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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
WR Damian Williams 2-20
TE Dustin Keller

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 NYJ 20000029021 ****
Tannehill threw for 331 & 2 in last month's meeting with the Jets, and with a playoff berth on the line he's expected to bounce back form the injury (and ineptitude) that knocked him out of last week's embarrassing shutout loss in Buffalo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Knowshon Moreno, MIA NYJ 5004400000 ***
Three Broncos backs combined for 166 yards and a score in the earlier meeting with Oakland. Expect something similar this time around, with maybe a lighter load for Moreno as Denver rests him for the postseason. Still, his share of the work against an Oakland defense that's allowed 796 RB yards from scrimmage and 11 RB TDs the past month should be more than enough for him to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Daniel Thomas, MIA NYJ 201000000 **
Thomas missed the earlier meeting with the Jets, but has two TDs and a 100-yard rushing game since. Assuming the Dolphins can shake off whatever ailed them in last week's embarrassing shutout loss to the Bills, Thomas should find room to rumble against a Jets defense that's allowed RB TDs in three straight, with two backs topping 150 combo yards in that span. UPDATE: Thomas is listed as questionable and was limited in practice Thursday and Friday. That likely reduces the share of carries he swipes from Lamar Miller.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA NYJ 5002200000 ***
After being a stout run D most of the season the Jets have given up RB TDs in each of the past three games. Just prior to that streak starting, Miller produced 85 yards from scrimmage against the Jets in Week 13. He hasn't done much since, while Daniel Thomas has scored twice and had a 100-yard rushing game. But seeing the likes of Edwin Baker get to the end zone against the Jets at least provides hope Miller can do the same.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA NYJ 007901000 ****
Wallace and Brian Hartline both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA NYJ 005600000 ***
Hartline and Mike Wallace both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, MIA NYJ 003200000 ***
Sometimes a third receiver emerges behind Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace. It used to be Brandon Gibson, now it's Matthews, and in most cases it's a desperation fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA NYJ 006801000 ***
The Jets have been better against tight ends the second half of the season, but they've still surrendered two 80-yard games and a touchdown to the position over the past month. Clay hit the 80 mark on them in the earlier meeting, and with the Dolphins playing for their postseason lives he's as good a bet as any to be an offensive contributor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA NYJ 1133 ****
Sturgis has double digits in three of his last four, including three weeks back against the Jets. At home, needing a win for a hope at a playoff spot, Sturgis should have ample opportunity to get his kicks.

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
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 50 2-10
WR A.J. Green 7-120,2
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 BAL 0000027020 ***
Dalton has multiple touchdown tosses in four straight home games and three straight overall, plus he took the Ravens for 274 & 2 in the earlier meeting between these clubs. Baltimore has held both Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady to single scoring strikes the past two weeks, however, so if Dalton is to help both your fantasy team to a title and his Bengals to the postseason he'll have to earn it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jason Campbell, CIN BAL 20000023010 ***
Campbell was knocked out of the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh after 124 yards, with Brandon Weeden finishing out the game for Cleveland. It'll be Campbell at least to start this time around, against a Steelers squad with a faint playoff heartbeat. Pittsburgh hasn't allowed more than 251 passing yards since Weeden and Campbell combined for 333 in that Week 12 game, plus Campbell has just one passing score in the past two games combined. In other words, not a whole lot of optimism for Campbell this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN BAL 4007401000 ***
Gio had 95 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. His ability to create via the passing game as well as on the ground make him the safer fantasy play as he shares the workload with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN BAL 300000000 ***
Baltimore has allowed five RB rushing scores in the past four games; since it takes a short-yardage plunge for BJGE to create fantasy value out of his job-share gig, that the Ravens have been dented of late is somewhat reassuring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN BAL 0061001000 ****
Green has scored or topped 90 yards in four straight, and he did both as part of his 8-151-1 showing in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. Recency, primacy... either way you slice it, Green's a great play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones, CIN BAL 005400000 ***
Jones and Mohamed Sanu have each scored in the past fortnight, but neither did anything in the earlier meeting with Baltimore--nor should either be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN BAL 002400000 ***
Sanu and Marvin Jones have each scored in the past fortnight, but neither did anything in the earlier meeting with Baltimore--nor should either be banked on for fantasy help here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN BAL 3333 ****
The Nuge has but one double-digit game on the season, hasn't topped six points in a month, and mustered only five in the earlier meeting with Baltimore. If Cincy is to secure a playoff spot, they'll likely do so relying on something other than Nugent's leg.

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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