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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: STL 10, ARI 6 (Line: ARI by 2)

Players Updated: Danny Amendola

Players to Watch: Ryan Lindley, Beanie Wells

The one thing we can be sure of here is that there are not going to be many points scored. These teams already met in week five when the Rams won 17-3. Neither team seems capable of scoring more than about 17 points in any game so the fantasy value is going to be pretty slim in this matchup. Just to set the exciting stage, the Rams just got beaten by the visiting Jets and have not won a game since the week five matchup with these Cardinals. The Cardinals are on a six game losing streak since they too have won no games since the last meeting and lost that one as well. Yay! Defense! Pfffft....

St. Louis Rams
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DET 23-27 10 @SF 24-24
2 WAS 31-28 11 NYJ 13-27
3 @CHI 6-23 12 @ARI -----
4 SEA 19-13 13 SF -----
5 ARI 17-3 14 @BUF -----
6 @MIA 14-17 15 MIN -----
7 GB 20-30 16 @TB -----
8 NE 7-45 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 200,1
WR Kenny Britt 5-80,1
TE Jared Cook 3-40
TE Lance Kendricks 2-20
PK Greg Zuerlein 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The emotional tide from tying the 49ers swept the Rams out to sea last week when they allowed the Jets to decimate them and feel like they had a good game for once. Troublesome is that the defense that has played so well this season has allowed at least 24 points per game for the last four games though in fairness they have faced some really good teams plus the Jets.

The offense has struggled to post points and yet Sam Bradford has been more productive if only in trash time of recent games. He's thrown for at least one score in each of the last four games and scored twice against the 49ers and Jets. He only completed seven passes in the last meeting with the Cardinals but they went for 141 passing yards and two scores. He's been marginally better lately and does have Danny Amendola back.

Steven Jackson is limited in his workload so that while he has a decent rushing average in most games, he still rarely gets more than 18 runs and has just the one 101 yard game in San Francisco. Otherwise he bangs around 70 rush yards per week and ran for 76 yards on 18 runs against the Cardinals last time. Daryl Richardson takes six to eight runs per week as well but never scores. He remains just outside of any fantasy relevance and yet plays just enough to prevent Jackson from having a decent game.

The problem with the receivers is that there are none worth consideration outside of Danny Amendola who himself only managed 41 yards on seven receptions against the Jets. Brandon Gibson no longer starts and yet had three catches for nine yards and two scores last week. It was his first time in the endzone since week two. Brian Quick and Chris Givens may or may not get any passes and Austin Pettis hangs around as well. Even Steve Smith still makes a rare appearance. Amendola is the core of the passing game and the only reliable component. In the last meeting with the Cards, Givens scored a 51-yard touchdown on his only catch in the game and Lance Kendricks scored a 7-yard touchdown on his only catch in the game and only score for the year.

Arizona is top ten in defending all but wide receivers so Amendola is the only decent play here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 23 27 10 30 22 25
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 6 9 18 1 15 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Austin Davis, STL @SF 0000018011 ***
Peyton Manning is the only quarterback to do anything of fantasy note against the Niners in the past month--a stretch that includes Austin's own 236 & 1 against San Francisco--and Davis clearly ain't Peyton Manning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SF 500000000 ***
Mason has emerged as the lead dog in this backfield triumvirate, but the trio was ineffective in an earlier meeting with the Niners--78 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards and a Benny Cunningham TD dive--and there's no reason to expect things to change in San Francisco this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @SF 2002200000 ***
These teams met back in Week 6, at which point the Rams unveiled their three-pronged running back approach. Cunningham scored but it was the only glimmer of fantasy help amongst the bunch, and you shouldn't bank on a repeat on the road this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SF 004400000 ***
WR TDs come in bunches against the Niners--four by the Broncos in Week 7, two for John Brown back in Week 3, three for Brandon Marshall in Week 2. What the Rams have is a bunch of receivers, none of whom can be counted on for a fantasy contribution. Britt's 39 yards paced the pack the last time these teams tangled; hopefully you have a better fantasy option at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SF 004300000 ***
The Rams still haven't figured out how to use Austin, and an epiphany is unlikely this week in San Francisco.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Lance Kendricks, STL @SF 001101000 ***
The Rams have ordered a Code Red Zone in three straight and four of the last five games, including the earlier meeting with San Francisco. It's not as if the St. Louis wideouts threaten to steal looks, so if you're desperate for tight end help in a TD-heavy scoring system you could do worse than Kendricks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SF 005600000 ***
Cook's 74 yards in the earlier meeting were the most the Niners have allowed to an opposing TE all year. He's the yardage guy in the Rams' TE equation and with no real WR threat to speak of there's no reason he couldn't push for a repeat in the back end of the season series as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SF 1111 ****
Legatron's been more of a Micro Machine this season, with one field goal in the past four games and no double-digit points efforts in the past five. You could build a better fantasy kicker out of parts from guys cut by the Lions.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL -----
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ -----
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA -----
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET -----
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI -----
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 280,1
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-60
WR Michael Floyd

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals could be argued to be on a upswing after nearly playing the Falcons even. Then again, every other game says that this offense is in big trouble and is not likely to get much better. Granted, Beanie Wells is due to return this week but that's akin to expecting a known arsonist to make a good firefighter. Probably not going to happen. Might just make things even worse.

