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 Shaun Hill, STL NYG 0000022010 ***
If not for his rushing score in a 52-0 blowout of the Raiders, Hill wouldn't have a single fantasy helper to his credit. Only one of the last six quarterbacks to face the Giants has thrown double-digit touchdown passes; unlikely Hill winds up the second.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tre Mason, STL NYG 10012100000 ****
Mason continues to get the bulk of the workload, so when there's a favorable matchup--like against the Giants, who have allowed four 100-yard rushers--he's the primary beneficiary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stedman Bailey, STL NYG 004601000 **
If Shaun Hill puts up enough yardage to generate a fantasy-worthy receiver--and that's a reasonably big "if"--Bailey is the most likely candidate; he's been the Rams' top receiver three of the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Britt, STL NYG 005700000 ***
Britt remains in the mix, but he's wildly inconsistent and dependent on a quarterback who doesn't exactly churn out tons of helpful fantasy stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tavon Austin, STL NYG 3002100000 ***
The Rams are becoming more creative in getting the ball to their top pick from a year ago, but he's largely a non-factor as a receiver so you're banking on returns and gimmick plays for him to get you fantasy points--always a risky proposition.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, STL NYG 002200000 ***
Cook will be the most targeted tight end in a reasonably favorable matchup, but he still has to fend off Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey--as well as hope Shaun Hill throws enough for them to be fantasy relevant.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Greg Zuerlein, STL NYG 2222 ***
Aside from his five-field goal outing against the Broncos Zuerlein has been mostly ordinary with no more than two field goals in any other contest since Week 2. It's not an overly favorable matchup, so no need to go out of your way to get Legatron into your lineup.

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 GB 0000025021 ***
Green Bay's defense is nothing special unless they've got you down by a couple touchdowns and force you to be one-dimensional. On the road they've been less dominant, which should allow the Bucs to remain multifaceted and keep McCown from playing the role of sitting duck in the pocket. He had some success against Green Bay last year as a bear, but his upside feels like two TDs and something in the mid-200s; you'll want more during championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB GB 400000000 ***
We've seen flashes of the Martin of old--not enough to dust him off for a fantasy start, but enough to plant a seed in the backs of minds heading into next year. Splitting touches with Charles Sims takes a bite out of his fantasy potential as well; consider him a placeholder for now.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB GB 1003300000 ***
Sims could see extended work as a pass-catcher if the Packers do in fact get out to a big lead and force the Bucs to throw, so there's some fantasy value here for PPR leaguers. Aside from that... not much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB GB 005802000 ***
Big-bodied receivers--Julio Jones (259 & 1), Brandon LaFell (2 TDs), Jordan Matthews (107 &1), Brandon Marshall (112 & 1), and more--have success against the Packers' secondary. And Evans is plenty big-bodied--not to mention heavily targeted and a red-zone monster. Have to love his opportunity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB GB 005900000 ***
Green Bay has noticeable difficulty handling larger receivers--like Jackson, for example, who has 239 yards and four touchdowns in two career meetings with the Packers. That trend has continued this season through the likes of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Kelvin Benjamin and even Jordan Matthews and Brandon LaFell. So while VJax still plays second fiddle to Mike Evans (another big WR), he should have ample opportunity to build a fantasy portfolio of his own this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB GB 1122 ***
Murray's next game with double-digit points will be his first. No reason to expect it to happen this week.

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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