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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 Jacquizz Rodgers 30 5-30
WR DeSean Jackson 6-80,1

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 Jameis Winston, TB @CAR 20000021012 ***
Winston's Week 8 game against the Panthers was his worst fantasy effort with more than 13 attempts this year. Over the past five weeks, Carolina has been slaughtered by the position. No team has been worse, in fact. In those contests, quarterbacks averaged 286.5 yards (2nd) and a TD every 10.8 connections (4th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Peyton Barber, TB @CAR 4002200000 **
Barber probably will see the majority of the touches, though he has a matchup that isn't too appealing. Carolina has given up a TD every 25.3 totes since Week 10, which is good for ninth. Otherwise, every other notable fantasy determinant is in the bottom half of the league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @CAR 007700000 ***
No team has provided receivers more receptions (15.8), yards (204.5), standard fantasy points (31.1) and PPR points (43) per outing than the Panthers in the past five weeks. Evans caught 50 percent of his Week 8 targets for a 5-60-0 line vs. Carolina.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Humphries, TB @CAR 004500000 ***
Humphries could see a few more looks if D-Jax doesn't play. Even then, his role is limited. Despite the upside of the best matchup of the week, starting him is tough to justify.

Update: Jackson will not play in Week 16.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Cameron Brate, TB @CAR 006601000 ***
Carolina presents a so-so matchup -- tough on receptions, easier on allowing scores -- for Brate. His role will be increased by the severity of O.J. Howard's injury, one that has landed him on IR.

Update: Brate (hip, knee) is questionable and was limited in practice all week. He's a gametime decision.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, TB @CAR 2222 ***
The Chargers present the fourth-worst matchup for each of FGAs per game, fantasy points per contest, combined kicking chances and possible fantasy points since Week 10.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @CAR 2211 ***
The weekly rates of 2.25 FGAs and 2.75 XPAs translate to the 11th-most fantasy points out of the seventh-highest possible figure.

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
WR Torrey Smith 4-50,1
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

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR TB 60100017010 ***
Cam was lousy in the Week 8 contest at Tampa. This go-around, he has thrown just one pick since that contest and has a pair of four-TD games mixed in with a pair of outings in which he failed to throw a scoring strike. Tampa Bay has permitted 271.8 yards (4th) per outing but also has the fifth-strongest defense for touchdown efficiency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR TB 6015300000 ***
Tampa is not a great matchup on paper for receiving backs (30th in receptions), though it is the best place to find a rushing score. The rookie has a spot in all lineups this week, even though he was good for just 9.8 PPR points in the last match with Tampa. This time around, the Bucs are facing several key injuries on defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Devin Funchess, CAR TB 003501000 ***
Funchess (shoulder) is playing hurt but has remained productive-ish with two TDs in his last three games on only eight catches. In Week 8, he went for a 2-11-0 line on six looks vs. Tampa. The Buccaneers have given up 202.2 yards on 15 receptions per game (both No. 2 in the league) since Week 10, allowing a TD every 12.5 snags (14th).

Update: Funchess sat Wednesday and Thursday before returning to a limited session Friday. He probably will play, but gamers should check the inactives to be safe.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, CAR TB 001200000 ***
Smith has not been enough of a factor to consider him as anything more than the wildest of flex gambles for deeeeeeep leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR TB 005600000 ***
Olsen proved he was healthy in Week 14 by playing 92 percent of the offensive snaps, and he was no worse for wear during the week. In Week 15, he put it together for a 26.6-point PPR day. The veteran missed the earlier meeting and was good for 12 catches, 203 yards and no scores in two games last season. Furthermore, the Bucs are beaten up on defense right now.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR TB 1144 ***
This is a top-five matchup for extra point chances but only 15th for the more valuable three-point attempts. Kickers have averaged a moderate 7.6 fantasy points a game vs. the Bucs.

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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