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: NO 27, TB 30 (Line: NO by 3)

Players Updated: Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, Vincent Jackson

Players to Watch: Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore

The 1-4 Saints bring their 0-2 road record to face the 2-3 Buccaneers who are 2-1 at home. These teams traded home wins in 2011. The Buccaneers won 26-20 in Tampa Bay and the Saints won 27-16 in New Orleans. This is one of those divisional games that ends up closer than expected if not an upset.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB ----- 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN ----- 17 CAR -----
9 PHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 330,2
RB John Kuhn 10,1
TE Coby Fleener 4-40

Pregame Notes: The Saints finally broke their winless streak thanks to the visiting Chargers and now faces the Buccaneers with a 0-2 road record. The problem this year has not been the offense nearly as much as the defense. The one win was the only time they held any opponent to fewer than 27 points. Plus the NFL upheld the suspensions stemming from BountyGate during the bye week.

Drew Brees remains at the top of the fantasy quarterbacks with 15 touchdowns over the first five weeks and he passed for over 325 yards in all but one game. The rushing efforts has been far less effective this year and not supported the offense. That's mostly because the defense allows so many points to every opponent that each week becomes another delightful shootout. Brees has been a lock for high yardage and three scores.

Mark Ingram has scored just once and that was the only rushing touchdown by a running back in 2012. The split between all runners means none of them are a decent fantasy play other than Darren Sproles mostly because of his 5+ catches in all but one game. Sproles is well off his 2011 pace but still offers at least moderate fantasy points. No other runner is worth owning on this team let alone starting him.

Jimmy Graham rolled his ankle against the Chargers and only had one catch in that game. He was in a walking boot last week and despite rumors of a high ankle sprain, the official report is that he will play this week. This bears watching during the week for Graham owners as the Saints are not generally very forthcoming on injury information. Graham has not been quite as prolific as he was in 2011 but did score in each of the first three games and has 70+ yards in most games. Good... but not win your league good. Considering how highly he was drafted, he has been at least a slight disappointment.

Marques Colston was a disappointment until week four when he turned in 9-153 with one touchdown and then posted 9-131 and three scores on the Chargers. He's been the primary receiver for the last two games but that came with Graham not scoring these last two weeks. Once Graham was injured last week, Colston was thrown a total of 18 passes. Lance Moore missed the last game with a hamstring injury but has been healing for two weeks now and is expected to return to practice after sitting out all last week.

The receivers need to get healthy here since the Buccaneers were already soft versus the pass and just lost their best cornerback to a four-game suspension. The Saints practices will be closely watched since Graham and Moore both have a big bearing on the Saints offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 6 4 15 19 25
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 16 15 27 12 18 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @SD 0000034020 ***
A cross-country trip to play outdoors is mildly unnerving, but Brees gets to attack his former employer -- and it doesn't hurt this group has allowed the second most aerial yards and fourth highest fantasy points total to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @SD 6014200000 ***
San Diego has been pounded on the ground and bombarded through the air by running backs. This is the sixth strongest matchup for fantasy production, and Ingram must be in all conventional lineups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO @SD 0071101000 ***
Cooks is a must-play and has to be licking his chops after watching what T.Y. Hilton -- a similar receiver -- did to San Diego in Week 3. Cooks faces a Chargers defense that now ranks as the 15th toughest against his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Coleman, NO @SD 006700000 ***
Coleman's fantasy worth is directly tied to whether Willie Snead suits up. Check back Friday.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Thomas, NO @SD 005700000 ***
Thomas has proven to know the system well and display great body control. He's a WR3 PPR weapon in all leagues. San Diego has yielded 13 WR receptions per game this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Willie Snead IV, NO @SD 00000000 *
Snead sat out last week. Check back to see if he's likely to play in Week 4.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, NO @SD 006701000 ***
No team has given up more catches to tight ends than San Diego. Fleener more than made up for his quiet start to the season with a studly performance in Week 3. Only he stands in his way of another brilliant showing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Wil Lutz, NO @SD 1133 ***
The Chargers aren't a great matchup statistically, so this one comes down to game flow. Kickers have averaged only 6.3 fantasy points on the backs of 4-for-5 FGAs and 7-for-7 XPAs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD -----
2 @NYG 34-41 11 @CAR -----
3 @DAL 10-16 12 ATL -----
4 WAS 22-24 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC 38-10 15 @NO -----
7 NO ----- 16 STL -----
8 @MIN ----- 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 100,1 6-40
WR Vincent Jackson 5-80,1
WR Cecil Shorts 4-50
TE Brandon Myers 5-60

