Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: NE 24, SEA 17 (Line:NE by 3.5)

Players Updated: Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski

Players to Watch: Aaron Hernandez

The 3-2 Patriots are on a two game winning streak trying to get that sub-.500 taste out of their mouths and they have been on a scoring streak these last three weeks. The 3-2 Seahawks are 2-0 at home but are getting almost nothing from their offense.

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 52-28 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 250,2
RB Brandon Bolden 20,1
RB Stevan Ridley 60 3
TE Rob Gronkowski 4-50,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Pats are generating the points but less so when they leave their own division. The early schedule has been no friend and this is the fourth road game in just the first six weeks. The schedule clears up after this week for over a month.

Tom Brady is supported by a very good rushing effort now and that makes predicting what he will do tougher. He has topped 300 pass yards in three of five games but only has eight passing touchdowns versus eight rushing touchdowns by running backs. Brady has also scored once on a short run in each of the last two games. He is still a good quarterback in fantasy terms, but is on a pace for just 25 passing touchdowns. Brady has options and that is not helping his owners who were expecting something more prolific and record setting than just "really good".

Stevan Ridley has turned it up for the last two weeks with 40 carries for 257 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His lost fumble last week is troublesome but HC Bill Belichick is not going to punish him. Ridley also gets help from Brandon Bolden though his use is far less predictable and always comes after Ridley has done his damage. Encouraging this week is that Ridley ran for over 100 yards against two of the road opponents, But the Seahawks present the toughest defense yet faced other than perhaps the Ravens who limited Ridley to only 37 yards on 13 runs in his only bad game of the year.

Rob Gronkowski is bothered by a sore hip though he did play in every offensive play last week. But his four catches for 35 yards against the Broncos was not what crafty drafters were thinking about when they nabbed him with their first or second round pick. That makes two games in the last three weeks with under 40 yards and no scores. It is as if he has turned into a tight end. Gronkowski has three scores on the year but is much less productive than 2011. Aaron Hernandez was rumored to be ready last week but was inactive as he returns from an ankle injury. There is optimism that he can play this week and getting accurate information from the Patriots is nearly impossible. Expect a likely update later in the week.

All the rushing has really depressed receiving stats for Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd but Wes Welker is chugging along at a high pace once again. He has topped 100 yards in each of the last three games while never catching less than eight passes in every game. He finally had his first touchdown of the season just last week. Welker seemed phased out in week one. Now he has roared back with a vengeance no matter what the rushing game is doing.

The Seahawks present a very stout defense and they will be at home. They allowed Tony Romo just one score and 250 yards but that is less impressive now a month later. Aaron Rodgers only threw for 223 yards and no score but again - not as shocking as it seemed at the time. This will be a big challenge for the Pats but they bring in a balanced offense that is all working and should get Hernandez back as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 8 4 12 2 3 8
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 1 5 9 4 8 21

QB Tom Brady, NE OAK 0000021020 ***
Brady has been downright awful for fantasy purposes, and given the success opponents have had running the ball right down the Raiders' throats there's little reason to think Tom will have to dust off the golden days here.
RB Stevan Ridley, NE OAK 701000000 ***
The Raiders have allowed a whopping 363 RB rushing yards through two games; no reason to think the Patriots haven't taken notice and will run Ridley another 25 times this week. And at the 5.2 yards per carry Oakland is allowing, that will add up quickly.
RB Shane Vereen, NE OAK 4006300000 ***
Vereen should touch the ball enough to be effective, and there's always the possibility of a Ridley fumble or some other wrinkle that turns Vereen's share of the Patriots' backfield workload into a majority one.
WR Julian Edelman, NE OAK 006801000 ****
The closest thing to a sure thing among Patriots receivers, Edelman is consistently targeted and a solid PPR play; he's also the only New England wideout with a touchdown this year.
WR Danny Amendola, NE OAK 002200000 ***
All non-Edelman Patriots wideouts have accounted for nine catches and 66 yards this season. Total. Amendola's inconsistent share of that paltry sum isn't worth a fantasy play, even against Oakland.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE OAK 004401000 ***
Even on a snap count, the prospect of a Gronk TD is too likely to have him sit on your fantasy bench. So long as he's only on the field a little over half the time, however, he's a riskier play in yardage-heavy or non-TE mandatory formats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE OAK 2244 ***
Gosty's a lock for multiple treys and a handful of PATs; what more could you ask for in your fantasy kicker?

