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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
TEN @ MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Locker 10 230,1
RB Shonn Greene 40 1-10
RB Dexter McCluster 10 5-40
WR Nate Washington 4-50,1
WR Kendall Wright 3-30
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 Jake Locker, TEN @CIN 0000023012 ****
After laying a fantasy egg last week at home against the Cowboys, Locker on the road against a very good Cincy secondary holds no interest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @CIN 500000000 ***
What little success Bengals opponents have had on the ground has been generated by speed backs like Justin Forsett and Jacquizz Rodgers. "Shonn Greene" and "speed back" have never been mentioned in close proximity without a qualifier like "is nowhere near anything like a" in between.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dexter McCluster, TEN @CIN 3002100000 ***
McCluster came out of last week's loss to Dallas in a walking boot; if healthy he's the kind of back that has had a modicum of success against the Bengals, so it's a situation worth revisiting later in the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @CIN 200000000 ***
If Sankey were seeing more touches we'd be mildly optimistic; instead, we'll hope this week's dud from Shonn Greene is the impetus the Titans need to elevate their second-round pick to the feature back role.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @CIN 004500000 ***
Steve Smith and Julio Jones have forged solid outings against the Bengals; other receivers, not so much. Hunter has the talent to join that crew, but he has displayed said talent so inconsistently--like last week, when he should have toasted Dallas but instead turned six targets into just 2-26--that he's not to be trusted with a fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @CIN 005500000 ***
Wright has been similarly targeted and slightly more productive catch-wise than Justin Hunter, so you could make a tepid case for him as the Titans' WR1. And the Bengals have allowed one receiver to put up good numbers against them each week. So Wright isn't necessarily an awful start, but the hope is at this point in the season you still have other better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @CIN 008701000 ***
Cincy has allowed the second-most TE catches thus far this year, a number skewed somewhat by facing Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels in the season opener. That said, Tennessee's passing game has run primarily through Walker thus far this season; don't expect last week's numbers, but neither should you write off his 10-142-1 as a fluke.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @CIN 2211 ***
Cincy tends to keep a lid on the scoring, so temper expectations for Succop this week.

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 Ryan Tannehill 230,2
RB Daniel Thomas 40,1 1-10
WR Brandon Gibson 3-40
WR Brian Hartline 8-100,1
WR Mike Wallace 6-70,1

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 Ryan Tannehill, MIA KC 0000023020 ***
Tannehill remains a bundle of untapped fantasy potential, but this matchup with a KC defense that's made fantasy starters of both Peyton Manning and Jake Locker should allow him to tap at least some of that upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA KC 8012100000 ***
Miller is poised to capitalize on Knowshon Moreno's absence; this matchup with a Chiefs defense that has allowed 210 RB rushing yards to the Titans and Broncos--at better than five yards a pop--can only help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA KC 006701000 ***
The Chiefs have surrendered 50-plus yards and/or a touchdown to multiple receivers in each game. Given that Wallace has both of Miami's WR TDs and is the most targeted member of that unit, he'll take his bite off the top.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA KC 005500000 ***
Multiple wideouts have scored and or topped 50 yards in each of KC's first two games; if Miami is to follow that trend, Hartline would be the favorite to join Mike Wallace in the fantasy winner's circle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA KC 005401000 ***
Despite 14 targets Clay has produced just 58 yards this season. However, that volume suggests he should be able to tap into a Chiefs defense that has surrendered three TE TDs already this year--making him a valuable fantasy commodity in TD-heavy scoring systems.
Update: Clay practiced on a limited basis all week and is listed as questionable. There's some risk to go with his potential reward.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA KC 1133 ***
Sturgis was big at home in Week 1, not so much on the road in Week 2. Settle somewhere in the middle, which puts him on the fence as far as fantasy contributions go.

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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