Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: NE 30, BUF 20 (Line: NE by 3.5)

Players to Watch: BUF RB's, T.J. Graham

Players Updated: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice, Rob Gronkowski

The 1-2 Patriots have a losing record for the first time in ten years and chances are that has been realized by the players and coaches. This does not bode that well for the 2-1 Bills who have beaten the Chiefs and Browns. But the Pats lost 31-34 in Buffalo during week three of last year and later won 49-21 at home. Have to like the Pats here and man - a loss would just be unthinkable. The Patriots have won nine of the last ten meetings.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL 30-31 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 @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 320,3
WR Danny Amendola 6-80
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-80,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Cardinals was a big surprise and while the loss to the Ravens was hardly a shock, it still sends the Patriots forward with a losing record. That makes two games in a row that Tom Brady passed for healthy yardage and yet only one touchdown when the team needed more. The absence of Aaron Hernandez should not matter this much but twice now defenses have been surprisingly effective at holding the Patriots at bay.

Stevan Ridley opened the season like a stud but then has been far less successful. With Hernandez out, the Patriots have taken to using Danny Woodhead more and that will likely continue until the tight end returns. The Pats are not throwing to the backs more though and Ridley still has a role. Woodhead even took a short touchdown away from Ridley. For now, the backfield is back to a committee.

Julian Edelman has been playing more and scored last week but injured his hand and may not be available. As this is the Patriots, knowing his status will largely be a crap shoot by design. After Edelman left the game, Wes Welker finally had a game reminiscent of his previous seasons when he ended with eight catches for 142 yards. Welker has not scored this season and has been less productive. Edelman being out has helped more than anything though Hernandez absence also has sparked at least a bit more use. Brandon Lloyd is another starter who has yet to score a touchdown though he too finally had a big game when he ended with nine receptions for 108 yards.

Rob Gronkowski was held to a freakishly low 21 yards on two catches which was because the Ravens pass rush forced Gronk into more of a blocking role. That won't be a problem this week. Kellen Winslow and Michael Hoomanawanui both had one catch while not doing much to make anyone forget about Hernandez. Deion Branch is back but not busy enough to merit fantasy attention.

The Bills have the better record but anything short of a big win here will be a surprise.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 16 15 10 1 3 18
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 20 23 27 6 9 20

QB Tom Brady, NE @PIT 0000033030 ***
The Steelers have faced five feeble passing attacks and a struggling Kirk Cousins in the opener. The point being, allowing only 19.6 fantasy points per game (21.2 is the NFL average) is a bit of a misnomer. Brady should have no trouble doing his thing, especially if the Landry Jones-led offense cannot sustain drives and gasses the defense.
RB James White, NE @PIT 1005601000 ***
Not to take anything away from White, but the system and quarterback make any pass-catching back look special. Ride it, especially in a meeting with Pittsburgh. This defense has allowed RBs to score every 19.9 touches. PPR backs have posted a six-game line of 37-386-2.
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @PIT 5011100000 ***
Despite allowing only 95 rushing yards per game to the position, Blount's opponent has rolled over when it comes to keeping RBs out of the end zone. One in 20.3 carries goes for a score, and that number improves to a touchdown ever 19.9 touches when receptions are factored.
WR Julian Edelman, NE @PIT 005500000 ***
Edelman has been a train wreck for fantasy owners, even with Tom Brady back. The Steelers have allowed the second most receptions to wideouts, so he has a higher floor than in recent weeks and a good shot at getting on track.
WR Chris Hogan, NE @PIT 002400000 ***
Only one in 31 catches by receivers have found the end zone against Pittsburgh. However, the position has averaged whopping 15.5 catches for 172.3 yards per game. Hogan sees single coverage all day long, and he has some wheels, so you never know. Safely, he's a flex in non-PPR setups.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @PIT 0071101000 ***
Gronk is back and doing his thing. The Steelers have not faced formidable opponents at the position, outside of Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce, and both of whom went over 13 fantasy points.
TE Martellus Bennett, NE @PIT 005601000 ***
Pittsburgh has surrendered only one tight end touchdown in six games -- 33 receptions worth -- and rates as a neutral matchup. Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed did some damage against them, but the Steelers have not faced decent competition at this position otherwise.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @PIT 1144 ***
This is a good matchup on paper for kickers in all varieties of offenses. Gostkowski's chances of kicking field goals don't look as appealing as him trotting out for XPA after XPA.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE ----- 13 JAC -----
5 @SF ----- 14 STL -----
6 @ARI ----- 15 SEA -----
7 TEN ----- 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Reggie Bush 60 5-30,1
RB LeSean McCoy 110,1 3-20
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are 2-1 thanks in no small part to playing the Chiefs and Browns but now hit a bad stretch of the schedule with facing the Pats, then hitting the road to San Francisco and Arizona. That'll knock down the 28 point average per game. Losing C.J. Spiller for this week is only going to make it harder and take away the one weapon that was actually working every week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for at least two scores each week but has been light on the yardage in part because C.J. Spiller was shredding the Jets and Chiefs. He posted 300+ yards in both meetings with the Patriots last season and scored twice in each. This week will be a new test for him since none of his receivers have gained more than 61 yards in a game so far and the running game is not going to be very effective.

