FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: STL 13, CHI 27 (Line: CHI by 9)

Players to Watch: Daryl Richardson, Michael Bush

Player Updated: Steven Jackson, Daryl Richardson

The Rams come off their improbable, "but it happened" win over the Redskins and hit the road to Chicago. The Bears are coming off their loss in Green Bay and will be without Matt Forte but the home venue should be plenty enough to take down the Rams.

St. Louis Rams
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DET 23-27 10 @SF -----
2 WAS 31-28 11 NYJ -----
3 @CHI ----- 12 @ARI -----
4 SEA ----- 13 SF -----
5 ARI ----- 14 @BUF -----
6 @MIA ----- 15 MIN -----
7 GB ----- 16 @TB -----
8 NE ----- 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 200,1
WR Kenny Britt 3-50
TE Jared Cook 4-60,1
TE Lance Kendricks 1-10
PK Greg Zuerlein 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams had a game for the ages - or at least of the last two years - when they took down the Redskins. Sam Bradford comes off the best game of his career when he passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns and he has but one interception on the season. Bradford is making heavy use of Danny Amendola who set the franchise record with 15 catches for 160 yards and one touchdown. He's been the primary receiver in both games and has been thrown 25 passes already this year, catching 20 of them. Amendola continues to be the new Wes Welker (who is not himself lately anyway).

Brandon Gibson has scored in both games but remains locked around 50 yards. That leaves him short of fantasy relevance and Steve Smith is making a move to take some of his workload away. Smith was the talk of the camp but has only caught four passes for 55 yards so far.

Of course all the news last week was the benching/injury to Steven Jackson who was robbed - robbed I say! - of a touchdown and then spiked the ball in anger drawing a penalty. He did not play again though it appears his groin was an issue and perhaps HC Jeff Fisher did not give a timeout to his star player with more touches than any active running back in the league.

Daryl Richardson has supplanted Isaiah Pead as the primary backup and looked great gaining 83 yards on 15 runs as he finished out the game. How that plays out next season is anyone's guess but for now, Richardson remains the backup and relief player.

This week will be a major challenge against a Bears defense at home. Last week was an offensive explosion but remember the troubles in Detroit the week before - they are about to get even worse.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 10 25 5 23 6 13
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 7 12 22 26 9 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Austin Davis, STL @SF 0000018011 ***
Peyton Manning is the only quarterback to do anything of fantasy note against the Niners in the past month--a stretch that includes Austin's own 236 & 1 against San Francisco--and Davis clearly ain't Peyton Manning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SF 500000000 ***
Mason has emerged as the lead dog in this backfield triumvirate, but the trio was ineffective in an earlier meeting with the Niners--78 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards and a Benny Cunningham TD dive--and there's no reason to expect things to change in San Francisco this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @SF 2002200000 ***
These teams met back in Week 6, at which point the Rams unveiled their three-pronged running back approach. Cunningham scored but it was the only glimmer of fantasy help amongst the bunch, and you shouldn't bank on a repeat on the road this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SF 004400000 ***
WR TDs come in bunches against the Niners--four by the Broncos in Week 7, two for John Brown back in Week 3, three for Brandon Marshall in Week 2. What the Rams have is a bunch of receivers, none of whom can be counted on for a fantasy contribution. Britt's 39 yards paced the pack the last time these teams tangled; hopefully you have a better fantasy option at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SF 004300000 ***
The Rams still haven't figured out how to use Austin, and an epiphany is unlikely this week in San Francisco.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Lance Kendricks, STL @SF 001101000 ***
The Rams have ordered a Code Red Zone in three straight and four of the last five games, including the earlier meeting with San Francisco. It's not as if the St. Louis wideouts threaten to steal looks, so if you're desperate for tight end help in a TD-heavy scoring system you could do worse than Kendricks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SF 005600000 ***
Cook's 74 yards in the earlier meeting were the most the Niners have allowed to an opposing TE all year. He's the yardage guy in the Rams' TE equation and with no real WR threat to speak of there's no reason he couldn't push for a repeat in the back end of the season series as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SF 1111 ****
Legatron's been more of a Micro Machine this season, with one field goal in the past four games and no double-digit points efforts in the past five. You could build a better fantasy kicker out of parts from guys cut by the Lions.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF -----
3 STL ----- 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 10 240,2
WR Santonio Holmes 4-50,1
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40,1
WR Brandon Marshall 6-100,1
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Talk about your swings. The Bears throttled the Colts in the season opener and then went to Green Bay where the passing effort fell apart and Jay Cutler not only completed but 11 of 27 passes for 126 yards, but he threw for interceptions and was sacked seven times. It was like Mike Martz never left. Cutler passed for 333 yards and two scores in the opener but could not generate anything against the Packers.

The meager passing numbers not only hit all players, but Brandon Marshall took a nosedive. Week one with nine catches for 119 yards and a score sent fantasy owners dancing in the streets assuming such would happen with regularity. Then Marshall only managed two receptions for 24 yards. Fortunately this week should be closer to week one than week two.

The Bears also lost Matt Forte to a low ankle sprain that should keep him out a week to a month depending on who you ask. Figure on the month as closer since it originally was thought to be a high ankle sprain. Right now the guys that stole Michael Bush in the draft actually are getting paid back early on their speculation. Bush gained 54 yards on 14 runs versus the Packers but has not yet caught any passes. In that way, he won't be a compete replacement for the healing Forte.

The Rams come to town which should offer good things to all aspects of the team. Plus the Bears have been waiting for 11 days by the time the game starts and hopefully that does not make them as rusty as it did the Cowboys.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 9 15 31 19 6
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 29 20 19 29 7 26

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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