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 Shaun Hill, STL ARI 0000020011 ***
The Cards have allowed just one of the past six quarterbacks they've faced to throw for multiple touchdowns--a stretch that includes 216 and 1 from Austin Davis. Hill has back-to-back games of two touchdowns, but that's a pretty low ceiling; you want more at this point in the fantasy season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL ARI 10011100000 ***
The Cards have allowed three 85-plus yard rushers in the past month, so maybe there's a chance Mason can improve on the 48 he put up in the earlier meeting with Arizona. He'll need to see more than the 14 carries he handled in that game; considering he's averaging a shade under 20 carries a game in the month since that meeting, we like his chances.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL ARI 3002100000 ***
Maybe Austin shakes free on a punt return or an end around; other than that, it's tough to expect much of a fantasy contribution from Austin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL ARI 003400000 ***
Britt's targets have begun fluctuating as Stedman Bailey gets more involved in the offense, to the point that neither is seeing enough action to warrant a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stedman Bailey, STL ARI 002200000 ***
Rams wideouts combined for a meager 53 yards in the previous meeting with Arizona. Tough to break that down into fantasy help; even as the Rams' supposed go-to guy Bailey's targets have declined and he's far from a sure bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL ARI 003501000 ****
Cook went for 84 and a touch in the earlier meeting with Arizona; he comes off a two-TD game last week and faces a Cardinals defense that's allowed 3 TE TDs and a 100-yard game in just the past month. If there's a fantasy play out of the Rams' passing game, it's Cook.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL ARI 2133 ***
The Cards surrendered nine field goals and 30 points in their past two road games; in fact, all three double-digit games they've allowed were on the road. Legatron has struggled of late with single field goals in three straight, but there may be an opportunity for him to be a fringe fantasy helper here.

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 Jay Feely 2 FG 2 XP
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 NO 0000030021 ***
The last time Cutler hosted a beatable secondary from the NFC South he went belly-up against the Bucs, so it's understandable if you're skittish about using Cutler here. The Saints have served up 661 passing yards and five passing scores the past two weeks, however, so there's some cause for optimism as well. You know the risks of using Cutler; at least with this matchup there's an upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI NO 9017601000 ***
It's an extremely favorable matchup for Forte against a Saints defense that's allowed four straight feature backs to top 150 yards from scrimmage and three straight to find the end zone. When you consider Forte has at least 100 combo yards in every home game as well as at least one TD or 169 combo yards in each game at Soldier Field this season, he may be one of the best fantasy plays of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI NO 0091201000 ***
No Brandon Marshall makes Jeffery the man, though with touchdowns in four straight it's tough to argue he wasn't at least WR1A already. The Saints have let opposing WR1s score in five straight, as if you needed validation to get Jeffery in your lineup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI NO 003400000 ***
Wilson likely inherits Brandon Marshall's role, though he isn't likely to see the same volume of touches. Plus, the Saints haven't allowed multiple WRs to score in the same game since Week 7 so after Alshon Jeffery takes his bite the pickings might be pretty slim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI NO 007800000 ***
Bennett is the most likely beneficiary of Brandon Marshall's absence. When you consider that he already has seen 26 targets the past two weeks, and faces a defense that has allowed 19-164-1 to the tight end position the past two weeks, he's without question a quality fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI NO 2133 ***
After a two-point dog against the Cowboys in his return to the league, Feely has a real opportunity against a Saints defense that's allowed multiple field goals in five straight and double digits in three straight.

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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