FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: ARI 20, STL 23 (Line: ARI by 1.5)

Players to Watch: Any STL receiver besides Danny Amendola

The 4-0 Cardinals land in St. Louis after an overtime win against the Dolphins. The 2-2 Rams come off their surprise win over the Seahawks and have won both home games. The Cardinals swept the Rams in 2011, winning 19-13 at home and later 23-20 in St. Louis. Both teams are sporting surprisingly good defenses this year and this interdivisional match-up is a coin toss.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL -----
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL -----
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL ----- 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF ----- 15 DET -----
7 @MIN ----- 16 CHI -----
8 SF ----- 17 @SF -----
9 @GB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-70
WR Michael Floyd 2-20
TE Rob Housler 3-30

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are undefeated though all but one game came by four points or less and last week at home required a comeback to tie and overtime to beat the Dolphins. This is only the second road game for the Cardinals who are winning because of a surprisingly good defense and two wideouts. Kevin Kolb has legitimately earned his starting job by now and he did produce a season best 324 yards and three scores last week. But his previous high was only 222 yards and his one road game was just 140 passing yards and one score in New England.

Beanie Wells is gone now and yet Ryan Williams has not done much with the opportunity. His 13 runs against the Dolphins only produced 26 yards and his season best as a receiver is only two catches for ten yards. Williams Powell has become the third down back they never throw to and is next in line should Williams get hurt. The Cardinals have been one of the worst rushing teams in the league this year and that is not likely to change much this week.

Aside from his one bad game - the one that came in the only away venue so far - Larry Fitzgerald has been back to his productive ways after a slow start to the season. He has scored in each of the last two games and caught at least eight passes in each. Andre Roberts (6-118) had a freakishly good game against the Dolphins when he scored twice but that gave him four touchdowns on the season and he has only failed to score once so far this year. The yardage remains around 50 or so but he has four of the seven receiving touchdowns. Michael Floyd is slowly getting more work but still offers no fantasy value.

The tight ends here never score and Todd Heap missing games has only made it worse.

The Cardinals have almost no rushing attack so far and the Rams at home are much better than their ranking suggests. This will come down, once again, to the success of the Cardinals defense in their second road game of the year and how well Kolb can connect with Fitzgerald and Roberts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 16 30 11 24 18 3
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 7 20 4 16 15 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Lindley, ARI SEA 0000018001 *
It's been nine games since an opposing quarterback delivered a fantasy helper (two TDs and 250-plus yards) against the Seahawks. Lindley, who has yet to throw a touchdown in 181 NFL attempts, is not the next. The last time he saw the Seahawks he was on the butt end of a 58-0 thrashing in which the only highlight of his 8-17-59 performance was that he wasn't picked off.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stepfan Taylor, ARI SEA 2004300000 ***
Taylor will get the pleasure of between-the-tackles work against the Seahawks. His share of the Arizona workload won't amount to much if any fantasy assistance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI SEA 3001100000 ***
Williams was the slightly more effective back last week as he and Stepfan Taylor split the workload. Neither will do much this week against a Seattle defense that has allowed exactly one running back (Jamaal Charles) to top 50 yards in the past two months.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI SEA 003500000 *
Brown's 61 yards in Week 12 is the best showing by a wideout against the Seahawks in the past five games. So if 61 yards floats your boat, enjoy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SEA 003400000 *
In three previous full games with Lindley at the helm, Fitzgerald has been targeted 24 times. Unfortunately only eight of those were close enough for the sure-handed Fitz to grab, and they resulted in a meager 76 yards and zero TDs. Tough to expect any of those stats to improve against Seattle's stout secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI SEA 003300000 ***
Ryan Lindley leaned heavily on tight ends (23 targets, one shy of Larry Fitzgerald over that same span) in his earlier stint as a starter, so there's that upside for Carlson. Also, Seattle's softest spot defensively this season has been tight end. Nope... can't quite muster up enough enthusiasm to warrant a fantasy play for Carlson this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI SEA 1100 ***
Maybe Catanzaro does all the Cards' scoring again, but the Ryan Lindley-led offense may not even get him across midfield.

