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
WR Damian Williams 2-30
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 Shaun Hill, STL @SD 0000021011 ****
The Chargers haven't allowed a visiting QB to throw multiple touchdowns against them since Russell Wilson turned the trick back in Week 2. And Hill has just one TD on the year, so he's an unlikely candidate to snap that string.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SD 7011100000 ***
The Chargers haven't allowed much on the ground; then again, only two opposing backs have had at least 20 carries against them, and both topped 95 yards. So if Mason gets a workload similar to last week he should be a fantasy factor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @SD 1003301000 **
Cunningham clings to value as a change of pace back to Tre Mason. He's been seeing more work as a receiver of late, and there's some fantasy value there against a defense that's allowed the second-most RB receiving TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SD 003400000 ***
Britt has scored in two of the last three, had a monster game with Shaun Hill at the helm... and has just about sucked enough people into believing he's finally tapped into his vast potential that it's time for him to vanish once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SD 1002100000 ***
Eventually the Rams will figure out how to use Austin. Keep repeating that, and click your heels together three times and it just might come true.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SD 002200000 **
It's a tough matchup against a Chargers defense that's allowed only two TE TDs all year--especially when Cook often times cedes red zone looks to Lance Kendricks. You can find a more reliable fantasy option elsewhere.
Update: Cook is listed as questionable and practiced only on a limited basis this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SD 0022 ***
Legatron is coming off a five-FG game, his first notable fantasy outing in two months. A repeat is unlikely on the road, where he has two field goals in his last four games.

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 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

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI TB 0000031031 ****
Lovie's defense has held three of the past four QBs they've faced under 250 yards and to one TD toss or less, plus you have to think he has some knowledge of Cutler's game from his days in Chicago. That said, Cutler still has his twin towers plus Matt Forte to lean on, so he should be just fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI TB 8006501000 ***
The Bucs have allowed five 80-plus yard rushers in their past six games, so Forte should get his on the ground. Add in his passing game contributions and another quality fantasy outing is in the offing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI TB 0071101000 ****
It's a solid matchup, Jeffery against a Bucs' secondary that has struggled with big receivers this season. He's a little less consistently targeted than running mate Brandon Marshall, but both are quality fantasy options this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI TB 0081001000 ****
From way back in Week 1, when Kelvin Benjamin debuted with 92 yards and a touchdown, to Week 10 when Julio Jones rolled up 8-119, the Bucs have struggled with receivers of size. The Bears have size times two in Marshall and Alshon Jeffery; no reason to think this passing game can't have the same success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI TB 004400000 ***
The Bucs haven't given up a tight end touchdown since Week 4, and with outside receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery both expected to have big games there may not be enough left over for Bennett this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI TB 2233 ***
Four of the last six kickers to tee it up against the Bucs have scored double-digit points. Unfortunately, Gould hasn't even scored double-digit points in the last month combined so you'll want to get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

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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