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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

Prediction: TEN 17, MIA 31 (Line: MIA by 6)

Players to Watch: Brian Hartline, Chris Johnson

The 3-6 Titans are on a two game losing streak and are only 1-3 on the road. The 4-4 Dolphins are 2-1 at home. The difference here is that the only real offensive "star" in the game is Chris Johnson who is about to face a very good defense that can limit him. It is the Dolphins defense that will account for this win. They rank 5th in points allowed. The Titans have already given up over 30 points in seven of nine games.

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 35-34 16 @GB -----
8 IND 13-19 17 JAC -----
9 CHI 20-51 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB DeMarco Murray
WR Eric Decker 6-90,1
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG

Pregame Notes: The Titans took a humbling loss to the Bears last week when they fell behind 28-2 in the first quarter and it never improved. The team goes on their bye after this game and then the rest of the season is no cake walk. The running of Chris Johnson has finally improved but nothing else has.

The Titans hope that Jake Locker can return this week and depending on his shoulder he may practice. They have soured on Matt Hasselbeck who just provides one touchdown and around 200 passing yards in every game which is problematic when opponents are scoring multiples more touchdowns. The passing effort here has always been on the weak side though they generally get their one score regardless of the starter. Locker's stats were no better in his three games this year but they'd rather fall with the young guy learning something than the old guy that is getting them no where.

Chris Johnson owners dodged a bullet last week when he had only rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries but then broke an 80-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to salvage his value. That does make four straight games with 90+ rushing yards and he is merely doing his trademarked ability to get his yards in big chunks. His role as a receiver remains minimal but Johnson's back to being the main threat here and turning in decent efforts every week even if it takes just one play late in a decided game. They all count the same in fantasy terms.

Kendall Wright injured his elbow last week but x-rays revealed no structural damage and an MRI was being taken to determine if there was any ligament damage. I'll include him tentatively in the projections but be aware he may be held out and allowed to heal up for two weeks thanks to the looming bye.

The fortunes of Kenny Britt and Nate Washington depend on who the start will be. Washington was an early favorite for Locker with two scores in the three weeks that Locker was a starter. Britt had minor play in those weeks as he was returning from his surgery and reintroduced sparingly at first. What Locker did unlike Hasselbeck was to use his tight ends. Jared Cook and Craig Stevens both produced their top two games of the year when they were with Locker in those initial three weeks.

But the problem is that the Dolphins have not allowed any tight end to score though five did end with more than 60 yards against them. And only Arian Foster scored on them as a running back and that was when Miami was at Houston in the season opener. Since then they have not allowed any rushing scores or more than 60 yards to any runner regardless where the game is played.

The Dolphins secondary is only average at best and allows high yardage but a rusty Locker is not likely to take much advantage here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 21 25 16 10 26 20
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 24 6 29 21 19 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN @PIT 20000019011 ***
The Steelers have softened slightly of late against quarterbacks. It could continue that way with the loss of Joe Haden. Mariota faces a defense that hasn't given up a score on the ground, and quarterbacks have thrown for only five in the past four games. Pittsburgh has conceded 257.8 yards worth through the sky.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN @PIT 4003200000 ***
This is a truly awful matchup. None of the last 69 carries went into the end zone, and the same can be said for the 19 receptions allowed. The Steelers have given up only 52 rushing yards (31st).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN @PIT 300000000 ***
As we've seen countless times, Henry is effectively useless for fantasy when DeMarco Murray is alive and well. Furthermore, Pittsburgh is the harshest matchup of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN @PIT 003401000 ***
Pittsburgh had been a terrible matchup for wideouts most of the year. They recently lost CB Joe Haden, which definitely hurts. This defense has given up one touchdown per game since Week 5 to the position. Wideouts have averaged 172.9 yards (8th most) on just the 18th-highest average for weekly receptions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN @PIT 004300000 ***
Wide receivers have averaged 10.8 receptions (18th), 172.8 yards (8th) and a touchdown every 10.8 snags (6th). While the matchup rating has drastically improved from just a few weeks ago, Decker is a risky fantasy start in any setting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Davis, TEN @PIT 003300000 ***
Davis was awfully close to scoring a TD last week before losing it out of bounds for a touchback. The bright spot is he was targeted 10 times on the day. Pittsburgh has given up a TD every 10.8 receptions, which is the sixth-highest frequency in football. Overall, it's a positive enough matchup to make Davis a starter in a pinch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @PIT 004500000 ***
The total stat line against the Steelers since Week 5: 14 catches, 146 yards, one TD. That's it. This is a bottom-six matchup in both scoring systems.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @PIT 2211 ***
This is a routine matchup stats-wise for Thursday's contest. It should come down to game flow and situational football more than usual. The veteran kicker has been good enough to earn the benefit of the doubt this year.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN -----
2 OAK 35-13 11 @BUF -----
3 NYJ 20-23 12 SEA -----
4 @ARI 21-24 13 NE -----
5 @CIN 17-13 14 @SF -----
6 STL 17-14 15 JAC -----
7 BYE ----- 16 BUF -----
8 @NYJ 30-9 17 @NE -----
9 @IND 20-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 240,1
QB Ryan Tannehill 230,2
TE Anthony Fasano 2-10,1

