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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: STL 17, BUF 24 Line: (BUF by 3)

Players Updated: Stevie Johnson

Players to Watch: Chris Givens, C.J. Spiller

The 5-6-1 Rams hit the road where they are only 1-3-1 and apparently can only beat the 49ers. The 5-7 Bills are 3-2 at home. Notable too is that the last time the Rams played the 49ers to a tie, they followed that great effort up by getting waxed by the Jets in St. Louis.

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 31-17
4 SEA 19-13 13 SF 16-13
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 @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Nick Foles 260,1
WR Kenny Britt 5-70,1
WR Wes Welker 8-100,1
TE Jared Cook 6-60
TE Lance Kendricks 3-30
PK Greg Zuerlein 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams season just peaked with their overtime win over the 49ers and for whatever reason, they match up well. That's a good thing considering San Francisco could be a divisional bully. But the Rams need to win at least three more games to reach a winning season and that's unlikely with three road trips left on the schedule. A win over the visiting Rams is within reach but a bad record away from St. Louis is going to need next year to fix. Undeniably progress has been made in this first year for Jeff Fisher. Progress is something that could not be claimed for years.

Sam Bradford has been better in recent weeks with a string of three games with two scores in each that stopped against the 49ers. Two of those came in away venues though both went against divisional rivals. Of the three non-divisional road games played, Bradford only scored once via a pass though he ran in a touchdown in Miami for his only ground score of the year.

Steven Jackson was held to just 48 rush yards last week but added five catches for 69 yards. He totaled only six catches in the previous five games and has only 21 receptions on the season. Jackson continues to yield around six runs to Daryl Richardson each week but has been productive recently though again - in divisional games. He has only two touchdowns this year.

Danny Amendola was a scratch last week and he only played seven snaps the previous week. He's a major difference maker in the passing equation but played in only one productive game since week four and cannot get back on the field because of his heel. Until he can practice fully and leaves the injury report he's a greatly risky fantasy play. In his place, Chris Givens turned in a career best 11 receptions for 92 yards while no other wideout managed more than one catch against the 49ers. That gives Givens back-to-back games with over 90 yards which is plenty cause for excitement in an offense that has been desperate for a play maker for several years.

The Rams don't play well on the road and are coming off a big emotional win. Figure on a natural let down that won't take as much advantage against a below average defense in Buffalo.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 24 27 11 29 23 20
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 23 31 23 16 16 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, STL @SF 0000020010 ***
Rams QBs have thrown multiple touchdowns in two of 15 games this year. Keenum did it once a couple weeks ago; no reason to get your hopes up for a repeat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Todd Gurley, STL @SF 10021100000 ***
While the Niners' run D has been better at home, the fact remains that Gurley gouged them for 20-133-1 in the earlier meeting and will see more than enough carries to reprise those numbers--as well as extend his personal three-game scoring streak.

Update: Gurley is listed as doubtful due to a foot injury, and there's no reason for the Rams to risk their franchise back in a meaningless game. Enjoy Tre Mason.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SF 6011100000 **
Update: With Todd Gurley listed as doubtful, expect Mason to carry the mail against an inconsistent at best San Francisco run defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SF 2003401000 **
Austin has as many or more rushes than receptions in four straight games, scoring in two of the four. His last triple-digit combo yardage game came against the Niners back in Week 8, so there's upside there as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SF 002300000 ***
Britt has scored in back-to-back games, which amongst Rams wideouts counts as "torrid". However, the Niners have given up just four WR TDs in the past seven games and shut Britt out completely in the earlier matchup so don't go chasing the last fortnight's success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SF 003400000 ***
It'd be easier to be fired up about the Niners giving up TE TDs in two of the past three games if Cooks had scored recently. Like, at any point this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SF 1122 ***
"Legatron" a cool
nickname; but a fantasy
kicker, not so much

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE 31-37
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA 19-14
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND 13-20
4 NE 28-52 13 JAC 34-18
5 @SF 3-45 14 STL -----
6 @ARI 19-16 15 SEA -----
7 TEN 34-35 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU 9-21 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Percy Harvin
TE Charles Clay 4-50,1
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are only 5-7 but have a legitimate shot at ending .500 with three home games and only one away venue left to play. The defense has been much better since mid-season and no remaining opponent comes at them with a high-scoring offense. In the end, not much was really accomplished this year other than playing marginally better and yet not well enough to matter.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is spending more time handing off in recent games than passing. For the last three weeks, he's remained below 180 yards each game and thrown just three touchdowns. He's thrown 40 passes in just one game all year but usually ends up over 30 throws. His matchup this week is harder to gauge since the Rams have played against a lot of bad quarterbacks and stuffed them. But they also allowed over 300 yards and three scores to both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

C.J. Spiller did not get as much use last week as desired because they felt that Fred Jackson was better in the rain and weather against the Jaguars. But Spiller is good for over 100 total yards since week five even though his role as a receiver has been in decline for the past month. Jackson rushed for 109 yards last week but is rarely afforded the workload that allows more than mediocre stats. Spiller is the one they want with the ball as much he can handle.

Stevie Johnson left the Jaguars game with bad hamstring but claims that it wasn't that bad and the weather and slick field was more the reason why they did not want to jeopardize a sore hamstring. T.J. Graham takes his place if it were needed but only Johnson is relevant for a fantasy start with his five touchdowns on the season. Donald Jones scored four times but when he has a bad game it is like single-catch bad.

The Rams on the road are much less formidable and should be emotionally down this week anyway. That makes the standard starters apply here - C.J. Spiller and Stevie Johnson. Both Fitzpatrick and Jackson could show up with good numbers but the risk is higher that they'll just end up with moderate stats at best.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 21 6 28 17 24 15
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 16 21 10 18 17 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tyrod Taylor, BUF NYJ 0000018010 ***
Since keeping Taylor in check (158 and 1) in the earlier meeting, the Jets inexplicably let TJ Yates go for 229 and 2 and Ryan Tannehill put up 351 and 3. Then they got focused, holding the next four QBs they've faced to a total of three TDs and an average of less than 250 yards per game. Taylor has been streaky as well, with his yardage on a downward trend and a total of three TDs in the past three games--two of them against bottom-third pass defenses. He'll salvage fantasy value with rushing yardage--199 the past three games--but there's a limit to his upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Karlos Williams, BUF NYJ 5002201000 **
LeSean McCoy gouged the Jets in the earlier meeting; Williams chipped in a receiving TD in the final game of his scoring streak. He was modestly successful starting against a bottom-five Dallas run D; don't expect similar against a Jets D that's given up one RB rushing score all season and an average of less than 65 RB rushing yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, BUF NYJ 3002200000 ***
Gillislee has at least a smidgen of upside as a change of pace back against a Jets defense that's given up five of its six RB touchdowns through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF NYJ 005600000 ***
The Jets' secondary is elite once again after getting Darrell Revis back from injury. They've given up one WR TD in three games, with no wingman game better than 53 yards. That's your upside for Hogan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF NYJ 004400000 ***
Since being locked down in back-to-back weeks by the Jets and Patriots, Watkins has averaged 5-109-1 over the past five games. Since getting Darrelle Revis back from injury, the Jets have given up one WR TD in three games and no individual game greater than 70 yards. With a healthy Revis and the Jets fighting for a playoff spot, tough to trust Watkins here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF NYJ 3211 ***
Hasn't seen ten points
since last time he faced the Jets
Can lightning strike twice?

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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