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
TB @ NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 260,2
RB Doug Martin 90,1 4-30
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 30 3-20
WR DeSean Jackson 5-80,1
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 1 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 20000021012 ***
Winston's Week 8 game against the Panthers was his worst fantasy effort with more than 13 attempts this year. Over the past five weeks, Carolina has been slaughtered by the position. No team has been worse, in fact. In those contests, quarterbacks averaged 286.5 yards (2nd) and a TD every 10.8 connections (4th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Peyton Barber, TB @CAR 4002200000 **
Barber probably will see the majority of the touches, though he has a matchup that isn't too appealing. Carolina has given up a TD every 25.3 totes since Week 10, which is good for ninth. Otherwise, every other notable fantasy determinant is in the bottom half of the league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @CAR 3001100000 *
Martin's suspension or deactivation last week is supposedly behind him and the coaching staff. He probably won't see much, if any, work this week, and there's no way he should be in a lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @CAR 007700000 ***
No team has provided receivers more receptions (15.8), yards (204.5), standard fantasy points (31.1) and PPR points (43) per outing than the Panthers in the past five weeks. Evans caught 50 percent of his Week 8 targets for a 5-60-0 line vs. Carolina.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Humphries, TB @CAR 004500000 ***
Humphries could see a few more looks if D-Jax doesn't play. Even then, his role is limited. Despite the upside of the best matchup of the week, starting him is tough to justify.

Update: Jackson will not play in Week 16.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Cameron Brate, TB @CAR 006601000 ***
Carolina presents a so-so matchup -- tough on receptions, easier on allowing scores -- for Brate. His role will be increased by the severity of O.J. Howard's injury, one that has landed him on IR.

Update: Brate (hip, knee) is questionable and was limited in practice all week. He's a gametime decision.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @CAR 2211 ***
The weekly rates of 2.25 FGAs and 2.75 XPAs translate to the 11th-most fantasy points out of the seventh-highest possible figure.

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
WR Brandon Marshall 8-110,1

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 @ARI 0000020011 ***
Sans two rushing TDs by quarterbacks, this is the fifth-worst matchup of the week. Quarterbacks have averaged just 193 yards (30th) since Week 10. Manning is coming off of a monster performance that should be viewed as an aberration. One of every 16 passes faced by the Cardinals has gone for a TD, which ranks 22nd.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG @ARI 4006400000 ***
Gallman has been explosive in his limited work the last two games, logging 4.9 yards per carry on his 20 totes. He also has added 80 receiving yards on 13 grabs. The rook hasn't scored in limited action since Week 4. Arizona boasts the third-best defense of limiting rushing yardage and 10th-strongest at stopping overall yardage gains. The matchup is merely average for everything else.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Orleans Darkwa, NYG @ARI 300000000 ***
Darkwa's stat line of nine carries for seven yards and a touchdown last week -- while amusing -- won't cut it. He has taken a back seat in the rotation with Wayne Gallman, whose versatility offers far more to the offense and fantasy gamers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NYG @ARI 1003200000 ***
Averaging only three grabs a game since Week 10, without a touchdown, there is no place for Vereen in a conventional lineup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sterling Shepard, NYG @ARI 004400000 ***
Shepard was nothing short of impressive last weekend and now faces the fourth-best defense of his position. The Cardinals have smothered receivers across the board in the past five weeks, giving up only 108.2 yards (31st) on 10 catches (26th) per game. WRs have scored three times over those five contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Roger Lewis, NYG @ARI 003300000 ***
Arizona has dominated receivers and shouldn't have any trouble holding the great Roger Lewis in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Evan Engram, NYG @ARI 005601000 ***
Just one of the last 17 catches by tight ends has scored on Arizona, and this matchup is among the five worst in both scoring formats. Engram's projection is optimistic, but he has the track record and athleticism to make something happen.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Aldrick Rosas, NYG @ARI 2211 ***
Arizona is a neutral matchup against the position. One field goal and another extra point attempt missed, while only 40.9 percent of all kicks against the Cards were worth three points.

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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