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
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 Josh McCown, TB STL 20000022021 ***
McCown's Week 1 stat line looked a whole lot like what the Rams gave up to Matt Cassel--and neither was much fantasy help. While he did take this defense for 352 and 2 as a Bear last year, those numbers are too optimistic for his current offense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB STL 5002100000 ***
Martin's Week 1 injury was deemed "minor", meaning he should be available for this tilt. He'll face a defense that held Adrian Peterson in check last week and limited the Martin-less Bucs to 37 RB rushing yards in a meeting late last season. In other words, there's little reason to be optimistic.
Update: All systems go for Martin, who returned to practice and is expected to resume his role as the lead dog in Tampa Bay's backfield committee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB STL 005701000 ***
VJax went 5-98 against this defense with little help last year. Now he has to hope his improved supporting cast doesn't usurp his looks to the point of sapping his fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB STL 004500000 ***
Evans saw as many targets as erstwhile WR1 Vincent Jackson last week, but this is still VJax's show and the matchup doesn't suggest enough in the way of passing game numbers to feed multiple mouths.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Owusu, TB STL 002300000 ***
Owusu swiped a TD out from under Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans last week, but he can't be relied upon for anything resembling consistent fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Myers, TB STL 003301000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB STL 00000000 *
Brandon Myers saw the vast majority of Tampa Bay's tight end targets last week, but ASJ's athleticism is not to be denied. Against a defense that let Kyle Rudolph find the end zone last week, he at least has a shot at a score.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB STL 2222 ***
Murray wasn't given much in the way of opportunity last week; until that changes, you can find a more palatable fantasy kicking option.

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 @CLE 0000033020 ***
Joe Haden can't be everywhere, as evidenced by Ben Roethlisberger's 365 yards against the Browns last weekend. Brees is familiar with that neighborhood, topping that number five times last year, and he should at least be in the vicinity this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @CLE 601000000 ***
The goal line back against a defense that allowed two RB rushing scores--including one to a goal line back--last week; seems like another solid opportunity for Ingram to carve out fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO @CLE 3005400000 ***
The pass-catching back against a Cleveland defense that surrendered the second-most RB receiving yards in Week 1--to a Steelers team not exactly known for throwing to its backs, no less. Yep, Thomas's role in the New Orleans offense should once again yield fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO @CLE 300000000 ***
At this juncture Robinson feels like the most volatile member of the New Orleans backfield triumvirate, with a role less clearly defined than that of either Mark Ingram or Pierre Thomas. As such he's the riskiest fantasy play as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO @CLE 006901000 ***
Plenty to like about Cooks' 7-77-1 NFL debut last week. With Joe Haden likely on Marques Colston or maybe even Jimmy Graham, that leaves Cooks with fellow rookie Justin Gilbert or maybe Buster Skrine. The ROY campaign continues...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @CLE 005700000 ***
Colston is technically the Saints' WR1, but that's no guarantee he'll draw full-time Joe Haden this week--plus, we saw last week via Antonio Brown that Haden isn't necessarily a death sentence for fantasy stats. Brees is slinging, Cleveland has corner concerns everywhere Haden isn't, and Colston has something to prove after fumbling away last week's game; it adds up to a solid fantasy start this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @CLE 006801000 ***
All that's missing now is the dunks. No reason to think the Browns have a solution other NFL defenses don't.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @CLE 2233 ****
It's good to be back tacking on points for an offensive juggernaut like the Saints, especially against a Browns' defense that's allowed multiple field goal attempts in three straight games and seven of the last eight.

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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