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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
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 @NE 0000025021 **
Orto threw for 299 and 2 in the earlier meeting with New England, but he'd been in a bit of a slump until last week's 329 and 3 in Oakland. He'll catch the Patriots with nothing to play for, but he's still a bit of a risky fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF @NE 2007500000 ***
Jackson has scored in three of his last four against the Patriots, and four of his last six--including a rushing TD in the earlier meeting with New England. The risk is that the Bills know what they have in Jackson so they may give CJ Spiller some extra looks--but that's just one of the many risks you run with a Week 17 title game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF @NE 3003200000 ***
Spiller returned to four carries for negative four yards last week in Oakland, along with four catches for 14 yards. But he actually has a decent track record in New England, topping 100 combo yards on each of his last three visits and scoring in two of his last four trips to Gillette Stadium. If the Bills opt to give him an audition to keep his job, he has a decent shot of carving out some fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF @NE 007701000 **
With Darrelle Revis all over Sammy Watkins, Woods paced the Bills in the earlier matchup with 7-78-1. Woods also scored last week, and they're likely to be playing catchup so another solid fantasy outing wouldn't surprise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF @NE 004500000 ***
Hogan has the distinct advantage of not drawing Darrelle Revis. He scored in the earlier matchup and is a viable option if New England's varsity corners stick around long enough to blanket Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @NE 003300000 **
Watkins was shut down by Darrelle Revis in the earlier meeting, but with New England having locked up home field advantage Revis may make an early exit. You wanna hang your fantasy hat on that, go ahead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF @NE 004401000 ***
Chandler had his best game of the season, 105 yards, in the earlier meeting with New England. He scored last week and, given the strength of the Patriots' corners, is a viable alternative for Kyle Orton--and thus a fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @NE 1122 ***
New England has allowed multiple field goals in five of their last six; Carpenter has kicked multiple field goals in five of his last seven. Expect an uptick over his two point performance against the Patriots earlier this season--maybe even a big one if Bill Belichick starts playing the JV sooner rather than later.

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 @TEN 0000023010 *
Luck blew up the Titans to the tune of 370 and 4 when they met back in Week 3. He's been somewhat off that pace of late, with three straight under 200 yards, but as long as the Colts don't get cute and sit him down for Matt Hasselbeck he's as dangerous a fantasy quarterback as there is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dan Herron, IND @TEN 6013200000 **
Plenty of opportunity here against a defense that's allowed at least one RB score in nine straight games and 12 of the last 13. The Colts had Ahmad Bradshaw (9-65, 2-18-1 and Trent Richardson (14-57, 3-23) do the damage last week; sans Bradshaw, Herron should see plenty of opportunities with this favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @TEN 5002100000 ***
Richardson has been usurped as the Colts' primary ball-carrier, but that doesn't mean he can't hang out--and maybe fall into some fantasy value. Prior to last week Richardson had been splitting carries with Dan Herron, then in last week's blowout loss to the Cowboys things started getting weird. In a favorable matchup you could wring Richardson's last remaining drops of fantasy value from him, but the yield isn't likely to be very big.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @TEN 008800000 **
With TY Hilton out Nicks was Eli Manning's go to guy last week. He's playing for a contract, but what Nicks really needs this week is for Hilton to miss another game and leave Nicks in charge of the receiver rotation. Otherwise he's a risky bet for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND @TEN 004300000 ***
Wayne remains firmly in the twilight of his stellar career; there's not much fantasy value here, either.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @TEN 002300000 *
Hilton didn't play last week, and his status for this week's game has yet to be determined. However, Indy's in the playoffs so even if TY is ready expect reduced snaps as the Colts attempt to keep him fresh for a run at the Lombardi.
Update: Hilton is listed as questionable, and with nothing to play for it would be surprising if the Colts gave him more than a few "stay warm" snaps this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND @TEN 005601000 **
Like his running mate, Dwayne Allen, Fleener also scored in the earlier meeting with Tennessee. That's a formidable one-two punch for Andrew Luck to lean on, and there's no reason to think he won't do just that this week.
Update: Indy's TE punch will be limited to just a "one" with Allen ruled out due to a knee injury, but the last time Fleener flew solo he was a fantasy stud so this might just work out in Coby's favor.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @TEN 2222 ***
You can't rest the kicker, so even if the rest of Indy's JV is on the field they should still provide ample opportunity for Vinatieri to swing the leg--maybe even to the tune of the 11 points he scored against the Titans earlier this season.

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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