FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: TB 17, NE 23 Line: (NE by 7.5)

Players of Interest: Rob Gronkowski maybe, hopefully

Update: Rob Gronkowski is still questionable and by most reports is not likely to play this Sunday but with a very good chance the next week. I am removing his projections and adding in Zach Sudfeld who has turned in full practices after missing last week with a hamstring strain.

The Buccaneers are 0-2 by the slimmest of margins after losing their games by a combined three points. The Patriots are 2-0 by the grace of no more than three points in either matchup. This one favors the Pats but should end up lower scoring than we have come to expect from either team in the past.

1 @NYJ 17-18 10 MIA -
2 NO 14-16 11 ATL -
3 @NE - 12 @DET -
4 ARI - 13 @CAR -
5 BYE WEEK 14 BUF -
6 PHI - 15 SF -
7 @ATL - 16 @STL -
8 CAR - 17 @NO -
9 @SEA - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 100,1 2-10
RB Bobby Rainey 10
WR Vincent Jackson 6-90,1
TE Brandon Myers 7-60

Pregame Notes: Things are not going so well for the Bucs. The defense has been upgraded from horrible to surprisingly effective thanks to some offseason moves. But offense has struggled t and HC Greg Schiano is rubbing players the wrong way from having quarterback problems to newly acquired Darrelle Revis not liking the Drill Sergeant routine from the head coach. The Buccaneers to look like a team that is teetering between making a breakthrough or just having a total collapse and it could go either way.

QUARTERBACKS: Two weeks into the make-or-break season for Josh Freeman and not only has he only passed for two scores and 335 total yards, but that is pretty much all Vincent Jackson and no one else. He has 231 pass yards throwing to Jackson and only 99 from all others combined. Eventually a defense is going to notice that. The lack of success by Freeman has mean Doug Martin gets even more attention. There has already been speculation that Schiano may opt for rookie Mike Glennon at some point.

RUNNING BACKS: It isn't that Doug Martin has been bad. He does have 209 rushing yards on the season. But he has just one score and only two receptions for a net one-yard loss. Martin was always good for three or four catches per game in 2012. This year? Just has not happened. The plus here is that the more that Freeman struggles, the more they are turning to Martin who ran for 144 yards on 29 carries last week. Martin gets all of whatever the ground game can produce but his role as a receiver has just disappeared.

WIDE RECEIVERS: As noted, Vincent Jackson has been solid with a total of 12 catches for 231 yards so far. That dwarfs everyone else including Mike Williams who settled for only two receptions for nine yards versus the Saints. The New Orleans Freaking Saints. Kevin Ogletree has one catch on the year that was coincidentally a touchdown. There is just nothing happening here outside of Jackson who even had a 73-yard touchdown last week that was called back for an unrelated illegal formation penalty. At the very least, the offense needs to get more out of Mike Williams for at least a modicum of balance in the passing effort.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is harder to matchup because the Patriots have not been dominant on defense and yet have played two rookie quarterbacks to open the season. Freeman may not be playing great but he's no rookie for the Jets or Bills. This is a road game which does not help. The Patriots have allowed over 100 rushing yards per opponent so far and Martin is a notch above them with all the carries that the Bucs will have. Martin and Jackson are always must-starts and though Williams should be he has not proven reliable or productive so far this year. You can be sure this will be a low scoring game anyway.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mike Williams has to be a bigger factor. The Bucs are going no where if Jackson remains the only viable weapon in the passing game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 31 27 21 30 29 5
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 5 23 5 6 4 16

 

1 @BUF 23-21 10 BYE WEEK
2 NYJ 13-10 11 @CAR -
3 TB - 12 DEN -
4 @ATL - 13 @HOU -
5 @CIN - 14 CLE -
6 NO - 15 @MIA -
7 @NYJ - 16 @BAL -
8 MIA - 17 BUF -
9 PIT - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 270,2
RB Stevan Ridley 60
WR Aaron Dobson 4-60,1
WR Julian Edelman 9-80,1
WR Brandon LaFell 5-30
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots are 2-0 and beat divisional rivals so it should be all good. But anytime the Patriots only score 13 points at home early in the season with at least half the game great weather - something is not right. The Jets do have a good defense but that doesn't quite explain why the offense could only post 232 total yards in the game - even the Jets had 318. The lack of receivers has finally hit a critical point where even Tom Terrific can salvage something.

QUARTERBACKS: Hard to believe that Tom Brady only averages 230 passing yards and has three touchdowns after two games. That is not bad, it is just very average and not all the Patriot Way. Limited to Julian Edelman and almost no one else, Brady only passed for 186 yards and one score last Thursday and was openly angered at his receivers for running poor routes. The season gets tougher later on so getting these kinks out now is important. At some point both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola might be on the field together but without either right now this looks like preseason football.

RUNNING BACKS: Stevan Ridley is out of the dog house but he only gained 40 yards on 19 carries last Thursday and never had any catches - no running back did. They were held in to block the constant blitzes dialed up by the Jets. LeGarrette Blount was the backup but only ran four times for 11 yards. As a team, the Pats could only total 56 yards on 22 carries. Facing a good rushing defense this week is not likely to see improvement.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Aaron Dobson played in his first NFL game and he scored a 39-yard touchdown on his very first catch. He would end with only 56 yards though he was thrown ten targets and outright dropped several passes. He also appeared to have ran the wrong route more than once. It started great with the score but pretty much went downhill from there. Fortunately Julian Edelman came up with 13 catches for 78 yards to help the offense because without him the Patriots may have not prevailed. Edelman accounted for more than half of the catches. Kenbrell Thompkins is apparently still waiting for his breakout game as he ended with only two receptions for 47 yards. He had nine targets and only catching two is not getting him the confidence of Brady. Then again, there is no one else left to catch the ball anyway. Amendola is expected out at least this week and possible several more so this is as good as it gets for one more week.

TIGHT ENDS: Umm... Well... I am not sure that Tom Brady has ever had a game where he did not connect with any tight end ever. At least until now. The expectations are that we could see Rob Gronkowski as early as this week or next. He cannot come in as a decoy because there is no one else he is trying to be a decoy for. Gronk cannot get back fast enough. I will assume a somewhat limited Gronkowski plays and update as needed. Chances are you just will not know until game time if he plays and cannot know how well after his lengthy layoff while recuperating.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: For perhaps the first time ever, this is more about the Pats then their opponent. The Buccaneers have allowed a score to each opponent thus far but no more and the additions made in the offseason have quietly paid off. CB Darrell Revis is already plenty familiar with the Patriots. The Buccaneers defensive line has been outstanding with no runner gaining over 29 yards though the Jets and Saints are hardly the rushing elite of the league. Edelman is the only must start unless Gronkowski can play. Ridley is another decent play though his lack of receiving stats are going to limit him against a solid defensive line that plays the run tough. The Saints have only allowed two passing scores - both to tight ends.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Hopefully Gronkowski because so far no one else here is worth changing the channel to watch.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 24 22 5 31 8 15
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 14 13 3 32 30 21

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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