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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 HOU 20000031031 ***
Luck threw for 370 and 3 in Houston earlier this year and has multiple passing scores in all five of his career meetings with the Texans; plenty of reasons to think he can make it six for six here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dan Herron, IND HOU 6013300000 ***
Herron quickly leap-frogged Trent Richardson in Indy's backfield pecking order, so while this isn't necessarily a great matchup he'll see enough touches to warrant at least fringe fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND HOU 300000000 ***
Richardson scored in the earlier meeting with Houston, but his touches and productivity have declined to the point where he's no longer fantasy-relevant.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND HOU 0091201000 ***
The Texans don't have an answer for TY; their best effort against him was an 8-78 last December, and you may recall earlier this season he burned them for 9-223-1. On the heels of another blow-up (10-150-2 in Cleveland), it's all systems go for Hilton and his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND HOU 004601000 ****
The Texans have allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 100 yards in four of their last five games, so after TY Hilton takes his bite there should be enough left over for Moncrief to carve out a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND HOU 003200000 **
Wayne has totaled 46 yards over the past three games, further proof he's being phased out of the Indy passing attack.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND HOU 003501000 ***
Fleener scored in the earlier meeting with Houston, and even with the return of Dwayne Allen he saw 10 targets last week. It's not a great matchup with Houston, but if you're picking an Indy tight end Fleener seems to have the most fantasy upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND HOU 002200000 ***
Allen had one catch in his return to the lineup; tough to bank on him for fantasy help when he's the "blocking" tight end to Coby Fleener's "pass catching" TE.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND HOU 2244 ***
My cousin Vinny is averaging a solid nine points per game at home, and he took the Texans for nine in the earlier meeting this year in Houston. So something in the nine-point range feels about right, making Vinatieri a rock-solid fantasy bet.

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 MIA 0000027030 ****
Nine straight with multiple touchdowns for Brady, which means he's a solid bet to improve upon the 249 & 1 he posted in the Week 1 loss to Miami.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE MIA 601000000 ***
Shifty backs have had more success against the Dolphins than big bruisers, but the Patriots' late-season weapon of choice is the hammer that is Blount. The upside is adequate yardage and a score, so plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE MIA 1004500000 ***
Though Vereen fits the mold of other backs who have found success against the Dolphins this season--Chris Johnson, CJ Anderson, Denard Robinson, Justin Forsett--his touches are too inconsistent to be trusted with a fantasy start at this critical juncture of the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE MIA 008901000 ***
Edelman has back-to-back big games against Miami on his stat sheet; after 6-95 in the opener against the Dolphins and 8-141-1 last week he's in line for a solid fantasy outing here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE MIA 006601000 ***
LaFell offers a bigger, more physical alternative to Julian Edelman, and Brady isn't afraid to lean heavily on him. He was a non-factor in the first meeting between these clubs back in Week 1, but he's become a large enough part of the offense that he warrants fantasy attention.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE MIA 006601000 ***
The Dolphins haven't given up much to the tight end position, but Gronk is Gronk. He scored in the earlier meeting with Miami and has touchdowns in four of the last six meetings, as if you needed further incentive to get him into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE MIA 001100000 ***
The Dolphins haven't allowed a tight end touchdown in eight games, making Wright a fringe fantasy contributor at best this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE MIA 1144 ***
Gostkowski's eight against Dolphins back in the season opener is lower than any game he's had at home, where he's averaging almost 13 points per outing. Pencil him in for the usual.

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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