Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
*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
  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.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 14 7 8 25 6 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 32 29 26 26 15

QB Mike Glennon, TB MIN 0000026021 ****
Glennon's posted three straight two-TD games, with at least 249 yards in each and 300-plus yards in two of the three. Minnesota has given up multiple touchdown tosses or at least 273 yards in all four road games, so they're not likely to keep Glennon from his appointed rounds.
RB Bobby Rainey, TB MIN 2011100000 ***
Rainey's the touchdown/fumble guy. Given that the Vikings have allowed at least one RB TD in five of the past six games, there's a chance Rainey reaches fantasy relevancy despite getting fewer touches than Doug Martin.
RB Doug Martin, TB MIN 5003200000 ***
The Vikings are giving up five yards per carry on the road and have let their last three hosts all rush for better than 100 yards. Martin remains the quantity guy in Tampa Bay, and this provides an opportunity for him to turn back the clock to when he was fantasy relevant.
WR Vincent Jackson, TB MIN 005701000 **
Bucs wideouts should be splitting up 160 or so receiving yards this week, which is what the Vikings surrender to wide receivers in a typical road game. As the top target Jackson takes his cut off the top, more than enough to be a fantasy helper.
Update: VJax practiced on a limited basis all week. He's listed as questionable but expected to play, so plan on him as you usually would.
WR Mike Evans, TB MIN 003501000 ***
Though he's running second to Vincent Jackson in targets Evans has scored in each of his two previous games. He has a great chance to make it three straight against a Minnesota secondary that's allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in three straight road games and just got carved up by fellow rookie Sammy Watkins.
WR Louis Murphy, TB MIN 004300000 **
Tough to dismiss Murphy against a Vikings defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in three straight road games, but he's definitely the third wheel behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans so he'll have to hope for copious table scraps.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB MIN 003400000 ***
The Vikings have allowed only one TE TD all year and ASJ is still sharing targets with Brandon Myers so keep that breakout game for the rookie on hold for the time being.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB MIN 1133 ***
The Vikings are giving up less than six points per game to opposing kickers, which is great because Murray has scored less than six points in more than half of his games. You can do better 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.

Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 6 7 3 30 23
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 31 15 32 24 7 8

QB Drew Brees, NO GB 0000031021 ****
Ever since Frankie... uh, Aaron say "relax", the Packers defense has joined in the refrain; they've given up multiple TD passes or the rushing equivalent to four straight opposing QBs. Brees has multiple touchdown tosses in five straight, 340-plus yards in three straight... yeah, he's ready for a shootout.
RB Mark Ingram, NO GB 4013200000 **
It's a reasonably favorable matchup--five of the six RB TDs the Pack have allowed have come on the road--but you may as well put all the Saints' RBs' names in a hat with all the rhyme and/or lack of reason they're employed on a weekly basis. Ingram was ineffective in his return last week, but with no Pierre Thomas does he get more work? Does he handle goal line duties? Do Khiry Robinson and/or Travaris Cadet steal his thunder? Do the Saints go to the freakin' fullback again? Too many questions for this to be anything other than a desperation fantasy play.
RB Travaris Cadet, NO GB 2005400000 ***
In theory Cadet should be a great fantasy play in PPR leagues as he replaces the injured Pierre Thomas. But just when you think you have the Saints' backfield mix figured out Sean Patyon shakes it like a Polaroid picture. So Cadet has upside, but factor in the inherent risk of owning any shares of the Saints' backfield.
Update: No Pierre Thomas, no Khiry Robinson... Sean Payton is running out of ways to stick it to fantasy owners of Saints backs. It's a prime opportunity for Cadet... so expect fullback Austin Johnson to score twice. Just sayin'.
RB Khiry Robinson, NO GB 00000000 *****
Robinson disappointed when given earlier opportunities, and now with Pierre Thomas sidelined and Mark Ingram yet to regain his effectiveness... well, Travaris Cadet is the hot pickup if that tells you anything. Sure, there's upside but the Saints' backfield is a fantasy clusterboink that's driven veteran fantasy footballers to the brink of insanity and is best used only as a desperation measure.
Update: Robinson has been ruled out of this week's tilt. Travaris Cadet projects to get his touches, but you know Sean Payton likes to keep fantasy owners guessing.
WR Marques Colston, NO GB 005601000 **
The Packers have allowed multiple WR TDs in three of their last four, so in the jumbled mess that is the Saints' fantasy receiving corps Colston likely holds his value. That's about as ringing an endorsement as we can deliver here.
WR Kenny Stills, NO GB 002301000 **
Drew Brees' favorite receiver is "whomever is open". Last week that, apparently, was Stills; he posted 5-103-1 after just one catch the previous week. If there's a perceived pecking order it's likely Colston, then Cooks, then Stills, but the good news is this is a favorable matchup against a team that's allowed multiple WR TDs on a regular basis so a dart thrown at Stills isn't entirely misdirected.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO GB 008700000 ****
Green Bay has given up multiple WR TDs in three of the last four--but will it be Cooks, who was merely an observer last week after a team high 11 targets and nine catches the previous week? It's a favorable enough matchup he's worth starting, but don't pull your hair out if Kenny Stills swipes his touchdown.
TE Jimmy Graham, NO GB 004500000 *
Gotta hope Graham shook off the rust with last week's two target, zero catch performance because this is an extremely favorable matchup with a Green Bay defense that's allowed two 100-yard receiving games to tight ends over the past month. If Graham gets some practice work in this week you should be able to slot him into your fantasy lineup with confidence, but it wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan on a Sunday night or Monday night roster just in case.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO GB 2233 ****
Graham has come around with a couple of double-digit games, but the Packers haven't allowed more than six points to an opposing kicker since Week 1 so keep your expectations in check.

CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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