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: MIA 17, NE 30 (Line: NE by 6.5)

Update: Danny Amendola passed all of his concussion tests and the final decision on his playing won't be made until game time. He is questionable on the injury report but his playing status will be decided later and if he is limited in the game won't be known. I am including him in the projections but he is no lock to play and could be limited in his first game back if he does. Julian Edelman was limited in all practices and is questionable but the same was all true last week when he played. His production will be dramatically limited if Amendola plays.

The 5-2 Patriots still lead the AFC East but by only one game after losing to the Jets last week. The Pats are 3-0 at home. The Dolphins are on a three game losing streak but are 2-1 in road games.The Patriots swept the Dolphins last year, winning 28-0 at home.

1 @CLE 23-10 10 @TB -
2 @IND 24-20 11 SD -
3 ATL 27-23 12 CAR -
4 @NO 17-38 13 @NYJ -
5 BAL 23-26 14 @PIT -
6 BYE WEEK 15 NE -
7 BUF 21-23 16 @BUF -
8 @NE - 17 NYJ -
9 CIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 230,1
RB Lamar Miller 60,1 1-10
RB Knowshon Moreno 80,1 1-10
RB Daniel Thomas 20 1-10
WR Brandon Gibson 5-60
WR Brian Hartline 4-50
WR Mike Wallace 3-50,1
TE Charles Clay 4-40
PK Caleb Sturgis 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Dolphins are taking their surprisingly hot start and turning it into a surprisingly cold finish. Losing the last two games at home by three points or less merely reverses their two wins by four points that started the year. This three game slide doesn't even get a bye to regroup since that happened two weeks ago. The Fins just acquired Bryant McKinnie to become their new left tackle and that can only help but this still remains one of the worst rushing units in the NFL. And since Ryan Tannehill has recently picked up a turnover problem, the Fins look like their slide has not yet bottomed out.

QUARTERBACKS: Ryan Tannehill comes off his first three touchdown effort of the year but he only passed for a season low 194 yards and tossed two interceptions. That gives him nine touchdowns versus seven interceptions and four lost fumbles on the year. Tannehill still has not thrown for more than one score in any road game.

RUNNING BACKS: The maddening running back committee is not only still in full force, but last week used Daniel Thomas more than Lamar Miller. Both have just two scores on the year and almost never catch more than one pass per game. But Miller's been significantly more effective in almost every game. No runner has been allowed more than 14 carries in any game and whatever marginal production there is will be split down the middle and rendered useless for fantasy purposes.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This unit is rarely productive and almost never in a way you can see coming. Brandon Gibson comes off a five catch, 40-yard effort with two scores for the first time all year. He's usually around 50 yards in most weeks and completely unreliable for any touchdowns. Mike Wallace should be the primary receiver but his lone touchdown came back in week two and his two games over 100 yards are balanced out by three others with fewer than 30 yards. Brian Hartline was hot to open the year but then settled down to around 60 yards and no score in every game. This is just a marginal group that combines for average yardage and yet none of them merit much fantasy consideration.

TIGHT ENDS: Charles Clay doesn't normally receive many passes in a game but he does the most he can with them. Clay's scored in each of the last three games but almost never produces more than around 50 yards per game. He is a preferred target in the red zone.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Patriots at home have only allowed two passing touchdowns and both went to Drew Brees. No one passed for over 240 yards there and Tannehill is on a decline in recent weeks anyway. The Patriots are also very good against the run at home where only two runners have scored. There are no Dolphins players that are attractive in this road game. The running backs are not good enough and the receivers are too inconsistent and now have a bad matchup.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Dolphins really need to pull out of this tailspin but this is probably not the week for that to happen. Or next week. Maybe in Tampa Bay.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 18 28 10 10 17 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 6 18 9 12 11 13

 

1 @BUF 23-21 10 BYE WEEK
2 NYJ 13-10 11 @CAR -
3 TB 23-3 12 DEN -
4 @ATL 30-23 13 @HOU -
5 @CIN 6-13 14 CLE -
6 NO 30-27 15 @MIA -
7 @NYJ 27-30 16 @BAL -
8 MIA - 17 BUF -
9 PIT - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 270,1
RB Brandon Bolden 30,1 2-10
RB Stevan Ridley 60,1
WR Danny Amendola 3-40
WR Aaron Dobson 3-50
WR Julian Edelman 4-40
WR Brandon LaFell 4-60,1
WR Kenbrell Thompkins 4-50
TE Rob Gronkowski 9-110,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Bad enough that the Patriots lost a game, but losing to the Jets makes it all that much worse. Particularly when that last second field goal was no good but a Patriot defender was flagged for pushing a teammate and the second chance won the game. This will prove motivating this week and even more so with a divisional rival coming to town that hasn't beaten the Pats since 2009.

QUARTERBACKS: Tom Brady was already having a remarkably down year but the return of Rob Gronkowski gave the optimism that all would be well. Didn't happen. Sure, Gronk had a great game but apparently at the expense of every other receiver. Brady only passed for 228 yards and no scores with one interception. He has one touchdown total over the last three games. He has one 300 yard effort after seven games.

RUNNING BACKS: Things change quickly in this backfield and for the moment we have come full circle back to Stevan Ridley being the primary back with scores in the last two weeks. LeGarrette Blount is back under his rock for at least the week. Brandon Bolden is no longer the receiving back, but instead just another part of the rushing effort and scored in New York for the first time this year.

Once Shane Vereen returns at some point, we can just erase the white board and start over. If we haven't already done that every week anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Apparently the return of Gronkowski sucked what little life there was out of the wideouts. The best player against the Jets was Julian Edelman's 44 yards on five catches. But Edelman hasn't scored since the season opener and bangs around 50 yards almost every week. Danny Amendola remains out with his concussion though the Patriots won't confirm anything until they formally must so late week could be a surprise. Kenbrell Thompkins has just one score in the last three weeks and averaged 28 yards per game in that time. Oddly, the only consistent receiver here has been Aaron Dobson who turns in right around 50 yards in every home game.

Since the Dolphins have a very good secondary, there won't be any more clarity this week. Or next when the Steelers show up.

TIGHT ENDS: In his first game back, Rob Gronkowski played in a majority of all offensive downs and instantly turned into the only target that Brady wanted to see. He was thrown 17 passes and caught eight for 114 yards. He almost scored once. The good news is that he finished the game with zero setbacks and looked very much back to form. The bad part was that the rest of the passing offense disappeared and Gronkowski accounted for 50% of all passing yardage and close to half of the completions.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Dolphins are solid against the pass but allow high yardage in away games. Better yet, they are great against wide receiver that the Patriots don't much use anymore and terrible against tight ends that the Pats finally have. The Fins also allowed seven touchdowns to running backs. Expect this game to be won by the running backs and Gronkowski. The Fins still have not allowed any wide receiver to score on them. Brady makes only a moderate start with more downside than upside. Have to like a higher score in this game though after last week's debacle.

WHAT TO WATCH: The wideouts should be quiet in this game which will result in not only Gronkowski having a big game, but the running backs should ratchet up the production as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 30 12 9 31 4 20
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 15 28 4 31 27 26

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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