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 @DAL 0000032030 ***
Brady's "Up Yours, Goodell!" tour takes its act on the road to Dallas, where he'll dazzle Greg Hardy with his wife and drop another 300-plus yard, multiple TD outing on a defense that just got taken for something similar by a lame-armed version of Drew Brees. He hasn't been to Dallas in eight years, but the last time he dropped by he left with 388 yards and five TDs. Just sayin'.
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE @DAL 701000000 ***
Blount will see the goal-line and clock-eating work--maybe not to the three-TD level he hit last week and Davonte Freeman posted on the Cowboys two weeks back, but more than enough to warrant a fantasy play.
RB Dion Lewis, NE @DAL 4005400000 ***
The Cowboys have allowed a back to amass at least 46 receiving yards in every game thus far--and two of them last week. There's your floor for Lewis, the pass-catching half of the New England backfield--though he's also seeing enough red zone work to contribute on the ground as well.
WR Julian Edelman, NE @DAL 0010901000 ***
Julio Jones is the only opposing wideout to see Edelman-level targets against the Cowboys, and he ripped them for 12-164-2. Edelman isn't Julio, obviously, but his volume will lead to another quality fantasy outing against a defense that let lesser volume slot guys Willie Snead (6-89) and Jordan Matthews (6-80-1) have solid fantasy days.
WR Danny Amendola, NE @DAL 004400000 ***
After Gronk and Edelman and Lewis and Blount all get theirs... hey, even with Tom Brady at the helm there's only so much to go around.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @DAL 0061002000 ****
Gronk's had 94 yards or better in every game, scored four TDs already this year, and faces a Dallas defense that just let Josh Hill find the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @DAL 2244 ***
The Pats have increased their number of scoring drives each week, with 17 total in their past two games. And goody for Gosty, they've settled for field goals on seven of them. Still the most reliable fantasy kicker in the game.

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 @CIN 40000025021 ***
After failing to do much against NFC North foes the past fortnight Wilson switches to the AFC and a much tougher defense. The upside to his passing line is two TDs and mediocre yardage, but he's rushed at least six times in every game--and all five quarterbacks with six or more carries against the Bengals since the start of the 2012 season have added 50-plus rushing yards to their bottom line, with four of them scoring a rushing TD as well.
RB Thomas Rawls, SEA @CIN 5005300000 ***
If Rawls has the full workload--no Marshawn Lynch, no Fred Jackson--he's maybe a fringe fantasy option at best against a defense that has yet to allow a RB rushing score. And if he's job-sharing, he's flat-out bench fodder.

Update: Lynch has officially been ruled out, leaving Rawls to face a tough matchup. He's a low-end bye-week plug-in play at best.
WR Jermaine Kearse, SEA @CIN 006701000 ***
Kearse has 75-plus yards all three times he's made it to the field, but banking on the Seahawks for passing game consistency feels hinky--especially when you note his targets have decreased each game. Reward isn't high enough to offset the risk.
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA @CIN 006501000 ***
Baldwin's been reasonably consistent out of the Seattle slot, but the upside is limited so it's barely worth the risk to plug him in against a quality secondary that's allowed just two receivers to top 55 yards this season.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA @CIN 004500000 ***
Lockett lines up on the right side, and the past two games right-side wideouts have gutted the Bengals for 13-186-2 (Steve Smith) and 11-148 (Jeremy Maclin). Sadly, Lockett won't see anywhere near the 17 and 13 targets that duo received, so his upside remains limited--and a return score your best bet for fantasy help.
TE Jimmy Graham, SEA @CIN 005400000 ***
Remember when Jimmy Graham used to be a fantasy deity? Now he's just like everybody else: occasional big game, mostly a lot of heartbreak. He's topped out at eight targets, a number he bested eight times last season. Making matters worse, he's facing a Bengals D that has yet to allow a TE TD and has held every TE they've faced under 50 yards.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Steven Hauschka, SEA @CIN 1122 ***
Seattle's settling for field goals, and the Bengals are holding opposing teams to treys instead of TDs--like Cairo Santos' seven three-pointers last week. Sets up nicely for Steven.

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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