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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: NE 27, NYJ 17 (Line: NE by 6)

Players to Watch: Aaron Hernandez

This is the late game on Thanksgiving. The 7-3 Patriots head to New York where the 4-6 Jets are 2-3 and have already lost to the Patriots 26-29 just four weeks ago. Apparently that close call inspired the Patriots since they have scored at least 37 points in each of the last three games and are currently the #1 scoring team in the NFL by over 50 points.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF -----
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 250,2
WR Danny Amendola
WR Julian Edelman 3-30
TE Martellus Bennett 3-30
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Pats are back to their "roll up the points" mode but that may take a step back now that Rob Gronkowski is out for at least four weeks and potentially longer. The talented tight end has been the central man in the passing scheme for two seasons now and his limitation in the Superbowl may have been part of the four point loss. That and the whole "Curse of Eli" thing.

Fortunately, Aaron Hernandez is expected to return from his ankle injury that has basically robbed him of his season since week two. He returned in week six and seven but then missed the last four games. Some reports have him still limited and since this is the Patriot way, we cannot really know until we know. He's been limited in practice for a few weeks. The same was true in week six when he came back and scored once on his six catches for 30 yards.

Vishanthe Shiancoe should see an increase in snaps but not necessarily receptions. Neither he nor Michael Hoomanawanui are a true replacement and whatever Hernandez does not inherit will go to Julian Edelman, Wes Welker or even running backs.

Tom Brady passed for 259 yards and two scores when the Jets visited a month ago. The Jets played a very good game defensively that week and held the Pats to no rushing scores. Stevan Ridley gained 65 yards on 17 carries with no receptions while Shane Vereen went for 49 yards on eight runs. Danny Woodhead has six runs and four receptions for a total of 46 yards in that game but was never given a touch last week in the blow out win.

This is a prime time game on national TV. Both teams know each other very well but the absence of Gronk could make a difference. But this is the exact sort of game that Brady and company loves to really put on a show. This is a pivotal week too since the Pats need to show that losing Gronk is not going to make a big difference.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 5 3 11 1 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 7 21 4 24 19 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE LA 0000034030 ***
LA presents an intriguing matchup. The Rams have allowed the third fewest yards per game (217.5) and second fewest yards per completion (9.6) using data since Week 7. Conversely, quarterbacks have thrown a TD every 11.4 completions, which is the 11th worst defense of this category.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE LA 801000000 ***
While only one of the last 90 carries against the Rams have went the distance, three of 17 receptions have scored. That's not Blount's forte, but this defense has allowed 152.8 yards per game. Blount has some promise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE LA 1004301000 ***
Three of the last 17 catches by running backs against LA have gone for touchdowns. White has appeal in PPR only, of course, but he is risky with Dion Lewis seeing time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE LA 2004300000 ***
Lewis is still being worked in and sharing with James White. The Rams have allowed 17 receptions for 149 yards -- but THREE of those catches have scored. That's crazy and gives Lewis an outside shot at being playable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE LA 008801000 ***
This is a neutral matchup for receivers. Edelman could see more work if Gronk doesn't dress. Wideouts have scored five times over the last 54 receptions surrendered by LA.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE LA 002501000 **
Overall, the matchup is not ideal when using data from the last five games. Hogan can get deep and is usual going to see single coverage. He is a risky play with more worth in standard-scoring affairs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcolm Mitchell, NE LA 005600000 ***
Mitchell has carved out a niche role in the offense recently, but New England changes things up so much that he is a risky play in any format. The Rams have give up five TDs to wideouts in the last four games on 54 catches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, NE LA 005600000 ***
LA offers the 22nd best matchup for tight ends in PPR scoring. Gronk's status makes a big difference, too. Bennett is a fringe consideration because of the risk involved.

Update: Gronkowski, as you should know by now, is done for the rest of the fantasy season after back surgery. Bennett is a safer play now, but his matchup remains the sticking point.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE LA 1144 ***
No team offers a harsher matchup for kickers in Week 13, and given Gostkowski's struggles these days, perhaps looking elsewhere is warranted.

