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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: IND 23, NE 30 (Line: NE by 9)

Players Updated: Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez

Players to Watch: Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, Andrew Luck

This should be a fun game though unlike the previous Manning vs. Brady matchups now. The 6-3 Colts are on a four game winning streak and are 2-2 in road games. The 6-3 Patriots are on a three game winning streak with a 3-1 home mark. This game favors the Patriots of course though their recent wins there have been far closer than expected.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC 27-10
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE -----
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB 30-27 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ 9-35 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE 17-13 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN 19-13 17 HOU -----
9 MIA 23-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 300,2
RB Vick Ballard 40 2-20
RB Trent Richardson 50 4-30
WR T.Y. Hilton 3-60,1
WR Reggie Wayne 8-100,1
TE Dwayne Allen 4-40
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Chances are good you were not expecting the Colts to be 6-3 after the first nine games this year. This is a team that was 2-14 last season and had the worst record in the NFL. Apparently, they spent their #1 overall draft pick rather wisely. Andrew Luck is speeding towards a slam dunk Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Luck's thrown for ten touchdowns and added five as a runner. He's rushed in more touchdowns than all but Robert Griffin III. Over half his game feature more than one score and he's already set the all-time single game rookie record with 433 yards. The only downside to Luck so far is that when he is on the road, he's only thrown two touchdowns in four games. Luck is the real deal and a top 5 fantasy quarterback in some league scoring systems.

Donald Brown was able to play last week and gained 42 yards on 14 carries while Vick Ballard took the start and gained 48 yards on 12 runs and added two catches for 11 yards.The duo will continue to split the workload and hope that short touchdowns end up with Delone Carter. Or better yet Luck since the running backs have combined for just two rushing touchdowns.The backs have been marginally productive and split up the work anyway. The position may be something that the Colts consider next year after getting at least one more new receiver for Luck.

Coby Fleener remains out and was little used anyway. Dwayne Allen teased with 75 yards on six catches in week nine but then only turned in two catches for 31 yards in Jacksonville. Inconsistent at best and no scores by the position for the last six weeks.

Donnie Avery was able to play last Thursday and ended with 65 yards on four receptions. He hasn't scored since the season opener and rarely has more than four catches in a game. Reggie Wayne dominates the targets and receptions with around seven more more every week. The worst Wayne has done this year was 71 yards and in a reception points league he's been a major benefit with 69 catches over just nine games. T.Y. Hilton was held to no catches with Avery back in the lineup last week but he ran twice on end arounds to gain 30 yards which is a new wrinkle. Hilton remains below 40 receiving yards every week but has topped 100 yards and scored in home games against the Jaguars and Dolphins.

The Patriots have allowed at least one passing score to every opponent and average two touchdowns along with very healthy yardage. Six opponents already passed for 290+ yards on them. At home they have been very strong against the run until last week when the Bills saw more success. Whatever offense the Colts accomplish should be almost entirely from Andrew Luck and the passing game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 8 30 5 16 13 27
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 16 25 30 8 1

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND JAC 0000030030 ***
With Ahmad Bradshaw out the Colts may have to throw even more--which is great news for Luck, who has 300-plus yards in nine of ten outings and multiple TDs in a similar percentage. That total includes 370 and four against the Jaguars earlier this year, and similar numbers could be in the offing here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND JAC 7012100000 ***
The solution to Indy's ground game without Ahmad Bradshaw might be more carries for Richardson, but that doesn't mean he'll be more productive. Settle for a quantity contributor from Richardson and hope he can actually generate positive rushing yardage for a change.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND JAC 0081001000 ***
The Colts had four receivers top 50 yards in the earlier meeting with Jacksonville, and that's when they actually had healthy running backs. After being neutralized by the Patriots last week look for TY to bounce back with a solid fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND JAC 004700000 ***
Wayne proved he still has game with a solid showing against the Patriots last week--enough that he's worthy of fantasy consideration despite the competition for catches amongst Indy's wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND JAC 002200000 ****
Nicks scored last week but has spent much of the season battling Donte Moncrief for playing time. He's a riskier fantasy bet than other Indy wideouts, but with Andrew Luck consistently posting 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns there's usually enough to go around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND JAC 005701000 ***
Fleener's opportunities should increase with Dwayne Allen injured. Mix in a Jacksonville D that gave up touchdowns to both Indy tight ends the last time they met and he becomes one of the better fantasy plays at his position.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND JAC 1144 ***
Vinatieri has multiple treys in every game since the season opener and is as reliable a fantasy option as you can have at the position.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF -----
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 260,2
RB Stevan Ridley 100,1
WR Danny Amendola 8-80 1
WR Brandon LaFell 5-60
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-50,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots have a two game lead in the AFC East with the Dolphins (4-5) as the only potential threat. The rest of the schedule only contains three road games and in the end it is all going to boil down to what happens in the two remaining games against the Fins. The only potential change this year is that the Pats may actually have to play in the wild card round. The lack of defense has been their undoing but the offense has been in high gear recently.

