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 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 LA 0000034030 ***
LA presents an intriguing matchup. The Rams have allowed the third fewest yards per game (217.5) and second fewest yards per completion (9.6) using data since Week 7. Conversely, quarterbacks have thrown a TD every 11.4 completions, which is the 11th worst defense of this category.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE LA 801000000 ***
While only one of the last 90 carries against the Rams have went the distance, three of 17 receptions have scored. That's not Blount's forte, but this defense has allowed 152.8 yards per game. Blount has some promise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE LA 1004301000 ***
Three of the last 17 catches by running backs against LA have gone for touchdowns. White has appeal in PPR only, of course, but he is risky with Dion Lewis seeing time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE LA 2004300000 ***
Lewis is still being worked in and sharing with James White. The Rams have allowed 17 receptions for 149 yards -- but THREE of those catches have scored. That's crazy and gives Lewis an outside shot at being playable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE LA 008801000 ***
This is a neutral matchup for receivers. Edelman could see more work if Gronk doesn't dress. Wideouts have scored five times over the last 54 receptions surrendered by LA.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE LA 002501000 **
Overall, the matchup is not ideal when using data from the last five games. Hogan can get deep and is usual going to see single coverage. He is a risky play with more worth in standard-scoring affairs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcolm Mitchell, NE LA 005600000 ***
Mitchell has carved out a niche role in the offense recently, but New England changes things up so much that he is a risky play in any format. The Rams have give up five TDs to wideouts in the last four games on 54 catches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, NE LA 005600000 ***
LA offers the 22nd best matchup for tight ends in PPR scoring. Gronk's status makes a big difference, too. Bennett is a fringe consideration because of the risk involved.

Update: Gronkowski, as you should know by now, is done for the rest of the fantasy season after back surgery. Bennett is a safer play now, but his matchup remains the sticking point.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE LA 1144 ***
No team offers a harsher matchup for kickers in Week 13, and given Gostkowski's struggles these days, perhaps looking elsewhere is warranted.

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 Tyrod Taylor, BUF @OAK 40000021011 ***
The Raiders have allowed the 17th most fantasy points, on average, coming off the 11th best overall matchup rating. Passers have thrown a TD every 10.6 completions while racking up only 238.6 yards per appearance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF @OAK 11012200000 ***
McCoy has scored thrice in his last three outings, and clearly even thumb surgery cannot contain him. The Raiders have given up touchdowns at the sixth highest rate to running backs on the ground and fifth with receiving scores included. The matchup is the eighth most favorable for the position since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, BUF @OAK 002201000 ***
Hunter's role is too limited to chance it in fantasy, even against an Oakland team that has given up WR touchdowns at the ninth most efficient rate.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @OAK 005600000 ***
Watkins returned to play 45 percent of the snaps last week and caught three balls for 80 yards. This is a midrange matchup, but Oakland has allowed the seventh most points per catch by receivers. Look for Watkins to once again be worked in slowly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquise Goodwin, BUF @OAK 003400000 ***
Goodwin is a home run waiting to happen ... don't hold your breath, as projecting his success is a shot in the dark. The Raiders at least present a favorable matchup, but Goodwin is best left for DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, BUF @OAK 004300000 ***
Even when he has faced exploitable matchups, Clay has not been able to get the job done for most of the season. Injuries have taken a major toll on his ability this year. Oakland is a midrange opponent.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @OAK 2222 ***
The Raiders have allowed a mere five field goals and nine extra point tries (seven made) over the past five weeks, making this the sixth toughest matchup for kickers in Week 13.

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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