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David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: NE 30, JAC 13 (Line: NE by 14.5)

Players Updated: Rob Gronkowski

Players to Watch: Cecil Shorts, Wes Welker

Losing to the 49ers last Sunday night dropped the 10-4 Patriots back into the #3 seed which means no bye and only one home field game. But this week they face the 2-12 Jaguars who have already packed their suitcases and are just watching the clock for for week 17 Sunday to be over. That the highest scoring offense in the NFL now faces a team that has declined to the point they do not score touchdowns could be concerning. The Pats will win of course but won't need 40 points to get the job done.

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 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU 42-14
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF 34-41
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 270,2
RB Stevan Ridley 80,1
WR Danny Amendola 8-100,1
TE Rob Gronkowski
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the 49ers really shook up the Patriots image coming on the heels of them looking so dominant against the Texans the previous week. The reality too is that both those games came at home where the Pats are always far better and losing that #2 seed may come back to haunt them. The Pats cannot afford any more losses either since they are only one game ahead of the Ravens now who have already beaten them back in week three to own that tie breaker should it be an issue.

The Pats almost never take any game lightly no matter what the situation is and in this case, they have to win and may want to flex some muscles doing it after last week's loss.

Tom Brady on the road has been plenty prolific other than facing inter-divisional foes and the Jaguars are soft in the secondary. But the are even worse against the running backs which could end up with a depressed stat line for Brady who won't need 400 yards to compete here.

The running backs are going to be harder to call than usual - and it has been largely impossible anyway - since both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen lost fumbles last week and then disappeared from the game plan while Danny Woodhead had a big game holding onto the ball. Ridley's faux pas ended his six game scoring streak but he's fumbled before and not carried the shame into the next week. It will always be tough to accurately predict who does what here but Ridley should end up with his job back.

What is nice too is that Aaron Hernandez is finally showing up as a major weapon for the Patriots only three months after everyone drafted him with big expectations. He's caught at least eight passes in the last two games while scoring a total of three touchdowns.

Both the Texans and 49ers schemed to take Wes Welker away with great success but Brandon Lloyd picked up the slack finally with 89 yards against the Texans and 190 yards versus the 49ers. While he won't be needed nearly so much this week, it is nice to see him finally being in the game plan and producing more than the roughly 50 yards and no score he had going the rest of the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 2 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 23 32 16 8 32 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIN 0000029020 ***
After shutting out Austin Davis and Shaun Hill last week, the Vikings step up in class to face Brady; it's akin to jumping right from Glass Joe to Mike Tyson in "Punch-Out!!". Don't get overly giddy, as Mike Zimmer's Bengals held Brady to 197 yards and no TDs last year--but that was with Cincy's personnel, not Minnesota's.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE @MIN 7015400000 ***
The Vikings have historically struggled with pass-catching backs, and despite the changes in personnel and scheme they gave up 5-38 to the Rams last week. Vereen didn't see Mike Zimmer's defense when the Patriots played the Bengals last season, but lesser pass catcher Brandon Bolden caught six balls for 40 yards. Mix in Vereen's newfound work as a sometimes-goal line guy and there's more than enough for him to be a solid fantasy play this week regardless of scoring format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Stevan Ridley, NE @MIN 300000000 ***
Tough to gauge the Vikings' revamped defense after one game against the Rams' backup QBs, but the fact they held Zac Stacy under four yards a carry doesn't bode well for Ridley's fantasy prospects. Neither does Shane Vereen swiping goal line carries, previously a Ridley milieu.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @MIN 007801000 ***
The Patriots' receiving corps is a mess, but Edelman is the one guy who seems to return consistent fantasy value. He paced the group in catches and yardage last week and would seem to be the safest fantasy bet once again, against a Vikings secondary that may be down a cornerback to begin with.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenbrell Thompkins, NE @MIN 004500000 ***
We have yet to see the Patriots' receiving corps settle into anything resembling predictability. That means you can't bank on any of the secondary personnel getting in on the fantasy fun, which in turn makes Thompkins an unreliable fantasy start at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE @MIN 008901000 ****
The Vikings have historically struggled to defend tight ends, so it's unlikely they'll have an answer for Gronk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE @MIN 004500000 ***
The switch in schemes and coordinators seems to have only slightly impacted the Vikings inability to defend the tight end position, as last week Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey combined for 7-72. Unless and until we see Wright in a more defined role in New England, however, he can't be banked on for fantasy assistance even if the matchup is favorable.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIN 2233 ***
Last week's double makes it 17 straight games with multiple field goals for Gostkowski. Don't see that streak coming to an end in Minnesota.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND 10-27
2 HOU 7-27 11 @HOU 37-43
3 @IND 22-17 12 TEN 24-19
4 CIN 10-27 13 @BUF 18-34
5 CHI 3-41 14 NYJ 10-17
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA 3-24
7 @OAK 23-26 16 NE -----
8 @GB 15-24 17 @TEN -----
9 DET 14-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
JAC vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne 230,1
WR Cecil Shorts 5-90,1
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-50
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have won only once in the last 11 games and the offensive output that seemed to spike with Chad Henne starting has faded to where they cannot even score a touchdown anymore. This is the final home game of the year but that's hardly a reason to expect any progress.

