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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 Pierre Thomas 50,1 3-20
WR Marques Colston 6-100,1
TE Jimmy Graham
TE Benjamin Watson 1-10
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 3 XP

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 @PIT 0000030031 ***
The Steelers have allowed multiple TD tosses in five straight; Brees has multiple scores in nine of his last 10, so no reason to let his three-game losing streak lead you to believe he won't be a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @PIT 7002200000 ***
With Pierre Thomas back in the mix it was business as usual for the Saints' backfield--and that's a bad thing, as it means productivity spread too thin for any member to be a reliable fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO @PIT 006901000 ***
Stills was Drew Brees' target of choice last week, and while it's still a bit of a cluster in New Orleans he appears to be the most reliable fantasy option--especially against a Pittsburgh defense that's given up some big fantasy games to speed guys.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @PIT 005700000 ***
Colston scored last week and remains in the mix of New Orleans receivers, but we've learned by now he's more of a fringe option than someone to be banked on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @PIT 007802000 ***
Not that you'd deviate from Graham, but you really have to like his chances against a Steelers defense that's already served up eight TE TDs on the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @PIT 2133 ****
The only favorable trend working for Graham is that the Saints' offense is struggling, but even then they're going for it on fourth and close rather than kicking more field goals. He's not the sterling option you'd think tacking on points for this offense.

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
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 Josh McCown, TB CIN 30100023011 ***
McCown has been fantasy relevant each of his three starts since regaining the job, and while it's not a particularly favorable matchup he does get the Bengals at his house, with a red-hot Mike Evans to throw to and no ground game to siphon off looks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB CIN 4003200000 ***
So far Sims has come nowhere close to living up to the hype. Impossible to bank on him for fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB CIN 3001100000 **
Maybe Martin gets his gig back, but it probably doesn't matter. The Bengals have been much better against the run of late, while the Bucs haven't been able to get any back going.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB CIN 006901000 ***
Evans has now scored in four straight, and while his catches and yardage tailed off last week he's still heavily targeted--and the best fantasy option amongst Josh McCown's targets.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB CIN 004500000 ***
Though he's now slid down the pecking order to Mike Evans' wingman, Jackson still turned in 117 yards last week and remains a viable--though somewhat less reliable--fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Louis Murphy, TB CIN 003300000 ***
Murphy's 113 yards last week was his first flash of fantasy relevancy in more than a month. Tough to see him making it two in a row when he's clearly the third wheel on the Bucs' passing game bicycle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB CIN 003300000 ***
The Bengals have shut out five straight tight ends, including Jimmy Graham; limiting the lightly targeted ASJ shouldn't be an issue.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB CIN 1122 ***
Murray is still looking for his first double-digit points effort of the season, which suggests there's a low ceiling to his fantasy upside.

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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