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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
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
FieldTurf
  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
WR Michael Floyd 2-30
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 16 15 10 1 3 18
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 20 23 27 6 9 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000029020 ***
Brady has struggled in Miami throughout his career, but this time around should be much different: The Dolphins are the second best matchup for quarterbacks when using the last five weeks' data. He did not play in the last meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @MIA 701000000 ***
Miami has yielded four RB touchdowns in the last five weeks, but two have come through the air. The bruising back posted a 29-123-1 line in Week 2 against the Dolphins.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE @MIA 5002200000 ***
No team has allowed more receptions per game to RBs in the past five weeks, but Lewis shares third-down chores. Consider him only in PPR DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE @MIA 003300000 ***
A great matchup for the time-sharing back ... avoid him unless you're looking to make a huge gamble.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE @MIA 006901000 ***
Hogan caught 4-60-0 without TB12 in the earlier meeting this year. The Dolphins have allowed six WR scores in the last five games, or one every 9.8 receptions. Hogan has a hint more upside than we projected, but these are safe numbers.

Update: Hogan could see more looks with Malcolm Mitchel being doubtful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @MIA 006601000 ***
Miami has allowed a TD every 9.8 receptions in the last five weeks, and PPR receivers have averaged 37.3 fantasy points a game as a team. Edelman was good for 7-76-0 without Tom Brady in Week 2.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, NE @MIA 004500000 ***
Update: Floyd enters the rankings after Malcolm Mitchell was deemed doubtful to play, but the former Cardinal is no better than flier for brazen gamblers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, NE @MIA 003400000 ***
Miami is the second softest opponent for tight ends to exploit in Week 17. The Week 2 meeting resulted in Bennett posting five catches for 114 yards and a TD.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 2233 ***
Miami is a negative-leaning matchup for kickers, having given up 15 extra point attempts (5th most) but only nine FGAs (six good) in the last five games.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  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
WR Percy Harvin 20 8-90
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 12 5 18 21 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 23 17 20 25 14 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB EJ Manuel, BUF @NYJ 10000020010 ***
Manuel will start over Tyrod Taylor in what interim head coach Anthony Lynn called a "business decision." Only a trio of teams have yielded more points per game to quarterbacks in the past five weeks. For what its worth, Taylor lit up the Jets all the way back in Week 2, tossing three TD passes and topping out at 297 yards through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF @NYJ 11013200000 ***
McCoy was fairly quiet the first time these teams played, finishing with 13 PPR points. In the past five weeks, New York has allowed four rushing TDs and two receiving scores to RBs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, BUF @NYJ 301000000 ***
Running backs have scored twice on 16 catches and once every 34.5 rushing attempts when facing the Jets since Week 11. Gillislee caught a touchdown on his only target in the first meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @NYJ 004600000 ***
EJ Manuel is starting, and there is little to like about this situation. The matchup is neutral on paper, and the Bills ran the ball a lot in the last meeting. Watkins is a flier at this point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF @NYJ 003500000 ***
Woods was held to one catch the last time these teams met, and a quarterback switch makes this an even less appealing matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, BUF @NYJ 005401000 ***
Clay has been on a tear the past three weeks after being relatively dormant. The sneaky-athletic one faces a Jets defense that has given up seven TDs on the last 25 receptions allowed to tight ends, which is easily the best matchup for that category. A QB change to EJ Manuel shouldn't matter too much in this one.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @NYJ 2233 ***
No team has allowed more per-game kicking chances than the Jets in the last five weeks. Kickers have made 8-for-11 on three-pointers and 17-for-18 XPAs.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
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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