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 LeSean McCoy
WR Leonard Hankerson 3-40
WR Percy Harvin 10 2-20
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 Tyrod Taylor, BUF NYJ 0000018010 ***
Since keeping Taylor in check (158 and 1) in the earlier meeting, the Jets inexplicably let TJ Yates go for 229 and 2 and Ryan Tannehill put up 351 and 3. Then they got focused, holding the next four QBs they've faced to a total of three TDs and an average of less than 250 yards per game. Taylor has been streaky as well, with his yardage on a downward trend and a total of three TDs in the past three games--two of them against bottom-third pass defenses. He'll salvage fantasy value with rushing yardage--199 the past three games--but there's a limit to his upside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Karlos Williams, BUF NYJ 5002201000 **
LeSean McCoy gouged the Jets in the earlier meeting; Williams chipped in a receiving TD in the final game of his scoring streak. He was modestly successful starting against a bottom-five Dallas run D; don't expect similar against a Jets D that's given up one RB rushing score all season and an average of less than 65 RB rushing yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, BUF NYJ 3002200000 ***
Gillislee has at least a smidgen of upside as a change of pace back against a Jets defense that's given up five of its six RB touchdowns through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF NYJ 005600000 ***
The Jets' secondary is elite once again after getting Darrell Revis back from injury. They've given up one WR TD in three games, with no wingman game better than 53 yards. That's your upside for Hogan.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF NYJ 004400000 ***
Since being locked down in back-to-back weeks by the Jets and Patriots, Watkins has averaged 5-109-1 over the past five games. Since getting Darrelle Revis back from injury, the Jets have given up one WR TD in three games and no individual game greater than 70 yards. With a healthy Revis and the Jets fighting for a playoff spot, tough to trust Watkins here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF NYJ 3211 ***
Hasn't seen ten points
since last time he faced the Jets
Can lightning strike twice?

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 Josh Freeman 20 240,2
QB Andrew Luck 10 310,2
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 70 3-20
RB Frank Gore 100,1 3-20
WR T.Y. Hilton 6-80,1
WR Andre Johnson 4-70,1
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 Josh Freeman, IND TEN 0000014002 *
Indy's starting quarterback in a must-win game will most likely be a guy who's been with the team less than a week. That didn't work so well for Freeman the last time he tried it--flaming out famously as a Viking on Monday Night Football--and there's no reason to think it will go any better here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Frank Gore, IND TEN 10903200000 *
With little in the way of QB options look for the Colts to pin their offensive hopes on Gore. He responded with 15-85-2 in a similar situation last week and had 14-86-2 in Tennessee earlier this season, so he's both a volume and matchup bet this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, IND TEN 003300000 ***
The third wheel in a passing game that's literally dragging in quarterback candidates off the street? Pass.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND TEN 003300000 *
The Titans have allowed a 100-yard receiver in five of the last six games, but with limited options at quarterback--Indy will start either a guy who's never taken a regular season snap or one of two guys they signed off the street earlier this week--the passing game can't be banked on for productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND TEN 002300000 *
It's not so much the matchup as it is the lack of a quarterback in Indy that has us worried about the potential of the passing game. Best look for options that don't have to wear name tags so their quarterback knows who they are.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND TEN 002200000 *
The last time Fleener was fantasy relevant none of the Colts' current quarterbacks were even a gleam in Indy's eye. Nothing to see here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND TEN 2200 ***
TEN gives up field goals;
can Indy QB du jour
get him close enough?

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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