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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Friday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
*Updated

Prediction: TB 13 , NO 31

Update: Derrick was added to the injury report as questionable to play because of a knee problem. He was a late addition. There's been no word on what happened on Friday to his knee but be aware of the situation in the highly, highly unlikely chance you want to reply on Derrick Ward this week. Jeremy Shockey is listed as questionable and was limited in practice but may still play despite his turf toe. He would be much too risky to rely on in any case this week. Reggie Bush is expected to play this week with no limitation.

The Buccaneers comes off their second win of the season and in a road game no less when they dominated the Seahawks. The Saints remain at home after their first loss so both come into this differently than expected. The Saints have clinched the division but have not yet clinched homefield throughout which happen this week and make the final game one to rest players.

The Saints won 38-7 in Tampa Bay during week 11.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL 21-34 +5 39
2 @BUF 20-33 +4 41
3 NYG 0-24 +7 44
4 @WAS 13-16 +7 37
5 @PHI 14-33 +16 42.5
6 CAR 21-28 +3 39
7 NE 7-35 +15.5 44.5
8 BYE - - -
9 GB 38-28 +10 43.5
10 @MIA 23-25 +10 43
11 NO 7-38 +10.5 51
12 @ATL 17-20 +12 46
13 @CAR 6-16 +3.5 40
14 NYJ 3-26 +3.5 36.5
15 @SEA 24-7 +6.5 39
16 @NO - +14.5 50
17 ATL - - -
TB at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman     200
RB Carnell Williams 50,1 10  
RB Derrick Ward 40 10  
TE Kellen Winslow Jr.   80  
WR Antonio Bryant   50  
WR Michael Clayton   30  
PK Conner Barth 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers have probably given the first pick in the NFL draft to the Rams but a win stopped a five game slide and gives the team something to build on. For perhaps the first time this season, the Bucs were firing on all cylinders and looked the way that was expected back in week one. With the season finale coming at home against the Falcons, the Bucs can end the year on a high note.

Quarterback: The rookie Josh Freeman turned around a two game stretch with no scores and had two touchdowns and 205 yards in Seattle. That gives him nine scores on the year against 14 interceptions but five of those all came in the same game. Freeman has been as good as hoped and gives promise to the future.

Freeman passed for 126 yards and one score against the Saints in week 11.

The Saints pass defense has been very good this year and even against the Cowboys in the only loss they only allowed one touchdown. Over the seven home games there, the Saints have only allowed four passing scores. Freeman could have a chance for one score but no more and most likely no touchdowns.

Running Backs: Derrick Ward was given the heavier load last week for the first time all season. He ran 19 times for 67 yards in Seattle while Carnell Williams rushed 12 times for 66 yards. Both scored in the game but only as receivers and in their only catches in the game. The Buccaneers rarely employ the backs as receivers and while there was once marginal fantasy value in Williams when they hosted a weak team, now there can be no reliability on the Bucs backfield. They have only scored four rushing touchdowns on the season.

The Saints rushing defense has been their downfall with 16 touchdowns allowed and most of those in recent games. The Cowboys Marion Barber was able to stop a five game scoreless streak with two touchdowns last week. Laurence Maroney had two there. The Bucs are poor bets to score a touchdown but if it happens, it will more likely be on the ground. I will award it to Williams but it could go to Ward or end up as a pass.

The Bucs rushed for 58 yards on 18 carries in the previous meeting with the Saints.

Wide Receivers: The Buccaneers placed Sammie Stroughter on injured reserve because of his broken foot but he'll be back next summer. Stroughter was easily the best wideout after Antonio Bryant and gives the team a player that can help continue to build the offense. Antonio Bryant has been quiet for two weeks while facing good secondaries or because the team did not need him but he had two big games a few weeks ago and is finally healthy this year.

The Saints have only allowed four scores to wideouts visiting this year so do not expect much from Bryant who has been quiet recently anyway. The loss of Stroughter makes Bryant that much more the focus of the secondary and aside from Roddy White and Miles Austin, no wideout has done much in New Orleans.

