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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 SEA 0000024021 **
The Seahawks have allowed multiple TD tosses and at least 250 passing yards in each of their last four games. So while prior to the season using the Rams' third string quarterback against the defending Super Bowl champs would have been enough to get you a date with a mental health professional, this week it actually makes sense. Davis against the Seahaws; who woulda thunk?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zac Stacy, STL SEA 4003200000 ***
The Cowboys have been the only team to effectively run the ball against Seattle, but the Rams ain't the Cowboys and Stacy ain't DeMarco Murray. Plus, he's now involved in a menage a trois at running back, sharing carries with Benny Cunningham and, appropriately enough, Tre Mason. None of that adds up to good fantasy news for Stacy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Benny Cunningham, STL SEA 3003200000 ***
The good: Cunningham has two of the Rams' three RB rushing scores this year. The bad: he's facing a Seahawks defense that allowing just 3.4 yards per carry and 78 rushing yards per game to opposing backs. The ugly: Benny has to share the workload with two other Rams backs. The way I figure, there's really not too much future here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL SEA 300000000 ***
Mason averaged eight yards per carry in his NFL debut and now owns a share of the Rams' backfield workload. However, it's just a share and it's anything but a favorable matchup; his initial fantasy impact will have to wait at least another week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL SEA 003501000 **
Britt's been consistently targeted if not consistently productive, and there are opportunities to take advantage of the Seattle secondary. If Brian Quick can't take advantage, Britt would be the next best bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Quick, STL SEA 004500000 ***
The Seahawks secondary hasn't been infallible, but good luck identifying which Ram might do the damage. Quick seems the logical choice, but that only means there's a very good chance he'll see more of Richard Sherman than the average TV viewer subjected to Sherman's media blitz of commercial saturation. Temper your expectations accordingly, because you get out what you put in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL SEA 004300000 ***
Tough to be the second-best "athletic receiver whose team can't figure out how to get them the ball enough to be effective" in the game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL SEA 006601000 ****
Even Achilles had a heel, and for the Seahawks that heel is the tight end. Seattle has allowed seven TE TDs on the season, including two last week, and with 30 targets over the past three games it's clear Cook is on the Rams' passing game radar.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL SEA 2222 ****
Legatron has just one week of double-digit points this season, and a date with the Seahawks doesn't feel like an opportunity to change that number.

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

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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