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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 Mike Glennon, TB @PIT 30000019011 ****
Glennon is your likely starter in place of the injured/ineffective Josh McCown, but don't expect much out of the gate. Not that the Steelers have been lights out, but none of the QBs they've faced have put up much in the way of helpful fantasy numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @PIT 6011100000 *
Martin is expected back for this game, but he's been away for so long he'll need to show us something before he can be plugged back into a self-respecting fantasy lineup with any degree of confidence.
Update: Martin practiced fully all week, but it remains to be seen just how quickly he'll reclaim his share of the carries--or how effective he'll be with them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @PIT 300000000 ***
While Doug Martin is expected to return to the lineup this week, he has done nothing to suggest he's ready for prime time, a fantasy start, or a full feature-back workload. If Rainey doesn't fumble away his opportunities again he makes an intriguing play against a Steelers defense that served up solid fantasy games to the likes of Terrance West and Bernard Pierce.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @PIT 005500000 ***
Glennon seemed locked on Evans early on in his 2014 debut, even though it was Vincent Jackson who wound up with the touchdown. There are too many variables at play here for Evans to be trusted with a fantasy start just yet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @PIT 004500000 ***
Mike Glennon inexplicably couldn't find VJax early on, and while he did connect with him for the Bucs' lone offensive touchdown last week Jackson's fantasy value is on probation until we know for sure how Glennon will divvy up targets between Jackson and Mike Evans. On the bright side, similarly sized Kelvin Benjamin had a solid showing against the Bucs last week; then again, both Jackson and Evans are big boys.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Myers, TB @PIT 005401000 ***
Myers has done nothing of his own volition to warrant a fantasy start, but the Steelers have struggled to defend the position--only three teams have given up more fantasy points to tight ends this year--so if Austin Seferian-Jenkins remains sidelined he makes an intriguing plug-in play with six teams on the bye.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @PIT 1022 ***
The Steelers have served up multiple field goals to every kicker they've faced this season. However, multiple field goals would be at least one more than Murray has for the entire season so you can likely get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

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 Cam Newton, CAR @BAL 10000025012 ***
Cam needs the rushing stats to push him from fringe fantasy contributor to viable fantasy option--and the past two weeks he's set and then re-established career lows for rushing attempts in a game. Nothing special here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR @BAL 3002200000 ***
The Panthers hope Williams will be able to shoulder the load in their injury-ravaged backfield, but even if he's healthy and flying solo he's looking at an upside well shy of 100 yards and an outside chance at a score.
Update: Williams is probable while fellow feature back Jonathan Stewart is questionable, so Williams at least will see the bulk of the touches. What he'll do with them, on the other hand...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR @BAL 300000000 ***
Reaves could wind up being the last man standing in the Carolina backfield. That's hardly enough to warrant a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR @BAL 00000000 *
Update: Stewart officially lists as questionable, but since he's expected to miss about a month with his current knee injury that seems optimistic.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR @BAL 006601000 ****
Talented and targeted receivers have had success against the Ravens, and Benjamin is both.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @BAL 004500000 ***
Cotchery missed last week's game with an injury, but he should return to his usual pedestrian production this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @BAL 005600000 ***
Olsen will see his targets and put up his yardage as essentially the number two target in this offense, but don't expect much more against a Baltimore defense that has surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @BAL 1122 ***
Baltimore has allowed multiple field goal attempts in every game thus far; Gano has kicked multiple treys in each game this season. It's a match made in fantasy football heaven.

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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