Bryant had three catches for 40 yards versus the Saints this season.

Tight Ends: Like Bryant,Kellen Winslow has been rather quiet lately and not scored since week nine. He did show up in Seattle with 93 yards on six catches and has virtually all of his best games on the road. The Saints have allowed only one touchdown to a tight end but numerous players have turned in 50 or more yards against the Saints. Expect a decent yardage effort here.

Winslow caught five passes for 29 yards versus the Saints earlier this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 25 31 31 8 32 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 7 23 25 8 23 9


New Orleans Saints (13-1)
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 45-27 -13.5 49
2 @PHI 48-22 +3 46.5
3 @BUF 27-7 -5.5 52.5
4 NYJ 24-10 -6.5 46
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG 48-27 -3 47
7 @MIA 46-34 -6 48
8 ATL 35-27 -10 54
9 CAR 30-20 -14 52
10 @STL 28-23 -14 50.5
11 @TB 38-7 -10.5 51
12 NE 38-17 -3 56
13 @WAS 33-30 -9 46.5
14 @ATL 26-23 -10 50.5
15 DAL 17-24 -7.5 53.5
16 TB - -14.5 50
17 @CAR - - -
NO vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees     260,2
RB Pierre Thomas 70,1 50  
RB Mike Bell 50,1    
TE David Thomas   20  
WR Marques Colston   70,1  
WR Devery Henderson   50  
WR Robert Meachem   50,1  
PK Garrett Hartley 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: And with that the pressure is off. The Saints went through many scares this year but always wound up on top but it finally fell short against the Cowboys. Now the Saints need to win one more - or have the Vikings lose again - and they wrap up homefield throughout the playoffs and they can rest players next week in Carolina. The Buccaneers at home is about as good as it gets.

The Saints have provided numerous fantasy stars this year so it was with some disappointment when last week saw only Lance Moore and Mike Bell score touchdowns.

Quarterback: Drew Brees only had one touchdown last week for the first non-multiple score game in six weeks but he still threw for 298 yards in the loss to the Cowboys. His 33 touchdowns are still tops in the league and he passed for 187 yards and three touchdowns in the last meeting with the Buccaneers.

With homefield in the playoffs still up for grabs, Brees will be up for this game. Week 17 may be a different situation all together.

Running Backs: Reggie Bush suffered a hamstring pull last week but HC Sean Payton said it was not a serious strain and he expected him to practice this week. With the Saints not needing him to win this week, I will not project for Bush because he is not a lock to play and may not do much even if he is active because getting his hamstring healed is more important for the postseason.

Mike Bell scored last week despite only getting four carries for eight yards. He remains too inconsistently used to warrant any fantasy consideration. Pierre Thomas was not much of a runner in the Dallas loss but continues his role as a receiver with four straight games of over 50 receiving yards.

Thomas ran for 92 yards on just 11 carries in Tampa Bay this year and Mike gained 75 yards on 13 runs with two touchdowns in that game. This should be a good game for both players, especially if Bush does not play.

Wide Receivers: Lance Moore returned from his ankle injury of the last six weeks and had just one catch - the lone passing touchdown. He's no threat to wrangle back his starter spot from Robert Meachem but will provide Brees with yet another target that you do not own.

Back in week 11, Marques Colston had five catches for 74 yards in Tampa Bay while Meachem only caught two passes for ten yards - both of them touchdowns. Played at home, expect a normal distribution of passes this week.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey was out last week because of a high ankle sprain and was replaced by David Thomas who had a surprising eight catches for 77 yards in the loss to the Cowboys. I will assume that Thomas again takes Shockey's place. Shockey only had two catches for 17 yards against the Buccaneers in the previous meeting.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 2 7 9 4 2
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 17 24 20 24 27 21

The Huddle
WEEK 16
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Friday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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