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
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brandon LaFell 5-60
TE Scott Chandler 4-40,1
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 @DEN 0000024011 ***
Buffalo provided a blueprint for at least slowing Brady down, hitting him at every opportunity last weekend and limiting him to 277 yards and his first one-TD game of the season. Denver has the defense to turn a similar trick so temper expectations accordingly--though it's worth noting that Brady has a rushing score in three of his last six against the Broncos.
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @DEN 7014200000 ***
Blount has seen steady between-the-tackles work and has three TDs in three road games since taking over the New England backfield. It's not a particularly favorable matchup, but that hasn't stopped him before so pencil him in for the usual once again.
RB James White, NE @DEN 3006501000 **
White doubled his touches in his second game as Dion Lewis' stand-in, though going from two to four is hardly a big jump. White did manage to find the end zone on half his touches, however, and a bigger role could be in the offing this week as a checkdown guy in the face of Denver's pass rush
WR Chris Harper, NE @DEN 003400000 ***
No writeup available
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @DEN 003400000 ***
With all the injuries to New England receivers, LaFell looks to be the best of what's left--and that means he'll likely spend the evening wearing Aqib Talib. That's going to make it difficult to put up helpful fantasy numbers.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @DEN 006700000 ***
It's far from a favorable matchup, but Gronk is far from a normal tight end. With Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis all out of the picture it would stand to reason that Gronk is looking at double-digit targets. And double-digit targets have led to 100-yard games with a touchdown both times he's seen that many throws this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @DEN 3222 ***
The Broncos have allowed 10 field goals in the past three games, so even if Tom Brady's depleted arsenal is thwarted in the red zone there's still plenty of opportunity for Gostkowski here.

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 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.

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

QB Tyrod Taylor, BUF @KC 10000022010 ***
Taylor has struggled since returning from injury, with two TDs in three games and a high game of 233 yards. It won't get any easier against a Chiefs defense that's been playing lights-out over the past month, holding five straight teams under 250 passing yards and giving up just four passing scores in that span. Taylor hasn't run much since his return, either, further limiting his fantasy value.
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF @KC 7006400000 ***
McCoy has reached triple-digit combo yardage in three previous meetings with top-10 defenses, so there's no need to bench him just because the Chiefs have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. It does, however, put a limit to his upside.
RB Karlos Williams, BUF @KC 200000000 ***
Williams' scoring streak came to a halt last week, and with LeSean McCoy still handling the bulk of the touches the Chiefs aren't the kind of matchup where he's likely to start a new one.
WR Chris Hogan, BUF @KC 006700000 ***
The good news is that the last three WR TDs the Chiefs have allowed have gone to secondary targets. The bad news is, those three TD have come over the past five games so there's no guarantee Hogan--or any Buffalo wideout--finds the end zone this week.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @KC 004500000 ***
In the month since Stefon Diggs and Antonio Brown posted back-to-back 120-yard efforts against the Chiefs, no receiver has topped 85 yards and no WR1 has found the end zone. In two games since blowing up the Dolphins Watkins has totaled 53 yards. KC's secondary is playing well enough that Watkins' numbers are more likely to resemble the last fortnight, which is bad for fantasy purposes.
TE Charles Clay, BUF @KC 003300000 ***
Clay hasn't done much since Week 4; the Chiefs haven't allowed much of anything to the tight end position all year. You're sure to have better fantasy options at your disposal.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @KC 2111 ***
Visiting kickers are averaging just six points per game in Arrowhead so lower your expectations for Carpenter this week.

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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