Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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* 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
  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

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.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 29 12 31 31 12 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 30 11 32 8 9 14

QB Jameis Winston, TB CAR 20000020011 ***
It's been a while since a Bucs QB had a quality fantasy outing against the Panthers--Josh Freeman in 2012, to be precise. Doesn't look like that will change here, as Winston is still getting settled in Tampa's offense and Carolina has given up just two passing scores through three games.
RB Doug Martin, TB CAR 5002200000 ***
Martin has three games of 90-plus yards in four meetings with the Panthers, but thus far this year we've seen more of the back who stumbled to nine yards on nine carries in the front end of last season's series than anything resembling the other three outings. Best wait for the preseason version of Martin to return before using a lineup spot on him.

Update: Martin is listed as questionable. A tough matchup, a capable backup who outshone him last week, and multiple injuries make him an extremely difficult fantasy play this week.
RB Charles Sims, TB CAR 3003200000 ***
You could make a tepid case for Sims in performance leagues based on his role as the Bucs' pass-catching back and a Carolina defense that's allowed at least 50 RB receiving yards in every game. Maybe "tepid" is too strong a word.
WR Mike Evans, TB CAR 007601000 ***
Evans finally showed up last week, claiming more targets, catches, and receiving yards than the rest of the Bucs' wideouts combined. The heavy targeting should continue here, though with lesser results against a secondary that hasn't let a wideout top 80 yards this season and has surrendered only one WR TD on the year.
WR Vincent Jackson, TB CAR 004500000 ***
More Evans means less VJax; against a secondary that's allowed a top-end game of 53 yards to secondary targets and surrendered only one WR TD all year, less is really bad.
TE Brandon Myers, TB CAR 004300000 ***
Myers was lightly used in Austin Seferian-Jenkins' absence last week. To expect more than his 3-18 would be aggressive given the matchup with a Carolina defense that's surrendered a total of 78 yards to the position this season.

New York Giants
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
  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

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.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 24 20 25 12 25 24
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 13 2 25 15 4 5

QB Eli Manning, NYG @BUF 0000028021 ***
The Bills have allowed multiple touchdown tosses and at least 243 passing yards in every game this season. It's not like the Giants will have any success running the ball, and Eli's thrown for 279 and 2 or better each of the past two games, so expect another solid fantasy showing here.
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG @BUF 3002200000 ***
The Bills haven't allowed a back to top 50 rushing yards on the season, and surrendered only one touchdown to the position, so Jennings' upside is extremely limited.
RB Shane Vereen, NYG @BUF 2004300000 **
As the Giants' pass-catching back Vereen has upside this week because they'll likely struggle to run against the Bills, and because he has the potential for a 6-98 receiving game like Dion Lewis dropped on the Bills a couple weeks back.
WR Odell Beckham, NYG @BUF 0071102000 ***
The Bills have surrendered multiple TDs to wideouts in each of the past two games; each totaled at least 97 yards in the process as well. Sounds like a baseline for Beckham, who even with the possible return of Victor Cruz this week constitutes the vast majority of Big Blue's passing game.
WR Rueben Randle, NYG @BUF 006800000 ***
Randle is coming off a big game against the Redskins, but with Victor Cruz potentially back in the mix and Odell Beckham Jr. still the lead dog it's tough to expect a repeat performance.
TE Larry Donnell, NYG @BUF 004300000 ***
Donnell is still sharing the workload with Daniel Fells, and the Bills have mostly stifled any tight end not named Gronk. Neither of those bode well for his fantasy prospects.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Brown, NYG @BUF 1022 ***
Brown quietly leads the league in kicker points, though a date with a tough Bills defense threatens to dampen his spirits and his productivity.

* 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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