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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 @SF 0000018011 ***
Peyton Manning is the only quarterback to do anything of fantasy note against the Niners in the past month--a stretch that includes Austin's own 236 & 1 against San Francisco--and Davis clearly ain't Peyton Manning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL @SF 500000000 ***
Mason has emerged as the lead dog in this backfield triumvirate, but the trio was ineffective in an earlier meeting with the Niners--78 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards and a Benny Cunningham TD dive--and there's no reason to expect things to change in San Francisco this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL @SF 2002200000 ***
These teams met back in Week 6, at which point the Rams unveiled their three-pronged running back approach. Cunningham scored but it was the only glimmer of fantasy help amongst the bunch, and you shouldn't bank on a repeat on the road this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL @SF 004400000 ***
WR TDs come in bunches against the Niners--four by the Broncos in Week 7, two for John Brown back in Week 3, three for Brandon Marshall in Week 2. What the Rams have is a bunch of receivers, none of whom can be counted on for a fantasy contribution. Britt's 39 yards paced the pack the last time these teams tangled; hopefully you have a better fantasy option at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL @SF 004300000 ***
The Rams still haven't figured out how to use Austin, and an epiphany is unlikely this week in San Francisco.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Lance Kendricks, STL @SF 001101000 ***
The Rams have ordered a Code Red Zone in three straight and four of the last five games, including the earlier meeting with San Francisco. It's not as if the St. Louis wideouts threaten to steal looks, so if you're desperate for tight end help in a TD-heavy scoring system you could do worse than Kendricks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL @SF 005600000 ***
Cook's 74 yards in the earlier meeting were the most the Niners have allowed to an opposing TE all year. He's the yardage guy in the Rams' TE equation and with no real WR threat to speak of there's no reason he couldn't push for a repeat in the back end of the season series as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL @SF 1111 ****
Legatron's been more of a Micro Machine this season, with one field goal in the past four games and no double-digit points efforts in the past five. You could build a better fantasy kicker out of parts from guys cut by the Lions.

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 Mike Glennon, TB @CLE 0000023011 ****
Glennon's run of multiple TD games was snapped last week, and the Browns have held the last three QBs they've faced to one each so it's no guarantee to get kickstarted here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @CLE 6012100000 **
Martin was in a boot at Wednesday's practice, putting his availability for this week's game in jeopardy. It's potentially a favorable matchup, but even if Martin is healthy he's been ineffective enough that he'll likely be sharing carries with one or two teammates. Guess we'll know more by Friday.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @CLE 2003200000 ****
This could break very well for Rainey, if Doug Martin is too hurt to play and Charles Sims isn't yet healthy enough to return to action. Of course, if Rainey puts the ball on the ground with regularity like he did in his earlier extended action it won't matter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Louis Murphy, TB @CLE 003401000 **
Murphy might have value if either of Tampa's twin towers can't go, but both appear healthy at the moment and there's no longer a need for Browns opponents to seek out the receiver not being covered by Joe Haden; he's been equally as bad as Buster Skreen, if not worse. Still, Murphy's an afterthought here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @CLE 005600000 ***
Cleveland's secondary has been shockingly suspect this season, but Jackson's one-catch outing and rumored position on the trading block last week make it a bit tougher to trust him with a fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @CLE 004500000 ***
The Bucs clearly love Evans, as there was plenty of talk about them unloading Vincent Jackson prior to the trading deadline. He's been a consistent contributor and should be the largest beneficiary of a favorable matchup with a Cleveland secondary that is struggling to cover anyone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB @CLE 004500000 ***
ASJ scored his first NFL TD last week, and now he'll face a Cleveland secondary that just gave up 83 yards to Mychal Rivera. In a week with six teams off due to the bye, you could do worse in TE-mandatory leagues.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @CLE 1122 ***
Murray has yet to record a double-digit effort, and the Browns haven't let a kicker hit that mark in a month. You should look elsewhere for your fantasy kicker.

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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