FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

Prediction: TB 17, NYG 24 (Line: NYG by 8)

Players to watch: Doug Martin, Martellus Bennett

Players Updated: Hakeem Nicks

The Buccaneers squeaked out a win over the visiting Panthers using a shockingly good defensive effort from a unit that was among the worst in 2011. The Giants remain at home after being handed a big loss to the Cowboys in the league opener last Wednesday. The Giants had 11 days to prepare for this but after facing a surprisingly good Dallas defense, the Buccaneers show up after limiting the #1 rushing team to only ten yards on 13 carries. Be an interesting game between two teams that need more definition.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD -----
2 @NYG ----- 11 @CAR -----
3 @DAL ----- 12 ATL -----
4 WAS ----- 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC ----- 15 @NO -----
7 NO ----- 16 STL -----
8 @MIN ----- 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 90,1 4-30
WR Vincent Jackson 6-90,1
WR Louis Murphy 2-30
TE Brandon Myers 2-20
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Really? In 2011, the Panthers showed up in Tampa Bay during week 13 and then rushed for a collective 163 yards on 39 carries with four touchdowns. This year? No player gained more than five rushing yards IN TOTAL. And the best runner was the wideout Kealoha Pilares (1-5). Interdivisional games can always be odd and unlike the rest but it was a great start to the season for the Buccaneers defense.

Josh Freeman only passed for 138 yards and one score but had no turnovers and merely managed the game. The rookie Doug Martin was the difference maker with 95 yards on 24 carries and four receptions for 23 more yards. He was a stick mover and kept the drives alive. This will be a big test for him going to New York though they coughed up 131 yards to DeMarco Murray last week. The Buccaneers do not have the same passing game as the Cowboys so that's unlikely to happen but Martin looked good in his debut, unlike say Trent Richardson.

Vincent Jackson is the new toy for Freeman and he was thrown ten passes - the next best only had four. Jackson ended with just 47 yards on four catches but should improve as he and Freeman get more chemistry. The entire passing game grades out as incomplete so far since Freeman did not throw much last week. That will have to change against the Giants. Mike Williams only caught two short passes against the Panthers but one was the lone touchdown. If Jackson and Williams could meet their potential, the wideouts here could be above average.

Somewhat encouraging was that the lone pass to Dallas Clark went for a 33 yard gain. Clark has been back to health after two seasons getting injured and could really add a much needed dimension to the offense in the coming weeks. He's worth keeping an eye on since the Bucs have a pretty kind schedule this year.

The difference in this game will be how much of the defense was real last week and if Freeman can pass more and keep the opponent from stacking the line against Martin.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 29 12 31 31 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 30 11 32 8 9 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jameis Winston, TB @CAR 20000020012 ***
Volume begats at least modest success against Carolina's pass D, as the last four QBs with 40 or more attempts have all thrown multiple TDs as well. Winston threw for 287 and 2 on 43 attempts in the previous meeting, but he's only been in the 40s or higher twice all season so temper expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB @CAR 2004301000 ***
Sims scored a receiving TD in the earlier meeting with Carolina as Bucs RBs compiled 67 receiving yards. And the Panthers are just a couple weeks removed from Shane Vereen's 8-43-1 receiving line against them. Sims tallied a receiving score last week and has 12-158 receiving over the past three games, so there's PPR and performance upside in this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @CAR 5001100000 ***
Martin rushed for 106 yards and a TD in the earlier meeting with Carolina, and as he's still very much in contention for the rushing title he'll get plenty of carries. Asking for another hundo is optimistic, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @CAR 003300000 ***
Evans mustered 3-32 against Josh Norman and the Panthers in the earlier meeting while Vincent Jackson went off for 10-147-1 on 15 targets. No VJax this week means more Norman for Evans; he still might be force-fed targets, but the upside is limited by Carolina's pass defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Humphries, TB @CAR 002300000 ***
The upside would be Humphries capitalizing on Carolina's focus on Mike Evans and having the kind of day Vincent Jackson had (10-147-1) against the Panthers. The more likely outcome is another non-fantasy helper for a tertiary Tampa Bay target.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donteea Dye, TB @CAR 001300000 ***
While Vincent Jackson's absence opens a door, Dye has yet to top one catch in a game so he's not rushing through that opening any time soon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB @CAR 002200000 ***
ASJ was absent for the earlier meeting with Carolina; now he's back, with 22 targets in the past month and touchdowns in each of the past two games. The Panthers haven't given up as much as 50 yards to a TE since Week 10, only two TE TDs in that span, so lower expectations accordingly.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, TB @CAR 3311 ***
Kickers average
Four points per game vs. Panthers
last two months; stay away!

