Game Predictions & Player Projections - ARI vs. BUF

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: ARI 27, BUF 16 (Line: ARI by 4)

UPDATE: Greg Salas and Charles Clay were limited in practices and listed as questionable but are expected to play. Sammy Watkins is also questionable but did not practice this week and is not expected to play because of his foot. I have removed him from the projections.

The Cardinals made amends for losing to the Patriots by stomping on the visiting Buccaneers. This is their first road game of the year and there my be no better place than visiting the dysfunctional 0-2 Bills who just fired their offensive coordinator after only two games. The Cardinals are not as formidable away from home but the Bills are struggling everywhere.

Arizona Cardinals

1 NE 21-23 10 SF ---
2 TB 40-7 11 @MIN ---
3 @BUF --- 12 @ATL ---
4 LA --- 13 WAS ---
5 @SF --- 14 @MIA ---
6 NYJ --- 15 NO ---
7 SEA --- 16 @SEA ---
8 @CAR --- 17 @LA ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB David Johnson 60,1 4-50
WR Larry Fitzgerald 7-80,1
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals continue with the easiest part of their schedule - only two road games over the initial seven weeks. So taking advantage now will pay big dividends later though the entire NFC West is currently 1-1 and no one appears that formidable yet. The defenses are still good but apparently the offenses have suffered over the offseason - particularly the Seahawks. So far the injury bug has missed the Cardinals and both sides of the ball look good. Facing a weak team like the Bills shouldn't change that.

QUARTERBACK : Two weeks in and Carson Palmer has two 270+ yard games with multiple touchdowns in each. Palmer laid down 308 yards and three scores on the Buccaneers and could have done more. The only difference from last season is that Larry Fitzgerald remains front and center while John Brown has disappeared.

RUNNING BACK : David Johnson turned in a healthy 142 yards last week but only gained 45 rushing yards on 12 carries in the blowout win. He turned three receptions into 98 yards thanks to a 58 yard catch. Chris Johnson only carried once in the loss to the Patriots but was allowed 16 runs for 89 yards and a score in the big win last week. David Johnson will always get his first before turning over anything to Chris Johnson and only in games that are already decided.

WIDE RECEIVER : Larry Fitzgerald continues to dominate the crew with exactly 81 yards both weeks and a total of three touchdowns. Michael Floyd started with 61 yards on three catches versus the Pats but only managed two catches for eight yards last week though he scored once. Jaron Brown also scored on a long catch but John Brown only has two catches on the season and a total of just seven targets. Floyd should see more usage soon but Brown has almost completely disappeared.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens just dropped four scores in Buffalo last week and Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 374 yards. The firing of their offensive coordinator might be motivating to the entire team but probably not. Even in this road game, there is no reason to bench any of the usual suspects. Palmer is a moderate to go start with a good shot at 300 yards. David Johnson faces a team that allowed three rushing scores to Matt Forte last week.

In just two weeks, the Bills have already allowed four wideouts to gain over 90 yards and two of them scored. Fitzgerald and Floyd are must starts but John Brown remains outside of consideration until he finally shows up once this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 7 10 4 25 21 3
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 14 21 31 2 24 3

Buffalo Bills

1 @BAL 7-13 10 BYE ---
2 NYJ 31-37 11 @CIN ---
3 ARI --- 12 JAC ---
4 @NE --- 13 @OAK ---
5 @LA --- 14 PIT ---
6 SF --- 15 CLE ---
7 @MIA --- 16 MIA ---
8 NE --- 17 @NYJ ---
9 @SEA ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Chris Ivory 30 2-10
RB LeSean McCoy 60,1 4-20
WR Kelvin Benjamin 5-80,1
TE Charles Clay 4-40
PK Stephen Hauschka 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Only two weeks into the new season and the Bills are already falling apart. After losing to the visiting Jets, the front office opted to throw away OC Greg Roman to show, assumedly, that they are doing something about opening to two losses including being embarrassed at home on Thursday night. They promoted the RB coach Anthony Lynn to replace Roman and according to HC Rex Ryan they are going to throw the ball more. Perhaps he should be going more with just throwing the ball well.

QUARTERBACK : Tyrod Taylor only passed for 111 yards in the opener against the Bengals but then produced 287 yards and three touchdowns that still were not enough to keep the offensive coordinator employed. The reality with that was Marquise Goodwin (84 yards) and Greg Salas (71 yards) both had one long touchdown catch to greatly skew the statistics. Taylor only ran twice last week and five times for 11 yards in the opener. Not rushing as much devalues his production and the two long receptions are unreliable.

RUNNING BACK : LeSean McCoy is easily the best offensive player for the Bills but gets too few carries to have any big game. Both weeks he was limited to 16 and 15 carries respectively and he gained right at 60 yards both times. He also has taken all but three carries by running backs and all of them last week. McCoy had four catches in each week but Mike Gillislee's only catch last week was when he caught a touchdown. Gillislee has passed Reggie Bush on the depth chart to become the #2. Bush had no touches in the second game.

WIDE RECEIVER : The only Bills wideout with any fantasy value is Sammy Watkins but he is bothered by his foot injury that he reaggravated in Week 1. Watkins followed up his 4-43 performance in the opener with just 2-20 versus a far lesser secondary last Thursday. Robert Woods is the other starter but only totals five catches for 30 yards after two weeks. Greg Salas caught an 71-yard touchdown on the Bills and yet ended with only four catches for 89 yards. Marquise Goodwin grabbed an 84-yard score over Darrelle Revis but has only two catches on the year. Take away the two long scores and this is the worst producing set of wideouts in the league. Watkins may be hampered all year. Until he can prove he is healthy, he is not worth a fantasy start.

TIGHT END : Charles Clay totals just seven receptions for 67 yards on the year so far and is not looking likely to ever be more than a very mediocre bye week filler.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The only reasonable fantasy start here is LeSean McCoy who has a shot at a score and moderate yardage as the Bills only consistently productive player. Sammy Watkins should draw the weaker "Non-Peterson" coverage but he's clearly bothered by his foot and so far has not topped 43 yards. He's unlikely to break out against the Cardinals. The Bills are already in turmoil as evidenced by firing a coordinator after only two games. Facing one of the best defenses in the NFL is not going to make anything better.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 24 20 26 28 29 8
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 6 5 25 3 9 2

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