FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: STL 10, CAR 27 (Line: CAR by 6)

Players of Interest: Zac Stacy

The Rams come off a dominating win over the Texans that still makes you rub your eyes and look for Ashton Kutcher filming a segment for Punked. The team that looked so bad now is 3-3 and on a two game winning streak. The Panthers are only 2-3 but they too come off a dominating road win in Minnesota. While it is possible that something paranormal is at play for both teams, chances that the Rams can do it again defy the laws of reason.

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 34-20 14 @ARI -
6 @HOU 38-13 15 NO -
7 @CAR - 16 TB -
8 SEA - 17 @SEA -
9 TEN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
STL @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 190,1
RB Zac Stacy 40 2-10
WR Tavon Austin 2-30
WR Chris Givens 2-30
WR Austin Pettis 3-40
TE Jared Cook 5-50
TE Lance Kendricks 2-10,1
PK Greg Zuerlein 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams beat the Jaguars because everyone beats the Jaguars. Winning in Houston in a laugher was truly a shock but was a function of a Houston team that is imploding while doling out defensive touchdowns and numerous turnovers every week. The Rams only passed for 117 yards on 12 completions. Zac Stacy has become the new starter in the backfield but nothing else has changed.

QUARTERBACKS: Sam Bradford threw for three touchdowns in each of these last two games and so far has never failed to score at least once. He also totals 13 scores against only three interceptions but his yardage remains average at best and the only times he faced a decent defense were when he was held to just one touchdown and under 240 passing yards versus the 49ers and Cowboys.

RUNNING BACKS: The committee approach is alive and well but at least Zac Stacy assumed the primary role when he ran for 79 yards on 18 runs and that comes after running for 78 yards on 14 carries against the Jaguars. On the worst rushing team in the NFL, those were milestones. Granted, Stacy has a minimal role as a receiver and let's face it - the Rams have never scored using a running back all year. But of the committee, at least Stacy has emerged and is getting a decent amount of rushes so long as the opponents are weak.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Last week only featured 117 passing yards so no wideout mattered. And that is true every week other than when the Rams face a weak secondary and then Austin Pettis has a chance for a touchdown and maybe even 50 yards. This unit had much promise to start the year but nothing has changed. Tavon Austin only caught one pass last week and other than the fluke game versus the Falcons has been a monumental first round bust whose only element of danger is to the salary cap. There is no reliable fantasy value here with any of the receivers proved by Pettis who caught just one pass last week for 12 yards.

TIGHT ENDS: Jared Cook still plays but is getting far more attention by opposing defenses than he is from Bradford. He's consistent finally but that is only with 45 yard games every week. Lance Kendricks provides almost no yardage but scored once in each of the last three games.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Bad news - the Panthers may only be 2-3 but it is not because of their defense which allows an average of only 13 points per game. No team threw for more than one touchdown on them and most end up with less than 200 passing yards. Only two runners have scored on them and as we all know, the Rams never score with running backs anywhere. Playing in Carolina so far has only produced 43 yards by Marshawn Lynch as the top rushing total by a visitor. Ratchet down whatever expectations you may have from the Rams recent surprises. None of the players are more than low end plays if that.

WHAT TO WATCH: Zac Stacy has looked clearly like the best runner. It will be interesting to see what that looks like on the road against a very good defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 13 32 22 3 21 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 2 17 6 11 6 17

 

1 SEA 7-12 10 @SF -
2 @BUF 23-24 11 NE -
3 NYG 38-0 12 @MIA -
4 BYE WEEK 13 TB -
5 @ARI 6-22 14 @NO -
6 @MIN 35-10 15 NYJ -
7 STL - 16 NO -
8 @TB - 17 @ATL -
9 ATL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50 240,2
RB Mike Tolbert 20,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 90
WR Jason Avant 3-40
WR Jerricho Cotchery 3-50
TE Greg Olsen 4-50
PK Graham Gano 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The trick to predicting the Panthers seems to be when they face a good defense, they get beaten. When they face a bad defense, they play really, really well. For the next three weeks, it looks like smooth sailing against three of the worst teams in the NFL. The schedule toughens up markedly in later weeks but starting last Sunday, the Panthers get the nicest four game stretch that they could have hoped for.

QUARTERBACKS: Cam Newton comes off a season best 242 yards and three touchdowns as a passer and then 30 yards and a score as a runner in Minnesota. He's been consistently good for more than one touchdown in most games but he remains only average for passing yardage with only once topping 245 yards. His last home game against a soft defense was when he also passed for three touchdowns and ran for another versus the Giants.

RUNNING BACKS: DeAngelo Williams is milking these games without Jonathan Stewart and while his rushing yardage has been solid in most weeks, he's only been used as a receiver in road venues and never scores. Michael Tolbert never gains more than than a handful of yardage but works the goal line with two touchdowns on the year as a runner and last week caught one in Minnesota as well. He's an equal risk of doing nothing in a game as he is scoring a touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The wideouts rarely have a big game but they do contribute each week. Brandon LaFell comes off a season best 107 yards and one score in Minnesota but otherwise remains locked around 50 yards per game. Steve Smith still has yet to gain more than 60 yards but scored last week and in the season opener. Ted Ginn was on a roll with three straight good games but then fell to only 22 yards last week. This is where you go when you need around 50 yards per week with a shot at a touchdown. Almost never get anything more than that but rarely much less.

TIGHT ENDS: Greg Olsen is the leading receiver for the team but that only required 23 catches for 292 yards on the season. He remains solid with four or five catches in most weeks but has never turned in a big game this year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Setting aside the freakish win in Houston, the Rams allow no less than two passing scores every week along with one rushing touchdown as well.Only the Jaguars failed to feature a rusher with 140+ rushing yards on them in the last four games and the passing yardage tends to be lower only because the rushing is so easy. Consider Newton and Williams as attractive starts and for at least one or two passing scores to end up with wideouts this week. Selecting which one is the risk but the secondary of the Rams should be very accommodating.

WHAT TO WATCH: With three very light games up next, this week should be a good indication of what to expect against the Buccaneers and Falcons.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 9 21 18 18 24 18
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 16 30 24 8 12 9

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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