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

Prediction: NYJ 13, PIT 23 (Line: PIT by 6)

Players to watch: Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley

Players Updated: Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller, Jonathan Dwyer, Stephen Hill, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace

We need this week. Right now, there is no way of knowing who the Jets really are. After a preseason where they could not score a touchdown against players who are currently mowing your lawn, The Jets laid a smackdown on the Bills with the highest score in the league. That is the sort of turnaround that makes you dizzy. The Steelers come off a loss to the PMannings in Denver and need a home game this week to collect their thoughts and get back on track. It all seems like week one where the Jets faced a bad team and the Steelers went against a good one.

New York Jets
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 BUF 48-28 10 @SEA -----
2 @PIT ----- 11 @STL -----
3 @MIA ----- 12 NE -----
4 SF ----- 13 ARI -----
5 HOU ----- 14 @JAC -----
6 IND ----- 15 @TEN -----
7 @NE ----- 16 SD -----
8 MIA ----- 17 @BUF -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Matt Forte 60 6-60
RB Bilal Powell 10 2-10
WR Eric Decker 7-70
WR Brandon Marshall 8-110,1
TE Kellen Davis 1-10
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: It helps to know the Bills intimately from being division mates and playing at home. Apparently a lot. Mark Sanchez went from being the Clown Prince to throwing for 266 yards and three scores on the Bills. Chances are the New York newspapers were late on Monday morning because it took so long to digest what happened and completely change gears about the Jets for one week at least.

Sanchez had success with Santonio Holmes (4-68) but did his damage with their 2,11 draft pick Stephen Hill (5-89, 2 TD) and second year player Jeremy Kerley (4-45, TD). Hill in particular is one to watch since the 6-4, 215 lb player may be the next Plaxico Burress only faster and with fewer firearms. It was only one game and against a familiar foe, but Hill was impressive and showed chemistry with Sanchez. Hill needs to be on fantasy rosters if only to stash and see.

The game went so well that Shonn Greene gained 94 yards and scored a touchdown. He only averaged 3.5 yards per carry but that's like 6.0 to an average NFL back. Even though it was a blowout, the Jets stuck with Greene instead burning up the clock with Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight. Tim Tebow came in on a few wildcat plays but only gained 11 yards on five carries and with that made Mark Sanchez very, very happy. It also meant that there were probably a hundred people in the stands with Tebow signs who just felt silly carrying them back out to their car.

One caveat to this game. Santonio Holmes faces his old team in their stadium and would love to show up for the hometown crowd. Particularly if anyone still has his old jersey. The Steelers may scheme expressly to take him away, but this will be a big motivation kind of game for Holmes. It will be his second trip back. He had 40 yards on six catches back in week 15 of 2010.

It was a great win but now the Jets hit the road to face the Steelers defense, in Pittsburgh, coming off a loss. That means rushing yardage will be low and passing success will be a major challenge. Peyton Manning at home in an offense that had no game film only passed for 253 yards and two scores. We've seen Mark Sanchez. We've followed Mark Sanchez. You, Mr. Sanchez, are no Peyton Manning.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 5 18 4 24 8 1
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 20 10 23 24 7 28

RB Matt Forte, NYJ @BUF 6013200000 *
Forte scored in the earlier meeting with Detroit, amusing 89 yards on 27 touches; he also ceded a score to Jeremy Langford. Of late it's been Ka'Deem Carey stealing the scores while Langford swipes touches, despite Forte being more productive than either. A back injury could relegate the free agent-to-be to the back burner once again, so keep an eye on the injury report.

Update: Forte is listed as questionable after participating only on a limited basis in practice this week. Do the Bears use him without regard for the future since he's a free agent this offseason? Does Forte shut himself down so he's not damaged goods on the open market? Lots of variables here making Forte a risky fantasy play.
WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ @BUF 005801000 ***
Marshall has scored in seven of his last eight, including a touchdown in the earlier meeting with the Bills. Since that matchup the Bills have given up 9-117 to Amendola, 9-160-1 to Maclin, 5-88-1 to Hopkins, and 6-153-1 to DJax. In other words, all systems go once again for Marshall.
WR Eric Decker, NYJ @BUF 007601000 ***
The league's ultimate wingman scored in the earlier meeting with Buffalo, has scored in three straight, has scored or topped 100 yards in five straight, and should once again be the best sideman since Oliver Hardy teamed with Stan Laurel against a Buffalo defense that's allowed multiple receivers to score or top 60 yards--often both--in 11 of 15 games this season.
WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ @BUF 003500000 ***
With Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker taking big bites there often isn't enough left over for the likes of Enunwa--especially with Kenbrell Thompkins battling for a share as well. It's not as if the Bills are a shutdown secondary, but it's tough to trust tertiary guys to deliver the fantasy goods.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, NYJ @BUF 1133 ***
The Sex Pistols sang
"Never mind the Bullocks", but
doesn't apply here

