FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: NE 30, TEN 20 (Line: NE by 6.5)

Players Updated: Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley

Players to Watch: Jake Locker, Chris Johnson, Kendall Wright

The Patriots come off a standard season of 13-3, handily win the division by five games, reach the playoffs and then lose to the Giants again. The Titans managed a 9-7 season but missed the playoffs, suffered through Chris Johnson-Lite but ended the year with two wins to secure a winning record. This would be a nice win if the Titans can pull it off but beating Belichick in week one is always very, very hard.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN ----- 10 BUF -----
2 ARI ----- 11 IND -----
3 @BAL ----- 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Patriots had another dream season that ended up in the Superbowl and unfortunately it was the Giants again who slapped a little reality on them. But in the process Tom Brady passed for over 5000 yards and the Patriots featured the best pair of tight ends in the history of the NFL. As we say every year, the offense looks at least as good as last year and maybe even better.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis left for the Bengals and Stevan Ridley has been promoted up. Shane Vereen should be a bigger factor this year after a rookie season lost to various and unnamed injuries. Danny Woodhead will figure in. Figure on at least one running back no one ever heard of showing up by the end of the season. It seems safe to assume that Ridley is taking the place of Green-Ellis who ran for 667 yards and scored 11 touchdowns last year. Relying on anything in this backfield has historically been a recipe for heartache but Ridley has the look of the primary back.

Rob Gronkowski (90-1327-18) and Aaron Hernandez (79-910-7) spent 2011 shattering franchise and NFL records while most opposing offensive coordinators took notes. Gronk badly twisted his ankle in the playoffs and required surgery in the offseason. He's not been limited in camp and should be 100% healthy for the season opener. Speculation has it that Hernandez will become the primary pass catcher which almost happened last year had he not missed two games. But Gronkowski is a touchdown machine and has the magic with Brady.

Brandon Lloyd was brought in which immediately set some off as the second coming of Randy Moss (the 2007 version, not the later iterations). Lloyd does join back up with his old coach Josh McDaniels and he did have 1448 yards and 11 scores in Denver. But that was when he was clearly the best and nearly only option for receivers. There's plenty of other hands here to feed and Wes Welker usually takes 100 off the top. Lloyd never has shown much chemistry with Brady so far but the potential is certainly there. Beyond Lloyd and Welker it doesn't really matter. Greg Salas was signed, Julian Edelman hangs on and Deion Branch was released but rumored to be re-signed soon.

All in all - just another year that looks like major fantasy points. And a defense that should not be good enough to let Brady and the offense take a game off.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 28 11 1 3 7
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 7 28 10 21 14 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000027020 ***
Brady stumbled against the Jets last week, but he'll get back on his horse against a Miami defense he gouged for 356 and 4 earlier this year. That's the difference between facing a top-10 pass defense (the Jets) and a bottom-10 pass defense (the Dolphins).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE @MIA 2015401000 **
Pass catching backs have fared well against the Phins, including Dion Lewis' 6-93-1 in the earlier meeting. Four other backs have topped 50 receiving yards in the past 10 games against Miami, and White has receiving scores in two straight and three of four so he's the favorite to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Brandon Bolden, NE @MIA 4003300000 ***
Bolden saw more carries than Steven Jackson last week, but that's no guarantee the ratio stays the same for this far more favorable matchup. Good luck guessing Bill Belichick's intentions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Steven Jackson, NE @MIA 400000000 **
The Patriots bludgeoned Miami with LeGarrette Blount in the earlier meeting; this time around expect Jackson to do the heavy lifting. Miami has already allowed six 100-yard rushers, including similar hammers like Alfred Morris and Chris Ivory. Jackson shook off the rust with seven carries last week; this week he splashes in a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keshawn Martin, NE @MIA 003400000 ***
Martin may end up being the healthiest Patriots receiver. Last week that was good for 68 yards in a tough matchup. This week, in a far more favorable matchup, he'd actually warrant fantasy attention. We'll hopefully know more about the injury stats of all of New England's receivers later in the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @MIA 004400000 ***
LaFell is hurt, just like most of the rest of the Patriots. However, unlike Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman his fantasy value isn't such that he's worth waiting for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @MIA 006801000 ***
Gronk has scored in three straight, four of five, and six of eight against the Dolphins. That includes 6-113-1 earlier this year. No reason to doubt him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 2233 ***
Teams counting by ones
against Phins; should still be points
galore for Gosty

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE ----- 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD ----- 11 BYE -----
3 DET ----- 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU ----- 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN ----- 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Titans enter the second season of the Chris Palmer offense with the hopes that Chris Johnson merely took a year off in 2010 and that Jake Locker got the proper seasoning on the bench and is now ready to play. The Titans selected Locker with their 1.08 pick last year and he finally beat out Matt Hasselbeck for the job. Locker never played as a rookie and that brings some unknowns into the season but his time has come and the Titans hope to start a new era.