C.J. Spiller avoided a broken clavicle as first feared but will still miss this week with a sprained shoulder. There is a chance that Fred Jackson plays at least a limited role this week as he returns from a knee sprain. Jackson said he thought he could return this week so I will include him in a limited fashion and update as his status gains any clarity.

The Bills receivers have been very light on the catches and yardage but Stevie Johnson has scored every week even though he is averaging just four catches for 57 yards per game. Scott Chandler once again started his season with touchdowns in the first two games but then ended with only 22 yards on two catches against the Browns. He has been held to four catches or less each week. This is just not as effective a passing offense as we saw in early 2011 and needs the running ability of Spiller or Jackson to keep the ball moving. The rookie T.J. Graham scored for the first time last week and had three catches for 24 yards. The Bills offense needs some diversification and Donald Jones is not providing much help.

Playing at home is favorable but the Patriots are 1-2 and that has be really, really focusing for them right now. The Pats are playing better defense this year and are going to be very motivated.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 12 5 18 21 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 23 17 20 25 14 2

QB Tyrod Taylor, BUF @MIA 50100018010 ***
This is a midrange matchup for Taylor, whose cast of targets is depleted to the point where he is a tough sell in a week with only two teams on bye. The running game is the focus in Buffalo, which also hurts Taylor from a gaming perspective. Miami has allowed 20.5 points per game to the position.
RB Mike Gillislee, BUF @MIA 9012200000 **
Miami has given up chunks of yardage but only one offensive touchdown to RBs this year. Monitor McCoy's status Friday after he suffered a hamstring strain in Wednesday's practice and is reported by some to be likely out. Gillislee will be an excellent option if McCoy is called out officially.

Update: Questionable, limited for McCoy ... Gillislee should see a boost in work even if Shady plays.
WR Marquise Goodwin, BUF @MIA 002201000 **
Miami has allowed a TD catch by a receiver once every 11.6 catches, which is tied for the 10th worst ratio. Goodwin remains a tough play in fantasy, but gamers should at least consider him.
WR Justin Hunter, BUF @MIA 002300000 ***
Hunter should see more action with Robert Woods unlikely to play. The matchup makes him a worthwhile flier in deep setups.
WR Walter Powell, BUF @MIA 002300000 ***
Powell enters the rankings with Robert Woods' injury. The matchup is nice, but he has no business being in a fantasy lineup.
TE Charles Clay, BUF @MIA 005600000 ***
Clay has become a fixture in the passing game since Sammy Watkins went down. While he isn't going bonkers or anything, posting double-digit PPR points has been a common theme. Miami ranks squarely in the middle of the pack against TEs.

Update: Clay continues to be listed as questionable each week and plays through the injuries. He was limited Friday and will be a game-time decision.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @MIA 3333 ***
Ranking near the middle of the league in fantasy points per game, Carpenter's Week 7 opponent doesn't allow many points to the position, ranking as the fifth hardest matchup. Game flow should work in Buffalo's favor and buck these statistical trends.

CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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