FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: TEN 20, BUF 24 (Line: BUF by 3)

Players to Watch: Bad Chris Johnson vs. Good Chris Johnson

This is bound to be a messy game that could end up in a number of directions because it is bad offenses going against bad defenses and most anything could happen. The 2-4 Titans come off an upset win over the Steelers and hit the road where they are 0-3. The 3-3 Bills come off an upset in Arizona as well and are 1-1 at home. Flip a coin.

The Titans beat the Bills 23-17 last season.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU 14-38 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN 7-30 14 @IND -----
6 PIT 26-23 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Kendall Wright 4-50

Pregame Notes: The Titans come off a nice win over the Steelers when they scored ten points in the final four minutes including a field goal as time expired. That was the first time since the Detroit win that the offense played up to expectations and the defense wasn't quite a horrible as it usually is. One question that should be answered this week is if it was just a good effort by all or that Matt Hasselbeck was the quarterback instead of Jake Locker? Hasselbeck has been named the starter again this week though Locker may return from his shoulder injury next week against the Colts.

Hasselbeck passed for 290 yards and one score against the Steelers but he only managed one score and 200 yards in Minnesota during week five. The passing offense has been assisted by the return of Kenny Britt to better health since he turned in a score on four catches for 62 yards but he still has moments of running the wrong routes and dropping passes. He has been replacing Kendall Wright for the most part even though Wright turned his eight targets into six receptions for 71 yards. Britt was thrown a team high 11 passes but only caught four.

Nate Washington quietly chugs along on the other side with right around 50 yards in every game and never more than four catches. Wright has been the primary and his 33 receptions on the year are ten more than any other player. The passing attack would do well to better integrate Wright while also spending so much time throwing incompletions to Britt.

Jared Cook is good for four or five catches per week with moderate yardage and he scored twice so far. He remains just outside of fantasy relevance in all but the largest of leagues and even then reception points help.

Last week the Titans finally scored their first rushing touchdown of the season but called in Jamie Harper for the honors just to screw every fantasy owner who already had enough injury without that insult. And HC Mike Munchak liked the move and plans on doing it again. Chris Johnson ran for 91 yards on 19 carries and credited his offensive line instead of throwing them under the bus as he usually does each week. This is a pattern of last season as well. His only two games of any note have been against the Texans and Steelers. Also the two toughest defenses. What happens is more that the defense does not worry as much about loading up against the runner plus much of what Johnson does comes later in the game. Against the Texans, he was given run draws later in the game when the Texans liked him running and chewing up the clock in the already decided game.

This is going to be an excellent test this week. The Bills are soft against the run. If Johnson can gain 90 yards on the Steelers and 141 on the Texans, then facing the Bills should be a feast. And in most cases last year, it would be the opposite. A big effort here by Johnson may signal some turnaround but that is hard to rely on when you know going in that he has four games with under 30 yards rushing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 20 30 18 5 23 21
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 32 26 26 18 19 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Cassel, TEN HOU 0000020001 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN HOU 10013200000 ***
Murray will try to cap off a brilliant season with a bang against a Houston defense that is the statistically toughest in the last five weeks. The veteran back scored twice in the first matchup, and he's a sound play once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN HOU 301000000 ***
Houston has nothing on the line in this one, so Henry is a sensible place to look for flier points. There is risk involved, but it's Week 17 and time to chance it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN HOU 005600000 *
Matthews was dynamite with Marcus Mariota, but now we have to take a leap of faith that he can get the job done with Matt Cassel for 60 minutes. The Texans provide the 12th best matchup of the week, and Matthews racked up 82 yards on only two catches in Week 4.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Sharpe doesn't contribute enough consistently to consider him as anything more that a wild gamble. Houston at least offers a borderline good matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Houston is a strong defense of the position, and Walker will be catching balls from Matt Cassel. Walker caught only two of eight targets for 34 yards in the last meeting with Houston.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN HOU 2222 ***
Houston is a bottom-three matchup for the week, and Tennessee's offense really could struggle without Marcus Mariota. This one could go either way since Matt Cassel is usually at least decent.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE 28-52 13 JAC -----
5 @SF 3-45 14 STL -----
6 @ARI 19-16 15 SEA -----
7 TEN ----- 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Percy Harvin 20,1 8-100

