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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2010
PHI at TEN* STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB*
CIN at ATL SF at CAR* ARI at SEA* NYG at DAL*
CLE at NO* WAS at CHI* OAK at DEN* DET, HOU
*Updated PIT at MIA JAC at KC* NE at SD* IND, NYJ

Prediction: STL 20, TB 16

The Rams are 3-3 and only a half game out of the lead in the NFC West but are 0-2 on the road so far. The Buccaneers are 3-2 and yet only 1-2 at home. Coin flip game but the Rams are getting better and the Buccaneers seem to have slipped in recent weeks.

St. Louis Rams (3-3)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ARI L 13-17 10 @SF --
2 @OAK L 14-16 11 ATL --
3 WAS W 30-16 12 @DEN --
4 SEA W 20-3 13 @ARI --
5 @DET L 6-44 14 @NO --
6 SD W 20-17 15 KC --
7 @TB -- 16 SF --
8 CAR -- 17 @SEA --
9 Bye - - - -
Rams Report | Statistics | Roster
ST. LOUIS at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford - - 220,2
RB Steven Jackson 110 30 -
WR Brandon Gibson - 30,1 -
WR Danny Amendola - 40 -
WR Danario Alexander - 70,1 -
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Taking down the visiting Chargers may have been the sweetest victory this year. Never mind that they had injuries to most of their receivers, the Rams are now 3-3 and have a very legitimate shot at winning the division this year. The defense has been outstanding in most games and Sam Bradford looks like the dawning of yet another great quarterback. A win here and then again when the Panthers visit next week means a 5-3 team goes on bye.

QUARTERBACK:Sam Bradford passed for 198 yards and one score against the Chargers last week and for the first time in his career - he threw no interceptions. He currently has seven touchdowns against eight interceptions but as a rookie on what was thought to be a bad team he just continually impresses. He's already a lock for the Rookie of the Year.

On Sunday he faces the Buccaneers who have allowed eight touchdowns over the last three games and never less than two. Teams do not pass for high yardage against the Bucs but multiple scores are becoming a trend. Look for at least a decent game here from the rookie with two scores and healthy but not big yardage. Steven Jackson should take up some time rushing.

RUNNING BACKS: Steven Jackson has notched his second 100 rushing yard game when he gained 109 yards on 29 carries against the Chargers. He also scored for only the second time this year. Jackson is running better as the season progresses but has not scored on the road yet.

The Buccaneers have only given up three rushing touchdowns this year and yet each one came in a home game. The Buccaneers have also allowed over 140 rushing yards to each of the last three primary backs they have faced. Look for healthy yardage here but likely no score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Bradford did not focus on only one receiver last week when he was trying to replace Mark Clayton who went on injured reserve. But Mardy Gilyard only had one catch and a hamstring injury. Danny Amendola followed up his 12 catch effort in Detroit with only three catches for 19 yards. Brandon Gibson only managed 33 yards on three catches. But the glass slipper appears to fit the undrafted rookie. Danario Alexander caught four of his five targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. Alexander was overlooked in the NFL draft because of his multiple knee surgeries in his past including as recently as last February that prevented him from going to the combine or a Pro Day. But the 6'5" rookie has signed a four-year deal with the Buccaneers and after just one game looks encouraging. Alexander had soreness in his knee after the game but it was not expected to be a problem.

The Buccaneers big weakness is against wide receivers and they have already allowed eight touchdowns to the position. I like both of the scores to end up within this group but assigning them out is a risky job. Have to like what Alexander did in his one game from the same split end spot that has been so troublesome to the Bucs this season. The other is almost randomly awarded to Brandon Gibson who only has one other score this year.

