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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
RB Rashard Mendenhall 50 2-10
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-70
WR Michael Floyd 2-20
TE Rob Housler 3-30
PK Jay Feely 2 FG 2 XP

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 SF 0000026021 ****
Palmer's 298 & 2 in the earlier meeting was the fourth-biggest game the Niners have allowed to a quarterback. However, he's had just one TD toss in each of the past three games, with declining yardage totals so he's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI SF 4014300000 ****
Ellington scored in Arizona's earlier meeting with the Niners, but he's still playing second fiddle to Rashard Mendenhall in the touches category which makes him a risky play at best in this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rashard Mendenhall, ARI SF 500000000 ***
The Niners haven't allowed much in the way of RB TDs, but the last few (Steven Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Jed Collins) have been the goal-line types Mendenhall has made a habit of this season. Not saying it will happen necessarily, but at least acknowledging there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI SF 0051001000 ****
Glimmers of hope after Larry's tough game against Richard Sherman last week. For starters, Fitz scored as part of a 6-117-1 outing the last time he faced San Francisco. Factor in the Niners giving up touchdowns to WR1s in back-to-back games and Fitz is at least back on the fantasy radar here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI SF 005601000 ***
The Niners have allowed just three WR TDs in the past seven games, so while Floyd scored last week and scored in the earlier meeting with San Francisco he's still a risky fantasy play given that Larry Fitzgerald still sees most of the Cardinals' WR targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ted Ginn, ARI SF 003500000 ***
Ginn is more of a deep threat and less likely to take over Steve Smith's role as the Panthers' go-to wideout should Smith sit this one out. That puts a limit on his upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Housler, ARI SF 003300000 ***
If Housler weren't battling Jake Ballard and Jim Dray for looks on his own team, we'd be more optimistic about him taking advantage of a San Francisco defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight games and a total of 228 yards to the position in that span.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, ARI SF 1133 ***
No team has given up fewer points to kickers than the Niners, and they held Feely to just a couple PATs in the earlier meeting. Both teams are still playing for something, but with points at a premium you'll want to get your kicks elsewhere.

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
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.

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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