Pregame Notes: After getting violated by the 49ers in week five 45-3, the Bills bounced back with an upset overtime win in Arizona. While the offense was still struggling to pass, the defense showed up with a vengeance. This is a defense that allowed 97 points over the two prior weeks. Holding anyone to 16 points in their stadium made the Bills feel better for at least the one week. This week is a sort of respite with maybe the softest match-up left on the schedule and a bye week waiting on the other side.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is mirroring 2011 by starting out the year red hot. He passed for 12 touchdowns over the first 12 games but now have played two games without any scores. He has been below 200 yards in almost every game and the offense survives on what the rushing effort accomplishes. Fitzpatrick was throwing short scores early on but has been blanked and not passed for more than 153 yards since week four.

The rushing effort that started the year so well cooled off against solid rush defenses of the Patriots and 49ers but then showed up in Arizona where C.J. Spiller ran for 88 yards on 12 carries and Fred Jackson finally had a decent game with 53 rushing yards, five catches for 30 more yards and a touchdown. Jackson was stuck at 30 yard efforts until last week. Spiller too was ineffective for three straight games before bouncing back last Sunday.

The anemic passing stats in recent weeks have taken mediocre receivers and made them nearly worthless. Scott Chandler started the year with four scores in the first four weeks but hasn't scored since and only had one catch for four yards in Arizona. Stevie Johnson remains the only receiver with even a shred of fantasy relevance. After scoring in the first three games, - though with only 50 yards or so each time - he has not reached the endzone since and was being held to sub-40 yard games. In Arizona he improved with a season best 82 yards on six catches.

There will be some passing success this week but the Bills are going to kick the rushing effort into overdrive at home against the #29 ranked defense against running backs. Notch a win here and get decent of not big efforts from both Spiller and Jackson will make reaching the bye over .500 a much more relaxing week. Immediately upon returning from the bye are games at Houston and at New England so rushing success will be short lived.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 21 8 24 22 31 13
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 27 29 19 32 31 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB EJ Manuel, BUF @NYJ 10000020010 ***
Manuel will start over Tyrod Taylor in what interim head coach Anthony Lynn called a "business decision." Only a trio of teams have yielded more points per game to quarterbacks in the past five weeks. For what its worth, Taylor lit up the Jets all the way back in Week 2, tossing three TD passes and topping out at 297 yards through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF @NYJ 11013200000 ***
McCoy was fairly quiet the first time these teams played, finishing with 13 PPR points. In the past five weeks, New York has allowed four rushing TDs and two receiving scores to RBs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, BUF @NYJ 301000000 ***
Running backs have scored twice on 16 catches and once every 34.5 rushing attempts when facing the Jets since Week 11. Gillislee caught a touchdown on his only target in the first meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @NYJ 004600000 ***
EJ Manuel is starting, and there is little to like about this situation. The matchup is neutral on paper, and the Bills ran the ball a lot in the last meeting. Watkins is a flier at this point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF @NYJ 003500000 ***
Woods was held to one catch the last time these teams met, and a quarterback switch makes this an even less appealing matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, BUF @NYJ 005401000 ***
Clay has been on a tear the past three weeks after being relatively dormant. The sneaky-athletic one faces a Jets defense that has given up seven TDs on the last 25 receptions allowed to tight ends, which is easily the best matchup for that category. A QB change to EJ Manuel shouldn't matter too much in this one.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @NYJ 2233 ***
No team has allowed more per-game kicking chances than the Jets in the last five weeks. Kickers have made 8-for-11 on three-pointers and 17-for-18 XPAs.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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