FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: TB 27, CAR 17 (Line: TB by 1)

Players to Watch: Doug Martin, Cam Newton, Steve Smith

This is a replay of the season opener when the Buccaneers won 16-10. Now the 5-4 Bucs are on a three game winning streak while scoring over 34 points in four of the last five games. The 2-7 Panthers are only 1-4 at home and have not scored more than 22 points in the last six weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD 34-24
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 28-35 16 STL -----
8 @MIN 36-17 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK 42-32 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 100,1 5-30
WR Vincent Jackson 4-70,1
WR Louis Murphy 2-20
TE Brandon Myers 5-70

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers stumbled out of the blocks with a new running back, wideout and coaching staff. At their bye, they were only 1-3. And then it caught fire. The defense still leaves a lot to be desired but the offense is more balanced and formidable than it has in at least a decade. Not only that but it is very young with room to grow in every area.

Josh Freeman threw for multiple scores in each of the last five weeks with a total of 18 touchdowns already and a personal best of 420 passing yards in the Saints game. Freeman only passed for 138 yards in that season opener with the Panthers but has been not only very productive, but he has not thrown an interception in the last four games.

Doug Martin is also a big reason for the offensive explosion lately. He's already scored eight times this year and topped 100 total yards in each of his last five outings. He's not only being used as a workhorse back, but he's adding three or four receptions each week. Martin is so good that lately get all but maybe one or two carries in the game. LeGarrette Blount watched what was probably his entire NFL career disappear in the last month. In his first game ever, Martin ran for 95 yards and added four catches for 23 yards in the first meeting with the Panthers.

The Buccaneers also made a great move when they added Vincent Jackson. He's already scored six times and and half his games have been over 85 yards including the 216 yards he gained against the Saints. He's been better in home games than on the road and started the year with only 47 yards on four catches versus the Panthers. Mike Williams scored in the season opener and totals five touchdowns so far with two efforts over 100 yards. He's been a near lock for around 50 ot 60 yards in most games and has been aided by the addition of Jackson who lets Williams take the single coverage.

The first meeting was low scoring but unlike the Panthers, the Buccaneers offense has greatly improved to the point of being a top scorer in the NFL for the last month. As bad as their secondary has been - they need the offense.

What works this week is Martin facing the #27 defense against running backs.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 15 8 12 28 11 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 27 9 11 32 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh McCown, TB GB 0000025021 ***
Green Bay's defense is nothing special unless they've got you down by a couple touchdowns and force you to be one-dimensional. On the road they've been less dominant, which should allow the Bucs to remain multifaceted and keep McCown from playing the role of sitting duck in the pocket. He had some success against Green Bay last year as a bear, but his upside feels like two TDs and something in the mid-200s; you'll want more during championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB GB 400000000 ***
We've seen flashes of the Martin of old--not enough to dust him off for a fantasy start, but enough to plant a seed in the backs of minds heading into next year. Splitting touches with Charles Sims takes a bite out of his fantasy potential as well; consider him a placeholder for now.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB GB 1003300000 ***
Sims could see extended work as a pass-catcher if the Packers do in fact get out to a big lead and force the Bucs to throw, so there's some fantasy value here for PPR leaguers. Aside from that... not much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB GB 005802000 ***
Big-bodied receivers--Julio Jones (259 & 1), Brandon LaFell (2 TDs), Jordan Matthews (107 &1), Brandon Marshall (112 & 1), and more--have success against the Packers' secondary. And Evans is plenty big-bodied--not to mention heavily targeted and a red-zone monster. Have to love his opportunity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB GB 005900000 ***
Green Bay has noticeable difficulty handling larger receivers--like Jackson, for example, who has 239 yards and four touchdowns in two career meetings with the Packers. That trend has continued this season through the likes of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Kelvin Benjamin and even Jordan Matthews and Brandon LaFell. So while VJax still plays second fiddle to Mike Evans (another big WR), he should have ample opportunity to build a fantasy portfolio of his own this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB GB 1122 ***
Murray's next game with double-digit points will be his first. No reason to expect it to happen this week.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC -----
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 280,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 40 2-10
RB DeAngelo Williams 30 3-20
TE Greg Olsen 5-60

Pregame Notes: The Panthers won only one of their last six games and at 2-7 the worst of all outcomes is happening. Last week in the blowout loss to the Broncos, Steve Smith was on the bench later in the game because HC Ron Rivera wanted to take a look at the younger players. He said "We're at a point now where we're looking at guys." That means you probably cannot rely on anyone other than Cam Newton. Take away trash time and garbage yards and you remove the best of Steve Smith and Greg Olsen.