The only difference this week is that Maurice Jones-Drew has not been ruled out yet and HC Mike Mularkey said he was "questionable" this week but closer to playing than he has been. There is really no reason to bring him back - the season was over long ago and MJD is only risking further injury for nothing. One has to expect a more earnest holdout this coming summer since the worst case just happened this year.

Cecil Shorts returned last week after missing the Jets game with a concussion and he turned in 101 yards on six catches in Miami right back to his high level of performance though it was his first time to not score a touchdown in the last five games played. Justin Blackmon has reeled in six catches in each of the last two games but has not scored since week 12. This is the last home game so it should help both receivers facing one of the weaker secondaries in the NFL.

Aqib Talib has been a great addition for the Patriots and he matches on Justin Blackmon which should depress his stats this week, not that they were that big to start with anyway. This will be the final home game for a team that has made very little progress in Mike Mularkey's first season as head coach. If MJD does play this week, it may have to do with it being the final home game but I'll project for another week of Montel Owens until a decision is made.

Sadly facing the Patriots secondary is not as much fun as it was earlier in the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 26 32 18 29 30 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 12 26 30 8 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Chad Henne, JAC @WAS 0000023011 ***
Most of Henne's Week 1 productivity came early on two long TDs; after that it was the same old Henne fantasy owners have come to know and ignore. Washington's D was adequate against Ryan Fitzpatrick and... could this matchup get any more meh? Nothing to reach for here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Toby Gerhart, JAC @WAS 6002100000 ***
Assuming Gerhart goes on his sore ankle he'll face a Washington D that allowed Arian Foster to rush for 103 yards on 27 carries. Doubtful Gerhart sees that workload, healthy or no, so set your sights lower.
Update: Gerhart was back at practice later in the week and expects to play Sunday despite his tender ankle. The injury may reduce Gerhart's volume of touches, however, and since he's pretty much a volume guy his fantasy value takes a nick as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marqise Lee, JAC @WAS 006801000 ***
Lee was actually targeted more and caught more balls than Hurns, he just didn't haul in two home runs. He's battling some injury issues of his own, but if healthy he projects to be the go-to guy in this offense--and, based on Hurns' disappearing act after halftime, probably the safer fantasy bet of the two.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC @WAS 004700000 ***
Two blown coverages by the Eagles and suddenly a star is born. Hurns isn't all flash in the pan, but it's notable that a) he was shut out in the second half and b) it was the Eagles secondary. The Redskins let DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson tag-team them for 182 yards and a TD, and if Cecil Shorts remains out (likely) Hurns and Marqise Lee could push that number. So we're saying Frisman Jackson gets at least a one-week reprise from being relegated too quickly to the "one-hit wonder" bin.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Robinson, JAC @WAS 002200000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC @WAS 004300000 ***
"Wake me when Marcedes Lewis is fantasy relevant again." -- Rip Van Winkle
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC @WAS 2211 ***
Scobee got three field goal attempts in Week 1; that's good! Scobee missed two of them; that's not so good. Here's hoping you have access to better fantasy kicking options this week.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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