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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
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 Matt Cassel, TEN HOU 0000020001 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN HOU 10013200000 ***
Murray will try to cap off a brilliant season with a bang against a Houston defense that is the statistically toughest in the last five weeks. The veteran back scored twice in the first matchup, and he's a sound play once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN HOU 301000000 ***
Houston has nothing on the line in this one, so Henry is a sensible place to look for flier points. There is risk involved, but it's Week 17 and time to chance it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN HOU 005600000 *
Matthews was dynamite with Marcus Mariota, but now we have to take a leap of faith that he can get the job done with Matt Cassel for 60 minutes. The Texans provide the 12th best matchup of the week, and Matthews racked up 82 yards on only two catches in Week 4.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Sharpe doesn't contribute enough consistently to consider him as anything more that a wild gamble. Houston at least offers a borderline good matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Houston is a strong defense of the position, and Walker will be catching balls from Matt Cassel. Walker caught only two of eight targets for 34 yards in the last meeting with Houston.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN HOU 2222 ***
Houston is a bottom-three matchup for the week, and Tennessee's offense really could struggle without Marcus Mariota. This one could go either way since Matt Cassel is usually at least decent.

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
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 Matt Moore, MIA NE 0000022011 ***
This is the second worst matchup a quarterback will find in Week 17 when using data from the past five games. New England has allowed averages of a TD and only 15.9 fantasy points per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenyan Drake, MIA NE 3011100000 ***
Drake is talented but sees limited work. New England isn't a great matchup, but maybe his change-of-pace nature can overcome the hurdle.

Update: Drake could see a few more utilization with Jay Ajayi listed as questionable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jay Ajayi, MIA NE 4001100000 ***
New England has dominated running backs of late, albeit mostly inferior competition. This is the second worst matchup using data from the last five games. Only one of the last 118 touches by a running back has scored on the Pats.

Update: Ajayi is questionable but practiced in full Friday and should be active.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, MIA NE 001301000 ***
New England has turned it around against wideouts of late. Stills is a weekly TD flier play in non-PPR formats, but gamers considering him must be willing to accept a paltry performance when taking the risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeVante Parker, MIA NE 005600000 ***
Matt Moore is under center again, and Parker has done fine with the quarterback switch. The Patriots gave up 106 yards on eight catches to Parker in Week 2, but the position has scored only three times in the last five games versus this defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA NE 004500000 ***
The Patriots have given up only three TDs in the past five games to receivers. Landry had a big PPR day in Week 2 by catching 10 of 13 targets for 137 yards from Ryan Tannehill. Matt Moore gets a crack at the visiting Pats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Andrew Franks, MIA NE 2222 ***
Four teams have been worse against the position than New England in the last five weeks. The Patriots have given up only five XPAs and 7-for-10 from long range.

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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