FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12 NO at ATL (THU) DEN at NE NYJ at BAL TEN at OAK
CHI at STL IND at ARI PIT at CLE SF at WAS (MON)
CAR at MIA JAC at HOU SD at KC On Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at NYG MIN at GB TB at DET BUF, CIN, PHI, SEA

Prediction: CHI 24, STL 20 (Line: STL by 1)

The 6-4 Bears are tied for the lead in the NFC North and at worst should contend for a wildcard. The 4-6 Tams are only 2-3 at home but come off their bye having last crushed the Colts in one of the bigger upsets this year. This is a coin flip game with both teams missing their quarterback and while the Bears have a better offense, the Rams sport a better defense.

1 CIN 24-21 10 DET 19-21
2 MIN 31-30 11 BAL 23-20
3 @PIT 40-23 12 @STL -
4 @DET 32-40 13 @MIN -
5 NO 18-26 14 DAL -
6 NYG 27-21 15 @CLE -
7 @WAS 41-45 16 @PHI -
8 BYE WEEK 17 GB -
9 @GB 27-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Matt Forte 110,2 3-20
WR Alshon Jeffery 5-60
WR Brandon Marshall 5-80,1
TE Martellus Bennett 3-30
PK Jay Feely 3 FG 2 XP
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears outlasted the Ravens last week in the first bad weather game and the tornado was a nice touch. The Bears are banged up to be sure but they have a decent schedule here on out so long as they can beat mediocre teams on the road. It will all fall apart in the playoffs without a doubt but the Bears have a nice enough schedule that they might end up hosting a wild card game.

QUARTERBACKS: Jay Cutler remains out and now there are reports that his ankle injury involves ligaments and may be a long-term issue this year. He has his ankle in a cast and Josh McCown just might end up as good as it gets for the rest of this season.

McCown was held to only 216 yards and one score by the Ravens but it was a windy, wet game against a decent defense. His only other start had McCown throw for 272 yards and two scores in the win over the Packers. McCown may not be an advantage, but he's no liability.

RUNNING BACKS: Matt Forte flopped against the Lions but otherwise is a strong fantasy play every week with over 100 total yards in every other game. Encouraging too is that six of his seven rushing touchdowns came in road games. Forte adds around four or five catches per week to ensure that his is as safe a start as any running back.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Bears have only seen two starts by McCown but he is keeping the wideouts going almost as well as Jay Cutler did. Alshon Jeffery scored once in Green Bay on his five catches for 60 yards and then posted seven receptions for 83 yards in the bad weather against the Ravens. Brandon Marshall was held to 42 yards in that game but gained 107 yards and a score in Green Bay. No other wideout has mattered in Chicago regardless which quarterback is playing.

TIGHT ENDS: Martellus Bennett so far has not been a factor when McCown plays and that should continue this week against the #2 defense versus tight ends. Bennett turned in games of 36 and 48 yards with McCown as the starter and he's only scored once since week two anyway. Since the mid-point of the season, he's a marginal fantasy play at best.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams rank out better then they actually are since most of their games have been against very weak passing offenses like the 49ers, Jaguars, Texans and Titans. They allow a quarterback to score at least once in most games and as many as three times along with wildly varying yardage. The reason for that is that the Rams are bad against the run and it depends on how well an opponent can do with their running back as to whether they need to throw much. The Rams already allowed four runners to top 140 yards this year and given up 12 scores to the position. Expect a moderate game from McCown, Marshall and Jeffery and a big one from Forte who already plays better in road games anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 14 16 7 21 8 4
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 12 31 17 2 3 16

 

1 ARI 27-24 10 @IND 38-8
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 15-30 16 TB -
8 SEA 9-14 17 @SEA -
9 TEN 21-28 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Zac Stacy 120,2 2-20
WR Tavon Austin 2-30
WR Chris Givens 5-60
TE Jared Cook 3-30
PK Greg Zuerlein 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Rams were on a three game losing skid when they went to Indianapolis and embarrassed the Colts. But that doesn't change the fact that this is not a good offense short of a lucky break or two and the only time they won at home in the last four attempts was when they beat the Jaguars. The remaining games left on the schedule are pretty brutal and only this week and then against the Buccaneers will see the Rams possibly favored.

QUARTERBACKS: Kellen Clemens threw for 247 yards and two scores in Indianapolis and yet only completed nine of 16 passes. He found Tavon Austin for only two catches - a 57-yard and a 81-yard touchdown. Otherwise not a great day. At home against the Titans, Clemens was held to only 210 yards and one score. Odd too is that he's only thrown two interceptions over his four games played and yet lost three fumbles.

RUNNING BACKS: Zac Stacy continues to rumble and while he was held to 62 yards on 26 carries by the Colts, he scored for the second week in a row. His two previous home games both topped 120 rushing yards and Stacy is clearly the main weapon for the Rams now. He even adds receptions in most games. The committee is gone, this is now Stacy's team and whatever there is to get belongs to him.

WIDE RECEIVERS: What to think? This lackluster unit fell down another notch once Clemens became the starter and Austin Pettis who was once the preferred receiver hasn't topped 35 yards in over a month. But Tavon Austin caught two passes that he zipped in for scores against the Colts looking exactly like they hoped when they made him the first wideout selected in the NFL draft. But Austin had zero catches in the previous game. He totaled only 119 yards over the previous seven games and never scored. Bottom line, he now has two catches to point at that say maybe he isn't a complete bust. And seven games that says he is.

Chris Givens is the best bet for wideout since he has three straight games around 55 yards each. He never scores but back-to-back games of 50 yards is big in this offense.

TIGHT ENDS: Jared Cook scored in week nine but that was the only decent game since week one. Even then it was only three catches for 36 yards. He's a nonfactor.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears are bringing an average defense to the game that allowed one or two scores to most teams. That may be much to expect here short of more miracle catches by Austin. The Bears are also weak against running backs in recent weeks and that is where the Rams will be attacking mostly. Expect a solid to big game from Stacy with at least one score. McCown and the receivers are too risky to consider even with the more favorable matchup. The Bears have allowed five rushing touchdowns over just the last two road games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 21 26 23 7 25 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 13 25 14 23 27 13

WEEK 12 NO at ATL (THU) DEN at NE NYJ at BAL TEN at OAK
CHI at STL IND at ARI PIT at CLE SF at WAS (MON)
CAR at MIA JAC at HOU SD at KC On Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at NYG MIN at GB TB at DET BUF, CIN, PHI, SEA


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