FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS

Prediction: JAC 10, STL 24 (Line: STL by 11)

Players of Interest: Justin Blackmon

UPDATE: Cecil Shorts has not practiced this week because of a pulled groin muscle but has not been ruled out and may still play. I am lowering his projections because of the risk that he'll be limited. I am increase Blackmon's projections because he is going to be one of the very few healthy receivers that the Jaguars have. He could end up like Gordon when he returned with a ton of targets and the secondary is bad enough but hard to rely on Blaine Gabbert getting it done.

Only a month into the season and already both the Broncos and Jaguars are generating a buzz about the perfect season (albeit different sorts of "perfect"). The 0-4 Jaguars have never been competitive in any game and rank #32 in Points Per Game (7.8) and #31 in Points Allowed Per Game (32.3). Definitely the wrong ends of the scoring spectrums. The Rams are on a three game losing skid and getting pretty beat up themselves but at home against the worst team in the league should be a prescription for a nice turnaround even if it only lasts for one week.

1 KC 2-28 10 @TEN -
2 @OAK 9-19 11 ARI -
3 @SEA 17-45 12 @HOU -
4 IND 3-37 13 @CLE -
5 @STL - 14 HOU -
6 @DEN - 15 BUF -
7 SD - 16 TEN -
8 SF - 17 @IND -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Ace Sanders 3-30
WR Cecil Shorts 3-40
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: There is a very realistic chance that the Jaguars end with a 0-16 record and the team's insistence to stick with Blaine Gabbert is one of many reasons why. As a team the Jaguars have only scored three touchdowns and two of those came as gifts at the end of the Seattle massacre after they lost interest when it was 31-0. Unlike in years past, the Jaguars no longer offer any fantasy value other than that which they create for anyone playing against them.

QUARTERBACKS: HC Gus Bradley still wants to stick with Blaine Gabbert even though his two games have produced no touchdowns, only 150 yards per game, five interceptions and ten sacks. And those were both home games.

The Jags will go back to Chad Henne at some point like last year and while that is no guarantee they win any games, at least it will give the offense a chance to score a touchdown. With Gabbert at the helm, there is no fantasy value for anyone.

RUNNING BACKS: Maurice Jones-Drew played on more than one bad Jaguars team but nothing like this. It doesn't help either that his return from Lis Franc surgery doesn't seem to be as complete as was hoped. The blocking is not there for MJD but by the same token he is not making any holes for himself or requiring more than one defender to bring him down. Jones-Drew scored in Seattle as a trash time benefit but he has never gained more than 45 yards in any game despite getting up to 19 carries. He has only a minimal role as a receiver as well.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It doesn't really matter with Gabbert at the helm, but Justin Blackmon is back from his four game suspension and ready to be yet another under-performing component of the offense. There still has not been even one touchdown caught by any wide receiver and only Cecil Shorts produces enough yardage to merit minor fantasy consideration. This can all change if they revert to Henne again but until they do, there is no reason to expect improvement from a bad team of 2012 that has become even worse.

TIGHT ENDS: Marcedes Lewis was back and now he is gone again indefinitely after re-aggravating his calf strain. The one passing touchdown this year was caught by Clay Harbor but he is more likely to have no catches than to turn in even one reception.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Maybe is this was a home game there might be a glimmer of hope because the Rams defense continues to be really bad and in every facet. This might actually be the softest matchup of the year even though it is on the road. But beyond Cecil Shorts, the only possible start here is Maurice Jones-Drew if you just have no other options.

