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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4 SF at STL (THU) CIN at CLE NYG at KC SEA at HOU
PIT at MIN (London) IND at JAC PHI at DEN WAS at OAK
CHI at DET NE at ATL BAL at BUF MIA at NO (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at TB DAL at SD NYJ at TEN On Bye: CAR, GB

Prediction: IND 24, JAC 13 (Line: IND by 9)

Players of Interest: Blaine Gabbert, Maurice Jones-Drew, Trent Richardson

Update: Ahmad Bradshaw is held out this week because of his neck and that gives Trent Richardson the full load. T.Y. Hilton is probable to play even though he was held out od practice on Friday to rest his toe. Maurice Jones-Drew was limited in but is probable to play and should not be limited by his ankle. Marcedes Lewis is making his season debut as expected.

These are two teams going in different directions. The 2-1 Colts come off a big upset win in San Francisco and have never looked better. The 0-3 Jaguars currently sport the lowest scoring team in the NFL (9.3 points per game) and have yet to look like they have even been remotely in any game so far. The Colts could be liable for a down week after such a huge win in San Francisco but nothing so far says the Jaguars are able to take advantage of anything.

These teams traded road wins with the Jags winning 22-17 in Indianapolis and later losing 10-27 at home.

1 OAK 21-17 10 STL -
2 MIA 20-24 11 @TEN -
3 @SF 27-7 12 @ARI -
4 @JAC - 13 TEN -
5 SEA - 14 @CIN -
6 @SD - 15 HOU -
7 DEN - 16 @KC -
8 BYE WEEK 17 JAC -
9 @HOU - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 30 190,2
RB Trent Richardson 90,1 2-20
WR T.Y. Hilton 4-40
WR Hakeem Nicks 5-80,1
WR Reggie Wayne 6-60,1
TE Coby Fleener 2-20
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: It was a huge win in San Francisco and already the newly acquired Trent Richardson has his first touchdown as a Colt. The greater oddity in the win was that the defense came to the rescue and controlled the 49ers the entire time. It won't be any easier to get a read on how good the team truly is using this week's results either. The Colts are 2-1 so far but there is a big storm coming with the Seahawks and Broncos both coming to town before the week eight bye and then a game in Houston.

QUARTERBACKS: While Andrew Luck is hardly considered a rushing quarterback, the reality is that he has already rushed in two scores while only throwing three touchdowns on the season. The Miami loss forced him to throw 43 passes and he ended with 321 yards but the two wins both same him pass less than 30 times and remain well under 200 yards both times. If Trent Richardson can deliver on his promise, Luck's second season will likely end up with fewer yards than his rookie year.

Luck passed for only 227 yards and no scores in Jacksonville last year but he ran in two scores.

RUNNING BACKS: The Colts wasted no time in trying out their new running back. Trent Richardson rushed 13 times for 35 yards and a touchdown in his Colts debut despite only getting in two practices with his new team. Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 95 yards and a score in San Francisco but there is no committee working here. The Colts gave away their first round pick for the power runner that OC Pep Hamilton wanted all along. It may take a few more weeks before Bradshaw becomes only relief but it will happen just as soon as it can. I'll no longer project for Bradshaw assuming diminishing carries but that could change based on what happens in this game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: With most weeks only producing under 200 passing yards, the receivers are only moderately productive, Reggie Wayne is a mainstay but so far has been locked around five catches for maybe 60 yards and just one score. T.Y. Hilton had a nice showing against the Fins but is still hampered by a groin injury and only managed two short catches last week. And Darrius Heyward-Bey remains well below fantasy consideration as well. All combined, the unit has only scored once. The new offense and the addition of Richardson threatens that the mediocre showings so far are just the new norm. This week won't be a good gauge but playing Seattle and Denver will demand that the wideouts matter more.

Wayne rolled up 96 yards on eight carries in Jacksonville while Hilton was held to no catches.

