FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: STL 6, SEA 27 (Line: SEA by 10.5)

Players to Watch: Marshawn Lynch

The Seahawks can win the NFC West if they beat the Rams and the 49ers lose to the Cardinals. They could even get a first round bye if they win here, the 49ers and the Packers both lose. They have already clinched a wildcard and are probably going to have to be happy with that. This is a replay of week four when the Rams won 19-13 in St. Louis. Seattle is one of only two teams that are undefeated at home this year. And only 3-5 in road games.

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 28-13
8 NE 7-45 17 @SEA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL @ SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 200
WR Kenny Britt 3-30,1
TE Lance Kendricks 3-40
PK Greg Zuerlein 2 FG

Pregame Notes: The Rams are winding down their first season under Jeff Fisher and even finishing 7-9-1 is a big upgrade from the 2-14 standing from last year. More than anything, Fisher has brought back defense to the Rams who held seven different opponents under 20 points including four of the last five. They also tied and beat the 49ers. They beat the Seahawks.

Sam Bradford bounced back from his horrible sophomore season when he only passed for 2164 yards and six touchdowns. He currently stands at 3450 yards and 20 scores though his QB Rating remains around 50. Bradford passed for 221 yards and no scores in the last meeting with the Seahawks.

Steven Jackson may be back next year though he's clearly not the future in St. Louis as the elder statesman of all starting tailbacks. Jackson only scored four times this year but has been much more productive in the second half of the season when they stopped splitting time with Daryl Richardson and just let Jackson take a full load. He ran for only 55 yards on 18 carries in the other Seahawks game and oddly enough has been the most productive in road games. The last four away from home saw him either score or turn in 100+ yards.

Lance Kendricks has been little used this year - he only caught two passes for 22 yards in the other Seahawks matchup. But he scored in each of the last two games and comes off his career best game of 119 yards on four catches in Tampa Bay thanks to the 80-yard touchdown catch and run. Kendricks previous high for the year was only 48 yards.

The wideouts have been a mish-mash all season long. Danny Amendola had big games against the Redskins and 49ers but otherwise has been either injured or moderately productive. Chris Givens went through a seven week streak where he had fantasy value and scored three times but has fallen back into the pack with three straight games of 40 yards or less. Givens had no catches versus the Seahawks and Amendola did not play that week. Brandon Gibson only managed 28 yards on two catches then and has been far too inconsistent to merit any fantasy consideration.

This is going to be a bad week since the Seahawks have something to play for and are at home where they are just dominating everyone. There really is no attractive fantasy play here outside of expecting a marginal game from Jackson. The Seahawks even get to use CB Richard Sherman who was granted his suspension appeal.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 23 27 12 27 30 9
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 3 7 1 9 1 6

  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.

Seattle Seahawks
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 16-20 10 NYJ 28-7
2 DAL 27-7 11 BYE -----
3 GB 14-12 12 @MIA 21-24
4 @STL 13-19 13 @CHI 23-17
5 @CAR 16-12 14 ARI 58-0
6 NE 24-23 15 @BUF 50-17
7 @SF 6-13 16 SF 42-13
8 @DET 24-28 17 STL -----
9 MIN 30-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Russell Wilson 30 200,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 120,1 1-10
TE Zach Miller 3-30,1
PK Steven Hauschka 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks have morphed into a dominating team - at least when they are at home. The defense has become one of the top units in the league and held 12 opponents to 20 points or less including the 58-0 drubbing of the Cardinals. The offense has been decent enough all year with Marshawn Lynch but even Russell Wilson has been evolving from a game manager.

Wilson passed for only 160 yards in St. Louis and did not score while throwing three interceptions. He's been on a hot streak with touchdown lately though and since week eight has thrown 17 touchdown over eight weeks. But his yardage is rarely anything notable and he still has never topped 300 yards in any game. Over half his games end with under 200 yards passed.

Marshawn Lynch and the defense is what keeps this team in the "W" column. He rushed for 118 yards and one score on 20 runs in St. Louis and added a season high four catches for 37 yards. Lynch already scored 12 times this year and scored in all but one of the last eight weeks. He has nine efforts that topped 100 rushing yards. He even added a receiving touchdown last week for the first time.

Zach Miller has been little used this season with only around 25 yards per game but he did score in two of the last three games. The problem with the wideouts is that they have been mostly under-used and very inconsistent. Sidney Rice is tops with six scores but he has only one touchdown in the last five weeks. Golden Tate has five touchdowns but almost no yardage and they show up randomly or at least when he can manage an undetected push-off. Doug Baldwin showed up last week with two touchdowns but only had one other all year. There is no reliable fantasy players here and the yardage is almost always lacking.

Lynch is an obvious play here and the Seattle defense as well. Wilson is only a play for scores but he never has much yardage and you cannot count on more than two scores. I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 16 6 21 23 18 8
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 16 18 9 18 20 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Russell Wilson, SEA OAK 30000023020 ****
After a little tease of what he's capable off, Wilson has returned to doing just what is necessary for a Seahawks win. So while it's a favorable matchup on paper, Seattle may not need much more than the bare minimum from Wilson--about the only damper on his fantasy potential this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA OAK 10012201000 ****
It's a home game, which usually means 20-plus touches for Lynch and the accompanying fantasy stats that go with. Oakland has allowed RB TDs in four straight, no reason to think Lynch grabs the Skittles before adding to that total here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA OAK 005601000 **
Game Two post-Percy and Baldwin was still the most targeted and most prolific of Seattle's wideouts--only instead of 123 and 1, now it's back to the usual 61 and no TD. Oakland's allowed five WR TDs in the past four games so maybe Baldwin gets one here, but the passing game hasn't been a Seattle priority for quite some time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Paul Richardson, SEA OAK 002200000 ***
Four guys caught balls in the battle to be Doug Baldwin's main wingman. Richardson has perhaps the most upside, but in a run-heavy offense with so many mouths to feed he's still more of a fantasy risk than you should need to take.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Luke Willson, SEA OAK 002200000 ****
Gronk and Gates have scored on Oakland, but aside from that they haven't surrendered much to the position--certainly not so much that Willson and his one or two catches a week look like a significant fantasy helper.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA OAK 2233 ****
Hauschka's baseline is in the 6-7 point range, which is the minimum the Raiders have allowed and a mark he's bested in all but one outing this season. And things go up from there.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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