Tom Brady has thrown a score in every game and currently stands at 18 touchdowns on the season - plenty productive. But what should come into play this week is that Brady doesn't usually do as much in home games because the rushing effort typically does better. Brady threw for only 223, 259 and 237 yards in the last three home games. And never scored more than twice in those games. Oddly he did exceed 300 yards in each of his last four road games despite playing some very good defenses.

Stevan Ridley doesn't take a full workload in New England but he still gets plenty to make him a great fantasy start in all but the toughest matchups on the road. He already has five games with around 100 yards and he always scores at least once whenever he rushes more than 20 times in a game. Danny Woodhead scored twice last week but only ran once and caught four passes for 46 yards. Ridley is the only consistent play here and one that should benefit from the Colts defense that gave up six rushing touchdowns over their four road games and high yardage to the better backs.

Aaron Hernandez is becoming a big worry after missing week eight, resting up on their bye and then sitting out against the Bills last Sunday. He's only played in two games since week two and is going to be a risk again this week. He was not called out until Saturday night and has proven to be the worst fantasy draft pick of a tight end this year given that he almost always went #3 in the position. Rob Gronkowski comes off a down game with just three catches for 31 yards and one score. He did score eight times this year but his yardage is down notably from 2011 and that too relates to the rushing game digging into the need to pass.

Wes Welker has also dropped off with six catches in each of the last three games that never gained more than 74 yards and did not produce any scores. Welker only scored twice all year and his string of big games from week two until week six has really declined.

The Colts are weak against the running backs and top ranked against tight ends. The Pats should take this game but it may yet again be one where the rushing effort adds enough that the high passing stats just do not happen for the fourth straight home game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 6 3 15 1 2 4
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 18 19 27 1 9 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE DET 0000026020 ***
The vaunted Detroit defense has given up multiple passing scores in each of its last two road games and three of four overall. Brady, meanwhile, has multiple scoring strikes in six straight and has no reason to fear the former top-ranked defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE DET 3004401000 ***
The Lions play right into Vereen's strengths, ranking in the top five in RB receptions, RB receiving yards, and RB receiving touchdowns. Now let's hope Bill Belichick sees it the same way.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonas Gray, NE DET 501000000 **
Tough to see Gray approaching last week's monster game; the Lions have allowed only four RB rushing scores all year, and only one back has topped 60 yards on the season. Dial back the expectations and you'll be just fine.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE DET 005800000 ***
LaFell is the closest thing the Patriots have to a reliably productive fantasy wideout, and even he is no guarantee. On the bright side, his last two homes games have seen 24 targets, 17 catches, and two TDs so maybe that tilts the field in his favor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE DET 004500000 ***
Edelman remains a volume guy, with eight targets in seven of the past eight games--though he still hasn't posted a 100-yard game this season and has just one TD in the past two months. So there's some risk with his reward.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE DET 002300000 ***
Amendola's an afterthought in this passing game, having topped 20 yards just once all season with only one score to his credit. You could hope for a return TD, but until that week when Bill Belichick decides it's "Bring Danny Amendola to Work" Day he's a fantasy afterthought.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE DET 007801000 ****
At this point you could say that all 11 defenders will build a wall around Gronk and he'd still be one of the best fantasy plays at his position. Since such a strategy is highly unlikely, go with Gronk again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE DET 001200000 ***
Wright's a contributor, just too inconsistent a contributor to be banked on for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE DET 3333 ***
Gotskowski's run of five straight games with multiple field goals was snapped last week, but six PATs provided a soft landing. He's had at least nine points in every home game this year, so expect him to get back on track this week.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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