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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 @BUF 0000024021 ***
Tannehill has never topped 200 yards in four career outings against the Bills, and five of the six TDs he's scored against them have come in South Beach. Fresh off 178 yards against the Patriots--another divisional foe, and one he's had more success against than the Bills--it's tough to pencil him in for anything more than pedestrian yardage; cross your fingers that a touchdown or two salvage his fantasy day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Knowshon Moreno, MIA @BUF 7002200000 ***
The Bills have allowed 100-yard rushers in three of their last five games--and in one of the other two held the Dolphins to a total of 14 rushing yards. That was pre-Moreno, of course, and given the success the Phins had on the ground last week you have to like their chances of producing in Buffalo. Moreno emerging as the lead dog in this committee last week makes him the better fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, MIA @BUF 4004300000 ***
Miller has lost ground to Knowshon Moreno in the backfield battle, but he still appears to be the primary RB pass-catcher; against a defense that just gave up 87 receiving yards to Matt Forte, that's enough to at least keep Miller on the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, MIA @BUF 008701000 ****
Wallace was targeted 21 times in two games against the Bills last year, catching nine for 114 yards. He's being moved around more this season and could slide into the spot that generated two TDs for Brandon Gibson in last season's series--or at least the spot that generated a TD for Brandon Marshall last week. Maybe if he changed his name to Brandon...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brian Hartline, MIA @BUF 004500000 ***
Hartline was a distant WR2 to Mike Wallace last week, targeted four times compared to 11 for Wallace. This offense doesn't project to provide an abundance of passing yardage, and with Wallace taking more than his share there's not nearly enough to make Harline fantasy relevant this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Charles Clay, MIA @BUF 005601000 ****
Clay scored on limited looks against the Bills last season, and he wasn't much more involved in Week 1--to the point that asking him to match Martellus Bennett's 8-70-1 (on 10 targets) from last week is aggressive at best, foolhardy at worst.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, MIA @BUF 3322 ***
Sturgis has never kicked a field goal against the Bills as a member of the Dolphins--he missed his lone attempt in the two-game set last year--but coming off a four field goal game last week it's about time he got on the board.

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
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 EJ Manuel, BUF MIA 20000020011 ***
Manuel missed both ends of last season's series with the Dolphins, and aside from a rushing score he did nothing last week against the Bears to suggest he warrants fantasy attention. Hey, if you want to back on the rushing score you go right ahead; odds are you have a better fantasy option at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF MIA 7015300000 ***
Spiller has had his chances against Miami, with three 20-plus carry games over the past two seasons (two while Fred Jackson was out of the lineup). And he's produced triple-digit combo yardage in all three, averaging 137 yards from scrimmage per game. But he hasn't scored. Spiller did find the end zone last week, but he's best used in a yardage-heavy format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF MIA 5004300000 ***
Jackson scored in both ends of last season's series with the Dolphins, and he's involved enough in everything the Bills do that he's a solid bet to get enough touches to reach the end zone again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF MIA 004500000 ***
The Bills haven't scored a WR TD or had a wideout top 70 receiving yards against the Dolphins since Week 15 of 2011. Woods hit the 70 mark against Miami last year and despite being benched in the preseason led the team in targets in the season opener. If you're forced to start a Bills wideout he's probably your best bet, but that's not saying much.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF MIA 004500000 **
Right now Watkins is all sunshine and upside, but he fell behind Robert Woods in the targets race in Week 1 and has done nothing to suggest he's anything more than a fantasy lottery ticket at this juncture of his career.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF MIA 003400000 ***
Tough for receiver depth to carve out fantasy value when EJ Manuel is your quarterback.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF MIA 001100000 ***
Chandler is still looking for his first catch of 2014. History suggests he'll get it--and maybe another--against the Dolphins, but it won't amount to nearly enough to move the fantasy needle.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF MIA 3222 ***
Hell hath no fury like a kicker scorned: in two meetings with the team that kicked him to the curb Carpenter has kicked seven field goals and three PATs. He's coming off a multi-trey game last week and would love yet another opportunity to stick it to the Phins.

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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