FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: BUF 20, IND 27 (Line: IND by 3)

Players to Watch: Fred Jackson, Delone Carter

The 4-6 Bills come off a win last Thursday but are only 2-4 on the road. The 6-4 Colts were just pummeled by the Patriots in New England but are 4-1 at home.

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 19-14
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 Bryce Brown 80,1 3-20
RB Fred Jackson 50 3-20
RB C.J. Spiller 50 5-50
WR Mike Williams 4-60
TE Scott Chandler 4-40
PK Dan Carpenter 3 FG

Pregame Notes: The Bills did the unthinkable last week and somehow generated a defense that held the Dolphins to only 14 points. They still average 30 points per opponent and it was a visiting divisional rival with a struggling offense. But fortunately all the remaining games outside maybe this week will go against teams with lower scoring offenses and the defense may seem far better at the end of the year than it really is.

Last week was a very odd game that made it look like the Fins and Bills both featured great defenses which is hardly reality. Ryan Fitzpatrick only passes for 168 yards and no scores which makes it four of the last six games without any touchdowns. An improved ground game is partially to blame but the only two times that Fitzpatrick had decent games in the last month and a half were against Tennessee and in New England - both against very bad secondaries.

C.J. Spiller gained over 100 total yards in each of the last five games and that includes 70+ yards as a runner in all but one of those games. Fred Jackson was held out last week due to the concussion he received in the New England game but they are hopeful that he will be able to play. The bad part is that Jackson will eat into what Spiller could have done by himself though the speedy back for the Bills was getting winded last week and was spelled by Tashard Choice on several plays. Not a great sign that he got winded when he only took 22 carries and three catches but he was certainly getting longer gainers on many touches.

The declining passing numbers mean that Stevie Johnson only produces moderate stats in most weeks and scored only once in the last seven games. Neither Johnson nor any other Bills receiver has managed to gain more than 100 yards in a game this year. Donald Jones scored in the two easy games against the Titans and Patriots but otherwise had no fantasy value and even against the Fins only caught two passes for 11 yards. Johnson is the only decent play here and even then only for 60 or 70 yards in a good game.

Scott Chandler was able to score in New England but has fallen short of any fantasy merit since week five and usually ends up with 30 to 50 yards in most games without a touchdown.

The Colts defense is improving and always plays better at home. Last week notwithstanding, the Colts have held opponents to 20 or fewer points in four of the last five games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 20 5 26 21 26 16
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 18 19 30 2 11 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kyle Orton, BUF CLE 0000023020 ***
We know Orton can have his way with the Jets; that's no surprise. But maybe, just maybe he can have his way with the Browns as well, especially considering they've allowed multiple touchdown tosses in two straight and three of four, even to relatively nondescript QBs (Mike Glennon, Ryan Mallett, Matt Ryan).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF CLE 3004300000 ***
Jackson was healthy enough for about half the workload last week, so you'd think he can add to that workload--and his fantasy production--here. At minimum he's a good fantasy start against a softish Browns' run D; given a larger share, he's even more than that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Anthony Dixon, BUF CLE 400000000 ***
Dixon looks to be Buffalo's goal line guy, but the Browns are more about giving up yards than scores so that puts a crimp in Dixon's fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bryce Brown, BUF CLE 2001100000 ***
Brown appears to be the Bills third wheel with Fred Jackson back, so even if Buffalo carves out some fantasy value for one or two backs he's on the outside looking in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF CLE 004501000 ***
Joe Haden has been playing better, but that hasn't prevented WR1s from putting up solid fantasy games four of the past five weeks. In other words, you can exhibit concern but no need to fear a Haden/Watkins matchup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF CLE 006600000 ***
Hogan has been creeping up on Robert Woods' targets, but all that's doing is making both tough fantasy starts as there simply isn't enough passing game production to go around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF CLE 003500000 ***
Woods exploded last week against the Jets, but this is still Sammy Watkins' passing game; reaching deeper is a risky fantasy proposition at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF CLE 003300000 ***
The Browns haven't given up much to opposing tight ends this year, and with Chandler sharing looks with two other TEs he's a difficult at best fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF CLE 3322 ***
Carp's been consistently around 10 points per game over the past month; maybe dial it back a bit due to weather, but he's still a solid fantasy option here.