The first problem of many, many problems with the offense is that not even the coaching staff has any idea who the starting quarterback here is and they've known these guys for a couple of years. Kevin Kolb was the starter in week five when he threw for 289 yards and no touchdowns in St. Louis. Kolb has the better stats this year so long as the Cardinals are facing a really weak secondary which is not the case this week. Pretty much not any again for the rest of the year. Kolb remains out with an abdominal injury.

In Atlanta, John Skelton passed for six yards on seven passes and was replaced by the rookie Ryan Lindley who went on to complete 9 of 20 for 64 yards. Overall, not a good thing.

LaRod Stephens-Howling is the only part of the offense that seems to work at least occasionally and so after he gained 127 yards on 22 runs and scored once in Atlanta, he'll give way to Beanie Wells this week who is coming off the injured reserve. Yes, this is the same Wells who so far played in three games and has 29 runs for 76 yards. no scores and a 2.6 yard per carry average. Pay no mind to the fact that Stephens-Howling has all four running back touchdowns this year. The odd reality is that he only has a big game when on the road against a far better team. It's mostly from breaking one long run, something that Wells hasn't done since the Good Humor truck stopped coming to his neighborhood back in the 90's. Ryan Williams was the starter in week five and only gained 33 yards on 14 runs in St. Louis.

Tight ends not only have no touchdowns here, they did not so much as get one pass thrown at them last week.

Michael Floyd was benched last week for making mental mistakes during the game not that it mattered much in the grand scheme of the loss. He's never really had any fantasy value though his one five catch, 80 yard effort versus the Packers made it look like he might. Larry Fitzgerald comes off a one catch, 11 yard game that sadly is not his worst of the year. Fitzgerald is the only real fantasy play on the entire team and he has the talent to be an elite receiver. But the entire offense around seems to be swirling down the drain. Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 92 yards in St. Louis earlier this year. He had 74 yards and a score against the Packers recently. He can get it done in some games but when it goes bad, he's really challenged to do anything.

No other receivers here have any real fantasy value. Andre Roberts often produces marginal yardage but has three games that ended with fewer than 20 receiving yards. Robert turned in five catches for 39 yards in the last meeting with the Rams. I will assume that Lindley starts and adjust as more is known.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 26 31 13 26 23 11
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 19 22 12 20 18 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Carson Palmer, ARI @DAL 0000027020 ***
Palmer has delivered multiple TD tosses and at least 250 yards in every game thus far. Dallas is the toughest he's faced to date, but it's still tough to see him failing to make his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI @DAL 6006300000 ***
Not that Ellington can't score, but it's a good thing he does enough yardage wise that he doesn't usually need to to be a fantasy factor. The Cowboys have surrendered just four RB TDs all year but do give up more than 120 combo yards to opposing backs. Give Ellington a big dollop of the latter, don't sweat the former, and call it a day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @DAL 003601000 ***
Brown's another speed guy who could give the Cowboys fits, a la Odell Beckham and DeSean Jackson the past two weeks. He outgunned Michael Floyd last week, but Floyd is typically more targeted so it's a bit trickier to bank on Brown this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @DAL 004501000 **
Lately it's been speed guys killing the Cowboys: Odell Beckham Jr. scored twice on them and DeSean Jackson went for 136 yards last week. Floyd took a back seat to both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown last week, and it's a little tough to trust him after posting a goose egg. But it's tough to see him posting another dog here--he has yet to go more than one week without scoring or topping 100 yards--so take that leap of faith this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @DAL 005600000 ***
Yes, Carson Palmer knows where to find Fitz. He just doesn't do it consistently, or much at all on the road. If you're parsing Arizona wideouts this week the speed guys have an edge, which puts Fitz at the low end of the pecking order. Plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE John Carlson, ARI @DAL 002200000 *****
Carlson had his hands on a ball in the end zone; had he hung on it would have maybe brought the total of fantasy-relevant games by Cardinals tight ends since the Jackie Smith era to one. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @DAL 2222 ***
After a fast start Catanzaro has had back-to-back outings with just one field goal, and he's facing a Dallas team that hasn't been overly friendly to kickers this season. However, Chandler hasn't dipped below the six-point mark this season so at least his baseline isn't a killer.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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