Game Predictions & Player Projections - STL vs. ARI

Game Predictions & Player Projections - STL vs. ARI


Game Predictions & Player Projections - STL vs. ARI

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Prediction: STL 13, ARI 34 (Line: ARI by 6.5)

UPDATE: Andre Ellington is listed as questionable to play and will be a game time decision according to HC Bruce Arians. He also said that Chris Johnson would be the starter so even if Ellington is able to play, he won’t be the starter and won’t get his normal cut of the carries. I am dropping Ellington from the projections and bumping up Johnson. John Brown was limited in practices but is probable to play and not expected to be limited.

The Rams have not fared nearly so well after taking down the Seahawks in the opener and now are on the road where they were last beaten by the Redskins. The Cardinals are are almost too good to believe, leading the NFL in scoring with 42 points per game. The Cardinals swept the Rams last year. They won 12-6 in St. Louis and 31-14 in Arizona.

St. Louis Rams

1 SEA 34-31 10 CHI ——
2 @WAS 10-24 11 @BAL ——
3 PIT 6-12 12 @CIN ——
4 @ARI —— 13 ARI ——
5 @GB —— 14 DET ——
6 BYE —— 15 TB ——
7 CLE —— 16 @SEA ——
8 SF —— 17 @SF ——
9 @MIN ——  
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Pregame Notes: Trading quarterbacks with the Eagles doesn’t appear to have helped either team. The Rams initial win over the Seahawks did not have a lot to do with the offense that so far has just three touchdowns on the season. There is not even a hint of a rushing attack and the passing numbers have plummeted since week one. The defense s still good when at home but on the road for the next two weeks is going to be tough – at Arizona and at Green Bay. Chances are pretty high that the Rams reach their Week 6 bye with a 1-5 record.

QUARTERBACK : Nick Foles opened the year with 297 yards in the overtime win over the Seahawks but only threw one touchdown that week and just one in the loss to the Redskins. Worse yet, facing the weak Steelers’ secondary only produced 197 yards and no touchdowns. Foles has no real fantasy value and no reason to expect any soon.

RUNNING BACK : The much anticipated debut of Todd Gurley was less than thrilling since he took six carries and only gained nine yards. He added one catch for five yards. Tre Mason (9-16) was no better and the only real production from the backfield was one long catch by Benny Cunningham in the season opener. There was no reason to start a Rams back anyway, but now that Gurley is starting to get work it ensures that no individual back is going to matter for a while. The only hope is that Gurley gets into the groove over the next few weeks and becomes a full-time back. After the Week 6 bye, he’ll have three nice home games (CLE, SF and CHI) over the next four weeks. Since the opener, no back here had more than nine carries in a game.

WIDE RECEIVER : With Foles throwing sub-200 yard games, it is only natural that the wideouts have minimal value. This is the same set of receivers from last year and the results are no different. Kenny Britt managed to catch seven passes for 102 yards against the Steelers but no other wideout has remotely mattered. And Britt was held to just two receptions in each of the first two games. No reason to look here for receiver help.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value. Jared Cook had five catches in each of the first two games and then just one last week. This is no different than the last few years.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This may not go very well. The Cardinals have only allowed two passing touchdowns and just held the 49ers to a total of 67 passing yards. No rusher gained more than 61 yards on the Cards and that includes Matt Forte and Carlos Hyde. The only reasonable fantasy start here would be… no… just not here. Based on the first three weeks, the only positive offense here would come in trash time and could go anywhere.

Gaining Fantasy Points STL 28 32 22 12 14 8
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 8 10 6 5 23 3

Arizona Cardinals

1 NO 31-19 10 @SEA ——
2 @CHI 48-23 11 CIN ——
3 SF 47-7 12 @SF ——
4 STL —— 13 @STL ——
5 @DET —— 14 MIN ——
6 @PIT —— 15 @PHI ——
7 BAL —— 16 GB ——
8 @CLE —— 17 SEA ——
9 BYE ——  
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Pregame Notes: After three straight wins and none by fewer than 12 points, the Cardinals are the newest powerhouse in the NFC. The defense has been among the best for a few seasons but the return of Carson Palmer has energized this offense. The Rams only have two passing touchdowns? Palmer already threw nine scores. The return of Andre Ellington may muddle the backfield picture but this is a team that is operating on all levels. The few toughest matchups they face will all be at home this year.

QUARTERBACK : Three weeks in and Carson Palmer is a top five quarterback with two 300+ yard games and nine scores. While he threw two interceptions so far, he’s only been sacked once and is getting nice support from the rushing offense as well. Palmer’s departure last year sunk the offense but his return has energized everything. The next month will see him face good defenses and so far he’s not been very challenged.

RUNNING BACK : Andre Ellington opened the year with 12 runs for 69 yards and a score before injuring his PCL and missing the next two games. He’s expected to return which only makes the backfield harder to forecast. Chris Johnson comes off a very nice effort over the 49ers when he ran 22 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. David Johnson ran for 42 yards and a score in Week 2. He had a 55-yard touchdown catch in Week 1. The Cardinals actually have options at running back now but that doesn’t help fantasy leaguers trying to cash in.

Johnson will see reduced carries with Ellington back but won’t be sent to the sidelines. For now, the assumption has to be that all three will have active roles this week. In the season opener, only Ellington and Johnson had touches though.

WIDE RECEIVER : This is another spot where it may be getting more complicated. Larry Fitzgerald is enjoying a rebirth of his career with Palmer back. He caught five touchdowns already and topped 100 yards in each of the last two games. He’s returned to being the primary wideout and gets around ten targets per game. John Brown scored just once in the season opener and has been stuck around 50 to 60 yards per week. But Michael Floyd is finally starting to resume his role as the #2 in this offense. He only had one catch for 12 yards last week but was thrown five targets just like Brown. At this point, Floyd is going to work against Brown and yet neither are going to be that attractive for a fantasy start particularly with tougher matchups coming down the road.

Floyd may be on a few waiver wires out there in smaller leagues. But he could become a much bigger factor in the coming weeks.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams have only allowed two passing touchdowns but play less tough in road games. They also gave up two rushing scores and 123 yards to Matt Jones in the only road game this year. Palmer is a worthy start but less likely to have a big game here. Fitzgerald faces a good secondary but Antonio Brown just caught 11 passes for 108 yards in St. Louis last week. Beyond Palmer and Fitzgerald, the others all carry risk. Ellington is a definite consideration here but how much he might share with Johnson is not certain and there is always the chance that this is a week of easing him back in. Ellington is the most attractive start of the running backs but that assumes he is healthy.

Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 6 2 2 21 11 1
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 2 27 3 16 22 27

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