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 24-59
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 vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 10 310,2
RB Vick Ballard 60 2-20
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 70 3-20
RB Trent Richardson 80,1 6-40
WR T.Y. Hilton 6-80,1
WR Hakeem Nicks 7-100,1
WR Reggie Wayne 7-90,1
TE Dwayne Allen 4-40
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots made sure the upstart Colts realized their place in the NFL with a blowout "let's still throw bombs" sort of way. In the process they did allow Andrew Luck to set the new NFL rookie record with five games over 300 yards. With six left to play. Last week ended a four game winning streak and these Colts may not be Patriot good yet, but they are far better than anyone could have expected. And still in the playoff hunt.

Luck has always been very productive in home games this year and the Bills are bringing in a below average defense anyway. Luck has scored twice in every home game and usually enjoyed big yardage efforts aside from the one Cleveland tilt. He's thrown for 12 touchdowns this year and rushed in five more.

Now that everyone is healthy, the running attack is a three-headed monster with marginal fantasy implications on a good day. Donald Brown runs just enough to make sure that Vick Ballard does not have a big game and then in the rare case they end up at the goal line, Delone Carter trots in for the short touchdown. Bottom line here - Colts backs have only rushed in three touchdowns all year against five scored by Luck as a runner. No runner here gained more than 84 rushing yards in any game and they rarely account for more than one catch each.

Reggie Wayne continues to catch at least seven passes in every game since week seven but he has not topped 100 yards in the last six games and scored just once in that time. His three touchdowns all occurred while at home though and he is a lock for at least 70 yards each week. TY Hilton comes off his career best game of six catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. That pairs up with the 6-102 and a score he posted in week nine. Problem is that he was blanked in week 10 with just one pass thrown his way. Donnie Avery provides some minor possession catches but Wayne and Hilton have clearly become the top two receivers here.

Playing at home with something to prove after the spanking in New England should not only provide good stats for Luck, Wayne and Hilton, but the runners as well. The Bills have one of the worst defenses at stopping rushing scores and running backs have scored on them 16 times already.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 7 30 4 18 16 28
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 24 28 22 17 14 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND WAS 20000030030 ***
Luck eased up last week, turning a season-low 32 attempts into just 253 and 1. The Redskins aren't a pushover, but there's no reason to think he can't get back in the saddle with the usual attempts turned into what's become the norm: multiple TDs and something approaching 300 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dan Herron, IND WAS 3005300000 ****
Herron has moved into roughly half the Indy backfield workload, but he's not doing enough with those touches to warrant significant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND WAS 4002200000 ***
Richardson has become purely a volume guy, and with half his volume going to Dan Herron--and the Redskins a relatively tough matchup for opposing RBs--he's a fringe fantasy entity at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND WAS 0081202000 ***
Washington's allowed a gaudy WR performance each of the past two weeks--Mike Evans' 7-209-2, Anquan Boldin's 9-137-1--and Hilton is the Colt most likely to follow that lead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND WAS 005601000 **
Wayne's a solid wingman but not much of a fantasy option against a team that hasn't allowed multiple WR fantasy helpers in more than a month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND WAS 003400000 ***
Nicks is too lightly targeted and too inconsistently productive to bank on for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND WAS 002300000 ***
Given his performance the previous two weeks, last week's 2-28 from Fleener was a genuine disappointment. Washington's a bit softer of a TE matchup so Fleener's a slightly better bet to put that disappointment in the rear view mirror and deliver a fantasy helper here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND WAS 3333 ****
My Cousin Vinny hasn't been below eight points since the season opener and hit double-digits three of the past four games. He's as money a kicker as you can find right now.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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