FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: NE 24, BAL 26 (Line: BAL by 3)

Players to Watch: Kellen Winslow

Players Updated: Brandon Lloyd

What to think with the Patriots losing to the visiting Cardinals last week? The Ravens will present a far better defense than either of the Pats previous opponents. The Ravens are coming home after getting clipped in Philly by one point and should be primed to have a good showing this week at home. The question for this game is which Patriots team is going to show up? The Ravens have a score to settle since the Patriots beat them 23-20 in the Conference Championship last season held at New England.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 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
NE @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 300,2
WR Danny Amendola 6-80,1
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-70,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Perhaps we were a little spoiled with the atmospheric performances of 2011. In his first two games last season, Brady passed for a combined 950 yards and seven touchdowns. Just two games. This year? About half the yardage and only three scores - two for Rob Gronkowski the default scorer and one for Aaron Hernandez who is out for four to six weeks with a low ankle sprain. So far it is Brady-lite and fantasy owners are hurting considering what they paid for him.

Stevan Ridley continues to be a nice fantasy find and while he did not score in week two, he still posted 71 rushing yards and caught three passes for 24 more yards. He was the lone runner in week one but then Danny Woodhead joined in with eight runs for only 18 yards. Ridley remains a solid fantasy play though this week should be about as challenging as any game this year.

The biggest development in the passing game is the loss of Aaron Hernandez and how that will be compensated since he had a significant role in the offense. Kellen Winslow has been signed as interim help and he could show up in box scores but needs to learn the complex offense first and realistically - there is a reason why is still available in week three of the season.

The mystery around Wes Welker is likely something that will never be answered thanks to nothing but cryptic and generalized statements from HC Bill Belichick about anything, let alone personnel assignments. Welker did not start this past week - Julian Edelman did though Welker ended with five catches for 95 yards as opposed to the five catches for 50 yards from Edelman. It certainly looks like Welker has fallen from favor in the final season of his contract. Brandon lloyd has been the primary target for Brady with a team high 21 passes in the last two weeks though he only has 13 catches for 129 yards and no scores so far. The chemistry will improve but is not there yet. And the reality is that Lloyd is the same age as Welker so there is no youth movement afoot.

Playing in Baltimore is going to be a challenge against a motivated Ravens defense. For the first time in a long time, Brady actually seems a risk this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 18 13 21 1 5 11
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 18 14 21 28 8 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE ATL 0000030020 ***
Going back to the Super Bowl, Brady went for 466-2-1 versus Atlanta. The Falcons have yielded 1.5 TDs per matchup to quarterbacks, holding passers to just 235 aerial yards and 60.1 percent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE ATL 2011100000 ***
Atlanta his given up the ninth-most receiving yards per game, so there's at least that going for him. Additionally, Lewis' involvement has increased the last two weeks. Consider this an optimistic projection and him playable only in dire circumstances based on the erratic nature of a three-pronged backfield.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, NE ATL 400000000 ***
Only one of the last 88 carries versus Atlanta has found the end zone, making this the fourth-hardest defense to score against. Rushers have averaged a modest 84.3 yards per game on the ground.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE ATL 1004200000 ***
White scored three times in the Super Bowl and caught 14 balls along the way. While expecting anything remotely close to that performance is foolish, he could be a viable flex in PPR formats. Atlanta has allowed averages of 5.3 receptions for 51.3 yards and a TD every 21 snares.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE ATL 005701000 **
Receivers have scored five times in four games and have averaged 12.5 catches (9th most) against this mid-tier opponent. Hogan posted four catches and 57 yards in the Super Bowl.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE ATL 004600000 ***
In the last four games, receivers have averaged 12.5 catches, 128.8 yards and a score every 10 catches facing the Falcons. Seven teams have been worse at stopping WRs from scoring TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE ATL 006600000 ***
For PPR types, Amendola's matchup is solid. The Falcons have given up 12.5 catches per game, which ranks ninth, and the position has gone for a score every 10 times. This is a midrange matchup for reception-rewarding scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE ATL 006901000 ***
None of the 18 receptions against have scored on Atlanta by TEs, and the averages of 4.5 catches for 55 yards rate in the middle of the league. Gronk missed the Super Bowl meeting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE ATL 2233 ***
All 18 kicks -- 10 FGs -- have been accurate against the Falcons. The 9.5 fantasy points given up rates as the fourth most in football.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE ----- 12 @SD -----
4 CLE ----- 13 PIT -----
5 @KC ----- 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,2
WR Jeremy Maclin
WR Mike Wallace 5-80
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens came within one point of being 2-0 and return home to face their nemesis of the Patriots. This is the same team that faced them in January but this time it happens in Baltimore where the Ravens have lost only once in the last two years and none last season. This week will be a challenge but one that the Ravens need to win to belong to the next level. Especially at home against a Patriots team that may struggle a bit compared to previous seasons.

Joe Flacco has been effective this year and thrown three scores but only came up with 232 yards in Philly. More interesting is that he was supposed to "take the wraps off the offense" and throw more this year. So far - it has contracted with the tight ends taking a much bigger role and the wideouts much less of a factor.

Torrey Smith entered the season with high expectations but so far has consecutive games with two catches for around 50 yards and no touchdowns. Anquan Boldin was decent in week one with four receptions for 63 yards and a score but then was held to just two catches for seven yards against the good Eagle cornerbacks. Jacoby Jones has a touchdown but only four catches over two games. The wideouts just have not done much here though the few catches they make are usually gaining more yardage.

Dennis Pitta has become the primary receiver in this offense with a team high 24 targets for 13 catches and 138 yards. He scored once in the season opener. Ed Dickson has been just blocking with only one or two catches per game. Pitta is a sign that this offense has changed but not so much for the better in passing.

Ray Rice had no scores in Philly but still turned in 152 total yards with six receptions. Rice was held to only 67 yards in New England last January but is at home this week and that always counts big.

The Ravens need to play solid defense and should in this home stand. While they have allowed more yardage this year, they still have been good holding down the opponents score. This will be a big game for the home town crowd who wants to see retribution for denying the team a chance at a Superbowl last January.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 16 6 20 4 2 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 13 4 9 13 14 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @MIN 0000017002 ***
Flacco belongs nowhere near a fantasy roster at this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL @MIN 3006400000 ***
Runners against the Vikings have hit a brick wall. This is a dominant defense, allowing a touchdown in the last 112 rushing attempts, which is the top figure in football. The position has caught only three balls per game (32nd) and produced the second-fewest points per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alex Collins, BAL @MIN 500000000 ***
There is one defense that rates stronger against running backs. Collins has a punishing matchup and shouldn't be trusted in fantasy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @MIN 002200000 ***
The Vikings have approached receivers with a "don't break" mentality, giving up 13 catches (6th most) and 161.4 yards (7th) but one TD per every 16.3 receptions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, BAL @MIN 002200000 **
Minnesota has done a good job at keeping receivers from posting big games. This defense will allow catches (6th most) and yardage (7th) but only a TD every 16.3 snags. Maclin missed last week with shoulder injury but should be on track after being close vs. the Bears.

Update: Maclin was limited all week and is a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Benjamin Watson, BAL @MIN 005400000 ***
Watson has a mediocre matchup and is barely worth considering in deep PPR formats. Leave him for DFS or the wire.

Update: The veteran tight end is questionable after progressing from consecutive listings of DNP to limited in practice Friday.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @MIN 3300 ***
Tucker's only misses have come from a country mile away. Unfortunately, the chances just haven't been there from reasonable ranges. The Vikes have given up only six fantasy points per outing, which rates tied as the fourth fewest.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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