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 T.J. Graham 1-20
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 Jake Locker, TEN DAL 10000029020 ***
If you accept the premise that Locker is an upgrade over Kirk Cousins, Matt McGloin, and Christian Ponder--the only quarterbacks in the past nine games not to throw multiple touchdowns against the Dallas secondary--then you have to like his chances of building on Week 1's 266 & 2.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN DAL 701000000 ***
The Cowboys couldn't slow the 49ers' ground game tag team of Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde; no reason to think the Titans' version of Old Guy/Young Guy shouldn't have similar success. And since Old Guy is getting the vast majority of the carries, he's a solid fantasy bet this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN DAL 005801000 ***
Consider Hunter's 3-63 on a team-high eight targets last week as an appetizer; against a Cowboys defense that's been gutted at cornerback, you may get the breakout game you drafted him for.
Update: After practicing on a limited basis Thursday, Hunter should be good to go for this weekend's tasty fantasy matchup with the Cowboys' depleted secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN DAL 0081000000 ***
Wright remains the volume guy, the Mary Ann to Justin Hunter's Ginger. Hey, nothing wrong with Mary Ann--especially against a wafer-thin secondary like Dallas'.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN DAL 004500000 ***
You could go three deep against a secondary like the Cowboys, but that's better played once the bye weeks hit; until then, Washington's an unreliable fantasy third wheel.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN DAL 005501000 ****
Walker's no Vernon Davis, who scored twice against the Cowboys last week, but he managed a touchdown of his own and is involved enough in this offense to warrant regular fantasy consideration.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN DAL 1144 ***
Succop doesn't have the added bonus of revenge against his former team, but he should still enjoy the benefits of facing a struggling defense.

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 MIA 20000020011 ***
Manuel missed both ends of last season's series with the Dolphins, and aside from a rushing score he did nothing last week against the Bears to suggest he warrants fantasy attention. Hey, if you want to back on the rushing score you go right ahead; odds are you have a better fantasy option at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF MIA 7015300000 ***
Spiller has had his chances against Miami, with three 20-plus carry games over the past two seasons (two while Fred Jackson was out of the lineup). And he's produced triple-digit combo yardage in all three, averaging 137 yards from scrimmage per game. But he hasn't scored. Spiller did find the end zone last week, but he's best used in a yardage-heavy format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF MIA 5004300000 ***
Jackson scored in both ends of last season's series with the Dolphins, and he's involved enough in everything the Bills do that he's a solid bet to get enough touches to reach the end zone again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF MIA 004500000 ***
The Bills haven't scored a WR TD or had a wideout top 70 receiving yards against the Dolphins since Week 15 of 2011. Woods hit the 70 mark against Miami last year and despite being benched in the preseason led the team in targets in the season opener. If you're forced to start a Bills wideout he's probably your best bet, but that's not saying much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF MIA 004500000 **
Right now Watkins is all sunshine and upside, but he fell behind Robert Woods in the targets race in Week 1 and has done nothing to suggest he's anything more than a fantasy lottery ticket at this juncture of his career.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF MIA 003400000 ***
Tough for receiver depth to carve out fantasy value when EJ Manuel is your quarterback.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF MIA 001100000 ***
Chandler is still looking for his first catch of 2014. History suggests he'll get it--and maybe another--against the Dolphins, but it won't amount to nearly enough to move the fantasy needle.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF MIA 3222 ***
Hell hath no fury like a kicker scorned: in two meetings with the team that kicked him to the curb Carpenter has kicked seven field goals and three PATs. He's coming off a multi-trey game last week and would love yet another opportunity to stick it to the Phins.

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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