FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: DEN 23, NE 31 (Line: NE by 7)

Players to Watch: Willis McGahee

Player Updated: Rob Gronkowski

This is like hearing your favorite song played by the wrong band.

The old Brady vs. Manning takes on an entirely new look. The 2-2 Broncos head to New England to face the 2-2 Patriots. Both are disappointed with their current standing though more so for the Pats who naturally assume to dominate the AFC East.The Patriots beat the Broncos twice last year, winning 41-23 at home in week 15 and then 45-10 in New England during the playoffs. But this game has a completely different slant on it with Peyton Manning on the Broncos.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC -----
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB -----
5 @NE ----- 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD ----- 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO ----- 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 300,2
RB Ronnie Hillman 10 2-10
WR Emmanuel Sanders 2-30
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-80,1
WR Wes Welker 7-90
TE Jacob Tamme 4-40,1

Pregame Notes: If Manning does nothing else, at last he stomped on the Raiders in Denver and that alone justified his salary. Now comes a rough part of the schedule with two road games in New England and San Diego after the Broncos are only 0-1 away from Denver. Manning is getting more productive lately but then again he is generating more game tape on what Manning in Denver is all about. So far he has scored in every week and currently has eight touchdowns against three interceptions. All of those picks were in the one road game.

The rushing effort has been solid with Willis McGahee who fell short only against the Texans because they gave him just 12 carries. He gained over 100 yards and scored on both the Falcons and the Raiders. Notable too were the six catches he made last Sunday. McGahee can help maintain good fantasy numbers with that sort of reception work but it was only one game. Over his first three match-ups, McGahee only totaled three receptions for 17 yards. His stock goes up a tick with another game of being used out of the backfield.

Manning is making good use of his two main wideouts. Demaryius Thomas has just one off game but otherwise has been good for 100 yards and/or a touchdown. Thomas account4ed for eight receptions for 78 yards and one score in the only other road game. Eric Decker remains the possession play and he finally scored when the Raiders visited last week. Decker too has been a solid play with at least 50 yards per week. Impressive too was when the Broncos faced the Texans and Decker came through with eight receptions for 136 yards. Brandon Stokley tosses in two or three catches per week but is a fantasy nonfactor.

Jacob Tamme is the preferred tight end and gets the most targets and catches but the last two weeks have seen Joel Dreessen catch a score. That's mostly just Manning hitting the open guy.

This is only the second road game for the PMannings and the first one did not go so well. But Atlanta has a much better defense than the Patriots. Then again - the Pats are at home after their loss to the Cardinals in the only other game there. The Manning angle has to play at least a minor role here. Mostly - both teams are 2-2 and not liking it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 13 11 7 11 16 20
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 26 17 21 30 8 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @KC 0000027030 ***
Things could get dicey as Manning hits the road; then again, he's had 400-plus yards and five TDs in two of his last three visits to Kansas City, so he should be just fine. Manning threw for 242 and 3 in the win over the Chiefs earlier this year; that feels like a typical Manning game and about where we should set the bar here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @KC 6006401000 ***
After shutting down the run for most of the season, the Chiefs have allowed back-to-back 100-yard games and two RB TDs to the Raiders last week. So no reason to fear Anderson gets thwarted by a tough matchup; he's the Broncos back du jour and will enjoy all of the accompanying spoils.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @KC 0061000000 ***
Sanders went for 108 yards in the earlier matchup and has scored and/or topped 100 yards in six straight overall. He's a solid wingman option and belongs in fantasy lineups regardless of matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @KC 006700000 ***
Thomas has 100 yards and/or a touchdown in five straight against the Chiefs; he has a similar eight-game streak going overall as well. No reason to think he won't be his usual fantasy stud this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN @KC 004200000 ***
Welker's touchdown last week was nice but he's still too far down the passing game pecking order to be banked on for a regular fantasy contribution.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @KC 003301000 **
If he's healthy enough to return to action Thomas belongs in your fantasy lineup--and not just because he scored one of two DEN TE TDs in the earlier matchup with KC.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jacob Tamme, DEN @KC 003201000 ***
Tamme scored in the earlier meeting with KC and would be an intriguing fantasy play in the rematch whether or not Julius Thomas is healthy enough to return to action. He's a decent play if Thomas goes but an even better one if he's the Broncos' primary pass-catching tight end.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, DEN @KC 3233 ***
What was your favorite Brandon McManus moment? He didn't have many fantasy biggies, and there's little reason to think Barth changes that pattern here.

