FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: GB 34, STL 16 (Line: GB by 5.5)

Players Updated: Aaron Rodgers, Alex Green, James Starks, Randall Cobb, Greg Jennings, James Jones

Players to Watch: Chris Givens, Austin Pettis

The 3-3 Packers finally put together a game reminiscent of 2011 and took down the previously unbeaten Texans in Houston. The 3-3 Rams haven't scored over 20 points in their last four games but survive with a great defense each week and a smidgen of offense. Sort of like the Texans only without Arian Foster. Ben Tate. Andre Johnson. Or that offensive line.

The Rams lost 3-24 in Green Bay last year.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA 12-14 12 @NYG -----
4 NO 28-27 13 MIN -----
5 @IND 27-30 14 DET -----
6 @HOU 42-24 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20,1 280,3
RB John Kuhn 10,1
RB James Starks 20
WR Randall Cobb 3-40
WR James Jones 4-50,1
WR Jordy Nelson 5-70,1
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: So much for all the hand-wringing about the poor Packers and Aaron Rodgers. The same team that lost in Indianapolis the previous week somehow found second, third and fourth gear in Houston in a game that was nowhere near as close as the score suggests.

Rodgers passed for only three touchdowns over the first three weeks and now has 13 scores in the last three games. He set a career mark with six touchdown passes and 338 yards in a game where suddenly everything worked. Everyone held onto the ball. The line all blocked. The offense was sharp and unstoppable despite facing one of the best units in the NFL. The only reasonable explanation is that Cedric Benson brought in a curse of mediocrity with him but was finally injured and out of the game. There is no other reasonable explanation.

Alex Green replaced Bad News Benson and while he only gained 65 yards on 22 runs, he was playing a top rushing defense and still had several impressive runs. That won't matter much against a tough defense but should show up next week when the Jaguars visit Green Bay.

Jermichael Finley is really just a blocker now. He was only throw four passes in Houston and caught only two for 12 yards and that is not even his worst game of the year. He has lost the confidence of Rodgers mostly because he has swatted away as many passes as he caught. He's become a fantasy pariah at least for the near future.

Greg Jennings remains out but who cares really? James Jones has cranked out three straight games with two touchdowns in each even though he rarely has more than about 50 yards or four or five catches. Randall Cobb has really stepped up in the last two weeks with 82 and 102 yards and he scored in Indy. Jordy Nelson was the home field guy last year. Like Julio Jones, Nelson did almost all his damage when at home and little in road games where Greg Jennings typically ruled. Nelson comes off a career best three touchdowns on his nine catches for 112 yards in Houston. The curse of the road has been lifted. Still a concern that his two previous road trips only produced 2-29 (IND) and 2-19 (SEA). So it was a tremendous leap forward made by Nelson that hopefully won't end up as a one week deal.

Matching this up to the defense is a bit tougher since the Rams have never faced much of a passing attack having only gone against DET (with 355 yards), SEA, CHI, SEA, ARI and MIA. If these Packers have turned the corner for real, then the Rams are about to learn what a real offense can do.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 3 28 1 13 30 16
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 7 17 4 14 7 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB MIN 0000025020 ***
Behind a banged up line and mired in a two-game mini-slump--longer, if you want to go back to his last 300-yard game back in week 10--Rodgers is no longer a fantasy lock, at home or otherwise. Further limiting expectations are a now-healthy Vikings defense and an underachieving receiving corps.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB MIN 10011100000 ***
Lacy has owned the Vikings, with four straight 100-yard rushing games (after a 94-yard debut) and six touchdowns in five career meetings. The Vikings vow to tackle lower and have returned multiple key defenders to the lineup following injuries, but there's still plenty of reasons to like the wildly inconsistent Lacy's chances this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James Starks, GB MIN 2004401000 ***
Starks had some run as the Packers' pass-catching back, then filled in for the enigmatic Eddie Lacy, and now has returned to limited touches. Given Lacy's track record of success against the Vikings, expect Starks to take a back seat--fantasy and otherwise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, GB MIN 005701000 ***
Jones went big with 6-109-1 in Minnesota, but in five games since then he's totaled just 16-196-1. Startable based on the earlier meeting with Minnesota, but inconsistent nonetheless.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB MIN 006700000 **
Cobb has been Aaron Rodgers most reliable target over the past five games, catching two-thirds of his 34 targets for 239 yards but failing to find the end zone since scoring against the Vikings in Week 11. Still, he's the safest of Green Bay's receiver options.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB MIN 003400000 ***
More targets than Cobb since the Vikings game, but he hasn't topped 42 yards since then and has one touchdown--and many more key drops. Unreliable in more ways than one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Richard Rodgers, GB MIN 002200000 ***
The Vikings haven't given up a TE TD since Week 10 and held Rodgers to 3-7 in the earlier meeting. Rodgers has done little since his Hail Mary back in Week 13 and is too inconsistent to be banked on here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB MIN 22233 ***
Season-high sixteen
in last game against Vikings
Settle for three much?

