FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 8 CAR at TB (THU) DAL at DET NYJ at CIN SEA at STL (MON)
ATL at ARI GB at MIN PIT at OAK On Bye:
BUF at NO MIA at NE SF at JAC BAL, CHI, HOU
*UPDATED CLE at KC NYG at PHI WAS at DEN IND, SD, TEN

Prediction: BUF 13, NO 31 (Line: NO by 13)

Update: Jimmy Graham was able to have a limited practice on Friday and his status will be decided at game time. He won't be 100% healthy if he does and this isn't even a conference matchup. He'll be still risky even if active and I lowering his projections. Realize the risk if he is active. Lance Moore is expected back this week and is added back into the projections.

Fred Jackson will play this week but C.J. Spiller is doubtful and never practiced this week. He is considered a game time decision but I am removing him from the projections.

The 3-4 Bills come off a surprising win in Miami and are 2-1 in road games. The Saints are 5-1 having lost by three points in New England before taking their bye. This game strongly favors the rested Saints looking to get back on a winning track in a home game.

1 NE 21-23 10 @PIT -
2 CAR 24-23 11 NYJ -
3 @NYJ 26-16 12 BYE WEEK
4 BAL 23-20 13 ATL -
5 @CLE 24-37 14 @TB -
6 CIN 24-27 15 @JAC -
7 @MIA 23-21 16 MIA -
8 @NO - 17 @NE -
9 KC - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Fred Jackson 40,1 5-50
RB C.J. Spiller
WR Mike Williams
WR Robert Woods 3-30
TE Scott Chandler 2-30
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills have been plenty competitive with Thad Lewis as the starting quarterback and the Bills still have yet to score fewer than 21 points in any game. That's partially because their defense leads the league with 12 interceptions and scored on returns and interceptions. But the Bills can also be argued to not have faced any of the truly good offenses in the league either. The easier part of the schedule is over and now the meat begins. Winning in Miami was impressive but it is only the first of many upcoming challenges.

QUARTERBACKS: Thad Lewis scored twice via passes against the visiting Bengals who had no film on him. He even ran in a touchdown. But two games in as a starter and still he's been limited to 216 pass yards or less and did not score in Miami where field goals and an interception return did nearly all the scoring. He'll have a much tougher time in New Orleans.

RUNNING BACKS: This was supposed to be the strength of the team and yet that hasn't happened much. C.J. Spiller continues to nurse a sore ankle and yet play each week with marginal results. He scored only once and been at his worst in road games. Last week he was held to only seven net yards on six carries and three catches. His fantasy value remains low with little expectation of improving this week.

Fred Jackson is the main weapon and though he is 32 years of age, he has a team high five rushing touchdowns and typically provides moderate total yardage. Jackson aggravated his sprained MCL in the Dolphins game but returned to play and even score a touchdown. Jackson is the only one with fantasy value and even that is moderate at best. And scary too that the aged running back is playing on a bad knee.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Lewis throws passes all around and doesn't focus on any one receiver much. The only exception is last week when Stevie Johnson returned from his bad back and caught six passes for 61 yards. No wide receiver scored while Lewis played and the marginal catches and yardage leaves them with no real value. Robert Woods was enjoying a decent rookie season with two scores and several games with over 50 yards but these last two weeks with Lewis have totaled only five receptions for 33 yards. Johnson is just a marginal play and Woods has completely fallen from relevance.

TIGHT ENDS: Scott Chandler is only marginally involved in the game plan and with Lewis under center was limited to two catches in the last two games. He scored twice so far but is far too inconsistent and unproductive to merit fantasy consideration.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Thad Lewis did not score in his only previous road game and the Saints have given up just one passing touchdown to the last two visitors combined. Even marginal yardage will be success enough for the Bills. The Saints have given up four touchdowns to running backs but never more than 62 yards to any individual runner in New Orleans and the Bills will split that up anyway. No visitor has scored more than 17 points in New Orleans so expect a down game with the Saints rested from the bye week and needing a win. Fred Jackson is a low end flex play as is Stevie Johnson and both only from the upside of their potential, not the probable matchup. Julio Jones is the only wideout to score in New Orleans.

