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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: TB 27, CAR 17 (Line: TB by 1)

Players to Watch: Doug Martin, Cam Newton, Steve Smith

This is a replay of the season opener when the Buccaneers won 16-10. Now the 5-4 Bucs are on a three game winning streak while scoring over 34 points in four of the last five games. The 2-7 Panthers are only 1-4 at home and have not scored more than 22 points in the last six weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD 34-24
2 @NYG 34-41 11 @CAR -----
3 @DAL 10-16 12 ATL -----
4 WAS 22-24 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC 38-10 15 @NO -----
7 NO 28-35 16 STL -----
8 @MIN 36-17 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK 42-32 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TB @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 290,2
RB Doug Martin 100,1 5-30
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 30 5-30
WR DeSean Jackson 6-80,1
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers stumbled out of the blocks with a new running back, wideout and coaching staff. At their bye, they were only 1-3. And then it caught fire. The defense still leaves a lot to be desired but the offense is more balanced and formidable than it has in at least a decade. Not only that but it is very young with room to grow in every area.

Josh Freeman threw for multiple scores in each of the last five weeks with a total of 18 touchdowns already and a personal best of 420 passing yards in the Saints game. Freeman only passed for 138 yards in that season opener with the Panthers but has been not only very productive, but he has not thrown an interception in the last four games.

Doug Martin is also a big reason for the offensive explosion lately. He's already scored eight times this year and topped 100 total yards in each of his last five outings. He's not only being used as a workhorse back, but he's adding three or four receptions each week. Martin is so good that lately get all but maybe one or two carries in the game. LeGarrette Blount watched what was probably his entire NFL career disappear in the last month. In his first game ever, Martin ran for 95 yards and added four catches for 23 yards in the first meeting with the Panthers.

The Buccaneers also made a great move when they added Vincent Jackson. He's already scored six times and and half his games have been over 85 yards including the 216 yards he gained against the Saints. He's been better in home games than on the road and started the year with only 47 yards on four catches versus the Panthers. Mike Williams scored in the season opener and totals five touchdowns so far with two efforts over 100 yards. He's been a near lock for around 50 ot 60 yards in most games and has been aided by the addition of Jackson who lets Williams take the single coverage.

The first meeting was low scoring but unlike the Panthers, the Buccaneers offense has greatly improved to the point of being a top scorer in the NFL for the last month. As bad as their secondary has been - they need the offense.

What works this week is Martin facing the #27 defense against running backs.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 15 8 12 28 11 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 10 27 9 11 32 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB @MIA 0000025010 ***
Fitz once again starts in place of the injured Jameis Winston. Miami was whacked in Week 10 and presents an interesting matchup. Quarterbacks have averaged only 226.4 passing yards, which is the 10th fewest, but have thrown a touchdown once every 8.7 completions -- the second-softest clip in football.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Doug Martin, TB @MIA 500000000 ***
Despite a great matchup, Martin isn't a top candidate for fantasy success. Say he has a better game than expected, the floor is awfully low and the ceiling is relatively low, as well. Miami is a much better opponent for gamers in non-PPR scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB @MIA 1003200000 ***
In the last five games, Miami has given up just 19 receptions (28th) and 31.8 yards (26th) per game. One of those catches scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @MIA 004701000 ***
A one-game break is over, and Evans will return from his suspension for a blindside hit two weeks ago. The Buccaneers remain without Jameis Winston (shoulder). Miami should be a reasonable opponent for exploitation purposes. While the reception volume is low against this defense, wideouts have found the end zone at the highest clip in football when facing Miami.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeSean Jackson, TB @MIA 004500000 ***
Mike Evans returns this week and pushes D-Jax back into sitting shotgun. The Dolphins have surrendered wide receiver touchdowns at the highest rate of any team, which is interesting since this is the fifth-best defense at limiting catches. Sounds exactly like a matchup for Jackson to exploit, so there is at least some upside to this conservative projection.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Humphries, TB @MIA 003300000 ***
Humphries will continue to work out of the slot and have a minor role in the offense. Playing him is asking for trouble. Miami has given up only 9.6 receptions per contest to wideouts, although one in 6.9 have scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Cameron Brate, TB @MIA 004500000 *
Tight ends have posted healthy numbers when facing Miami. The position has averaged 5.6 snares for 57.8 yards and a score every 9.3 receptions -- all top-12 figures.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @MIA 3311 ***
A 3.8 XPA-per-game average is tops in football. Allowing just six of the eight field goals, spread over five games, is far from encouraging, though.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB -----
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI -----
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC -----
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 50,1 280,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 40 2-10
TE Greg Olsen 5-60

Pregame Notes: The Panthers won only one of their last six games and at 2-7 the worst of all outcomes is happening. Last week in the blowout loss to the Broncos, Steve Smith was on the bench later in the game because HC Ron Rivera wanted to take a look at the younger players. He said "We're at a point now where we're looking at guys." That means you probably cannot rely on anyone other than Cam Newton. Take away trash time and garbage yards and you remove the best of Steve Smith and Greg Olsen.

Newton comes off one of his best passing games of the year when he threw for 241 yards and two scores on the Broncos in a game that got out of hand early. He also only ran for seven yards on fours which makes the third time this year that he did not even gain ten yards as a runner. The first time was the season opener when he only ran for four yards on five runs in Tampa Bay. He passed for 303 yards and one score in that game with two interceptions.

Guessing who does what as a running back is folly here. Jonathan Stewart was promoted into being the primary back but only took eight carries for 31 yards last week while DeAngelo Williams was allowed six runs to gain only six yards. Michael Tolbert also carried twice and added two receptions. This is not only a committee backfield with no true primary back, it is one of the worst backfields in the league. No runner has gained more than 69 yards in any game and the only back who did not contribute to the five rushing touchdowns is Stewart, the supposed primary back. In the season opener, Williams ran for a net one yard loss on six carries while Stewart did not play.

Greg Olsen had a career day in week ten when he caught nine passes for 102 yards and two scores. He had scored just once in the previous nine weeks and was held to fewer than 50 yards for over a month. Olsen made six catches for 56 yards in the season opener.

Steve Smith only caught one pass last week and most of his last six games have remained under 50 yards. Smith has been as good as 118 yards in Chicago but he needs the opponent to stop caring because they know they are going to win. He needs his trash time. Smith is the only wideout for the Panthers of any note and that being taken away from him. He opened the year with seven catches for 106 yards and the Buccaneers secondary is no better. Even Brandon LaFell scored on his three catches for 65 yards in that game though he's mostly disappeared in all games since.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 13 27 29 13 32 9
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 28 20 31 20 13 4

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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