Newton comes off one of his best passing games of the year when he threw for 241 yards and two scores on the Broncos in a game that got out of hand early. He also only ran for seven yards on fours which makes the third time this year that he did not even gain ten yards as a runner. The first time was the season opener when he only ran for four yards on five runs in Tampa Bay. He passed for 303 yards and one score in that game with two interceptions.

Guessing who does what as a running back is folly here. Jonathan Stewart was promoted into being the primary back but only took eight carries for 31 yards last week while DeAngelo Williams was allowed six runs to gain only six yards. Michael Tolbert also carried twice and added two receptions. This is not only a committee backfield with no true primary back, it is one of the worst backfields in the league. No runner has gained more than 69 yards in any game and the only back who did not contribute to the five rushing touchdowns is Stewart, the supposed primary back. In the season opener, Williams ran for a net one yard loss on six carries while Stewart did not play.

Greg Olsen had a career day in week ten when he caught nine passes for 102 yards and two scores. He had scored just once in the previous nine weeks and was held to fewer than 50 yards for over a month. Olsen made six catches for 56 yards in the season opener.

Steve Smith only caught one pass last week and most of his last six games have remained under 50 yards. Smith has been as good as 118 yards in Chicago but he needs the opponent to stop caring because they know they are going to win. He needs his trash time. Smith is the only wideout for the Panthers of any note and that being taken away from him. He opened the year with seven catches for 106 yards and the Buccaneers secondary is no better. Even Brandon LaFell scored on his three catches for 65 yards in that game though he's mostly disappeared in all games since.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 13 27 29 13 32 9
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 28 20 31 20 13 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Anderson, CAR CLE 0000023011 ***
Anderson threw for 277 and 1 against the Bucs, a significantly inferior pass defense to the Browns. If he replaces Cam Newton again, no reason to think his numbers will be any better.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR CLE 8011100000 ***
You can run on the Brownies; see Cincy's 241 yards and three TDs last week. And with little to no DeAngelo Williams and quite likely no Cam Newton culturing, it'll be another 20-tote day for Stewart. He's produced 228 yards and a touchdown with his last two 20-carry outings; have to like him here as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR CLE 200000000 ***
Williams hasn't played for two weeks and hasn't seen more than 14 carries in a year. All he's doing is harshing Jonathan Stewart's mellow.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR CLE 005600000 **
Joe Haden is not infallible. He also hasn't had a great deal of success with bigger receivers, especially tandems: Mike Evans went for 7-124-6 (or Vincent Jackson had 6-86, take your pick); DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson split 148 yards; and Julio Jones scored (with 68 yards to boot) while Roddy White tallied 96. Benjamin doesn't have nearly as high-profile a running mate, but he's still a solid bet to see his usual volume of targets and provide fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR CLE 004500000 ***
You could play the "not covered by Joe Haden" card here, but Kelvin Benjamin's dramatic size advantage over Haden likely puts that matchup in favor of the receiver, negating the need to lean any more heavily on Cotchery than usual.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR CLE 007801000 **
Cleveland has been pretty good against tight ends--except for Jimmy Graham, whom they misguidedly tried to defend with the much smaller Joe Haden. Unlikely that the Browns sic Haden on Olsen, which should free him up to do his usual damage.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR CLE 3322 ***
Gano is heating up at just the right time; with multiple treys in three straight and double-digit points in back-to-back tilts, it's fortuitous that he bumps into a Browns defense that has served up multiple field goals in three straight and double-digit kicker points in three of its last five.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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