TIGHT ENDS: Michael Hoomanawanui is back but only had one catch for five yards. He's worth keeping an eye on still but not yet worth owning. The Rams do intend to integrate him into the passing game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 23 22 14 27 18 18
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 19 27 24 12 5 15
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) STL -4 5 10 -15 -13 -3


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CLE W 17-14 10 CAR --
2 @CAR W 20-7 11 @SF --
3 PIT L 13-38 12 @BAL --
4 Bye - 13 ATL --
5 @CIN W 24-21 14 @WAS --
6 NO L 6-31 15 DET --
7 STL -- 16 SEA --
8 @ARI -- 17 @NO --
9 @ATL -- - - -
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 20 - 210,1
RB Carnell Williams 30 40 -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 30 -
WR Mike Williams - 60,1 -
WR Michael Spurlock - 20 -
WR Sammie Stroughter - 30 -
PK Conner Barth 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers come off a slaughter at the hands of the visiting Saints and aside from the win in Cincy, this team looks worse than the record suggests. The two opening wins came against teams who had combined for only one win this year and the two losses were by 25 points each. The rushing game doesn't exist and the passing attack is average on a good day. This week is likely the last that the Bucs see a winning record.

QUARTERBACK: Josh Freeman continues to post average numbers and he has only passed for two scores over the last three games. To his credit he has only thrown for three interceptions this season but stats are lagging in all other categories. Freeman gets to face a Rams secondary that has allowed all but one opponent to throw for a touchdown but the yardage allowed has been on the low side.

The Rams secondary is slightly better than average so far but the passing here is distinctly under par. Expect the standard Freeman game and be happy to see that much.

RUNNING BACKS: The Buccaneers are still starting Carnell Williams because of his pass blocking skills and Freeman does need to pass in every game. But Williams may end up setting some sort of record. He has been the full-time back for all five games and gained only 190 yards on 76 rushes for an embarrassing 38 yards per game average and just 2.5 yards per carry. He's actually gotten worse as the season progresses and his last three games only produced 64 yards on 27 carries. Needless to say, he has not yet scored though he showed up last week with a surprising 63 yards on seven receptions against the Saints. Williams does matter as a receiver when the defense is tough.

Kareem Huggins was hopeful to step in and contribute but he landed on injured reserve this week because of a torn right ACL. Earnest Graham aggravated a hamstring injury as well but is expected back this week and should see at least a few carries. The rookie LeGarrette Blount was inactive last week but should also see some work now but there is no sense in relying on any of these backs. Williams will remain the primary back because he can pass block. That alone speaks volumes about the problems here. Optimists will still hold out that Blount can show up and play a significant role but nothing the Bucs have done so far suggests that is likely to happen.

Bad enough that the Bucs cannot run but the Rams have only allowed two touchdowns by running backs and only once given up more than 67 yards to any runner. Expect more of the abject mediocrity here as a rusher though Williams should tack on at least minor yardage as a receiver.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Michael Spurlock has two scores on the year but only eight catches and no real yardage. This unit is limited to little more than Mike Williams who started the season with three touchdowns in his first four weeks but comes off a four catch, 45 yard performance against the Saints. Sammie Stroughter produces stats like a blocking tight end. The only question every week is if Williams can score. No Bucs wideout has produced more than 51 yards in a game besides Williams.

The Rams are a bit weaker against wideouts and have allowed six touchdowns to the position along with several nice yardage games. Look for a decent effort here by Williams that could warrant a start for a fantasy team. He has a good shot at the one touchdown this week but has been locked in around 50 yards or so in almost every game.

TIGHT ENDS: Kellen Winslow Jr. certainly has the look of a star player that has succumbed to a physical condition. He has yet to score a touchdown but his yardage remains moderate for at tight end with an average around 50 yards per game. The Rams have been outstanding against tight ends this year though and they have faced numerous good ones. Temper any expectations of Winslow this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 14 26 22 19 27 14
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 13 13 23 2 26 23
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) TB -1 -13 1 -17 -1 9

WEEK 7
2010
PHI at TEN STL at TB BUF at BAL MIN at GB
CIN at ATL SF at CAR ARI at SEA NYG at DAL
CLE at NO WAS at CHI OAK at DEN DET, HOU
  PIT at MIA JAC at KC NE at SD IND, NYJ
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