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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
RB Zac Stacy, STL @SEA 7002100000 ****
Stacy rolled up a season-high 134 yards when the Seahawks visited St. Louis in Week 8, and he's scored in both Arizona and Carolina. Not much more to be proved, so while a TD in Seattle is a tough get Stacy has the resume to suggest he'll snag one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SEA 2003400000 ***
If you're forced to start a member of the St. Louis passing game, at least Austin has return-game upside. If he's healthy, that is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Austin Pettis, STL @SEA 002200000 ***
To identify which wide receiver could have success in St. Louis, we suggest a dart, a coin, and a 20-sided die. Good luck.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SEA 003400000 ***
Cook is sharing looks with Lance Kendricks in an unfavorable matchup with the Seahawks; none of that sounds like much in the way of fantasy assistance.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SEA 1100 ***
The Seahawks don't give up much to kickers, even less at home, so despite the nine Zuerlein mustered in the earlier meeting you'll want to get your kicks elsewhere.

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 GB 0000026021 ****
Four straight quarterbacks have thrown for multiple touchdowns against the Packers, something Josh McCown also did back in the Week 9 meeting between these clubs. You'll have to trust Cutler to bounce back from 222 & 1 in last week's 54-11 shellacking at the hands of the Eagles, but he had multiple touchdowns in each of the four previous home games he both started and finished so it shouldn't take a great leap of faith.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI GB 8015300000 ***
The Packers have allowed 100-yard rushers in two straight, four of five, and six of eight--a stretch that includes Forte's 125 & 1 back in Week 9. Five of those six 100-yard backs (including Forte) also scored touchdowns. No Clay Matthews, a motivated Bears team gunning for a playoff spot... it all adds up to a very nice fantasy day for Forte.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI GB 005801000 ****
Jeffery's 5-60-1 against Green Bay in the earlier meeting, coupled with Jay Cutler's slight preference for Brandon Marshall, relegate Jeffery to the WR2 role. No biggie: secondary targets have scored in three of four and six of eight against the Pack, so it's all good for Alshon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI GB 005701000 ***
Doesn't matter if Marshall is WR1 or WR2, though his 13 targets and 7-107-1 in the earlier meeting with Green Bay suggest he's still the alpha. WR1s have topped 100 yards in four of six against the Pack and either scored or topped 100 yards in six of eight. Marshall has 100 yards or a touchdown in three straight and seems to be Jay Cutler's favorite--good news for his fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI GB 003400000 ***
It's been a while since Bennett found the end zone, but he has 156 yards in the past two games as an alternative to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. And against a Packers defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight, Bennett just might make his way back to the end zone as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI GB 2244 ***
Gould tallied nine points in his last meeting with the Packers, has hit double-digits in his last two at home, and will be kicking to get the Bears into the playoffs. Not a bad combo if you're looking for points.

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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