WHAT TO WATCH: Justin Blackmon is back and worth seeing if he can offer any spark to a dormant passing game. That is not likely but there is nothing else worth watching unless you are playing against the Jags.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 32 31 32 28 32 28
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 18 32 26 14 10 23

 

1 ARI 27-24 10 @IND -
2 @ATL 24-31 11 BYE WEEK
3 @DAL 7-31 12 CHI -
4 SF 11-35 13 @SF -
5 JAC - 14 @ARI -
6 @HOU - 15 NO -
7 @CAR - 16 TB -
8 SEA - 17 @SEA -
9 TEN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL vs JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 250,2
RB Benny Cunningham 50 2-20
WR Tavon Austin 6-60
WR Chris Givens 4-50
TE Jared Cook 5-60,1
PK Greg Zuerlein 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams are one field goal away from having been 0-4 on the season and that may be a better representation of where this 1-3 team is. The defense allows about 30 points every week and the offense just cannot hope to keep up with that sort of production. These last two weeks have only seen one touchdown scored and both came at the end of the game after the loss was already in the bag. There is no rushing game at all and the passing effort that started out promising is sinking quickly. This week has got to help because it should prove to be the easiest game left on the schedule this year. This will be as good as it gets.

QUARTERBACKS: On the plus side, Sam Bradford threw a touchdown in every game so far. And he is good for around 40 passes or more. But while he tossed five touchdowns over the first two weeks, he's been on a down turn recently. With only one score in each of the last two games, Bradford threw for only 240 yards in Dallas and then 202 yards against the visiting 49ers which came almost entirely at the end of the already decided game. He's also been sacked 11 times in just those two weeks. Bradford gets nearly zero from his rushing offense and is forced to take the team on his shoulders each week. Against a good defense, he has not been up to the task. Whatever he can do against the Jags this week may be the final week that you can feel any confidence in starting him.

RUNNING BACKS: Nope. Just none here. Daryl Richardson gets a little worse every week and that translated to only 16 yards on 12 runs against the 49ers. No Rams runner has scored this year. Isaiah Pead was mysteriously inactive last week without any real explanation which most have interpreted to mean it was a disciplinary move. In his place Benny Cunningham ran four times for six yards and therefore replicated what Pead would have done. Richardson is a marginal start this week with a bad Jaguars team showing up but it may be the final week that you can start Richardson and hope to be rewarded with any decent fantasy points.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Rams wanted to use Tavon Austin in multiple roles and while he has been a special teams return man, his role as a receiver has been just that - catching the ball. Austin only gained 11 yards on four runs so far this year and had none last week. He gets as many passes as any other wideout, but still has never gained more than 47 yards in any game or produced more than five yards per catch. Not exactly Mr. Open Field with that average. Most tight ends have double that average. Chris Givens has been solid with 50 yards games while Austin Pettis barely produces enough for any fantasy consideration. This unit has to be the one that allows the Rams to compete because the rushing offense is horrible with no expectation of improvement. But so far - all the new talent doesn't seem to be making any difference.

TIGHT ENDS: Jared Cook continues to see about as many targets each week as any other receiver. But his monster season opener is getting pretty small in the rear view mirror and he has been stuck at 45 yard games of no real consequence.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The fun part of facing the Jaguars is that they not only have allowed nine touchdown to quarterbacks, but they have only gone against KC, OAK, SEA and IND and none of them are posting much in any other game. This is a chance for Sam Bradford to at least produce a decent game and possibly a big one since there will be no taking it lightly at the end with the Rams.

You still cannot consider him more than just a moderate start, but this may be the last time for a long time you can consider Bradford. The hard part of matching up the teams is that so much of what happens when you play the Jaguars is shorter yardage because field position is usually great all game. And since any offensive facet should see at least some success, it is up to the offensive coordinator as to how best to win the game. Richardson remains a marginal choice but Bradford, Cook and Pettis are worth covering a bye week.

WHAT TO WATCH: The passing game has to show some life this week or the rest of the season is indeed very dark. Jared Cook, Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin and Chris Givens should all see an uptick in production or their outlook is even worse.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 18 32 20 5 24 27
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 23 26 17 23 30 28

WEEK 5 BUF at CLE (THU) DET at GB NE at CIN SEA at IND
DEN at DAL KC at TEN SD at OAK NYJ at ATL (MON)
BAL at MIA HOU at SF NO at CHI On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at ARI JAC at STL PHI at NYG MIN, PIT, TB, WAS


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