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC -----
2 NYJ ----- 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK ----- 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI ----- 14 SD -----
6 @TEN ----- 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN ----- 16 CIN -----
8 WAS ----- 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 10 270,1
QB Michael Vick 30 280,1
RB DeAngelo Williams 40 2-20
WR Antonio Brown 5-70
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 5-60,1
TE Heath Miller 4-40
PK Shaun Suisham 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Close loss to the Broncos in a game that was lost when Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception with 1:58 left that was returned for a 43-yard touchdown. That and allowing that Demaryius Thomas guy to yet again score a 70+ yard touchdown.

Big Ben threw for 245 yards and two scores with only the one interception but was sacked five times. He only completed 22 of 40 passes but was able to spread the ball around to his receivers. Antonio Brown (4-74) and Emmanuel Sanders (4-55) both led the team with eight targets while Mike Wallace was kept to shorter routes and still scored once on his 37 yards on four receptions. Even Heath Miller scored once on his four catches for 50 yards. It was not a huge passing effort but it was almost enough.

What was a disappointment was the rushing effort that saw Isaac Redman only gain 20 yards on his 11 carries, Jonathan Dwyer a bit better with nine runs for 43 yards and even Chris Rainey came in for two carries. All combined there was mediocre results and split up there was no fantasy value. No reason to expect anything different even when Rashard Mendenhall returns. The new passing scheme is still a work in progress but Big Ben is getting it down.

What is a positive is that the Jets just gave up a league worst 169 rushing yards to C.J. Spiller last week so expect at least some improvement in the rushing stats. Splitting up the carries won't make any one player a less than risky start though. There is also a chance that Darrell Revis is out with a concussion which would be a huge benefit for Antonio Brown. But the Steelers have enough receivers to get the job done regardless of one cornerback.

The Steelers need this win. They should play more up to their potential while the Jets return to earth.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 15 28 15 14 18 21
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 17 27 19 20 5 6

QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @CLE 0000030020 ***
Since an Abe Lincoln (four scores) back in 2007, Big Ben has as many goose eggs (two) in Cleveland as he has multiple touchdown games. He's also never had a 300-yard performance in Cleveland. After last week's crushing disappointment in Baltimore Roethlisberger has now gone more than a calendar year--eight games, dating back to Week 14 of last season--since throwing multiple touchdowns on the road. Don't let Big Ben disappoint you again.
RB DeAngelo Williams, PIT @CLE 8013200000 ***
Williams' only dog since taking over for the injured Le'Veon Bell was a 54-yard bummer against the Browns in Week 10. He's scored in five of the other six games and rushed for 100 yards in three of the six. Can he be trusted here? The Browns D has been better of late: only one RB rushing score in the past eight games, no 100-yard rushers or 30-yard receiving backs in the past seven. This isn't the layup you were hoping for.
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @CLE 0091101000 ***
Death, taxes, and Brown tearing up the Browns. He's topped 100 yards in three straight against Cleveland and scored double-digit points in PPR leagues in eight straight meetings--all the way back to his very first game against the Browns, when he was held to 4-52. Cleveland's injury-riddled secondary has allowed 11 WR TDs and four 100-yard efforts in the past six games; Brown is a solid candidate to boost both of those numbers.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT @CLE 004601000 *
Bryant ravaged the Browns for 178 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting. He's playing second fiddle to Antonio Brown--and sharing those duties to some extent with Markus Wheaton--but he's still a solid fantasy bet against a Cleveland secondary that's allowed 11 WR TDs in the past six games.

Update: Bryant did not practice Wednesday or Thursday due to illness, but he returned for a full session on Friday. He's listed as questionable, but all signs point towards business as usual for him.
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT @CLE 004500000 ***
There wasn't much left over after Bryant and Brown accounted for 317 yards and three TDs in the earlier meeting, and given Ben Roethlisberger's road success--or lack thereof--the pie will be significantly smaller here. That said, Wheaton's role as the Steelers' third receiver has produced fantasy helpers in four of five since the bye and this matchup is certainly not to be feared.
TE Heath Miller, PIT @CLE 003300000 ***
Since Miller's 4-40 in the Week 10 meeting the Browns have given up one TE TD, and no tight end has hit the 50 yard mark. Miller hasn't scored against the Browns since January of 2011; no reason to think that slump ends here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT @CLE 1133 ***
Streak of six straight
with double-digit points snapped;
start new streak this week

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

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