FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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 Jay Cutler 240,2
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 Jay Cutler, MIA NYJ 0000019011 ***
Quarterbacks have tossed nine TDs in the last five games against this defense, getting picked off five times. The Jets have done well overall at limiting quarterbacks in fantasy, permitting only 225.6 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jay Ajayi, MIA NYJ 9012100000 ***
Ajayi faces the Jets' 12th-worst defense of non-PPR backs. This group has given up 96 rushing yards, on average, and a every 39.7 carries, ranking 15th for both. Last year, he logged 22 fantasy points in the first meeting but a pathetic 5.1 in Week 15's game facing NYJ.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA NYJ 006601000 ***
DeVante Parker's status remains unsettled, which translates to more work for Landry. The Jets have given up 12 receptions per contest to receivers, which is the 15th most. In Week 3, he caught six balls for 48 yards against this defense.

Update: Parker is doubtful for Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, MIA NYJ 005500000 ***
Despite seeing 10 targets in Week 2 against the Jets, Stills caught just four of them for 51 yards. Stills is a risk-reward play and at least has a respectable matchup if for those willing to gamble. He is less appealing if DeVante Parker goes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, MIA NYJ 002200000 ***
New York has permitted 4.2 receptions per contest to tight ends, with one of every seven going for a TD. TEs have averaged 42.4 yards, on average.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, MIA NYJ 2222 ***
Kickers have missed four of eight field goals, keeping this matchup bumped down the list. On paper, it is the second worst. Thirteen of the 14 PATs were true.

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 ATL 0000030020 ***
Going back to the Super Bowl, Brady went for 466-2-1 versus Atlanta. The Falcons have yielded 1.5 TDs per matchup to quarterbacks, holding passers to just 235 aerial yards and 60.1 percent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE ATL 2011100000 ***
Atlanta his given up the ninth-most receiving yards per game, so there's at least that going for him. Additionally, Lewis' involvement has increased the last two weeks. Consider this an optimistic projection and him playable only in dire circumstances based on the erratic nature of a three-pronged backfield.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, NE ATL 400000000 ***
Only one of the last 88 carries versus Atlanta has found the end zone, making this the fourth-hardest defense to score against. Rushers have averaged a modest 84.3 yards per game on the ground.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE ATL 1004200000 ***
White scored three times in the Super Bowl and caught 14 balls along the way. While expecting anything remotely close to that performance is foolish, he could be a viable flex in PPR formats. Atlanta has allowed averages of 5.3 receptions for 51.3 yards and a TD every 21 snares.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE ATL 005701000 **
Receivers have scored five times in four games and have averaged 12.5 catches (9th most) against this mid-tier opponent. Hogan posted four catches and 57 yards in the Super Bowl.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE ATL 004600000 ***
In the last four games, receivers have averaged 12.5 catches, 128.8 yards and a score every 10 catches facing the Falcons. Seven teams have been worse at stopping WRs from scoring TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE ATL 006600000 ***
For PPR types, Amendola's matchup is solid. The Falcons have given up 12.5 catches per game, which ranks ninth, and the position has gone for a score every 10 times. This is a midrange matchup for reception-rewarding scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE ATL 006901000 ***
None of the 18 receptions against have scored on Atlanta by TEs, and the averages of 4.5 catches for 55 yards rate in the middle of the league. Gronk missed the Super Bowl meeting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE ATL 2233 ***
All 18 kicks -- 10 FGs -- have been accurate against the Falcons. The 9.5 fantasy points given up rates as the fourth most in football.

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

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