WHAT TO WATCH: Thad Lewis played well enough to win in Miami with some help and he was game against the Bengals but this will be his biggest challenge. If he falters here - and that is likely - then the Bills are looking at what could become a long and painful season. And that is likely too.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 28 7 29 24 12 7
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 8 16 13 5 2 7

 

1 ATL 23-17 10 DAL -
2 @TB 16-14 11 SF -
3 ARI 31-7 12 @ATL -
4 MIA 38-17 13 @SEA -
5 @CHI 26-18 14 CAR -
6 @NE 27-30 15 @STL -
7 BYE WEEK 16 @CAR -
8 BUF - 17 TB -
9 @NYJ - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 340,3
RB Pierre Thomas 40 5-40
WR Marques Colston 5-80,1
WR Kenny Stills 3-60
TE Jimmy Graham 4-50

Pregame Notes: The Saints came close to maintaining their perfect record but lost out by a last second touchdown in New England. What was missing there for the very first time was a defense that plays far better than last year and that had been limiting all opponents to never more than two touchdowns if even that much. The remaining schedule still contains challenges in New York and Seattle but otherwise the rest of the games will see them favored and likely winning. The Saints are marching in again and this week the Bills are just in the way.

QUARTERBACKS: While Drew Brees is short of the prolific pace of the last couple of seasons, he still threw 14 touchdowns over six games and passed for at least 340 yards in the three previous home efforts. He remains atop five quarterback overall and the improved ground game won't be as helpful in future weeks. Brees is always a great fantasy play every week.

RUNNING BACKS: Mark Ingram remains out with a bad toe and the way the backfield is performing he may have trouble getting work even when he is healthy. Darren Sproles remains the third down back with his two best efforts coming at home. Pierre Thomas continues to increase his involvement in the offense and ran for a season best 51 yards on 11 carries in New England. He doubles as a receiver as well with four or five catches in almost every game. Thomas would be better but the goal line and late-game clock draining work now goes to Khiry Robinson who never catches a pass but is getting five to ten runs per game.He scored his first touchdown during the loss to the Patriots.

This three man attack still only totals two rushing scores and three more via receptions. There is value here each week, but it is never more than moderate since it is sliced up among the three runners and with only the rare score the risk is that you get a minimal game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This unit is so unproductive that there is no reason to project for more than Marques Colston who is usually consistent with around 60 or 70 yards per week but only one touchdown back in the season opener. Otherwise this unit only produced three touchdowns in all and almost no yardage. Colston holds on to very marginal fantasy value but the rest is not worth consideration. That may change this week if Jimmy Graham is still hampered but then again the running backs are used more as receivers than the wideouts are.

TIGHT ENDS: There is conflicting reports about Jimmy Graham and the status of his sprained foot that forced him from the New England loss without any catches. Graham was on a four game streak of 100+ yard efforts until then and he's scored five times over the three home games this year. Graham's had two weeks to rest it thanks to the bye. I will assume he can play without any significant limitation and update based on what happens this week. The Saints are not above playing the secretive game so he may end up as a game time decision just because they can.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Graham or no Graham, there is every reason to expect Brees to light this defense up. The Bills allowed 16 touchdowns to quarterbacks already and most opponents throw for more than 280 yards. And none of those are nearly as good as Brees and company. The rushing is likely to be moderate here since the Bills have allowed just one rushing score this season by a running back and the yardage is going to be split up. Start the usual suspects with confidence - Brees, Sproles, Thomas and Colston. Graham can have a big game here as well if he plays.

WHAT TO WATCH: Not much development happening here though if Graham cannot play or is limited, the passing scheme will obviously need to change.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 3 2 30 1 3 16
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 25 11 31 2 26 21

WEEK 8 CAR at TB (THU) DAL at DET NYJ at CIN SEA at STL (MON)
ATL at ARI GB at MIN PIT at OAK On Bye:
BUF at NO MIA at NE SF at JAC BAL, CHI, HOU
*UPDATED CLE at KC NYG at PHI WAS at DEN IND, SD, TEN


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