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DAL 17-24 10 @CIN -----
2 TB ----- 11 BYE -----
3 @CAR ----- 12 GB -----
4 @PHI ----- 13 @WAS -----
5 CLE ----- 14 NO -----
6 @SF ----- 15 @ATL -----
7 WAS ----- 16 @BAL -----
8 @DAL ----- 17 PHI -----
9 PIT ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 280,2
RB Rashad Jennings
WR Victor Cruz 6-90,1
WR Hakeem Nicks 5-70,1

Pregame Notes: It wasn't that the Giants had a horrible game when they lost to the Cowboys. It was that all those big plays and Cowboy mistakes and good mojo just never happened. Eli Manning has historically owned the Cowboys but only managed 213 yards and one score. The wideouts were limited by the corner play of the Cowboys and so this week we need to see how much of the loss was just an improved Cowboys and how much was the natural malaise of winning yet another Super Bowl.

Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 78 yards on 17 carries and scored once. He looked vintage good, particularly once David Wilson lost a fumble on his second carry and was yanked from the gameplan. Yes, Wilson appeared to be crying on the sideline but he deeply cares about his job and knows just how much of his contract was incentive based. You fumble? You sit. Fortunately Tiki Barber was a fumbler until HC Tom Coughlin cured him with the "high and tight" method. Wilson has to learn since he was a fumbler in college and once you cough it up, everyone just tackles the ball instead of the player.

How well Bradshaw does will be interesting because the incredible job the Bucs did shutting down the Panthers run game last week. Chances are good that was more about being at home in the opener against a familiar opponent who had been a problem all last year. Bradshaw remains a must start.

This game should be an improvement for both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz who were swallowed up by the Cowboys new cornerbacks. Cruz was held to six catches for 58 yards while Nicks only produced 38 yards on four receptions. That has to change and should with the Buccaneers allowing Steve Smith to gain 106 yards on seven catches. Bradshaw may be slightly risky facing the Bucs but the wideouts should turn it on and win the game.

Martellus Bennett was also a bigger part of the game plan with six targets for four catches and one touchdown against his old employer. It's worth keeping an eye to see if Bennett remains a target equal with the two main wide receivers this week as well.

Giants win this game because they must. A loss here slants the entire season in a bad direction.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 24 20 25 12 25 24
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 13 2 25 15 4 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Eli Manning, NYG PHI 0000028030 ***
Eli threw for just 189 and 1 in Philly earlier this year, but he's averaging 317 and almost three TDs per game the last six times the Eagles have come to Gotham. And after watching Philly give up 3 TDs to Tom Brady, 4 to Kirk Cousins, and 5 each to Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford--in just the past six weeks--you have to like Eli's chances here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG PHI 6002200000 ***
Now that Jennings has consolidated the Giants' backfield touches--he has at least 16 touches in each of the last three games, producing triple-digit yards from scrimmage in each--he's perfectly situated to take advantage of the Eagles. Philly has allowed at least one RB TD in six straight games and 120 or more RB combo yards in eight straight since Jennings averaged better than five yards per touch on 16 touches against the Eagles back in Week 6. With more usage that's a baseline here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Odell Beckham, NYG PHI 0071202000 ***
Josh Norman ended OBJ's run of five straight with triple-digit yardage but only a suspension could stop the scoring. Back with a vengeance and facing a Philly D that's allowed at least one WR TD in eight straight games--15 total TDs over that span--look for an upgrade over his earlier 7-61-1 against the Eagles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Will Tye, NYG PHI 004400000 ***
Since giving up 5-51 to the combo entry of Tye and Larry Donnell back in Week 6 the Eagles have surrendered four TE TDs and six games of 40-plus, while Tye has two TDs and four games of 40-plus yards as the Giants' lone healthy tight end. It's enough to make him a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG PHI 2233 ***
Expect lots of points
in game that has no meaning;
Brown should get his, too

WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

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