FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
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 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.

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 LeSean McCoy 110,1 3-20
PK Stephen Hauschka 2 FG 2 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 Tyrod Taylor, BUF TB 10000023010 ***
The matchup is wonderful, although the sheer lack of weaponry is what Taylor needs to overcome. It looks like Jordan Matthews will not play, and Charles Clay is a few weeks away from a possible return. Tampa has given up the third-most fantasy points per game, giving up yardage at the second-highest clip (308.8/game).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF TB 8016500000 ***
Shady comes off the bye week for a meeting with the No. 15-ranked Buccaneers defense of PPR backs. This is a midrange matchup for just about every stat but receptions per game, where it ranks 12th.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Tate, BUF TB 003400000 ***
Tate would have a larger role if Jordan Matthews cannot play. The Buccaneers represent the softest matchup to exploit in all of fantasy for wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Zay Jones, BUF TB 002300000 ***
The matchup is awesome -- the best, in fact -- in fantasy, but Jones has done nothing to instill confidence that he can be a worthwhile play. Even after a bye. On a team without WRs. Kinda sad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordan Matthews, BUF TB 00000000 *
Matthews appears unlikely to play. He isn't catching passes with both hands yet and may be a few more weeks out.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Nick O'Leary, BUF TB 004501000 **
O'Leary should be one of the top options with Charles Clay out and Jordan Matthews unlikely to go. Tampa Bay has given up virtually nothing to the position, so he'll have his work cut out, but but the silver lining is this defense has granted two TDs on just 19 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Hauschka, BUF TB 1122 ***
All 13 extra points have been good, with the lone missed kick coming from one of the nine field goals faced. This is a routine matchup.

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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