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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 0000025020 ***
Luck threw for 260 & 2 in Jacksonville earlier this season, and with Indy still able to move up to the third seed in the AFC he'll have every opportunity to match or better those numbers against a Jaguars defense that's allowed multiple touchdown tosses in five of their last six on the road.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND JAC 6003200000 ***
Richardson is seeing the volume to be effective, but Donald Brown is doing more with fewer touches. As such, Richardson's productivity is stunted, both by Brown taking looks off his plate and by Richardson simply not doing enough with the carries he is receiving. It'll be a disinterested Houston defense, so if you're hurting for backfield help Richardson has at least a modicum of upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Griff Whalen, IND JAC 005601000 ***
Whalen's work in the slot is taking equally from the Indy wideouts and Coby Fleener, to the point that he's been the Colts' most productive fantasy pass-catcher the past two games. If you're scraping for PPR help, he's definitely an option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND JAC 004600000 ***
Reggie Wayne blew up the Texans for 100 yards in the earlier meeting, but he's on the shelf so those looks will now likely head to Hilton. Good news, too, as it's been almost two months since TY posted a legitimate fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Da'Rick Rogers, IND JAC 003300000 ***
Rogers is staking his claim to the wingman gig in Indy, and it's a friendly enough matchup that he at least warrants fantasy consideration this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND JAC 004501000 ***
Fleener scored in the earlier matchup with Jacksonville, but he's done so little over the past month that he can't be trusted for fantasy help here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND JAC 3333 ****
Vinny posted his second-best game of the season in the earlier meeting with Jacksonville; he's also scored double digits in two straight, three of four, and four of six. As per usual, he's a solid fantasy bet again this week.

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 BUF 0000026020 ****
Way back in Week 1 Brady took a rag-tag band of receivers and produced 288 yards and two TDs. Four months later Brady still has a rag-tag band of receivers, but he's managed to throw multiple touchdowns to them in four of the past five games, with 340-plus yards in four of five as well. The Bills secondary has gotten healthier--and better--over the course of the season, but with Brady hoping to upgrade the Patriots' playoff situation you don't want to bet against him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stevan Ridley, NE BUF 500000000 ***
Prior to last week's aberration against the Dolphins, the Bills allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers. They also served up 162 rushing yards to the Patriots in the earlier meeting this season; unfortunately, after Shane Vereen (if healthy) takes his bite off the top the leftovers will be split between Ridley and LeGarrette Blount--and only Bill Belichick knows who'll get the money shots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE BUF 00000000 *
If Vereen is healthy enough to play after suffering a rib injury last week, no reason to think he can't replicate his 101 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards from the earlier Bills/Patriots meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE BUF 00101201000 ****
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Edelman scored twice on 7-79 in the earlier meeting with Buffalo, and after a season of ups and downs and revolving receivers he's back atop Tom Brady's priority list. Pencil him in for a solid fantasy contributor, with the upside of a PPR explosion.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE BUF 005600000 ****
Amendola caught 10 balls for 104 yards in his Patriots debut, then struggled for a while before putting up a remarkably similar 10-131 in Week 15. He's a secondary target, but with the Patriots receiving corps gutted he's essentially atop the wingmen group and as such warrants fantasy attention this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE BUF 004500000 ***
With Steve Smith out last week you'd think LaFell or Ted Ginn would step up, but it was Domenik Hixon who scored the key touchdown against the Saints. Somebody needs to fill the role that has resulted in back-to-back 100-yard receiving games against Atlanta, but there's no real strong trend to support any of Carolina's secondary wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Aaron Dobson, NE BUF 002500000 ***
Dobson is getting healthy and could return to the receiver rotation this week. However, he'll be stacked behind Julian Edleman and Danny Amendola, fighting for scraps--a difficult way to carve out fantasy value.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE BUF 2233 ****
Gosty opened the season with a double-digit outing against the Bills; 10 double-digit efforts since, the league's top-scoring kicker should bookend his season against a Buffalo club that's allowed the sixth-most points to opposing kickers.

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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