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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: MIA 20, BUF 23 (Line: BUF by 1.5)

Players to Watch: C.J. Spiller, Daniel Thomas, Brian Hartline

The Dolphins are 4-5 and on a two game losing streak while the Bills are 3-6 and on a three game losing streak. The Fins are only 2-3 on the road but the Bills are 2-4 at home. The Dolphins swept the Bills in 2011, winning 35-8 in Miami and later 30-23 in Buffalo. This is the Thursday night game.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN 3-37
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 @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 260,1
RB Daniel Thomas 40,1 4-30
WR Brandon Gibson 3-50
WR Brian Hartline 7-80
WR Mike Wallace 4-50

Pregame Notes: The wheels fell off so badly in the Titans game that it isn't worth considering as more than a trap. Still the loss makes it two in a row and drops the Dolphins into hoping more for a wildcard than any divisional dreams. A loss here ends pretty much any optimism.

Ryan Tannehill's only passed for five touchdowns all year and while he had one freak game with 431 yards in Arizona, he's rarely managed more than a very average 220 yards in this offense that just wants a game manager. This week should be interesting since it will go against the weakest secondary he has faced this year.

Reggie Bush started the year with such promise but that's all subsided to a point where he is barely worth any fantasy consideration. Last week he was even benched in the Titans game for losing a fumble and only gained 29 total yards in the game. The Fins are liking a committee system more with every passing week and that only ensures that there is almost never a fantasy relevant back on this team - at least not a reliably predictable one. Daniel Thomas is getting between five and fifteen carries and even had five receptions last week though one is more common. Lamar Miller even saw the sunshine a bit when he turned in five touches against the Titans. Bottom line here - the Fins are not going to use a back enough to merit him being anything more than a flex play in a deep league when facing a weak defense. Which is this week.

The marginal passing has made Anthony Fasano the lead scorer with three touchdowns though he has not produced more than ten yards in each of the last three games. The wide receivers combined only scored twice this year and none in the last three weeks. Brian Hartline is the only real fantasy play here and he does catch six to eight passes when the Fins go against a softer secondary. Even then he's just a reception points guy since he's scored only once in the freak Arizona game. Davone Bess and Jabar Gaffney come along for the ride but this is a team nearly devoid of any passing prowess in most games.

The good news is that every opponent has scored via the pass versus the Bills and they rank dead last against running backs as well. The Fins are not as good on the road since they rely on their defense and rushing offense to win games so much of the weakness of the secondary may go unexploited.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 31 7 28 31 25 22
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 29 32 23 21 18 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Tannehill, MIA NYJ 20000029021 ****
Tannehill threw for 331 & 2 in last month's meeting with the Jets, and with a playoff berth on the line he's expected to bounce back form the injury (and ineptitude) that knocked him out of last week's embarrassing shutout loss in Buffalo.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Knowshon Moreno, MIA NYJ 5004400000 ***
Three Broncos backs combined for 166 yards and a score in the earlier meeting with Oakland. Expect something similar this time around, with maybe a lighter load for Moreno as Denver rests him for the postseason. Still, his share of the work against an Oakland defense that's allowed 796 RB yards from scrimmage and 11 RB TDs the past month should be more than enough for him to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Daniel Thomas, MIA NYJ 201000000 **
Thomas missed the earlier meeting with the Jets, but has two TDs and a 100-yard rushing game since. Assuming the Dolphins can shake off whatever ailed them in last week's embarrassing shutout loss to the Bills, Thomas should find room to rumble against a Jets defense that's allowed RB TDs in three straight, with two backs topping 150 combo yards in that span. UPDATE: Thomas is listed as questionable and was limited in practice Thursday and Friday. That likely reduces the share of carries he swipes from Lamar Miller.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA NYJ 5002200000 ***
After being a stout run D most of the season the Jets have given up RB TDs in each of the past three games. Just prior to that streak starting, Miller produced 85 yards from scrimmage against the Jets in Week 13. He hasn't done much since, while Daniel Thomas has scored twice and had a 100-yard rushing game. But seeing the likes of Edwin Baker get to the end zone against the Jets at least provides hope Miller can do the same.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA NYJ 007901000 ****
Wallace and Brian Hartline both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA NYJ 005600000 ***
Hartline and Mike Wallace both scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets; both saw double-digit targets last week; and both have scored once in the three games since the last Dolphins/Jets game. With the Dolphins still clinging to a slim playoff chance, both are definitely in play against Gang Green this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, MIA NYJ 003200000 ***
Sometimes a third receiver emerges behind Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace. It used to be Brandon Gibson, now it's Matthews, and in most cases it's a desperation fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA NYJ 006801000 ***
The Jets have been better against tight ends the second half of the season, but they've still surrendered two 80-yard games and a touchdown to the position over the past month. Clay hit the 80 mark on them in the earlier meeting, and with the Dolphins playing for their postseason lives he's as good a bet as any to be an offensive contributor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA NYJ 1133 ****
Sturgis has double digits in three of his last four, including three weeks back against the Jets. At home, needing a win for a hope at a playoff spot, Sturgis should have ample opportunity to get his kicks.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE 31-37
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE 28-52 13 JAC -----
5 @SF 3-45 14 STL -----
6 @ARI 19-16 15 SEA -----
7 TEN 34-35 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU 9-21 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Fred Jackson
RB C.J. Spiller 50 6-70
WR Mike Williams 5-80,1
TE Scott Chandler 4-60
TE Tony Moeaki 3-40
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are on a three game losing streak thanks to a one point loss to the Titans, playing in Houston and then nearly beating the Patriots in their stadium. The defense continues to be the problem area but this week is at home in a divisional game against a well-known opponent. Unfortunately, this week and the Jaguars game are the only two times that the Bills may be favored in a game. This should be a must win because it is a "can win".

