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NFC South Player Analysis
Matt Wilson, FantasySharks.com, Staff Writer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Green Bay Packers)

QB Josh McCown: The Buccaneers will struggle to run the ball consistently as usual, so their offense will live and die with McCown. However, he is just a pedestrian fantasy low-end QB2 play against a Green Bay Packers defense that has allowed an average of 247 passing yards and 2.0 touchdown passes per game since Week 12. ( 234 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 10 yds rush )

QB Mike Glennon: There had been speculation that Tampa Bay would give the second-year pro a couple of late-season starts for evaluation purposes, but the Buccaneers apparently plan to stick with high-priced veteran Josh McCown for the rest of 2014. ( 69 yds pass with 1 TD; 4 yds rush )

RB Doug Martin: Since Week 12, the Green Bay Packers defense has yielded an average of 87.5 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns to enemy running backs. The Packers are softer against the run on the road, but the Martin-led rushing attack usually struggles. In addition, Martin is rarely used as a receiver. Consider him a weak fantasy play. ( 56 yds rush; 2 catches for 14 yds )

RB Charles Sims: The rookie has settled in as Tampa Bay's change-of-pace and passing-down back. Sims, however, has averaged just 8.3 total touches and 46.8 total yards per game since Week 12 with no touchdowns scored. As long as Martin is healthy, Sims lacks fantasy appeal. ( 20 yds rush; 2 catches for 23 yds )

RB Bobby Rainey: Tampa Bay's third-string tailback has touched the ball just eight times since Week 12. Rainey obviously has no fantasy appeal. ( 21 yds rush; 2 catches for 18 yds )

RB Mike James: ( 7 yds rush; 1 catch for 1 yd )

WR Vincent Jackson: Jackson looks like a solid fantasy WR3 option versus a suspect Green Bay Packers secondary that surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers during the last month. Since the Buccaneers lost Louis Murphy (ankle) for the season and lack a seasoned replacement for him, Jackson should be in line for a few extra targets. ( 7 catches for 91 yds )

WR Mike Evans: The rookie wide receiver that made Johnny Manziel a household name during their playing days together at Texas A&M is doing quite nicely in the pros without Manziel. Evans has found the end zone at least once in six of his last seven games. However, Evans hasn't amassed more than 50 receiving yards in a game since Week 11. Keep him in your starting lineup against a suspect Green Bay Packers secondary that gave up the seventh-most fantasy points to the receiver position during the last month. ( 6 catches for 76 yds and 1 TD )

WR Robert Herron: Louis Murphy (ankle) and Russell Shepard (toe) will both miss the rest of the season, so Herron is tentatively penciled in as Tampa Bay's slot receiver. However, with just six catches for 58 yards and one touchdown grab in eight games played on his 2014 r'esum'e, Herron obviously lacks fantasy appeal. ( 2 catches for 18 yds )

WR Russell Shepard: Shepard (toe) has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

TE Brandon Myers: Since Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been placed on season-ending injured reserve, the veteran Myers is expected to get the nod as Tampa Bay's starting tight end. However, Josh McCown has shown little interest in throwing to his tight ends. Myers, who has caught just 18 passes this season, should remain off your fantasy radar. ( 3 catches for 25 yds )

TE Cameron Brate: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

PK Patrick Murray: Even though the Green Bay Packers have given up the 10th-most fantasy points to enemy kickers during the last month, Murray still looks like a weak option. The Buccaneers are frequently playing from behind, which usually means fewer trey attempts for Murray. He hasn't attempted more than two field goals in a game this season. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Forget about the bad showing by the Green Bay Packers offense last week against the Buffalo Bills defense. The Buccaneers are nowhere near as good as the Bills are. The Gerald McCoy-less Tampa Bay defense is a weak play against a Green Bay offense that is usually prolific and very efficient. During the last month, the Buccaneers allowed 22 points per game. They also notched 3.0 sacks and 1.5 takeaways per outing. In the same time period, the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers offense racked up 26.5 points per game. Green Bay also allowed only 1.5 sacks per contest and turned the ball over just twice. The two turnovers were Rodgers' two interceptions against the Bills last week. ( 2 sacks )



New Orleans Saints (vs Atlanta Falcons)

QB Drew Brees: The must-start Brees shouldn't have any problems shredding an Atlanta Falcons defense that allowed an average of 325.8 passing yards and 1.0 touchdown pass per game since Week 12. ( 329 yds pass with 3 TDs and 1 Int; 4 yds rush )

RB Mark Ingram: Last week against the Chicago Bears, he touched the ball 17 times while Pierre Thomas (seven touches) and a finally healthy Khiry Robinson (five touches) operated in complementary roles. In other words, Ingram still owns the New Orleans backfield. Consider him a strong play versus an Atlanta Falcons defense that allowed the second-most fantasy points to enemy running backs since Week 12. ( 90 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 21 yds )

