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 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 BAL 0000028021 ***
Until last week's egg against Cincy Brees was money at home. Write that off as an aberration, keep in mind that the Ravens are just a couple weeks removed from giving up a six-pack to Ben Roethlisberger, and start Brees with confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO BAL 7015300000 ***
It's a relatively simple equation: give Ingram 90 percent of the carries--which is exactly what he's seen over the past month--and he'll produce helpful fantasy numbers. Those numbers won't be gaudy against a Ravens defense that's allowed only three RB rushing scores all year, just one in the past seven games, but there's still performance-league fantasy help to be had here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO BAL 004700000 ***
The Ravens have served up three 100-yard WR efforts in the past four games, and the Saints best bet to extend that run might be Stills. Give him his stats plus those of the injured Brandin Cooks and suddenly Kenny is more than just one of the better deep threats in the game--with plenty of fantasy value to boot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO BAL 004600000 ***
It's been a month since Colston's 111-yard effort against Detroit, as he's returned to his frustratingly pedestrian numbers. The absence of Brandin Cooks might float all the other boats in the Saints' receiving corps, so nudge Colston from fringe to decent fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO BAL 008902000 ***
The Ravens have allowed only two TE TDs all year, but this is Jimmy Graham we're talking about. He's an every-week starter and a matchup nightmare for most defenses, so there's always plenty of fantasy upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO BAL 1133 ****
The Ravens haven't allowed a double-digit kicker game since the season opener, and Graham has been mostly ordinary the past three games. On the bright side, he's at home and indoors, and the Saints offense still can light up a scoreboard from time to time.

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 @CHI 10000027021 ***
McCown has been fantasy relevant in both of his starts since replacing Mike Glennon, and now he gets a revenge game against the Bears. Why not?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB @CHI 4004200000 ***
Sims has done nothing of fantasy note in his two NFL games, and a change in that plan is unlikely in Chicago this week.
Update: Sims is listed as questionable after closing the week with a couple of limited practice sessions. Like he needs further dings to his fantasy prospectus.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @CHI 1002200000 ***
Rainey is playing understudy to Charles Sims, and neither has been particularly effective. It's not a favorable matchup, so no reason to reach for him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @CHI 0071101000 ***
Evans is smoking hot right now, with three straight 100-yard games and five touchdowns in that span. No reason to think Chicago has an answer the Redskins, Falcons, and Browns did not.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @CHI 006900000 ***
The Packers are the only team to produce multiple productive fantasy receivers against Chicago, and Jackson has definitely fallen off to wingman duties in Tampa Bay. He's a fringe fantasy contributor at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB @CHI 004401000 ***
The Bears have surrendered eight TE TDs in just the past four games, and with Seferian-Jenkins taking over as the go-to tight end in Tampa he's definitely a fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @CHI 1122 ***
It's about as favorable a matchup as you'll find--the Bears have given up multiple field goals in five straight and eight of 10 on the year--but Murray has yet to tally a double-digit points game so even with the matchup he's a stretch of a fantasy start.

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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