FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF

Prediction: CIN 24, MIA 20 (Line: CIN by 2.5)

Players of Interest: Giovani Bernard, Rishard Matthews

The 6-2 Bengals are on a four game winning streak and look like the cream of the AFC North. They are only 2-2 on the road though and before last week won their games by very small margins. The 3-4 Dolphins have lost their last four games and are just 1-2 at home. The question is if this is a correction game - streaks of five are somewhat rare either way and both exist in this game. The Bengals also have a trip to Baltimore after this game which is a much bigger matchup since they can further dominate the division. On paper this should be a decent Bengals win but the two losses at home by the Fins were only by three points or less. This is also the third road game in the last four weeks for the Bengals with a fifth looming next week.

1 @CHI 21-24 10 @BAL -
2 PIT 20-10 11 CLE -
3 GB 34-30 12 BYE WEEK
4 @CLE 6-17 13 @SD -
5 NE 13-6 14 IND -
6 @BUF 27-24 15 @PIT -
7 @DET 27-24 16 MIN -
8 NYJ 49-9 17 BAL -
9 @MIA - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 240,1
QB Andy Dalton 10 250,2
RB Giovani Bernard 30 6-40,1
WR A.J. Green 6-60
WR Marvin Jones 5-60
WR Greg Little 4-30
TE Tyler Eifert 2-20,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 4-40
PK Mike Nugent 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Major win last week but one that was out of character for a team that normally barely wins or loses every week. The AFC North is shaping up to be the Bengals and no one else so how much impact the Ravens tilt carries next week may not be as much as most years. Playing at home in a laugher against the Jets should be restful enough to carry over to a good effort here.

QUARTERBACKS: There are apparently two Andy Daltons. The first one only passed for five touchdowns over the first five games and never more than 280 yards. The other has been around for three weeks now and has thrown at least three touchdowns and 325 yards in every game. At home against the Jets, Dalton had a personal best five touchdown passes. The level of his opponents hasn't been much different but Dalton is on a hot streak.

RUNNING BACKS: The rushing effort here has never been more than average and even that gets split between BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard. But the meager offerings each week have declined even more with these past three weeks of Dalton passing all the time. There's been no rushing score in that time and the yardage is meager. Bernard propped up his value with five or six catches per week but even that went away in the Jets win when he ran for only 18 yards and caught just one pass for nine yards. Green-Ellis was held to 33 rush yards with no receptions. Two road games against good defenses isn't likely to change that.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Were it not for Calvin Johnson going nuts on the Cowboys, Marvin Jones would be the main topic around the water fountain. The second-year player out of CAL certainly had his breakout game when he caught all eight passes he was thrown to gain 122 yards and four touchdowns. He sent one rookie cornerback to the bench and then victimized his replacement. It was the third game in a row where Jones scored though he never had more than one touchdown or 71 yards in any previous game. But he was on the field for only about a third of the offensive plays while Mohamed Sanu is the starting flanker (at least he was). Jones is 6-2 and makes for a good red-zone target. His monster game came mostly from poor coverage but he's already the best #2 receiver on the team anyway.

A.J. Green also came to life in these last three weeks with over 100 yards in each and a score in the last two road games. The offense works out far better when there are two viable wideouts and that appears to have finally happened.

TIGHT ENDS: The passing explosion lately hasn't really affected the tight ends. Both Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham scored once in the last three weeks but they were both their only scores on the year and their yardage remains below fantasy relevance.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Will be a challenge for Dalton. The Fins have only allowed two touchdown passes over their three home games this year and no one passed for more than 269 yards. All combined they only allowed nine passing scores over seven games and that includes four thrown by Drew Brees in New Orleans. Expect lower production from Dalton this week and a far less bountiful game for the wideouts as the Fins have only given up one passing score to a wideout this year and that was just last week in New England. Yardage is still possible but the scores have all been ending up with the tight ends where six of the nine passing touchdowns ended up. Have to like a score for the tight ends here but it could go to either and won't have a lot of yardage on it anyway. The Fins are also weaker against stopping running backs as they permitted nine total touchdowns to the position. The yardage is always marginal to average but running backs normally score on them.

WHAT TO WATCH: While Marvin Jones deserves the limelight, he'll be covered far better in Miami. The player of note here would be Giovanni Bernard who has been pretty quiet for three weeks. This will be a better situation for him as a receiver.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 11 22 6 10 25 15
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 9 30 6 25 28 26

 

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 17-27 17 NYJ -
9 CIN - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIA vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Tannehill 220,2
RB Lamar Miller 50 2-10
RB Daniel Thomas 30 1-10
WR Brian Hartline 5-60
WR Rishard Matthews 2-20,1
WR Mike Wallace 5-70
TE Charles Clay 5-50,1
PK Caleb Sturgis 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The four game losing streak is starting to wear thin on the team after losing the last two home games by three points or less. The offense never scored more than 24 points in any game and remains the biggest limitation. The defense spends too much time on the field and Ryan Tannehill is just getting ravaged resulting in sacks and turnovers. The offense is average at best and usually ends up beating itself.

QUARTERBACKS: At noted, Ryan Tannehill is a problem or at least the symbol of the problem. He scored in every game so far and even tossed five over the last two games. He already has 13 touchdowns on the season but his yardage tends to remain around 200 and he's already thrown nine interceptions, lost five fumbles and been sacked 32 times in just seven games. That's four more sacks than #2 Geno Smith. What makes this even worse is that the Fins have faced a lighter schedule than most teams.

RUNNING BACKS: Lamar Miller comes off a season best effort of 89 yards on 18 carries and even added three catches for 23 yards. But Daniel Thomas was still there for nine carries and even turned his only catch into a touchdown. This remains a mediocre backfield that splits up the workload about 2:1 in favor of Miller. His 18 carries was easily a season high. Miller generally is limited to around ten carries per week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon Gibson became the lead scorer among wideouts when he snagged two touchdowns versus the Bills and then one more last week in New England. But Gibson suffered a torn patellar tendon and has been lost for the year. That leaves Brian Hartline who hasn't scored since week ten and who rarely breaks 60 yards. And Mike Wallace who hasn't scored since week ten and either ends with 75+ yards or turns in a very bad game that's been below 25 yards in three different weeks. Rishard Matthews is next in line to be the #3 wideout but he only has eight catches for 93 yards on the season. The loss of Gibson is bad because he was just getting good chemistry with Tannehill.

TIGHT ENDS: Charles Clay was on a three game scoring streak but then failed to get a touchdown against the Patriots despite catching five passes for 37 yards. Notable is that Clay has been much more likely to score in a home game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bengals rush defense has been solid and only allowed two scores all year. Only once has any runner topped 60 yards on them and the Fins are going to split the load anyway. But the Bengals have allowed at least two passing scores in every away game along with good yardage. That's bound to help Tannehill and should involved Clay as well since all four touchdowns allowed to tight ends came during road games. Every road opponent scored at least once with their tight end. Wide outs have been less successful and neither Hartline nor Wallace merit any fantasy consideration in any week.

WHAT TO WATCH: Rishard Matthews takes over the #3 from Brandon Gibson but it was already marginal in catches and yardage. Matthews is worth watching only in that "you never really know" sort of way. Expectations are not high.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 18 29 9 13 19 22
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 10 9 18 10 11 8

WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF


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