RB Pierre Thomas: His matchup against an Atlanta Falcons defense that yielded the second-most fantasy points to enemy running backs during the last month is obviously a great one. However, Thomas' role in the Saints' backfield remains small. Since Week 12, he has averaged just 8.0 combo touches and 59.8 combo yards per game. In addition, Thomas hasn't scored since Week 6. Consider him a low-upside fantasy RB3 play. ( 26 yds rush; 5 catches for 44 yds )

RB Khiry Robinson: A finally healthy Robinson touched the ball just five times last week while operating as Mark Ingram's backup. As long as Ingram is healthy and running well, Robinson lacks fantasy appeal. ( 34 yds rush; 2 catches for 10 yds )

RB Travaris Cadet: Since Pierre Thomas returned in Week 12, Cadet has received just seven touches. He is miles away from fantasy relevance right now. ( 4 yds rush; 3 catches for 20 yds )

WR Marques Colston: The ninth-year pro has found the end zone and amassed at least 60 receiving yards in three of his last four games. Colston looks like a solid start against an Atlanta Falcons defense that allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts during the last month. ( 6 catches for 71 yds )

WR Kenny Stills: Consider Stills a decent play versus an Atlanta Falcons defense that coughed up the ninth-most fantasy points to enemy receivers during the last four weeks. ( 5 catches for 71 yds )

WR Robert Meachem: ( 1 yd rush; 2 catches for 33 yds )

WR Jalen Saunders: ( )

WR Nick Toon: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

TE Jimmy Graham: The frustration continues for Graham owners. Even though he was more involved in the offense Monday night against the Chicago Bears, No. 3 tight end Josh Hill poached two short touchdown catches. Still, Graham is way too good to bench. ( 6 catches for 72 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ben Watson: ( 1 catch for 13 yds )

TE Josh Hill: ( 1 catch for 13 yds )

PK Shayne Graham: Graham looks like a decent play in what should be a high-scoring contest versus an Atlanta Falcons defense that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers during the last four weeks. ( 4 XPs, 1 FG )

Def New Orleans Saints: Consider the New Orleans defense a weak play against an Atlanta Falcons offense that has improved its offensive line play and cleaned up its mistakes in recent weeks. From Week 12 through Week 15, the Saints surrendered 30.5 points per game. They also averaged 2.3 sacks and 1.5 takeaways per contest. During the same time frame, the Falcons offense scored 27.5 points per game. Atlanta also yielded just 1.3 sacks and committed only 1.3 turnovers per contest. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT )



Atlanta Falcons (vs New Orleans Saints)

QB Matt Ryan: Ryan is coming off his third straight 300-yard game, and he has tossed multiple touchdown passes in four straight. Even if Julio Jones (hip) is sidelined for the second straight week, Ryan is still a strong play against a New Orleans Saints defense that surrendered 274.5 passing yards and 2.0 touchdown passes per game since Week 12. ( 333 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 7 yds rush )

QB T.J. Yates: ( 20 yds pass )

RB Steven Jackson: Even though Jackson is touchdown dependent and rarely receives more than 16 carries per game, he looks like a solid play against a New Orleans Saints defense that yielded an average of 143.8 rushing yards and 1.0 rushing touchdown per contest to enemy running backs during the last month. ( 69 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 21 yds )

RB Jacquizz Rodgers: Steven Jackson's handcuff averaged 5.0 total touches and 25.3 total yards per contest since Week 12. As long as Jackson is healthy, Rodgers shouldn't be on your fantasy radar. ( 19 yds rush; 3 catches for 22 yds )

RB Devonta Freeman: Freeman continues to lack fantasy appeal. The little-used rookie averaged just 5.6 combo touches and 18.8 combo yards per game during the last month. ( 19 yds rush; 2 catches for 18 yds )

WR Julio Jones: FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE: Jones (hip) missed all practices for the second straight week. He is listed as QUESTIONABLE and is a GAME-TIME DECISION. There is some media speculation that Jones will try to play in what is a desperation contest for the Falcons. We'll leave his projections unchanged for now, monitor his status throughout the weekend and provide updates when they're warranted. Jones owners still should have a backup option in mind in case he is unable to play. ( 8 catches for 106 yds and 1 TD )

WR Roddy White: White is a strong play against a New Orleans Saints defense that ranked only 21st in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts during the last four weeks. The 10th-year pro has found the end zone in four of his last five games played. FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE: White (knee) took part in a full practice today. He is listed as PROBABLE. ( 7 catches for 73 yds and 1 TD )

WR Harry Douglas: FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Julio Jones (hip) is listed as QUESTIONABLE for Week 16 and will be a GAME-TIME DECISION. If you own Douglas (foot), don't toss him back into the free-agent pool just yet. Douglas filled in brilliantly for Jones last week, racking up a season-best 10 catches for 131 yards. If Jones is sidelined again, Douglas obviously start in his place. For now, we've projected for Douglas on the assumption that Jones will play. We'll provide another update when it's warranted. By the way, Douglas (foot) took part in a full practice today. He is listed as PROBABLE. ( 5 catches for 55 yds )

