FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: BUF 13, NYJ 17 (Line: NYJ by 2.5)

Players of Interest: E.J. Manuel

The Jets are 1-1 and come off a long week after playing in the Thursday night game for week two. The Bills are also 1-1 and coming off their comeback win over the Panthers. This is the first game of the year that the Bills are on the road. These teams swapped home wins in 2013. The Bills won 34-18 at home while the Jets won 48-28 at home.

1 NE 21-23 10 @PIT -
2 CAR 24-23 11 NYJ -
3 @NYJ - 12 BYE WEEK
4 BAL - 13 ATL -
5 @CLE - 14 @TB -
6 CIN - 15 @JAC -
7 @MIA - 16 MIA -
8 @NO - 17 @NE -
9 KC - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BUF @ NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB EJ Manuel 20 170,1
RB Fred Jackson 30 4-30
RB C.J. Spiller 40 6-40
WR Mike Williams 5-60
WR Robert Woods 4-30,1
TE Scott Chandler 3-20
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: For being such a young team, the Bills have put together two solid efforts now and already show signs of improvement. That may take a step backwards now that they are on the road for the first time. E.J. Manuel led the comeback win over the Panthers for his first taste of success and the rushing game found a spark as well. What appears to be a decent schedule in the coming weeks is really much tougher if you look closer. All their next nine opponents have either a great defense or at least have improved from 2012.

QUARTERBACKS: In what they hope is the first of many, E.J. Manuel marched the offense 80 yards in a minute and a half and then threw the winning touchdown to Stevie Johnson with only six seconds remaining. He passed for 296 yards in that game against a decent Panther defense and is already starting to use his wide receivers better. He will have a trial be fire this year with many very tough match-ups but the early returns are encouraging.

RUNNING BACKS: After a disappointing opener against the Patriots. C.J. Spiller came to life when the Panthers showed up. He ran for 103 yards on only 16 carries and added four catches for 26 yards. But... he also is sharing about a dozen carries per week with Fred Jackson who vultured the short score last week. The better that Manuel is in the passing game, the more it will open up for Spiller who is needed to step up both as a runner and a receiver in the coming weeks. Sadly the committee approach limits him but also could help him remain healthy. Jackson gets enough work each week to merit consideration as a flex play.

Spiller rushed for 169 yards and one score in New York last year. He was later held on only 59 yards in the home rematch.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Aside from throwing to the running backs, this offense passes only to the two starting wideouts. Stevie Johnson comes off a solid eight catch, 111 yard effort last week that included the game winning catch. Robert Woods also turned in four receptions for 68 yards as well in only his second game. Marquise Goodwin remains out but T.J. Graham has just one short catch on the year. While there is a minimal amount of tight end throws, this scheme so far is either dump offs to the backs and downfield to the wide receivers. That helps maintain decent fantasy value with consistency.

TIGHT ENDS: Scott Chandler catches three or four passes per week but gains very little yardage. He has no fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: So far the Jets have played the Pats and Buccaneers - two teams that are still hard to get a feel for this year. But they have limited passing to no more than 210 yards and one score so far and at home and rested will be prepared this week. They held Doug Martin to only 65 yards on 24 runs and surrendered only three total touchdowns this season. That makes Spiller and Jackson marginal plays for receptions mostly and Johnson has been solid enough to merit an every week start.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: E.J. Manuel gets a taste of a very good defense on the road for the first time. How he handles it will be the key to this game and influence the next month.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 21 3 20 27 16 7
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 3 2 20 1 10 29

 

1 TB 18-17 10 BYE WEEK
2 @NE 10-13 11 @BUF -
3 BUF - 12 @BAL -
4 @TEN - 13 MIA -
5 @ATL - 14 OAK -
6 PIT - 15 @CAR -
7 NE - 16 CLE -
8 @CIN - 17 @MIA -
9 NO - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NYJ vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Geno Smith 40 240,1
QB Michael Vick 50,1 250,1
RB Chris Ivory 60
RB Chris Johnson 100 3-30
RB Bilal Powell 50,1 3-30
WR Eric Decker 6-80
WR Jeremy Kerley 3-40
TE Zach Sudfeld 3-30
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Jets may have lost in New England but it was only by a field goal and they were in striking distance the entire game. Considering that they were starting a rookie quarterback on the road, the results were actually encouraging. Sort of. The same truth exists that has been around for a few years now. The Jets defense is good enough to keep them in almost every game, it just depends on whether the offense can limit mistakes and generate at least average points.

QUARTERBACKS: Geno Smith wasn't as impressive this week though in fairness it was pouring rain for the second half. Smith ended with 214 passing yards but threw three interceptions. Some so bad it was hard to tell exactly what he was trying to do. But he did a better job of spreading the ball around and using his wide receivers. Smith is going through the natural learning curve and is showing signs of improvement already.

RUNNING BACKS: Against the Patriots, Chris Ivory was much better. He ran for 52 yards on only 12 carries though he has no role as a receiver yet. Bilal Powell ran for 48 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for 22 yards. For some reason they even let rookie FB Tommy Bohanon take four runs which further splits up a pie that isn't all that big anyway. In the end it was encouraging to see the Jets run for 112 yards on 29 carries in New England. The fantasy value here remains only as a marginal flex play but it could improve later on when the schedule improves.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Santonio Holmes at least improved from his single catch in week one. He gained 51 yards on three catches but did suffer at least one bad drop and was targeted fewer times than either Stephen Hill (4-86) or Clyde Gates (2-42). Hill remains the most targeted wideout. Jeremy Kerley was out with a concussion but should be back this week long as he can practice. What hurts the fantasy value here is that the game plan is dialing up four different wideouts so that no one of them has enough production to warrant a fantasy start.

TIGHT ENDS: The shine is off the pumpkin. After week one saw Kellen Winslow catch seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown, he was scraped off every waiver wire, sometimes aggressively and with some glee. But he was held to only three catches for 16 yards against the Patriots. Week three should help determine which week was not like the others.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The weaker half of the Bills defense is against the pass where they have surrendered two scores each week. That is certainly high side for what Geno Smith has been accomplishing. Opponents have been at least marginally successful with the run too and this is the Bills first road game with a rookie quarterback as well. There still is too little consistency from anyone in this offense to be an obvious fantasy start yet. That makes them all a risk outside of possibly Stephen Hill for some mediocre stats.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: This is where the running game should show some signs of life and the wideouts have a better game this week to help uncover which one is going to offer at least marginal fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 27 20 27 15 15 16
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 16 18 24 15 31 5

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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