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 6-23 12 @ARI -----
4 SEA 19-13 13 SF -----
5 ARI ----- 14 @BUF -----
6 @MIA ----- 15 MIN -----
7 GB ----- 16 @TB -----
8 NE ----- 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL vs ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 240,1
WR Kenny Britt
WR Chris Givens 2-40
TE Jared Cook 5-60,1
TE Lance Kendricks 2-20
PK Greg Zuerlein 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams are 2-2 but both home games have been wins and the St. Louis defense under HC Jeff Fisher is already coming together with good results. Same Bradford has passed for just four touchdowns and three of those came in the Redskins match-up. This is yet another offense that Bradford is having to learn and once again it is taking time and limiting him from a general lack of good receiving talent. Danny Amendola has been the best so far and that is with just the one Washington game where he had 15 catches for 160 yards. Otherwise he remains below 70 yards and turns in five or six receptions per week.

Brandon Gibson scored the first two weeks with minimal yardage and now just does the minimal yardage. No receivers here are stepping up and the two early round rookies from the 2012 draft have combined for only five catches on the season. Steve Smith, Austin Pettis - all of them are just not getting it done. Installing a new offense is never kind to average receivers and so far only Amendola really matters.

Lance Kendricks smacks of potential but he is mainly just a blocker in this scheme and has yet to top 25 yards in any game. Bottom line - below average passing yardage is doled out to below average receivers.

Steven Jackson did not miss any games because of his sore groin and he was given 18 runs against the Seahawks but only gained 55 yards. He has never scored this year and still has not broken 60 rush yards in any game. That is not likely to change much this week against an outstanding Cardinals rushing defense that has stuffed every runner it has faced. Daryl Richardson remains involved but only as a relief back. Richardson has the only decent running back performance of the year but that was thanks to the Redskins defense and Jackson's groin that week.

The Cards also sport a very good secondary that has only allowed three passing scores this year and never more than one per opponent. The winner of this game plays the best defense and has the fewest turnovers and mistakes. With the Cards only on their second road trip and now against a familiar opponent, the Rams could pull this one off.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 28 29 14 29 4 19
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 6 2 25 7 23 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Shaun Hill, STL NYG 0000022010 ***
If not for his rushing score in a 52-0 blowout of the Raiders, Hill wouldn't have a single fantasy helper to his credit. Only one of the last six quarterbacks to face the Giants has thrown double-digit touchdown passes; unlikely Hill winds up the second.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL NYG 10012100000 ****
Mason continues to get the bulk of the workload, so when there's a favorable matchup--like against the Giants, who have allowed four 100-yard rushers--he's the primary beneficiary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stedman Bailey, STL NYG 004601000 **
If Shaun Hill puts up enough yardage to generate a fantasy-worthy receiver--and that's a reasonably big "if"--Bailey is the most likely candidate; he's been the Rams' top receiver three of the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL NYG 005700000 ***
Britt remains in the mix, but he's wildly inconsistent and dependent on a quarterback who doesn't exactly churn out tons of helpful fantasy stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL NYG 3002100000 ***
The Rams are becoming more creative in getting the ball to their top pick from a year ago, but he's largely a non-factor as a receiver so you're banking on returns and gimmick plays for him to get you fantasy points--always a risky proposition.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL NYG 002200000 ***
Cook will be the most targeted tight end in a reasonably favorable matchup, but he still has to fend off Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey--as well as hope Shaun Hill throws enough for them to be fantasy relevant.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL NYG 2222 ***
Aside from his five-field goal outing against the Broncos Zuerlein has been mostly ordinary with no more than two field goals in any other contest since Week 2. It's not an overly favorable matchup, so no need to go out of your way to get Legatron into your lineup.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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