and Steve Breaston last week calms any fears that he'll struggle too much.

The Saints have been very good against the pass in New Orleans where no quarterback has thrown for more than one touchdown. But in recent weeks there have been three teams that topped 300 passing yards there and part of the lack of passing scores is because the Saints have been so much weaker against the run. Figure on Warner once again needing to throw a lot and having some success.

Running Backs: Beanie Wells had surprising success against the normally stout Packers defense last week when he rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries. Wells ended the regular season on a high note with three straight games with a touchdown but those came against far weaker teams - STL, DET and SF. Wells has been much less productive in games against decent defenses or when he is on the road.

Tim HIghtower has been only a support player for the last five weeks but has scored in three of the last four games. Hightower has become almost exclusively a third down player and has all the receptions for the running backs.

The Saints have been much weaker against the run in recent weeks and allowed 12 rushing scores to visitors along with decent rushing yardage. Three different runners had over 100 rush yards there this year. Look for one rushing score most likely by Wells but the split between runners to keep both under the 100 yard mark.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin says that he is getting close to playing but it is very likely that he will be a game-time decision again this week. He was amply replaced by Steve Breaston (7-125, TD) and Early Doucet (6-77, 2 TD) last week and that could be a look into the future since once again Boldin's future is up in the air. With such a solid showing without Boldin, next season could be the one that finally sees Boldin leave the Cards.

While the Saints have been generally good against the pass and therefore wide receivers, they have allowed over 100 yards to a visiting wideout three times this year. Look for Larry Fitzgerald to have his standard good game and at least one score that ends up with either Doucet or Breaston.

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 NO 5 23 24 7 23 12


New Orleans Saints (13-3)
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 30-20 -14 52
10 @STL 28-23 -14 50.5
11 @TB 38-7 -10.5 51
12 NE 38-17 -3 56
13 @WAS 33-30 -9 46.5
14 @ATL 26-23 -10 50.5
15 DAL 17-24 -7.5 53.5
16 TB 17-20 -14 48.5
17 @CAR 10-23 +10 41
NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     310,2
RB Pierre Thomas 80,1    
RB Reggie Bush 30 40  
TE Jeremy Shockey   40  
WR Marques Colston   80,1  
WR Devery Henderson   70  
WR Robert Meachem   50,1  
PK Garrett Hartley 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The juggernaut of the NFC certainly ended up limping to the finish line with three straight losses and an offense that looked oddly out of sorts. But this is the team that dominated in most games this year and that had the premier offense in the conference if not the league. The biggest difference has been more about the defense that has lost a few key players. What started out as one of the better units in the league is now back to allowing 20+ points in each of the last five games.

Quarterback: Big difference in Drew Brees when he loses or wins. He was held out of the week 17 game but the two previous matchups had him only passing for one touchdown in each game. By contrast, he had thrown for ten scores over the three previous weeks. Playing at home has been a near lock for a 300 yard game with multiple touchdowns for Brees.

The Cardinals secondary can be beaten as we saw last week when the Packers laid down 422 yards and four scores on them. In half of their games, the Cards allowed 275 passing yards or more so look for this to be the week that Brees bounces back and posts stats more like we were used to before the end of the season.

Running Backs: Pierre Thomas admitted that he has three fractured ribs but will play with them despite the chance of reaggravating them. He has been resting for over two weeks now though and should be much better. The Saints need him since Mike Bell has been very ineffective for the last month and Reggie Kardashian has not been more than just a support player. Thomas is the main factor in the backfield, especially when facing a better than average team.

The Cardinals have allowed a 100+ yard rusher in each of their last four road games and given up a touchdown in each game. Expect Thomas to have a nice showing here and score as long as his ribs hold up.

Wide Receivers: Marques Colston had scored nine times in the first 14 games but then was held out of the endzone in those last three games. He has only two games over 100 yards but both came in home games. Lance Moore is back though not as a starter and only has one touchdown on the year. Robert Meachem also has nine receiving touchdowns but has only rarely had more than 70 yards in a game.

The Cardinals have only allowed four touchdowns to a wideout in a road game and just twice have they given up more than 100 yards but the Saints present a far better offense than anything the Cards have seen this year. Expect a solid showing by all and yet no really big by any individual receiver.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey has been only good for around 40 or so yards per week. He has not scored since back in week six. No reason to expect much more this week. He has been hampered by a bad toe for many weeks but even when healthy has not been a big factor in the passing game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 3 2 8 12 5 2
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 18 13 25 24 6 23

DIVISIONAL
ROUND

~ 2009 ~

Saturday
Sunday
 
 
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