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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: MIA 13, NE 27 (Line: NE by 10)

Players to Watch: Reggie Bush, Stevan Ridley

The Patriots can win a first round bye with a win here AND a loss by either the Texans (@IND) or the Broncos (vs. KC). The 11-4 Patriots clinched the AFC East several weeks ago and are 5-2 at home. The 7-8 Dolphins are only 2-5 on the road but a win here would give them a .500 season.

This is a replay of week 13 when the Patriots won 23-16 in Miami.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU 10-30 10 TEN 3-37
2 OAK 35-13 11 @BUF 14-19
3 NYJ 20-23 12 SEA 24-21
4 @ARI 21-24 13 NE 16-23
5 @CIN 17-13 14 @SF 13-27
6 STL 17-14 15 JAC 24-3
7 BYE ----- 16 BUF 24-10
8 @NYJ 30-9 17 @NE -----
9 @IND 20-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 30 210,1
TE Anthony Fasano 2-20

Pregame Notes: The season winds down for first-year head coach Joe Philbin and his offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. It has been a minor success at least in the sense that the Dolphins have already bested their 6-10 season of 2011 and the defense has been better than most realize. Almost half of the games had their opponents held under 20 points. Sadly, almost half their games also only saw the Fins with 17 points or less.

The new offense held true to its word - it did not need a true #1 wideout like Brandon Marshall. At least it never had anything even close to Marshall and it would have been hard to imagine pairing him with the rookie Ryan Tannehill anyway. The Fins passing attack was never more than just a game managing attempt to dink and dunk. Tannehill has only 12 passing touchdowns on the year against 12 interceptions and three lost fumbles. Road games never saw more than one passing score if that. The yardage tended to be sub-200 as well outside of that freakish 431 yard game in Arizona.

Tannehill only passed for 186 yards in New England and scored once on a run.

Reggie Bush is now being reviewed by the Fins who are leaning towards resigning him in the offseason and prevent him from hitting free agency. Bosh comes off a three touchdown game against the Bills and he's been getting around 20 touches for the last three weeks with decent results. Bush only gained 64 yards on 15 runs in the previous Pats meeting. Lamar Miller was allowed ten carries in the big win over the Bills last week and he gained 73 yards but that was his first time over 20 yards in a game since week three.

Davone Bess only caught one pass in the last game with the Pats and is likely to miss this game with a back injury that kept him out the last two games. That leaves only Brian Hartline who had 84 yards on five catches and a couple of practice squadders as the primary receivers. Anthony Fasano did score in two of the last three games but has been little used and only caught one pass against the Pats.

The Pats already won in Miami and are in the running at least for a first round bye. Played in New England makes a huge difference here and the only reasonable fantasy play is Reggie Bush for moderate yardage. The Pats may be weak on defense, but not as weak as the offense for the Fins.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 28 5 30 31 27 25
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 13 27 30 11 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matt Moore, MIA NE 0000022011 ***
This is the second worst matchup a quarterback will find in Week 17 when using data from the past five games. New England has allowed averages of a TD and only 15.9 fantasy points per outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenyan Drake, MIA NE 3011100000 ***
Drake is talented but sees limited work. New England isn't a great matchup, but maybe his change-of-pace nature can overcome the hurdle.

Update: Drake could see a few more utilization with Jay Ajayi listed as questionable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jay Ajayi, MIA NE 4001100000 ***
New England has dominated running backs of late, albeit mostly inferior competition. This is the second worst matchup using data from the last five games. Only one of the last 118 touches by a running back has scored on the Pats.

Update: Ajayi is questionable but practiced in full Friday and should be active.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, MIA NE 001301000 ***
New England has turned it around against wideouts of late. Stills is a weekly TD flier play in non-PPR formats, but gamers considering him must be willing to accept a paltry performance when taking the risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeVante Parker, MIA NE 005600000 ***
Matt Moore is under center again, and Parker has done fine with the quarterback switch. The Patriots gave up 106 yards on eight catches to Parker in Week 2, but the position has scored only three times in the last five games versus this defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA NE 004500000 ***
The Patriots have given up only three TDs in the past five games to receivers. Landry had a big PPR day in Week 2 by catching 10 of 13 targets for 137 yards from Ryan Tannehill. Matt Moore gets a crack at the visiting Pats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Andrew Franks, MIA NE 2222 ***
Four teams have been worse against the position than New England in the last five weeks. The Patriots have given up only five XPAs and 7-for-10 from long range.

