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: MIA 20, CIN 27 (Line: CIN by 4.5)

Players to Watch: Brain Hartline

The 1-3 Dolphins are on a two game losing streak though they gave the Cardinals all they could handle last week. The 3-1 Bengals have been on a roll since the season opening loss in Baltimore. Once again, the Bengals are playing better than we expected and the Dolphins are good but not good enough.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN -----
2 OAK 35-13 11 @BUF -----
3 NYJ 20-23 12 SEA -----
4 @ARI 21-24 13 NE -----
5 @CIN ----- 14 @SF -----
6 STL ----- 15 JAC -----
7 BYE ----- 16 BUF -----
8 @NYJ ----- 17 @NE -----
9 @IND ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 220,1
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brian Hartline 6-60
WR Mike Wallace 6-90,1

Pregame Notes: Losing the last two games by just three points means the Dolphins are improving but are limited by their defense that has allowed 23 points or more in three games this year. This is not a "catch up" sort of offense despite Ryan Tannehill throwing for 431 yards in Arizona. His previous best was only 219 yards and he still only managed to score once. So far Tannehill has two touchdowns against six interceptions but at least is gaining yardage in chunks with the wide receivers.

Reggie Bush was active last week and gained 67 yards on 17 runs in Arizona. But he was never used as a receiver and was not overused in his first game since the knee sprain. He left the game without any issues and should be 100% this week. Not only are both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas splitting the relief work, but the Fins allowed Jorvorskie Lane to punch in the short touchdown for the second week in a row. Hopefully that goes away with Bush healthy again.

No matter that there were 431 pass yards in Arizona, Anthony Fasano still is held to fewer than 50 yards every week and has not fantasy merit.

The big story last week was Brian Hartline being thrown 19 passes for 12 catches and 253 yards including the 80-yard touchdown. That makes two of the last three weeks that Hartline ended with nine carries or more. And the problem is that he sandwiched those monster games with a one catch effort against the Jets. Opponents can game plan Hartline away but if they do not he has made them pay. Davone Bess also caught seven passes for 123 yards in that game but Hartline's 80-yard score has been the only touchdown by any wideout this year. That's two games by Hartline and one by Bess that were impressive and nothing else in four weeks. Cover the two and not much is going to happen. For that matter, cover Hartline and take your chances. This offense only has two passing touchdowns this year. What Hartline can do this week will help define the Miami passing game.

The Bengals are weaker on defense than most 3-1 teams but facing CLE, WAS and JAC has helped. All teams have thrown at least one score on them and most have at least some rushing success against them as well. But the passing is not going to be good enough here to get the win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 26 3 21 27 27 16
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 24 26 9 24 17 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Tannehill, MIA MIN 0000022010 ***
Tannehill has just two passing scores in his last three games, and the Vikings are no pushovers themselves having held Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton to one TD apiece. Moreover, after running more earlier in the season Tannehill hasn't topped 21 rushing yards since Week 10 so he's not augmenting his passing numbers. It adds up to what looks like a pedestrian outing for Tannehill; no fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA MIN 7011100000 ***
Miller continues to clock in with a steady dose of 12-15 carries per game, but he's regularly churning out just 50-60 yards with those carries--and he has just one TD in his last six games. The Vikings have held running backs out of the end zone in three straight, though they've allowed four backs to top 50 yards in that span. If you've enjoyed what you've been getting from Miller, this should be no different; odds are you want a little more in championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA MIN 005501000 ***
Both Miami receivers have speed, which the Vikings have struggled to defend this season. Both warrant fantasy starts based on performance, targets, and matchups. But Minnesota is far from a walkover, so don't look for big numbers; more like, just enough.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA MIN 004700000 ***
If you consider Landry the WR2 to Mike Wallace he may actually be in a better position to score here: over the past three games it's been the WR1s with the yardage, but in two of the three games the touchdowns have gone to secondary targets like Philly Brown and Golden Tate. Does that make Landry a more likely touchdown candidate? Perhaps. Either way he's a decent fantasy start, but Ryan Tannehill's totals limit the upside of any member of the Miami passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA MIN 005500000 ***
Used to be the Vikings were suckers for tight ends; under Mike Zimmer they've given up just three TDs all season. They have allowed some yardage of late, however, so the frequently targeted Clay at least remains on the fantasy radar.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA MIN 2222 ***
Sturgis has multiple treys in three straight and eight of the last nine; if his offense would get him some PAT opportunities as well he'd have more double-digit points outings to show for it. He should stay hot in the field goal department against a Vikings defense that's given up 10 treys in the past three games, but expect the lack of PATs to continue against Minnesota, as they've allowed only three TDs in the past three games.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG -----
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC -----
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK -----
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD -----
5 MIA ----- 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE ----- 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT ----- 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 10 300,3
WR A.J. Green 7-120,2
WR Greg Little 4-70,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals finish three road games in the first four weeks with a 3-1 record but the schedule is not getting much better anytime soon. The defense has been a problem most weeks but at least Andy Dalton has been able to produce three scores each week and remain ahead on the scoreboard. He has thrown for over 300 yards twice and rushed in a touchdown last week in Jacksonville.