New York Jets
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 BUF 48-28 10 @SEA 7-28
2 @PIT 10-27 11 @STL 27-13
3 @MIA 23-20 12 NE -----
4 SF 0-34 13 ARI -----
5 HOU 17-23 14 @JAC -----
6 IND 35-9 15 @TEN -----
7 @NE 26-29 16 SD -----
8 MIA 9-30 17 @BUF -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYJ vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 230,2
RB Matt Forte 70 5-30,1
RB Bilal Powell 30,1 3-20
WR Eric Decker 7-70,2
WR Brandon Marshall 8-110,1
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 2 XP
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ IND 0000026011 ***
Indy sports the highest opportunity index rating and has given up the third most fantasy points per game since Week 7. With only one interception in this time, the upside for Fitzpatrick is as bright as it can be given his overall situation and lack of weapons. This is soundly a top-five matchup in all important categories.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, NYJ IND 8010100000 ***
The Colts have granted one rushing and one receiving score, per game, since Week 7. We are looking at an overall weak matchup for the position, so consider these projections a little on the optimistic side.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bilal Powell, NYJ IND 3003200000 ***
Powell has fleeting appeal as a PPR flier. Indianapolis has given up a 12-70-1 line through the air to running backs since Week 7, which is among the lowest figures afforded in the league over this stretch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ IND 005801000 ***
Indianapolis is the best place to look to find wide receiver points based on recent trends. Since Week 7, no team has given up touchdowns at a friendlier pace. Nine of the last 54 catches have found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ IND 005800000 ***
Only one team has allowed more PPR points per game than Indy, and no team has given up more points per catch or allowed TDs with the same ease. Marshall is safely a WR2 with upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robby Anderson, NYJ IND 004500000 ***
Anderson shouldn't factor into the plans of traditional gamers. The matchup is worthy for DFS players, though.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Folk, NYJ IND 2222 ***
Folk faces a narrowly but consistently positive matchup for kickers in Week 13. Indy rates 12th in FGAs and 10th in XPAs allowed over the last five weeks.

Pregame Notes: Winning big in St. Louis was a surprise last week since the Jets were on a three game losing streak that started against these Patriots and the next two losses were blowouts by 21 points each. If nothing else, it made the Jets look good for one week and quelled the withering fire they take from the NY media after every loss.

Mark Sanchez threw for a season best 328 yards in the last meeting with the Patriots though only one touchdown and he's scored multiple touchdowns in only two games all year. At 11 touchdowns on the year, he's been only marginally effective in any game. The Patriots have shored up their secondary in the interim as well with the addition of CB Aqib Talib who instantly became their #1 cover corner. He also returned an interception for a touchdown in his first game with the Patriots. Sanchez is less likely to see as much success passing.

Shonn Greene still slogs along with around 60 rush yards in most games and aside from his week six freak show against the Colts when he scored three times, he's been the picture of mediocrity this year. Now the Jets are taking a committee approach to the backfield and including Bilal Powell who scored his first two NFL touchdowns last week on his 11 runs for 42 yards in St. Louis. Greene rushed for 64 yards on 18 carries in that game as well. In week seven, Greene ran for 54 yards and a score on 16 runs in New England. A committee is a good thing if it finally dissuades you from giving Greene a fantasy start.

Dustin Keller caught seven passes for 93 yards and a score in New England this year but that was his only touchdown and he's settled down to much lower production. Against the Rams he caught two passes for 16 yards.

Jeremy Kerley was the best receiver in the last meeting when he gained 120 yards on seven receptions. He's failed to turn in more than 60 yards in any game since and has not scored since back in week three. None of the Jets wideouts have any reliability or fantasy value now.

This is a late game and prime time so both teams will bring their "A" games. So far that heavily favors the Patriots.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 30 24 24 24 28 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 31 16 27 31 6 1

INSERT THE PLAYER TABLE #2 HERE

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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