Ryan Fitzpatrick started the year red hot and then cooled significantly with three games of no touchdowns and minor yardage. But he's always scored at last twice in all home games and this is the weakness of the Dolphins defense. Last year he posted 316 yards and two scores when the Fins visited.

Fred Jackson suffered a concussion in the New England game and has been ruled out this week. C.J. Spiller gets to shoulder the load this week and that's been when he is at his best both last year and earlier this season. Spiller has already been solid with 70+ rushing yards in three of the last four games and catches at least four passes every week for up to 61 yards. The Dolphins are very good against running backs but this one is in Buffalo, there is no splitting with Jackson and Spiller is a dual threat.

Scott Chandler comes off his season best 65 yards in New England where he scored his fifth touchdown this year. He's consistent with around 40 or 50 yards in most games. His last three touchdowns all came in the two meetings with the Patriots.

Donald Jones is inconsistent at best but he's scored four times this year and has been used for six receptions the last couple of weeks - even more than Stevie Johnson who's only caught a touchdown once in the last six weeks. No receivers in this offense have produced a 100 yard game and the passing game is mostly limited to Jones, Johnson, Chandler and Spiller.

The Fins are very good against running backs allowing only Chris Johnson and Arian Foster to have a decent game against them. They've only given up three rushing scores this year and held almost all runners to 60 yards or fewer.

The Dolphins secondary is the problem and every opposing quarterback has scored at least once. Only twice has an opponent failed to throw for at least 250 yards so this is a game that will be decided by the success of Fitzpatrick.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 18 4 25 21 30 18
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 22 5 29 16 22 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB E.J. Manuel, BUF @NE 30000023012 ***
Manuel opened the season with two touchdown passes against the Patriots, and he's hoping to be healthy enough to close the season with something similar. However, even if he's good to go he's had as many DNPs as multiple touchdown games on the year and is still looking for his first 300-yard passing game as a pro. UPDATE: Manuel is listed as doubtful, with Thad Lewis in line to take his place again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF @NE 4004300000 ***
Jackson had the bigger day last week despite an even division of workload with C.J. Spiller; he also had the bigger day the last time Buffalo played the Patriots. So if you're feeling the need to play a Bills back this week against New England, trends suggest he's the safer bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF @NE 3002100000 ***
The wildly inconsistent Spiller hasn't posted back-to-back double-digit fantasy games this season. However, he does seem to have a knack for scoring after it matters, with receiving touchdowns in each of the past two Week 17s. Tough to bank on him against New England this week, but as per usual there's upside if you're willing to absorb the risk of his swing-for-the-fences production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquise Goodwin, BUF @NE 004601000 **
Goodwin continues to battle T.J. Graham for deep threat duties in Buffalo, a role with infrequent fantasy productivity
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF @NE 005700000 ***
With Stevie Johnson's availability in question, Woods steps into Buffalo's primary receiver role. Assuming he doesn't slug anybody this week, he has a puncher's chance of being productive against a New England defense that's given up two touchdowns and three 100-yard games to WR1s over the past month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.J. Graham, BUF @NE 003300000 ***
Graham continues to battle Marquise Goodwin for deep threat duties in Buffalo, a role with infrequent fantasy productivity
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF @NE 004300000 ***
Chandler had 38 yards in the season opener against New England, but he hasn't scored since Week 6 and can't be counted on here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @NE 2211 ***
Carpenter mustered just three points in his earlier meeting with the Patriots. New England is playing for something, plus they've allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to kickers. You'll want to look elsewhere for help.

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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