The rushing game here remains just as lackluster as it was with Cedric Benson. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rarely has a role as a receiver and he has only gained 286 yards on 82 runs. That's a 3.5 yard per carry average and a moderate fantasy output every week. He's not winning anyone games but he is not why you lose either. Just like Benson before him, the Bengals have an average run game that just lacks any sparks or big performances. Green-Ellis gets almost all the action here. It just never matters that much.

Jermaine Gresham is the tight end version of Green-Ellis. He has one score, he always has at least 30 yards but never more than 64. Middle of the road for a tight end and worthy only of filling in for a bye week player.

Dalton continues to ignite an improving set of receivers. A.J. Green scored in each of the last three games and has been good for six or seven catches per week. The last two weeks produced 183 yards against the Redskins and 117 yards in Jacksonville. He is a strong play and currently the #1 wideout in most fantasy leagues. But he is not alone. Armon Binns scored once and was catching about four passes per game until being blanked last week. Andrew Hawkins is making the slot mean something. He has two touchdowns on the year and produces 50 or 60 yards in almost every game. He adds a dangerous element that can break a long gainer on any play.

This offense has a decent rushing game that supports a good passer in Dalton. Green is the #1 fantasy wideout because teams cannot devote too much against him without paying a price from the other receivers. This week they go against a Miami defense that has allowed over 300 passing yards to the last three opponents and all teams score at least once against them via the pass. The rushing defense is actually top notch and going against a mediocre run offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 10 26 1 21 12 15
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 20 15 27 15 24 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN DEN 0000023021 ***
No guarantee that attempting to keep up with Peyton Manning translates into helpful fantasy stats; didn't work for Derek Carr, Shaun Hill, Alex Smith or Philip Rivers over the past six weeks. Dalton's been too unreliable a fantasy contributor of late to not be lumped in with that mediocre grouping, especially given his penchant for coming up small in big games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN DEN 5004200000 ***
Tre Mason is the only back to find fantasy success against the Broncos. Not that the Bengals won't try with Hill, but his big games have come against bottom-feeding run defenses (New Orleans, Cleveland, and Jacksonville all rank in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to RBs). Dial your expectations back accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DEN 3003200000 ***
It's official: Gio's a complementary back. And with feature backs having enough trouble carving out fantasy value against the Broncos, no reason to reach for a secondary guy for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN DEN 005601000 **
It's not impossible for Green to carve out fantasy value against the Broncos, especially given the volume of targets he's bound to see. But it won't be easy, so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN DEN 003300000 ***
Complementary targets have found the end zone against Denver while primary targets posted bigger yardage--as recently as Week 14, when Sammy Watkins did the heavy lifting with 127 yards while Chris Hogan found the end zone. However, multiple receivers have posted fantasy helpers on the Broncos only four times in 14 games, so Sanu's chances of warranting a spot in your lineup are slim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kevin Brock, CIN DEN 001101000 *
With Jermaine Gresham either pouting or hurt--or maybe both--Brock will get the minimal looks Cincy tight ends have been seeing and produce the limited fantasy value they've been posting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN DEN 1122 ***
Since serving up 16 points to Greg Zuerlein and the Rams in Week 11 the Broncos have allowed a total of 17 kicker points in four games. The Nuge broke a two-game field goal drought with three against the Browns last week, but the overriding trend here is opposing kickers falling short against Denver. Plan accordingly.

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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