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 17-3 14 @BUF -----
6 @MIA 14-17 15 MIN -----
7 GB ----- 16 @TB -----
8 NE ----- 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Kenny Britt 4-70,1
WR Wes Welker 9-100
TE Jared Cook 4-50
TE Lance Kendricks 3-30
PK Greg Zuerlein 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams are 3-0 in home games and taken down Skins, Seahawks and Cardinals. But the offense has not produced a decent score in a month and losing Danny Amendola was not going to help out. The next three games are GB, NE and then at SF after the bye. This is no time to struggle to find the endzone. And there is no cavalry that is going to show up when the going gets rough. Still, the defense under HC Jeff Fisher has made the Rams into a weekly contender and that alone is a major success for the team. Even if it has been death for fantasy relevance.

Sam Bradford has only thrown a touchdown in one of the last four games and produced marginal yardage against all but the weakest defenses. Losing Danny Amendola did not show up so much against the Dolphins since he passes for a season best 315 yards but he had no scores in Miami. In the next two games against the Packers and Patriots, Bradford is going to have to make it all work if they hope to keep up on the scoreboard.

Hard to believe but this offense has not seen any running back score this year. Not one. Steven Jackson does receive up to 21 carries per game but still has not gained more than 76 yards. He is averaging only 54 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry. He is very consistently mediocre every week. Daryl Richardson drains away six to 12 runs per week for no apparent reason. This is one of the worst ground attacks in the NFL and so far no threat to score.

Austin Pettis replaced Amendola but only caught one pass for 11 yards in Miami. Chris Givens has been the one with the biggest increase since he went from one catch per week to three. But he tends to only catch deep strikes and has scored once this year. Brandon Gibson comes off a season best 91 yards but has not scored since week two or gained more than 33 yards until least week. Lance Kendricks is another nonfactor in this bad passing scheme.

The Rams have been stripped of fantasy relevance. Steven Jackson is a shell of his former self and the offense currently is little more than trying to throw a bomb to Chris Givens. The Packers were on fire last week and may have an emotional cooling off. But if they don't, then the Rams are going to be reminded just how nice an actual offense can be.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 25 29 19 27 10 19
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 20 16 20 24 14 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, STL @SF 0000020010 ***
Rams QBs have thrown multiple touchdowns in two of 15 games this year. Keenum did it once a couple weeks ago; no reason to get your hopes up for a repeat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Todd Gurley, STL @SF 10021100000 ***
While the Niners' run D has been better at home, the fact remains that Gurley gouged them for 20-133-1 in the earlier meeting and will see more than enough carries to reprise those numbers--as well as extend his personal three-game scoring streak.

Update: Gurley is listed as doubtful due to a foot injury, and there's no reason for the Rams to risk their franchise back in a meaningless game. Enjoy Tre Mason.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SF 6011100000 **
Update: With Todd Gurley listed as doubtful, expect Mason to carry the mail against an inconsistent at best San Francisco run defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SF 2003401000 **
Austin has as many or more rushes than receptions in four straight games, scoring in two of the four. His last triple-digit combo yardage game came against the Niners back in Week 8, so there's upside there as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SF 002300000 ***
Britt has scored in back-to-back games, which amongst Rams wideouts counts as "torrid". However, the Niners have given up just four WR TDs in the past seven games and shut Britt out completely in the earlier matchup so don't go chasing the last fortnight's success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SF 003400000 ***
It'd be easier to be fired up about the Niners giving up TE TDs in two of the past three games if Cooks had scored recently. Like, at any point this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SF 1122 ***
"Legatron" a cool
nickname; but a fantasy
kicker, not so much

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

a d v e r t i s e m e n t