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
WR Brandon Gibson 4-60,1
TE Scott Chandler 5-40,1
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 BUF 0000032030 ***
The Bills have given up multiple touchdown tosses in seven of nine this year, including three to Brady when these teams met in Week 2. Oh yeah, and Brady dropped 466 yards on them as well. He's still got Gronk, and if Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola can pick up Julian Edelman's slack the results could be similar this time around.
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE BUF 701000000 ***
The earlier meeting with Buffalo was a Dion Lewis day as Blount saw just two touches in his first game back from suspension. Sans Lewis he's seen 48 carries the past two weeks, producing 195 rushing yards and two TDs. A defense that gave up 115 and 1 to the only back with 20 carries against them (TJ Yeldon) and allowed 18-99 to Chris Ivory last week looks ripe for a Blounting this week.
RB James White, NE BUF 1004300000 ***
We didn't see much from White last week as LeGarrette Blount bogarted 21 of the backfield's 24 touches. While Dion Lewis owned the Bills in the earlier meeting with 7-40-1 rushing and 6-98 receiving, don't slot White in for similar digits; Buffalo has allowed bulkier backs like Blount to bang them of late, and that's the more likely route for the New England backfield this week.
WR Danny Amendola, NE BUF 009801000 ***
Julian Edelman saw a season-high 19 targets in the earlier meeting with Buffalo; now Amendola fills that role, with double-digit targets likely for him as well. Last week Amendola turned 11 targets into a very Edelman-esque 10-79; no reason he can't emulate Edelman again here.
WR Brandon LaFell, NE BUF 004600000 ***
In the earlier meeting it was Aaron Dobson turning eight targets into 7-87 against the Bills. Now it's LaFell getting those looks, and with 168 yard the past two weeks he's right on pace to slide into those numbers in the rematch.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE BUF 0071002000 ***
Gronk went for 7-113-1 in the earlier meeting, and now he doesn't have to share with Julian Edelman. He's his usual rock-star fantasy self.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE BUF 1155 ***
The baseline is nine, and the upside is something similar to the season-high 16 he posted in Buffalo back in Week 2. Plenty to like here.

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 Fred Jackson 30 2-20
RB Marshawn Lynch 80,1 3-20
WR Doug Baldwin 2-20
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 SF 30000024010 ***
Wilson has never rushed for a touchdown against the 49ers, and his last multiple TD effort against them came back in December of 2012. We're also still waiting for his first game north of 240 passing yards--or 40 rushing yards, for that matter. Nothing he's done this year--eight one-TD games, just one north of 251 passing yards, no rushing scores--suggest he's in line to buck that trend; expect something much like his 235 & 1 from the Week 7 meeting
RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA SF 10011100000 ***
Lynch has 100-plus yards or a touchdown--often both--in nine straight meetings with the Niners, including 27-122-1 when the teams met earlier this year. He's scored in all five home games against San Francisco, with three 100-yard efforts and a per-game average of 23-103-1. So that's the baseline this week. Enjoy.

Update: Lynch practiced on a limited basis this week due to an abdomen injury. He's officially listed as questionable, but if he's active you probably want him in your lineup. Thomas Rawls would get touches should Lynch's tummy issues flare up.
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA SF 003401000 **
Tough to trust Baldwin to maintain the level of targets he saw last week, but at present he's the closest thing the Seahawks have to a reliable fantasy receiver. Against a Niners secondary that's given up five 100-yard games already, there's enough upside to keep Baldwin on the fantasy radar.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA SF 003500000 ***
Lockett has as much upside in the return game as he does as a receiver, but it's been two months since a second receiver had more than 72 yards against the Niners--and the best one-two punch Seattle has offered this season was 79/64 from Lockett and Jermaine Kearse. That game did come in the earlier meeting with San Francisco, so there's a chance you could get lucky here.
TE Jimmy Graham, SEA SF 004500000 ***
The Niners haven't allowed a TE TD in more than a month, a stretch that includes holding Graham to 2-31 in the Week 7 meeting. Seattle can't figure out how to target him, so if you have another option there's no reason to remain beholden to Graham.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA SF 3322 ***
The Niners have given up multiple field goals in four of five, including two to Hauschka in Seattle in Week 7. Hauschka has been consistent, no reason to think this matchup keeps him from his appointed rounds.

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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