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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 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 @CHI 10000027031 ***
The last time we saw Rodgers he was being thrown to the Lambeau turf by the Bears; that was two months ago. Maybe he returns in time for this do-or-die NFC North battle, but there would be a lot of rust to shake off.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB @CHI 12012100000 **
Two months ago Lacy rushed for 150 yards and a score against the Bears, kicking off a stretch in which the Bears have allowed eight 100-yard rushers in eight games--along with 10 RB rushing scores in that span. Assuming he's healthy enough to play, he's money this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James Starks, GB @CHI 300000000 ****
If Eddie Lacy can't go this week Starks is a great fallback plan. He had 40 yards and a touchdown on limited carries in the earlier meeting with Chicago, averaged 4.7 yards per carry in relief of Lacy last week, and is poised to push the Packers into the postseason if Lacy is out.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @CHI 0071001000 ****
Giving up so much on the ground cuts into receiver production against Chicago; they haven't allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 3. They have, however, served up five WR TDs in the past four games. Nelson would be a fantasy stud once again if Aaron Rodgers plays; if it's Matt Flynn, he's a nice play with upside but nowhere near a must-start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarrett Boykin, GB @CHI 003501000 **
With the return of Aaron Rodgers the entire Green Bay passing game gets a lift--especially secondary targets like Boykin. Of course, that lift will take a hit if Randall Cobb gets healthy and takes snaps away from Boykin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB @CHI 003200000 ***
Quarless has had a couple decent games in the past month, and while the Bears have only allowed five TE TDs on the year no team has given up more yardage to the position. Still, much of Quarless' fantasy value depends on whether or not it's Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @CHI 1144 ****
Crosby has been the tortoise, a steady contributor with just two games of less than seven points all season long. He can handle the elements and will be banked on for points in a must-win game for the Packers, so he definitely has fantasy upside this week.

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
WR Austin Pettis 3-40
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
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 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