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 Shonn Greene 30 1-10
WR Nate Washington 4-60
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 Zach Mettenberger, TEN @PHI 0000026012 ***
Philly has served up multiple touchdown passes in every game except one; Mettenberger has multiple scoring strikes in two of his three NFL starts. He's been less reliable on the road (small sample size, of course) so temper expectations, but there's at least reason for optimism here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @PHI 6003200000 ***
Sankey is distancing himself from Shonn Greene in the Tennessee backfield, which isn't necessarily that impressive. It did, however, yield a touchdown last week and should do the same against a Philly D that's allowed five RB scores in the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @PHI 006801000 ***
Wright remains the volume guy in Tennessee, and sometimes even turns that volume into a touchdown. With Philly surrendering five 100-yard games and seven WR TDs in just the past four games there's plenty of opportunity for Tennessee's receiving corps to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN @PHI 004700000 ***
Despite being dramatically out-targeted Washington found the end zone last week. Philly has given up plenty to opposing WRs over the past month, so if you're in a pinch Washington could at least be on the fringe of your fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @PHI 003400000 ***
Philly has allowed five 100-yard outings and seven WR TDs in just the past four games, so if there ever were an opportunity for Hunter to dust off his deep ball skills it would be this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @PHI 003400000 ***
Philly hasn't given up a TE TD since Week 2, and with Walker still dinged up he's a bit of a fantasy risk this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @PHI 3311 ***
Succop has just one game of double-digit points in the past two months, and that came against Jacksonville. Don't expect a reprise here.

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
RB Fred Jackson 60,1 4-20
RB C.J. Spiller 60,1 6-40
WR Mike Williams 6-80,1
TE Scott Chandler 4-50

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 Kyle Orton, BUF NYJ 0000028020 ***
Orton's fantasy effectiveness peaked three weeks ago with four TDs against the Jets; since then he's thrown just one scoring strike while the Jets secondary has actually been not horrible. Still, should be another opportunity to start Orton here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bryce Brown, BUF NYJ 2003200000 ***
Maybe some upside in Brown as a pass-catcher, but the ground game is being split three ways, it's a tough matchup, and Fred Jackson will resume at least a portion of his old duties.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF NYJ 2004200000 ***
Not much to like about this matchup: a banged-up Jackson sharing carries with two other guys against a defense that limited Buffalo to 61 yards on 30 carries the last time they met.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Anthony Dixon, BUF NYJ 200000000 **
Dixon has kind of been the workhorse with Fred Jackson out, but a) that hasn't amounted to much and b) Jackson should be back for this tilt. If Boobie couldn't give you fantasy help with 22 touches in the earlier meeting, tough to see him giving you much this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF NYJ 0061201000 ***
Watkins toasted the Jets for 157 and 1 in the earlier meeting, one of three receivers in the past five games to go off for at least 100 yards and a touchdown. He's been slowed a bit the past couple of weeks but should be healthy enough to approximate those numbers at home in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF NYJ 006701000 ***
Woods scored in the previous matchup with the Jets, but he's battling Chris Hogan for secondary looks and is no lock to do the same in the rematch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF NYJ 003400000 ***
It's been two months since Williams was fantasy-relevant; unless Sammy Watkins can't go he remains a bit player at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF NYJ 003200000 ***
Chandler scored one of two Buffalo TE TDs the last time they met the Jets, but he's just not targeted enough to bank on similar production--even with such a favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF NYJ 3322 ***
Carpenter has kicked multiple treys in three straight, including a 13-point affair against the Jets a month ago. He seems to be on a roll, no reason to bet against him here.

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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