WR Devin Hester: FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE: Jones (hip) is listed as QUESTIONABLE, and he is considered a GAME-TIME DECISION. If Jones plays, Hester wouldn't be a safe fantasy option. If Julio Jones (hip) is sidelined for the second straight week, Hester would have boom-or-bust value as a fantasy WR4. We won't know Jones' status under late Sunday morning. ( 2 yds rush; 3 catches for 33 yds )

WR Eric Weems: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

WR Drew Davis: ( 1 catch for 11 yds )

TE Levine Toilolo: With just 25 receptions on the season, Toilolo remains miles away from fantasy relevance. ( 2 catches for 13 yds )

TE Bear Pascoe: ( 1 catch for 1 yd )

PK Matt Bryant: Bryant looks like a solid play against a New Orleans Saints defense that ranked just 21st in points allowed to enemy kickers during the last four weeks. ( 3 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Atlanta Falcons: The Atlanta defense is a weak play against a productive New Orleans Saints offense. During the last month, the Falcons allowed 28.5 points per game. They also averaged just 0.8 sacks and 0.8 takeaways per contest. In the same time period, the Saints offense scored 25.8 points per contest, allowed 2.3 sacks per outing and committed 1.0 turnover per game. ( 1 sack, 1 INT )



Carolina Panthers (vs Cleveland Browns)

QB Cam Newton: FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Newton (back) practiced for the second straight day. According to the Panthers, he is 'on track' to play in Week 16 and is listed as PROBABLE. Newton's matchup, however, versus a Cleveland Browns defense that yielded an average of 218.5 passing yards and 1.3 touchdown passes per game during the last month, is obviously a toughie. If the Panthers have success with their running game, he probably won't be throwing a lot anyway. We'll double check Newton's status Sunday morning and provide an update. ( 187 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 36 yds rush )

QB Derek Anderson: FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Anderson will be returning to clipboard holding duties. Cam Newton (back) practiced for the second straight day. He is listed as PROBABLE for Week 16 and expected to start. ( 12 yds pass )

RB DeAngelo Williams: FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Although Williams (hand) is listed as QUESTIONABLE, he is NOT expected to play. Williams likely will be available only as an emergency back. Jonathan Stewart will start for the Panthers. ( 52 yds rush; 1 catch for 14 yds )

RB Jonathan Stewart: FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: DeAngelo Williams (hand) is listed as QUESTIONABLE, but he is not expected to suit up. Stewart is a solid play against a Cleveland Browns defense that surrendered an average of 115 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown per game to opposing running backs since Week 12. Since Cam Newton (back) is expected to return to the starting lineup and always remains a threat to scramble, Stewart should find more running room than he did last week when Derek Anderson started. We have updated Stewart's projections. ( 95 yds rush; 2 catches for 16 yds )

RB Mike Tolbert: The little-used Tolbert has amassed just 23.67 combo yards on 13 combo touches since Week 13. ( 16 yds rush; 2 catches for 14 yds )

RB Fozzy Whittaker: Operating in a small backup role, Whittaker has touched the ball just seven times in the last month. He obviously lacks fantasy appeal. ( 9 yds rush; 1 catch for 10 yds )

WR Kelvin Benjamin: Fantasy owners will have to dial down their expectations for Carolina's top wide receiver if standout Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder) is able to suit up. Haden is one of the reasons why the Browns have yielded the 11th-fewest fantasy points to enemy wideouts during the last month. If Haden is sidelined, Benjamin obviously would be a much stronger play. ( 5 catches for 68 yds and 1 TD )

WR Jerricho Cotchery: The distant third option in the Panthers passing attack is a weak play versus a Cleveland Browns defense that gave up the 11th-fewest fantasy points to enemy wideouts during the last four weeks. ( 3 catches for 37 yds )

WR Philly Brown: Brown operates out of the slot as a situational deep threat. He is too inconsistent to trust as a fantasy starter. ( 2 yds rush; 2 catches for 26 yds )

WR Brenton Bersin: ( 1 catch for 8 yds )

TE Greg Olsen: Even though the Cleveland Browns defense gave up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends during the last month, keep Olsen in your starting lineup. Assuming standout Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder) suits up, he is expected to shadow Kelvin Benjamin. If that happens, Olsen would become a target monster. ( 7 catches for 76 yds )

TE Ed Dickson: ( 1 catch for 8 yds )

TE Brandon Williams: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

PK Graham Gano: Consider Gano a decent play against a Cleveland Browns defense that has yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers over the last four weeks. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Carolina Panthers: Carolina is a solid starting option at home against a Cleveland Browns offense led by struggling rookie Johnny Manziel. During the last four weeks, the Panthers allowed an average of 19.33 points. They also racked up 2.67 sacks and 1.67 takeaways per contest. Don't expect Manziel to play as poorly as he did last week, but 'Johnny Football' isn't going to light it up, either. Since Week 12, the Browns have scored 12 points per game. They also allowed 1.8 sacks per contest and committed 2.5 turnovers per outing. ( 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 Fumble )



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