FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: STL 17, TB 27 (Line: TB by 3)

Players to Watch: Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford

The 6-7-1 Rams are only 2-3-1 on the road but the last three were both wins and the tie. The 6-8 Buccaneers are on a four game losing streak and fading badly coming off a humbling 41-0 loss to the Saints. Have to like the Buccaneers here in their final home game coming off a spanking. Hey - if it can work for the Cardinals...

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 15-12
6 @MIA 14-17 15 MIN 22-36
7 GB 20-30 16 @TB -----
8 NE 7-45 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 270,2
WR Kenny Britt 4-40
WR Chris Givens 3-50,1
TE Lance Kendricks 3-30
PK Greg Zuerlein 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The wind down the season with two tough road games and if nothing else, they have to know that the season ender in Seattle alone will prevent them from having a winning record this year. But progress has been made in Jeff Fisher's first season - significantly on the defense for one and Sam Bradford has come around better as well. This team is probably one great running back and one very good wideout away from competing for a playoff spot.

Sam Bradford comes off his best game of the year when he passed for 377 yards and three touchdowns while watching Adrian Peterson keep running past him each time the defense took the field. Bradford is still just an average quarterback and his 18 touchdowns are encouraging given how bad 2011 was. Most of his decent games did happen at home.

Steven Jackson may have played his final game in St. Louis depending on what they want to do with the oldest starting running back in the league. Jackson was off to a nice game with 73 yards on 13 carries but the Rams fell behind and abandoned the run. Jackson added eight catches for 79 yards to dwarf all other games as a receiver.

Chris Givens has gone cold these last two games while Brian Quick scored his second touchdown of the year last week. Danny Amendola was able to play after missing two games because of his foot and not only scored once on his 58 yards and six receptions but he also scored a two point conversion.

Outside of the ever-fragile Amendola, the Rams have never developed a suitable #2 though Brandon Gibson did turn in a few nice games along with a few complete disappearing acts. Chris Givens and Brian Quick both are just rookies though and should see more work next year depending on how well they end 2012 and perform in camp next summer.

This week goes against the worst secondary which will help Bradford again but Jackson is likely to have a bad rushing effort. That won't matter if they'll only use him for eight more catches this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 24 27 12 27 29 18
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 32 13 32 26 11 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Austin Davis, STL DAL 0000021011 ***
The Rams are still looking for their first TD pass of the season. Until they get one, look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zac Stacy, STL DAL 6011100000 ***
The Cowboys are giving up almost five yards a carry, and the Rams have no passing game. You do the math.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Quick, STL DAL 007800000 ***
The Cowboys, shockingly enough, have yet to surrender a WR TD this year. The Rams, to the surprise of no one, have yet to score one. Quick is the most likely to snap that streak, but it's hardly a given.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL DAL 001300000 ***
At his current pace, Britt should get two catches this week. You can afford to wait and see if he continues this torrid climb towards fantasy respectability.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL DAL 005601000 ****
Cooks is a consistent provider of adequate fantasy numbers, but he could most definitely see an uptick against a defense that's already ceded three TE TDs and 186 yards to the position.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL DAL 1122 ***
Legatron has six treys in two games, but he's kicking an uphill battle against a Cowboys defense that's allowed just one FG through the first two games.

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 0-41
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 90,2 5-40
WR Vincent Jackson 5-70,1
TE Brandon Myers 6-50,1

Pregame Notes: This is the one chance the Bucs have to end on a good note. The finale in Atlanta could end up as a freebie since the Falcons may have already secured the #1 seed and would not care about the game. But coming off a 41-0 loss will focus the team and hopefully give HC Greg Schiano a final home win this year.

This four game losing streak mostly comes down on the shoulders of Josh Freeman. He has struggled to complete half of his passes and twice been held to no touchdowns. The Buccaneers have fallen behind and been forced to run less, negating the one advantage they have in Doug Martin.

Freeman was at his worst against the Saints when he only completed 26 of 47 for 279 yards and four interceptions. And a lost fumble. And no scores. This was made even worse since only seven weeks previous, he threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns on the very same team.

Martin comes off his worst game of the year but he is at home where he typically ends up north of 100 total yards and scores in the most recent games in Tampa Bay. He usually ends up with 20+ carries as well as catches three or four passes. The important part to the Bucs game plan is do not fall behind early and fast because it all falls apart and Martin is no longer a factor.

Despite the four game slide, Vincent Jackson had maintained his value better than anyone else on the team and still gets 10+ targets in most games. He four best games since week three have all been in home venues and his eight touchdowns paces the team.

The Rams are less formidable away from home where their defense tends to become more average. The fantasy plays here remain Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson with Josh Freeman needing a good showing more than ever.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 15 10 9 25 15 23
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 13 21 8 18 20 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh McCown, TB @ATL 0000022011 ***
The Falcons have held a pair of talented quarterbacks in relative check--one TD each to Drew Brees and Andy Dalton--while McCown has yet to hit the 200-yard mark in pewter. Tough to see him getting on track enough here to warrant serious fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @ATL 7012100000 ***
Rainey has more upside than erstwhile starter Doug Martin: he's healthier, and he's coming off a game in which he rolled up 174 yards from scrimmage. No team has surrendered more RB TDs or combo yards to RBs than the Falcons, so while Martin is the riskier share of this split backfield Rainey appears to be the better fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @ATL 6003200000 ***
Lots of "ifs" here, with little time to answer them before a Thursday kickoff. Even if Martin plays in an extremely favorable matchup he'll be sharing touches with Bobby Rainey. Is a partial, hobbled Martin worth it against a Falcons D that's allowed more RB combo yardage and RB TDs than any other team this year? Probably not.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @ATL 005701000 ****
Subdued Josh McCown numbers have kept a lid on VJax's productivity thus far this season, but he certainly knows his way around the Atlanta secondary--10-165-1 and 10-138-2 in the two-game set last season. Through two games this year Falcons have already allowed three different receivers to score and/or top 75 yards; even with McCown struggling those feel like baseline numbers for Jackson this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @ATL 005600000 ***
It's been a slow build for the rookie, who has yet to score or top 50 yards as a pro. A date with a Falcons' secondary that's allowed multiple wideouts to turn one or both of those tricks in each of the first two games this season could be just what the doctor ordered to get Evans onto the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Myers, TB @ATL 004300000 ***
Myers has filled in admirably while Austin Seferian-Jenkins adjusts to the NFL lifestyle and grapples with injury issues. Admirable, however, doesn't quite cut it for your fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @ATL 2222 ****
The Falcons have allowed multiple field goal attempts in five of their last six, including both games this season, and last year they let Rian Lindell try three treys in each end of the home-and-home series. That should provide Murray with ample opportunity to build on his one career NFL field goal.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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