Chris Johnson wasn't as bad as most remember last year but he held out all summer, got paid big and then showed up for the first game. But he rarely had much success until the second half of the season. That sank the fortunes of the gamblers who had drafted him for their fantasy team. Johnson has gone through all the conditioning and practices of a normal offseason and preseason this year and is ready to make up for what happened in 2011. There is a question if his 408 touches of 2009 when he gained 2006 rushing yards took something permanent out of him and his yards per carry went from 5.6 ypc to 4.3 ypc in 2010 and then only 4.0 for 2011. Worth watching to see just how back to form CJ2K really is.

The Titans will get Kenny Britt back after a one game suspension for his latest arrest and he is still recovering from two knee surgeries in the offseason including one in late June. Britt miss training camp and preseason games but is hoped to be ready for some limited action in week two. Reportedly his knee looks good but that may only be temporary for a player that has missed 17 games over the last two years. When he is healthy and there, he is a difference maker. That just doesn't happen often in recent years.

The Titans used their 1.20 pick in the NFL draft to grab the Baylor star Kendall Wright who was the main target for Robert Griffin III. So far the pick has looked like more than mere insurance against Britt absences. Wright has been impressive since the offseason and brings in a very polished and mature presence that has consistently been making plays in camp and preseason games. Real game experience will be good to see and Wright gets to start out his NFL career in New England against what was the worst secondary last season. Nate Washington remains the other starter and he had his first 1000 yard season in 2011 when Britt was gone and there was no one else helping out. Now the presence of Wright should at least return Washington to his more normal 600 or so yards per season.

Jared Cook enters his fourth season and ended 2011 with games of 103 and 169 yards versus divisional rivals Indianapolis and Jacksonville. He's been far less prolific in all other games and he too will not be as needed with Wright on board to compensate for the missing Britt.

This game is bound to be some big passing yards but it is the first time Locker has been the starting quarterback. He had some success playing in three games last year but he's still missing a track record to make you certain what he can do. Playing in New England should at least show how many yards he can throw in one game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 13 22 13 18 15 26
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 31 20 32 2 4 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN @IND 0000025012 ***
Following last week's shutout of Ryan Tannehill the Colts have gone back-to-back games of holding QBs without multiple TDs for the first time this season. So it's a favorable matchup for Mettenberger; he's just not well-equipped to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @IND 3002200000 ***
Mike Mularkey says Sankey will get more playing time this week--this after Sankey took over the Titans ground game last week following a pair of Antonio Andrews turnovers. It's a favorable matchup, but it'll take stones the size of Pluto to trot out Sankey in a Week 17 championship game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Antonio Andrews, TEN @IND 4001100000 *
Indy's run defense rallied last week, holding Lamar Miller and Jay Ajayi to a shade over two yards per carry--though Miller did score. Andrews scored on the Colts earlier this year, but he may not get the 13 touches he received in that game. So there's a smidgen of fantasy upside here--which, in Week 17, may be enough.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN @IND 004700000 ***
DGB went from 113 against the Pats to a goose egg against Houston, so reliability may not be his strong suit. He scored over Vontae Davis in the earlier matchup this year, and the Colts have allowed six 90-plus yard WRs in the past month so there's undeniable upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @IND 008901000 ***
The Colts have been pretty good against tight ends this season, but they surrendered 7-68 to Walker (and 55 yards to other Titans TEs) in the earlier meeting. And Walker has seen double-digit targets in three of the last four games, scoring three TDs and compiling 26-286 in that span. He's Tennessee's go-to pass catcher, and nothing in the Titans' current state of wideouts suggests a deviation from that plan.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @IND 1122 ***
Has not topped ten points
Nine in earlier meeting
No fantasy help

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t