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
RB Jonathan Dwyer 20
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 Carson Palmer, ARI @NYG 10000024020 *
Palmer threw for 302 against a solid San Diego defense, more than a tuneup for a Giants' defense fresh off being roasted by the Lions for 346 and two. What's not to like?
Update: Palmer was limited in practice all week by an elbow injury and officially is listed as questionable. However, there doesn't seem to be any concern in Cardinals camp about his availability this week, so you should be able to start him with confidence against the Giants.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @NYG 4005300000 ***
Phrases like "will wear a boot to calm it down" and "can't make it worse by playing on it" hardly inspire confidence. However, Ellington's 80 combo yards on 18 touches suggest he's capable of being a fantasy helper--especially against a defense that just served up 124 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to Detroit's backfield committee.
Update: Ellington is listed as questionable after limiting his work this week in an effort to rest his sore foot. He was in a similar situation last week and received 18 touches against the Chargers, so you should be fine again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @NYG 0061001000 ***
The Giants just gave up 13-257-2 to Detroit wide receivers. Sure, one was Megatron but Floyd is an emerging stud in his own right, and the Lions' passing game is only slightly more diversified than Detroit's. No reason he can't follow up his 119-yard Week 1 performance with something equally fantasy-friendly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @NYG 006801000 ***
Senior may not have been happy with the targets, but it's no secret that Michael Floyd is the new sheriff in Arizona's passing game. There's still room for Junior, however, especially when you note that Detroit just had both starting wideouts go for 90-plus yards against the G-Men secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @NYG 003400000 ***
It'll be difficult to bank on Brown's consistency as the third man in on Arizona's passing attack; then again, he did out-perform Larry Fitzgerald and out-score all other Cardinals wideouts. And against a Giants' secondary that surrendered 257 yards and two TDs to the position, there might just be enough to go around.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @NYG 1133 ***
Just between friends, when Catanzaro hits the upright does it go "bing"? All kidding aside, there are worse gigs than tacking on points for a prolific offense like Arizona's.

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 Austin Davis, STL @TB 0000023012 ***
Just can't muster much fantasy enthusiasm for the Rams' third-string quarterback on the road against Lovie Smith's defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zac Stacy, STL @TB 7001100000 ***
Stacy did little in the season opener; he should find more room against a Bucs' D that allowed 103 RB rushing yards to the Panthers last week, but temper your enthusiasm by noting the uptick in touches Benny Cunningham is receiving.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @TB 3004300000 **
Cunningham is carving out a role as the Rams' pass-catching back. It's not a particularly rewarding role fantasy-wise, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @TB 1004400000 ***
There will be a couple games where Austin will surprise us with fantasy value. There's nothing to suggest this will be one of those games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @TB 002400000 ***
Britt is still looking for his first catch as a Ram; let's let him crawl before he walks, fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Quick, STL @TB 003400000 ***
Quick saw more targets than all the rest of the Rams' wideouts combined last week, and it still was barely enough to get him onto the fantasy radar. It would be a stretch to reach for him again in Week 2.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @TB 005701000 **
Cook was heavily targeted last week, and the Bucs showed a weakness in defending the tight end by giving up 8-83-1 to Greg Olsen. If you're forced to start a member of the Rams' passing game this week, Cook is your best bet.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @TB 2211 **
Legatron is a weapon; he just needs an offense that can get him close enough on a more consistent basis.

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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