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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 6
2011
BUF at NYG * HOU at BAL NO at TB * MIA at NYJ (mon)
CAR at ATL * IND at CIN * PHI at WAS ARI, DEN
CLE at OAK JAC at PIT SF at DET KC, SD
*Updated * DAL at NE * MIN at CHI STL at GB SEA, TEN

Prediction: NO 30, TB 17

Players to Watch: None

The Saints are 4-1 with a four game winning streak and the back end of a three game road trek. The offense remains near-prolific each week and comes off a close win over the pesky Panthers. The Buccaneers return home with a 3-2 record after being crushed into a fine powder by the 49ers with their 45 point win. Facing the Saints is not the place the Bucs should look for a bounce back.

The Saints won 31-6 in Tampa Bay last year.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL -
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG -
4 @JAC 23-10 13 DET -
5 @CAR 30-27 14 @TEN -
6 @TB - 15 @MIN -
7 IND - 16 ATL -
8 @STL - 17 CAR -
9 TB - - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 320,3
RB Mark Ingram 40 - -
RB Darren Sproles 50 40,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 80,1 -
WR Marques Colston - 50,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 50 -
WR Devery Henderson - 30 -
WR Robert Meachem - 50 -
PK John Kasay 3 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Getting past the Panthers was tougher than expected but at least that road game is out of the way. With a less formidable Falcons team in the division, it appears that not only will the Saints potentially run the table or at least be close, but that their season opener in Green Bay may well end up as the season ender in the NFC Championship game.

QUARTERBACK: Always a top quarterback, Drew Brees has passed for 12 touchdowns on the season and only once not passed for 300+ yards. He is averaging 354 yards per game and only has five interceptions. He is also more productive in road games than at home.

Brees passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns in Tampa Bay last year.

The Buccaneers are not the same ones from last year. They have already allowed three quarterbacks to pass for over 280 yards and Brees is the best one yet to face them. Brees will have a good game here but he will not need a great one to win. But even that may not stop him.

RUNNING BACKS: It is sort of painful to see so many fantasy points coming out of the Saints backfield and know that it is being divided into FOURTHS. Darren Sproles remains the best bet as a dual threat and he does "cut the top off" all other running backs with up to 100 total yards per week. Pierre Thomas was sort of a hanger on for ten touches per week and finally had a touchdown reception against the Panthers.

Mark Ingram scored for the second time but only had nine carries for 32 yards as the short yardage back but even he once again gave way to fullback Jed Collins for his second score of the year. Collins currently has two carries for one net yard and a score plus one catch for one yard and a touchdown on the season.

This is getting ridiculous but points at how prolific this offense has been spitting up 30+ point games.

The Saints rushed for 210 yards and one touchdown in Tampa Bay last season. Chris Ivory gained 158 yards on 15 carries.

The Buccaneers have been far better against the running backs when in Tampa Bay though only DET and ATL have been there and there are questions about their respective rushing offenses anyway. Bottom line here - Sproles is always a decent play for at least yardage and you have about a 50/50 shot at Ingram getting a touchdown and some minor yardage. Both Thomas and apparently Collins will figure in as well. Imagine if only one player was doing all that running... shudder.. that would be wonderful.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This is where there has been some neutering going on. Only one touchdown to a wideout since week two and no big games since as well. Devery Henderson started the year with two 100+ yard games with a score and since has only one catch in the last two weeks. Lance Moore averages around 40 yards per game lately while Marques Colston has never scored and is the only wideout with a game over 60 yards in the last two weeks. Robert Meachem started with a score in each of the first three games and has averaged around 50 yards with no score in the last two weeks.

The success of both Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham has meant that Saints wideouts have never looked as unproductive. And there are four of them to feed each week making it less likely any have much fantasy value.

Moore (2-57) and Meachem (4-71) both scored in Tampa Bay last year. Colston caught five passes for 53 yards.

The wideouts have a good chance for a score this week but it could end up with any of the four. Colston has been improving since missing two weeks and is as good a risk as any. The secondary is not that great and gave up big yardages to top wideouts. That gets washed out by the volume of receivers here but still should end up with at least marginal games for most.

TIGHT ENDS: The Saints never used the tight end position much but perhaps they were just waiting on Jimmy Graham to show up. He has become an elite player and at current rate the top at his position. Graham has three straight games of over 100 yards - as a tight end. There have been no wideouts with a 100 yard game in the last three weeks. Graham has dominated the passing game and truly taken a big step forward this season.

