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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: TB 20, DEN 27 (LINE: DEN by 8)

Players to Watch: Vincent Jackson

The Buccaneers slip to 6-5 after their loss in Atlanta but are 3-2 on the road. The 8-3 Broncos are 4-1 at home and on a six game winning streak. This should be an interesting game, but mostly because Manning goes against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

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 27-21
3 @DAL 10-16 12 ATL 23-24
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 90 5-30
WR Vincent Jackson 4-60
WR Louis Murphy 2-30
TE Brandon Myers 5-50

Pregame Notes: After six straight games with multiple scores, it was a sad surprise to Josh Freeman owners to see him only gain 256 yards against the Falcons last week with no touchdowns. The Falcons have been rejuvenated by both the rushing of Doug Martin and the passing of Freeman. The Buccaneers did go through an incredibly kind stretch of games starting in week four and the passing stats reflected it. Fortunately there is only this week and the week 17 finale in Atlanta that should be a problem. Then again, winning right now is all about making your playoffs.

Doug Martin was held to only 50 yards on 21 runs by the Falcons but he still ended up with two touchdowns which gives him ten touchdowns on the season. One oddity with Martin is that he has only three games with over 100 yards. In those three, he scored seven of his touchdowns. And all three were road games. He's used heavily as a runner and a receiver which ensures solid production each week.

The Bucs are using the tight ends more in recent weeks and Dallas Clark not only scored in weeks 10 and 11, but his best two yardage games were the last two that he played - 7-58 in Carolina and 4-65 versus the Falcons.

The wideouts have been cranking out the big games at least for Vincent Jackson who topped 90 yards in each of the last two games despite playing good secondaries. Mike Williams really tailed off in the last two weeks but has been solid with 60+ yard games for most of the year. Williams would match on Champ Bailey but chances are they'll stick him on Vincent Jackson as much as they can since he's the one that does the most damage.

This is a really good test for the Buccaneers and another very good defense to face. There is no big weakness to exploit in Denver and since there is a distinct chance that Manning has fun against the Bucs poor secondary, this game will move to the air for the Bucs sooner than later.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 14 5 9 24 7 14
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 12 8 8 30 4 15

  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.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR 36-14
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD 30-23
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC 17-9
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB -----
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD 35-24 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 330,3
RB Ronnie Hillman 20
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-60
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-110,1
WR Wes Welker 8-100,1
TE Jacob Tamme 4-40,1
PK Connor Barth 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Broncos already have a four game lead in the AFC West so that's in the bag. They still trail the Ravens by a game to get the coveted first round bye so that game in Baltimore in week 15 may be for a week off in January. There is no doubt that the Broncos will be heavily favored in all other games. With any luck, Denver wins in week 15 and then has to play it all out to maintain their #2 seed.

Peyton Manning is back at home this week and facing probably the weakest secondary so far this year. That's a good thing for a quarterback who has passed for more than 270 yards in each of the last nine games and almost always posts three passing scores when at home. This is going to be a nice time to own Manning... sort of like the rest of the year.

The only change on the Broncos has been replacing Willis McGahee. While Ronnie Hillman seemed a perfectly reasonable replacement since he was the #2 back, the went "another direction". Not only did they start Knowshon Moreno against the Chiefs, he was given 20 carries to gain 85 yards while Hillman was limited to just three runs for nine yards. Hill even was not thrown a pass for just the second time all year. Moreno sat in the shadows for the last ten weeks as a game day inactive but he's back to being a starting tailback. It's like the ghost of Shanahan still lives in Denver.

This week is even more of a must-start for Demaryius Thomas who Manning recently said needs the ball more. And for Eric Decker. In a pinch? Even Brandon Stokley may end up with more than his usual 50 yards. Thomas has six scores on the year including in both the most recent games. Thomas really shines when a bad secondary shows up and he should be a lock for a nice game that could be a monster. Decker should end up with a score as well though his possession role doesn't often add up to many yards.

The Buccaneers offense is good enough to post points and not allow Denver to feel comfortable without a pretty big lead. This is one of those dream fantasy matchups for the passing effort.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 7 17 2 6 15 3
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 29 18 31 21 6 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @CIN 0000025020 ***
Cincy's been solid against the pass all season; Peyton's been ordinary the past couple of weeks. Dial back expectations, though you needn't go so far as to bench Manning here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @CIN 10014301000 ***
The Broncos are going to run Anderson plenty--109 carries over the past four games, resulting in 478 yards and four rushing scores. The Bengals couldn't contain similarly heavy-loaded backs like Stevan Ridley (27-113-1), Terrance West (26-94-1) or Le'Veon Bell (26-185-2), so expect Anderson to work back towards his 100-yard days after a couple weeks under that milestone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @CIN 0071001000 ***
Cincy's secondary has been among the best this year at shutting down opposing wide receivers. That said, the last time they say a tandem even close to the talent level of Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders they gave up matching 100-yard games to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. No worries about Demaryius making his appointed rounds this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @CIN 004600000 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup, and Sanders has taken a back seat to Demaryius Thomas the past couple of weeks against tougher defenses. But the pattern set by the Steelers, with both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant topping 100 yards, seems to be the closest fit to what Denver brings to the table this week. Consider Sanders just a half-step behind Thomas at the top end of the Denver passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @CIN 003400000 ***
Thomas had one catch in his return to action last week. Now he'll face a Cincy D that was beaten by Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen earlier in the year but held Jimmy Graham in check and has allowed only one TE TD in the past two months. He's still a threat, but if you've found a quality backup plan during his absence you'll want to give serious consideration to employing it for at least one more week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, DEN @CIN 2233 ***
Peyton Manning's struggles are to Barth's benefit, as he's booted five field goals in two of the past three games; prior to that Denver had just two multi-field goal games all year. Cincy's surrendered multiple treys in three straight, so Barth's fun times three should continue this week.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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