TIGHT ENDS: Dwayne Allen is lost for the season but in his place Coby Fleener is hardly making good use of the opportunity. While he scored against the Dolphins, he was back to his normal mediocrity with only two catches for 13 yards last week. He's not necessarily devoid of fantasy value but it will require the right matchups before he can merit any consideration.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Jaguars have allowed seven passing touchdowns on the year and that was with the Raiders never scoring via the pass. The yardage remains low though because the need to throw has been low. Their rushing defense gave up 129 yards to Darren McFadden but held Jamaal Charles to 100 total yards and one score. The Colts are not going to take the Jaguars lightly since they are divisional foes. But the offense is also not likely to roll up a big score here. Expect moderate games from Luck, Richardson and Wayne. Even if Hilton's groin clears up, he'll still be a marginal play this week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Trent Richardson will have a full week with the team and should learn the playbook better. Of interest is how quickly he assumes a workhorse role in this offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 12 19 23 19 22 24
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 23 28 12 18 22 27

 

1 KC 2-28 10 @TEN -
2 @OAK 9-19 11 ARI -
3 @SEA 17-45 12 @HOU -
4 IND - 13 @CLE -
5 @STL - 14 HOU -
6 @DEN - 15 BUF -
7 SD - 16 TEN -
8 SF - 17 @IND -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Ace Sanders 4-40
WR Cecil Shorts 5-60
TE Marcedes Lewis 3-30
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: While the Jaguars actually scored 17 points in Seattle, that all came after the Seahawks already led 31-0 and had just stopped caring. This is still an offense with marginal talent at best and still remains the lowest scoring team in the NFL despite 17 freebie points last week. Only three games in and the fear is that this team is not going to improve in HC Gus Bradley's first year because the talent is just not here.

QUARTERBACKS: In a sign that the team is in more trouble this week, Bradley announced that Blaine Gabbert returns to the starting role. He has missed two games with a lacerated hand and so far only totals 121 passing yards and two interceptions on the season. Oh, and he was sacked six times. There may be times that Gabbert's box score makes him look NFL-grade but that will be from trash time. And so far, he hasn't even been able to do much even when the defense starts shuttling in the second team.

RUNNING BACKS: It was truly a surprise that Maurice Jones-Drew played last week let alone scored a touchdown. His ankle is no longer swollen and he claims to be good again. For how long - hard to say. His contract year so far has only added up to 115 yards on 44 carries for a stellar 2.6 yard per carry average. The return of Gabbert is unlikely to move any defenders out of the box. At least the Jaguars are already starting to back off the zone-blocking plans and allowing Jones-Drew to rely on power plays. Unfortunately, the team around him is headed south and Jones-Drew is simply no longer able to carry the team on his back.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Playing with Gabbert in week one only resulted in three catches for 40 yards for Cecil Shorts but these last two weeks rolled up 233 yards with Chad Henne as the quarterback. Granted that mostly all came in trash time but it all counts the same. And Shorts is the only reliable wideout on the roster at least until Justin Blackmon returns for week five. There has only been one passing touchdown by the Jaguars all year and that ended up with tight end Clay Harbor. The only hope here is plenty of slop time at the end of losses where the Jags can just throw underneath coverage for completions and never scores.

TIGHT ENDS: Marcedes Lewis is expected to return this week after missing the first three weeks because of a calf injury. But when he played with Gabbert last year he only ended up with around 30 yards per week and had no fantasy value. No reason to expect that to improve this time around.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: There is no reason to connect any dots here. The Colts have only allowed two passing touchdowns all year so the chance that Gabbert produces a fantasy relevant game challenges all sense of credulity. Jones-Drew is a decent start given that the Colts have allowed four touchdowns to the position and you likely have no better options anyway. Shorts is risky start but the Jags will end up throwing the ball a lot at the end and that has to favor Shorts if it favors anyone.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: If you can stomach to watch the game, both Gabbert and Jones-Drew have to produce something promising or it could get really ugly in Jacksonville.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 32 26 26 27 32 26
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 11 29 7 2 6 1

WEEK 4 SF at STL (THU) CIN at CLE NYG at KC SEA at HOU
PIT at MIN (London) IND at JAC PHI at DEN WAS at OAK
CHI at DET NE at ATL BAL at BUF MIA at NO (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at TB DAL at SD NYJ at TEN On Bye: CAR, GB


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