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 23-16
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 280,2
WR Danny Amendola 5-40
TE Dwayne Allen 4-40,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots are still in the running for a first round bye but need help to get there and that's at least unlikely. But the Patriots have a history of not taking games off for any reason and with the chance for a bye - they'll all be in this game. Perhaps not Rob Gronkowski who has been out since week 11 with a broken forearm. He has been practicing on a limited basis and the Pats we'll never say more than his serial number but he's no better than a game-time decision this week.

Tom Brady actually had his least productive game of the year when he went to Miami and threw only 238 yards and one score. It was his only single touchdown game since week three. Brady has scored in every game this year but has been less productive in recent weeks because the run has worked well. Brady passed for over 300 yards only once in the last four games.

Now that Brandon Bolden is back, Shane Vereen apparently went tumbling back on the depth chart. But throw in Danny Woodhead in with the constant of Steven Ridley and the backfield is always changing from week to week at least in who relieves Ridley and takes third down duty. Ridley was on a six game scoring streak until the 49ers showed up and he bounced back in week 16 with 84 yards on 18 carries in Jacksonville.

Ridley is the only reliable part of the backfield and ran for 71 yards and a score on 19 carries in Miami this year.

Aaron Hernandez had his season best 97 yards on eight catches in the Miami game and more encouraging is that he's scored in both of the most recent home games.

Since Julian Edelman left, Brandon Lloyd has regained fantasy value with at least 60 yards in each game and a score in the home game versus the Texans. Wes Welker caught 12 passes for 103 yards and one score in Miami as he usually does when he faces his old team. The Patriots will take this game with a balanced approach but the Dolphins are likely to struggle on offense and with a lower score of the opponent, Brady and the passing effort won't have to work too hard against a decent secondary.

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 MIA 15 6 13 11 21 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000029020 ***
Brady has struggled in Miami throughout his career, but this time around should be much different: The Dolphins are the second best matchup for quarterbacks when using the last five weeks' data. He did not play in the last meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, NE @MIA 301000000 ***
Running backs have scored twice on 16 catches and once every 34.5 rushing attempts when facing the Jets since Week 11. Gillislee caught a touchdown on his only target in the first meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE @MIA 5002200000 ***
No team has allowed more receptions per game to RBs in the past five weeks, but Lewis shares third-down chores. Consider him only in PPR DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, NE @MIA 4003200000 ***
Burkhead is not even a fringe play in the deepest of leagues. He doesn't factor enough into the game play to deserve attention.

Update: Burkhead could see more work if Jeremy Hill (questionable) is limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE @MIA 003300000 ***
A great matchup for the time-sharing back ... avoid him unless you're looking to make a huge gamble.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE @MIA 006901000 ***
Hogan caught 4-60-0 without TB12 in the earlier meeting this year. The Dolphins have allowed six WR scores in the last five games, or one every 9.8 receptions. Hogan has a hint more upside than we projected, but these are safe numbers.

Update: Hogan could see more looks with Malcolm Mitchel being doubtful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @MIA 006601000 ***
Miami has allowed a TD every 9.8 receptions in the last five weeks, and PPR receivers have averaged 37.3 fantasy points a game as a team. Edelman was good for 7-76-0 without Tom Brady in Week 2.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE @MIA 004500000 ***
The Falcons have allowed only two touchdowns on the last 61 catches by receivers, which is the third stingiest ratio in the league over the past five weeks. Cooks was held to two catches on eight targets for 13 yards in Week 3 vs. the Falcons.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, NE @MIA 002200000 ***
Allen is largely useless for fantasy owners. It's a crapshoot to predict his involvement most weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 2233 ***
Miami is a negative-leaning matchup for kickers, having given up 15 extra point attempts (5th most) but only nine FGAs (six good) in the last five games.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

a d v e r t i s e m e n t