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers reversed a two game losing streak with a monster win over the visiting Chiefs and this week may actually prove to be one of the most "winnable" games left on the schedule.The offense has been very good so long as they face a weak defense like the Saints. And lost a bit has been the improvement of the Buccaneers defense. Losing CB Aqib Talib could be felt in games such as this but they held off Brady Quinn and Dwayne Bowe last week with no problems. Granted - Brees and Quinn maybe not on the same level.

Josh Freeman scored in every game this year and currently totals eight touchdowns against five interceptions. After starting the season with lesser passing yardage, he's topped 299 yards in each of the last two games and gets to face yet another velvety soft secondary with the Saints visiting. Freeman no longer runs the ball but he's been improving with his passing thanks in part to Vincent Jackson giving him both a better target and freeing up Mike Williams.

Doug Martin lost a score to LeGarrette Blount for the last two games and Blount even broke a 53-yarder last week to end with 58 yards on seven runs versus the Chiefs but this remains Doug Martin's show away from the goal line. Martin gained 76 yards on 13 runs versus the Chiefs and added two catches for 55 more yards. Martin hasn't proven to be much better than what the defense allows any rusher but he is facing the #32 unit against running backs this week and that should prove to be major boost. Unless Blount hawks scores and runs again.

Tight ends here are dead last in the league with just 11 completions to the position this year.

This remains a two man show with receivers. Vincent Jackson stumbled against the cornerbacks in Dallas but scored four times over the last four games with two efforts ending with more than 100 yards. His presence has allowed Mike Williams more room to run and he scored three touchdowns with his last two games producing over 110 yards on just four catches in each. With the Saints porous secondary coming to town, both receivers are must starts this week and even Tiquan Underwood could show up in the box score big this week. Sadly the only strength of the Saints is against tight ends and the Buccaneers never used their. This may be the final big game for Tampa Bay players for a while.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 24 20 15 32 12 11
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 29 32 30 2 28 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jameis Winston, TB DEN 20000023012 ***
Which Winston is going to show up this week, the multiple-TD or turnover-laden version? Denver is a terrible matchup for him, and gamers would need to be stuck in tough situation to warrant a start of the promising second-year passer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB DEN 5006701000 ***
Denver's run defense misses Malik Jackson. Sims isn't exactly a world-beater, but his open-field agility allows for unexpected gains in PPR scoring. The Broncos have granted 24.3 fantasy points per game to PPR backs, which is the 13th weakest defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB DEN 005500000 **
Evans is a fringe play. His athleticism and red zone prowess makes him a TD threat, but the matchup is brutal. He'll be double-teamed all day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Humphries, TB DEN 003400000 ***
Humphries is a sneaky play in DFS and even to cover a bye week. He will see singles as Mike Evans is doubled. You could do worse as a flier choice, despite the matchup being harsh.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB DEN 003200000 ***
Only two teams have been tougher on the position, and it's not like Jackson is doing anything to warrant a starting spot for gamers. Sit him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Cameron Brate, TB DEN 005500000 ***
No Austin Seferian-Jenkins led to a huge day for Brate. He'll remain involved and deserves fantasy love. Denver may have something to say about that since the unit hasn't allowed a touchdown to tight ends.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Roberto Aguayo, TB DEN 3311 ***
The matchup is on the lower end of being acceptable, much like the rookie's accuracy. Can Denver's stalwart defense completely crush Tampa's sometimes-dangerous offense?

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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