Pregame Notes: A win this week puts the Fins above .500 and then a possible win in Buffalo would allow a 6-4 record but it is probably down hill from there. Matchups against the 49ers and Seahawks are not nearly as much fun anymore plus a couple of losses to the Pats remain left to play. With some luck the Fins may end up at .500 overall and that alone would be a success for a team that was 6-10 last season.

Ryan Tannehill should final break his trend this week since he scores only in every other game but now faces one of the worst secondaries in the league. Tannehill passed for 290 yards and one score in Indy last week but only totals six passing scores on the year with six interceptions. A team almost has to try and limit their scores on the Titans who have not given up fewer than two passing scores in the last five games and who already have allowed 20 passing touchdowns this year. If you had to start Tannehill, this would be a decent place to do it.

The rushing effort has evolved into a committee approach with Reggie Bush as the primary but not by a lot. Bush has really fallen off in production since his week two monster game and hasn't produced more than 67 rushing yards in any of the last six games. His role as a receiver also took a significant hit and he's being used for just one or two short passes per week now. Daniel Thomas has actually been in for more plays than Bush recently though he still lags slightly in touches. In the last seven games, the Fins have scored rushing touchdowns in six of them. That's three for Thomas and three for Bush. They never score in the same game. You have to guess which one gets the goal line call in any given game. With yardage that never exceeds moderate numbers and a 50/50 chance at a touchdown, Bush has lost his luster and Thomas is not quite good enough to consider for a start. It is the worst of both worlds. Going against a defense that has allowed eight of nine opponents to score using running backs means take a coin and decide if Bush is heads or tails. It is just about that random.

This is a week for the wideouts to at least produce good yardage if not scores. The group has only two touchdowns all year though and only Brian Hartline is consistent enough to merit a fantasy start. Hartline comes off his third 100 yard game of the season and remains the possession receiver in the group. Davone Bess chugs along with five or six short catches each week and newcomer Jabar Gaffney is still learning the offense and meshing with Tannehill.

The Titans are weak against all the positions and the Fins have no lock certain stars to use. Playing at home favors the offense more and the Titans should end up allowing the Fins to finally post decent points this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 29 6 26 29 25 19
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 28 30 22 30 32 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, MIA TB 0000029020 ***
The only real bright spot here is the Bucs have given up a TD pass every 12.6 catches, which ranks 11th. Yardage checks in at 16th on a per-game basis. Maybe a Cam Newton owner could consider him, but gamers should have better choices this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenyan Drake, MIA TB 10013200000 ***
Drake brings an explosive element the Dolphins lacked with the 2017 version of Jay Ajayi. Tampa Bay has been blown up by running backs in the past five weeks. The position is averaging 147.2 offensive yards (102.8 rushing) and a ground score every 20 handles, which is third-best for exploitative purposes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Damien Williams, MIA TB 2004300000 ***
Williams could get lucky in this one since backs have beaten the tar out of Tampa in the last five games. This is the fifth-best matchup, regardless of the scoring format, and most of the damage has come via touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeVante Parker, MIA TB 006901000 ***
Jay Cutler likes to look Parker's way, but the duo haven't be synced up for the big plays their respective physical traits imply are possible. Tampa has given up one TD reception a game, allowing otherwise moderate numbers to the position in the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA TB 008701000 ***
Landry saved some face with a TD the other night against Carolina. Another NFC South opponent, Tampa Bay, is on the slate. The Bucs have surrendered a touchdown per game, or once per 11.4 catches. The 147.8 yards allowed a week is perfectly neutral.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, MIA TB 003400000 *
Stills is a fringe play any week. Facing a midrange matchup pushes him closer to bench status, but there is always hope with the amount of attention that gets directed toward Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, MIA TB 004400000 ***
A pair of scores have come on 19 receptions over the last five games versus Tampa. This is a neutral contest for Thomas. He's best left on the bench or wire.

WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

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