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 Charlie Whitehurst, TEN @IND 0000021012 *
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN @IND 00000000 *
Locker disappointed the last time he had a favorable matchup, and Indy isn't necessarily a favorable matchup; their numbers have been padded by Peyton Manning, Nick Foles and garbage-time Blake Bortles. You're bound to find better fantasy help elsewhere.
Update: Locker was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday and only worked on a limited basis Friday. Officially he's questionable, but fantasy owners can rule him out prior to any pregame deactivation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @IND 3001100000 ***
To the surprise of no one, Sankey was far more productive than Shonn Greene when given similar touches last week. However, best wait until the Titans' backfield roles are more clearly delineated and the matchup is more favorable before trusting the Bishop with a starting fantasy gig.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @IND 300000000 ***
Montee Ball and LeSean McCoy were rendered ordinary by the Colts' run D; no reason to think Greene will fare better.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @IND 003500000 ***
You can't bank on the wildly inconsistent Hunter for... well, anything at this juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @IND 004500000 ***
Wright's a volume guy, but even high volume targets haven't been the key to fantasy success against Indy: four receivers each targeted double-digit times have amassed just 20 catches, 207 yards and two TDs. It's better than not being frequently targeted, but it's no guarantee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @IND 006400000 **
Highly targeted, and Indy has struggled to defend talented tight ends like Julius Thomas and Zach Ertz. Keep tabs on Walker's injury status; if he's healthy, he's a viable fantasy option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @IND 2211 ****
Succop has five total points the past two games; you can do better elsewhere.

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 EJ Manuel, BUF @HOU 20000023010 ***
Nothing compelling on either side of this matchup. Move along.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF @HOU 3005501000 ***
Volume gets it done against the Texans--14-91 for Alfred Morris, 34-176 for Rashad Jennings. Too bad the Bills split their backfield touches, with neither FJax nor CJ Spiller likely to get the volume necessary to post a big fantasy helper. At least Jackson augments his carries with help in the passing game, enough to make him the slightly better play of this duo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF @HOU 4003300000 ****
It's been power backs who have had success against the Texans, and Spiller is pretty much the opposite of that. Not saying he can't have success, but Vegas odds put him behind Fred Jackson in that race this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @HOU 006701000 ***
You could make a case for Watkins after seeing Victor Cruz and James Jones each top 100 yards against the Texans this year, but he's far from a sure thing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF @HOU 004400000 ***
Williams sits at 50 yards for the season and would need a serious uptick in looks if he were to warrant fantasy attention here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF @HOU 003400000 ***
Mr. September is running out of time; his 5-74 last week against a defense that's surrendered 60-plus yards to the position two of the three wicks might actually provide an opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @HOU 1220 ***
Carp's had a couple big games followed by a quiet one, the opposite of what Houston has surrendered to opposing kickers. No reason to strongly lean one way or another with this matchup.

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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