FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: TB 24, NO 31 (Line: NO by 3.5 )

Players to Watch: Vincent Jackson, Drew Brees, Marques Colston

This may not be for any of the playoff marbles but this has to be one of the best games of the weekend. It has to. This is a replay of week seven when the Saints won 35-28 in Tampa Bay. If this ends with anything less than 50 total points it will be a disappointment. When you draft in the summer, you should be looking for playoff games like this for your players.

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 23-31
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI 21-23
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 80,1 4-20
WR Vincent Jackson 8-120,1
WR Louis Murphy 3-40
TE Brandon Myers 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are on a three game losing streak that has ruined their chances of making the playoffs and yet each was by a touchdown or less. Losing to the Eagles last week and ending their eight game losing streak is no resume builder but at least there could be no better matchup for the fantasy fortunes of the players this week.

Josh Freeman ended with his best game of the year in the last meeting with the Saints. He threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. He has been good for at least two scores in eight of the last nine games as well though his yardage has never topped 263 yards since that week seven monster showing. WIth the Saints weak against the run as well, chances are that Freeman will continue to score but not need as many passing yards.

Martin has been a gold mine every week and consistently good for over 100 total yards almost every week. He has scored 11 times this season and turned in 85 yards on 16 runs and a touchdown against the Saints in week seven along with three catches for 37 yards. The Saints remain the worst unit against running backs and Martin should be a lock for 20+ carries and a few receptions this week.

Dallas Clark is highly inconsistent this year but did record a touchdown and 51 yards against the Saints last time. His last two scores came in road games but his yardage has tended to be very light.

The last meeting was when Vincent Jackson caught seven passes for 216 yards and one touchdown while Mike Williams only gained 36 yards on four catches. the success of the rushing game has lowered the needs of passing in recent weeks but the Saints are still one of the worst secondaries in the league. They do play better at home though and will be looking for some bounce back after getting trashed by the Giants last week.

Freeman, Martin and Jackson are must starts this week. This week should see the Buccaneers need to pass more since Drew Brees at home should victimize the Bucs equally bad secondary. That may limit what Martin does in a shootout but he plays every down anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 14 7 8 25 6 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 32 29 26 26 15

  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.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL 31-27
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK 38-17
3 KC 24-27 12 SF 21-31
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL 13-23
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG 27-52
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI 28-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 340,3
RB Mark Ingram 40,1
WR Marques Colston 9-100,1
TE Jimmy Graham 7-80,1
TE Benjamin Watson 4-40
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The wheels really came flying off last week when the Giants went nuclear on the Saints. But while this has been the third straight loss, all went to division leaders and the last two were on the road where the Saints have been much less formidable this season. Now back at home against one of the few teams they beat in a road game this year, the time has come to cash in on holding Drew Brees and the boys during fantasy playoff time.

Brees has turned into a turnover machine these last three weeks but again - they faced top NFL teams and these last two games had over 340 pass yards in each. After a stellar season, Brees has finally been disappointing for two weeks but that should change against the same team that allowed him 377 yards and four touchdowns in Tampa Bay back in week seven.

Darren Sproles turned in 59 total yards and four catches with one score in Tampa Bay this year while Mark Ingram only gained 21 yards on seven runs. The strength of the Buccaneers is against the run while both they and the Saints have spent all season trading back and forth as to who was the worst defense against quarterbacks and wide receivers. This should be another lesser game for the running backs.

Jimmy Graham did not play in the week seven meeting in Tampa Bay but David Thomas subbed in and scored once on his two catches for 27 yards that week. Graham has not scored since week 11 and his yardage took a big hit these last three weeks. He should bounce back at home against a weak secondary.

Lance Moore accounted for 121 yards on nine receptions in Tampa Bay while Marques Colston settled for seven catches for 73 yards and a score. Moore only has one game with a score since week three and that was on the road in Oakland. Colston scored in each of the last four home games.

The recent success of the rushing effort should hit a stumbling block here if only because their average rushing defense looks so much better than their terrible secondary. Brees needs a bounce back game with some gaudy stats and this is the perfect situation for just that.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 6 7 3 30 23
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 31 15 32 24 7 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @DAL 0000032040 ***
Brees has been merely okay by Brees standards, but facing a defense that just gave up a hat trick to Austin Davis you have to think he can ratchet that up a notch on Sunday night.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO @DAL 500000000 ***
Teams really haven't tried to run against the Cowboys--no back has more than 16 attempts or 67 yards--and with Robinson sharing the workload with Pierre Thomas you can't bank on him for much more than the usual fringe fantasy contribution.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO @DAL 3003200000 ***
The plus side to Thomas is his contributions in the passing game; doesn't hurt that he also swiped a goal line score from Khiry Robinson last week. It's a good matchup but not so good as to elevate Thomas from his usual place amongst the fringe fantasy contributors.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO @DAL 007801000 ***
Cooks has been the Saints' most targeted wideout in all three games this season, so he's the most likely of this unit to post helpful fantasy numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO @DAL 002301000 ***
Stills remains a peripheral contributor to this offense. It's a somewhat favorable matchup, maybe even enough to make Stills a viable fantasy option with six teams on the bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @DAL 004600000 ****
New Orleans' passing game hasn't been as explosive as usual, so numbers for the wideouts have been somewhat subdued. If you usually start Colston there's no reason not to do so here, but don't go out of your way to do so.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @DAL 00101202000 ****
The Cowboys have been an extremely favorable matchup for opposing tight ends--and now they face the best in the business. Should be a banner evening for Graham.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @DAL 2244 ***
Diminished returns for Graham, and the Cowboys haven't served up a ton of opportunities for opposing kickers. That said, there should be plenty of points scored here so assuming Graham isn't shanking PATs he should be a fantasy helper.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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