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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 Zach Mettenberger, TEN HOU 0000024012 ***
Charlie Whitehurst hasn't been the answer; maybe Jake Locker isn't the answer, either, or maybe he's just not healthy enough to get back in the saddle. Either way, the Titans plan to roll with the rookie this week. He'll get a Texans' defense that's allowed multiple passing scores in five straight games, but it would take a leap of faith to give him a fantasy play in his first NFL start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN HOU 00000000 **
Either Locker isn't ready yet or the Titans have seen enough to know they won't be renewing his contract at the end of the season. Whatever the reason, Tennessee is giving Zach Mettenberger the start this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN HOU 6002100000 ****
Sankey should again see the bulk of the carries, but if he's losing goal line looks to Jackie Battle and passing game snaps to Dexter McCluster his upside here is limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN HOU 200000000 **
Update: Greene is expected to return from his injury absence this week. Brace yourself for more excitement, three yards at a time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN HOU 003701000 **
The receivers with monster games against Houston have been speed guys, and speed is what Hunter does best. He's wildly inconsistent, but if you're into throwing darts direct one at Hunter; he could give you the home run you're looking for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN HOU 006600000 **
Wright has been the high volume target, though it remains to be seen whom Zach Mettenberger favors. Odds are the rookie goes where the other QBs have gone, which makes Wright a solid PPR play with upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 005700000 ****
Lots of reasons not to like the usually reliable Walker this week: he's had a quiet month statistically, the Texans don't give up much to the position, and new quarterback Zach Mettenberger may not be as fond of the tight end as his predecessors. It adds up to looking for fantasy help elsewhere this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN HOU 3311 **
Succop's scored five or fewer points in five of the last six games. With Tennessee's quarterback issues, you should get your kicks elsewhere.

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 @JAC 40000027020 ****
While Jacksonville's defensive numbers are better of late, let's be honest: corralling Charlie Whitehurst and Brian Hoyer isn't exactly shutting down Unitas and Title. Tannehill has multiple TDs in three straight, at least 244 yards in each, and a very good shot at being a viable fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA @JAC 7012200000 ****
Miller has scored in three straight and rolled up 83 yards last night with no Knowshon Moreno to swipe looks. He should have little difficulty taking care of business again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA @JAC 006901000 ***
Wallace has scored in three straight and five of six this season, and while the Jags' secondary is no pushover there's little reason to think Mike is kept from his appointed rounds here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA @JAC 004600000 ***
The Dolphins always seem to get a second receiver close to fantasy relevancy; a Jags team that's allowed multiple wideouts to either score and/or top 50 yards in five of six should push them over that hump here. And for Miami that second fantasy-relevant receiver is now Landry, so plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA @JAC 004501000 **
Miami tight ends have scored in two of the last three, and Clay is seeing the majority of those targets so he's the odds-on favorite to capitalize against a Jacksonville defense that has already allowed five TE TDs on the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA @JAC 1133 ***
Sturgis has sniffed around the fringe of fantasy relevancy; a date with a Jaguars defense that's allowing an average of better than 10 kicker points per game provides a definite whiff of opportunity.

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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