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 52-28 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 300,3
RB Brandon Bolden 20
RB Stevan Ridley 60,1 2-10
WR Danny Amendola 6-80,1
WR Brandon LaFell 3-40
TE Rob Gronkowski 8-80,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots come off a thrashing of the Bills after losing two games and falling to 1-2. The only problem with believing in that is that the Pats beat the Bills. That is like going down the street and beating up your younger cousin for the 20th time. Yeah, what does that prove? The Pats lost in Baltimore by one point and were held off at home by the Cards. That has to motivate the Patriots but a fair question is "how did that happen in the first place?" Sure, the loss in Baltimore was on the road and against a good team. But at home against the Cardinals. The Pats need to win big here if only to make themselves feel better.

Brady is still cranking out the 300 yard games but was light on touchdowns until posting three passing scores and one rushing touchdown on the Bills last week. That gives Brady eight scores against only one interception this year.He only threw one score against the Ravens and Cardinals but those are very good defenses. All is well in the house of Brady and his fantasy owners can come back in off the ledge.

Brady passed for an insane 363 yards and six touchdowns in the playoff meeting between these teams. He threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in the home meeting with the Broncos during week 15.

The pasting of the Bills included a second big game for Stevan Ridley (22-106, 2 TDs) and also for the rookie Brandon Bolden (16-137, TD). Bolden did have the bulk of his production later in the game including the fourth-quarter touchdown but was given four runs in the first half when it was still very much an even game. Danny Woodhead had no carries in that game and may be replaced now by Bolden as the relief runner but still figures in as a receiver. With the Pats, you know when you know. Otherwise you are just guessing.

Aside from the Ravens game, Rob Gronkowski is just as deadly with a score in three games and over 60 yards in each of those. Aaron Hernandez remains out with his ankle injury but may practice this week and possibly play in week six. The Kellen Winslow experiment only lasted for one catch before he was released.

Brandon Lloyd produced 108 yards on nine catches in the Ravens tilt but then has been right at 60 yards in every other game and has just one touchdown on the year and that came in the point fest at Buffalo. Wes Welker seemed almost phased out of the offense early on in the year but has roared back with 17 catches for 271 yards in just the last two weeks. The offense is hitting top speed again and that is without Hernandez who will rejoin the starters as early as next week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 7 7 12 1 2 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 18 12 18 22 12 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @GB 0000031030 ***
Brady is on a two-month tear, and a defense that just served up multiple touchdowns to Mark Sanchez and Teddy Bridgewater in back-to-back games isn't likely to cause much of an impediment.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE @GB 2005500000 ***
Vereen is back to being a contributor rather than a feature back. He still has plenty of value in PPR scoring systems, but he's a riskier play in TD-heavy formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @GB 400000000 ***
100-yard games by grinders like Mark Ingram and Marshawn Lynch point towards what Bill Belichick's likely strategy will be: heavy doses of the ground game in order to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines. Sure, Belichick could go back to Jonas Gray this week but odds are he sticks with Blount for 15-20 carries, more than enough to bang out another helpful fantasy stat line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE @GB 006801000 ***
LaFell is Tom Brady's biggest target among the wideouts, so he seems best suited to take advantage of a Packers defense that's allowed WR TDs in six straight, multiple WR TDs in four of six, and a consistent stream of fantasy helpers to WRs with size, from Jordan Matthews to Brandon Marshall to Kelvin Benjamin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @GB 005500000 ***
Edelman is always in the mix, but unless you're in a PPR league his fantasy value is largely negligible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @GB 0071001000 ***
Gronk is too heavily targeted not to be a major factor in this game, even against a Packers defense that's surrendered only two TE TDs all year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE @GB 001101000 **
Wright has scored in each of the past five games in which he's had a catch. He's clearly a red zone option for Tom Brady, and while the Packers have allowed only two TE TDs all year don't let that dissuade you from giving full consideration to Wright in TD-heavy scoring systems.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @GB 1133 ***
Gostkowski has hit double digits in three of the last four and five of the last seven; no reason to think he won't get his kicks in Green Bay t

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

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