Seattle Seahawks
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @ARI 16-20 10 NYJ -----
2 DAL 27-7 11 BYE -----
3 GB 14-12 12 @MIA -----
4 @STL 13-19 13 @CHI -----
5 @CAR 16-12 14 ARI -----
6 NE ----- 15 @BUF -----
7 @SF ----- 16 SF -----
8 @DET ----- 17 STL -----
9 MIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Russell Wilson 10 180,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 80,1 3-20
WR Doug Baldwin 2-20
WR Percy Harvin 20 7-100,1
TE Zach Miller 4-40,1
PK Steven Hauschka 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks are about to hit a much tougher stretch of the schedule and their reliance on little more than a great defense is going to be sorely tested. No opponent has scored more than 20 points on them but then again, this offense has only once had more than 16 points. Over five weeks of playing, the offense has produced just seven touchdowns and Russell Wilson has been held to fewer than 165 passing yards in all but one game. He remains mostly because the Seahawks are winning most their games but it has never been because of him. With only five passing touchdowns and an average of just 163 yards, the wins have almost been in spite of Wilson.

Until there are a few glaring losses, Matt Flynn remains safely on the sideline holding a rather costly clipboard.

Marshawn Lynch is the motor of the offense and he never rushes for less than 85 yards if only because he always gets 20+ carries. He has almost no role as a receiver though and scored just twice this year. If a team could ever shut down Lynch, the Seahawks offense would come to a complete stop. So far - no one has.

The meager passing means no receivers have any real fantasy value. Zach Miller had a surprising 59 yards on three catches in Carolina but has otherwise been devoid of any consideration. Anthony McCoy only has seven catches on the year for just 70 yards but did catch one of the precious few touchdowns.

Golden Tate scored last week which gives him three on the season for over half of all passing scores this year. But no receiver has gained more than 68 yards and even that came on the pseudo-Hail Mary against the Packers. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Matt Flynn played because the passing offense could hardly get much less effective. The Seahawks rank 31st in quarterbacks only because Blaine Gabbert was sent to earth as a celestial gift to defensive coordinators. Chugging along at under 17 points per week is going to be a problem for the next couple of weeks at the least.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 31 19 30 25 17 22
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 31 15 24 30 7 3

QB Russell Wilson, SEA DEN 20000020021 ***
Wilson has multiple TD tosses in his last three games, including 206 and 2 in the Super Bowl win over Denver. That's enough to make him a consistent low-end fantasy contributor, with the upside of anything he brings to the table as a rusher.
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA DEN 8012100000 ****
Lynch didn't contribute a ton to the Super Bowl win, and he was shut down by the Chargers last week in San Diego. However, he's rock solid at home and should find success against a defense that let Knile Davis rack up 79 yards and score twice against them last week.
WR Percy Harvin, SEA DEN 4002301000 ***
Harvin doesn't need to touch the ball to impact opposing defenses--though sadly that impact doesn't do much for fantasy bottom lines. Expect the Seahawks to find ways to get the ball into Harvin's hands, with the result being enough productivity to warrant a fantasy start.
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA DEN 003400000 ***
Not that Seattle's tertiary offensive players don't contribute; more that they don't contribute consistently and therefore are difficult to trust with a fantasy start. As the secondary receiver in a run-first offense, Baldwin falls directly into that category.
WR Jermaine Kearse, SEA DEN 002300000 ***
Kearse's 61 yards last week mark the best showing by a Seahawk wideout this season. Of course, that came on the heels of a one-catch, eight-yard outing in the opener so he can't be trusted with a fantasy start.
TE Zach Miller, SEA DEN 003300000 ***
The upside to Miller is that the Broncos allowed a TE TD in Week 1 and 130 yards to the position last week. The downside is that 130 is double Miller's year-to-date yardage and he has yet to visit the end zone this year. Positive matchup, but not a player you can trust to take advantage.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA DEN 2233 ***
Kicking on a team with enough offense to get you there and enough defense to allow you to settle for field goals ain't a bad gig at all; just ask Hauschka.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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