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 Donald Driver 1-10
WR Jordy Nelson 5-70,1
TE Jermichael Finley 3-40
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 DET 10000030020 ***
Rodgers was abysmal in the earlier matchup--162 yards, one TD--and he's actually been awful in three straight against the Lions. That run includes two home dates, so it's not just a home/road split. Rodgers hasn't been much of a fantasy helper the past fortnight, and expectations should be kept in check this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB DET 8013300000 ***
Lacy has averaged 60 yards from scrimmage per game against the Lions, with no TDs to boot. Doesn't help when Aaron Rodgers attempts to pad his stats by throwing at the stripe rather than giving Lacy a shot, though Lacy has scored in three straight and five of the last six. It's taken burly backs to crack the Lions' code at the stripe--Matt Asiata, LeGarrette Blount, Steven Jackson--and Lacy certainly has the bulk, if given the opportunity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB DET 006902000 ***
Subdued passing numbers for Aaron Rodgers mean subdued numbers for Nelson, who has been fantastic at home but hasn't scored or topped 100 yards against the Lions since New Year's Day of 2012. Check your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB DET 0071000000 ****
Cobb has been held in check by the Lions as well, with just one career TD and one career 100-yard game against them. He's been a little less volatile than Jordy Nelson, especially on the road, but he hasn't been quite as productive as his running mate in Lambeau either. It's not a great matchup, but at this juncture Cobb is an every-week fantasy play regardless of foe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB DET 003500000 ***
While Green Bay's receiver depth has been especially productive at home, the Lions aren't giving up enough to feed all three mouths so keep Adams in reserve this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB DET 2233 ****
Crosby has multiple field goals in four straight and seven of his last eight, and double digit points in five of his last eight. He posted a season-low single point in the earlier meeting with Detroit but this one's at home, where he's averaging four more points per game than on the road. So he's good for at least five here, right?

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
STL vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 10 240,1
WR Kenny Britt 4-70,1
WR Chris Givens 4-70,1
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 Shaun Hill, STL @SEA 0000018002 ***
Last week's 290 and 2 sounds like a real fantasy quarterback line for Hill, something we haven't seen from him this year. Of course, now he heads to Seattle, where mediocre quarterbacks go to be pummeled. It was a nice run.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SEA 3001100000 ***
Mason had 85 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting with Seattle so you can't dismiss him out of hand. However, he's not DeMarco Murray, the only opposing back to top 55 yards in Seattle, which means he's far more likely to wind up with a stat line something like those recorded by Andre Williams (13-33-1) or Frank Gore (11-29-1)--and those lines are heavily dependent on that score for fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stedman Bailey, STL @SEA 004500000 ***
Bailey's 4-33 against Seattle last December is the best showing by a receiver on the Rams' active roster against the Seahawks. So... yay?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SEA 1002100000 ***
Austin has 31 total yards in two career meetings with the Seahawks. You'll want to look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SEA 002100000 ***
Britt's 1-14 in 2010 as a member of the Titans is the best game by a current Rams receiver in Seattle. Yes, it's that bad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SEA 004400000 ***
Cook scored on his last visit to Seattle, but it was Lance Kendricks who scored in the earlier meeting with the Seahawks--as well as last week against the Giants. On paper it's a favorable matchup, but Cook is sharing too many looks to be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SEA 1111 **
You wanna bank on a kicker going to Seattle, where opposing booters have a total of four points the past two games, you're on your own.

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

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