Graham should be a lock to score this week against a defense that has already allowed five touchdowns to the position to lesser players than Graham. The 49ers threw three scores to theirs last week with Vernon Davis getting two. Graham is a must start in a good situation this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 2 10 2 3 23
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 16 18 18 28 21 14


Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DET 20-27 10 HOU -
2 @MIN 24-20 11 @GB -
3 ATL 16-13 12 @TEN -
4 IND 24-17 13 CAR -
5 @SF 3-48 14 @JAC -
6 NO - 15 DAL -
7 CHI - 16 @CAR -
8 Bye - 17 @ATL -
9 @NO -      
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 30,1 - 220,1
RB Earnest Graham 50 60 -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 30,1 -
WR Preston Parker - 40 -
WR Mike Williams - 50 -
WR Arrelious Benn - 30 -
PK Conner Barth 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Just when the Bucs were on a nice three game winning streak including beating the Falcons, they take a trip to the Bay Area where they get pummeled and nothing works. To make matters worse now LeGarrette Blount is nursing a knee injury while the passing game continues to be MIA after being a surprise in 2010. This year's version of the Buccaneers are no different than was expected last year when they posted a surprising amount of touchdowns. This year - not so much.

QUARTERBACK: Still taking that big old step backwards, Josh Freeman still has only one passing touchdown over the last three games but his only saving grace has been a running touchdown in each of the last two home games. Freeman is just not connecting for scores this year and already has six interceptions against his three passing scores. It is just not happening for Freeman who not only is not having anyone step up, Mike Williams is taking a step backwards and that eliminates the only positive development that this passing attack has seen in years.

Josh Freeman passed for 219 yards and one score on the visiting Saints last year.

The Saints secondary is likely average but the Bucs can only dream of being anything more than mediocre when they pass. Expect the normal moderate showing by Freeman but with a chance for more rushing yards and a score since Blount may not play.

RUNNING BACKS: It appears that LeGarrette Blount will miss this week with a sore knee and that Earnest Graham will take his place. Kregg Lumpkin would get a small bump up in work load but Graham makes an interesting choice this week since he is a decent runner but also an accomplished receiver out of the backfield which almost certainly will come into play this week. Graham already has a season high eight catches for 58 yards when the Lions showed up and this should be similar.

The Bucs only gained 36 yards on 14 carries when the Saints visited last season.

The Saints have been decent against the run though mostly because they get a lead and opposing runners rarely get more than a dozen carries. But the Saints have twice allowed over 100 yards to running backs as receivers. Graham could be a nice fill-in play for a bye week you did not plan for - just get him before the Blount guy realizes he needs him more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mike Williams appears committed to being the next Michael Clayton. Big surprise as a rookie with 11 touchdowns and yet only one this year in the season opener and only marginal yardage each week. Arrelious Benn is stuck below 50 yards every week though he does have one touchdown this year. Preston Parker is the surprise here with a score and two games over 70 yards. Overall - pretty meager stats for all and only the undrafted slot guy seems to matter.

Williams only managed 45 yards on four catches on the Saints last year.

There is a chance for a score here but no wideout has anymore chance than another and it could just as easily end up with a tight end or even a running back. Parker is now the only possible fantasy play and even then for just a bit of yardage. Even he only had one catch in two of the last three games.

TIGHT ENDS: This has been the year of disappointing stats and Kellen Winslow Jr is no different. While he has turned in over 45 yards in most games, he never scores and has only a 43 yard average per game. There is a chance that he could score this week since he has been better in most home games and the Saints have already allowed three touchdowns to the position. Plus the wideouts here are doing so little anyway. It is a risk to rely on anything that Winslow does but for this week he is the slightly better chance for a score. Slightly.

Winslow turned in seven catches for 43 yards against the Saints in 2010.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 22 19 28 20 21 19
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 24 24 17 19 15 15

WEEK 6
2011
BUF at NYG HOU at BAL NO at TB MIA at NYJ (mon)
CAR at ATL IND at CIN PHI at WAS ARI, DEN
CLE at OAK JAC at PIT SF at DET KC, SD
  DAL at NE MIN at CHI STL at GB SEA, TEN

a d v e r t i s e m e n t