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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12 NO at ATL (THU) DEN at NE NYJ at BAL TEN at OAK
CHI at STL IND at ARI PIT at CLE SF at WAS (MON)
CAR at MIA JAC at HOU SD at KC On Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at NYG MIN at GB TB at DET BUF, CIN, PHI, SEA

Prediction: IND 16, ARI 23 (Line: ARI by 1)

Update: Trent Richardson is questionable but expected to play. He was limited in pracitces starting Thursday.

The 7-3 Colts remain a safe three games in the lead of the AFC South but they followed up their upset loss to the Rams by barely clipping the Titans. But they are 4-1 in road games and visit the 6-4 Cardinals who are on a three game winning streak and already are 4-1 at home.

1 OAK 21-17 10 STL 8-38
2 MIA 20-24 11 @TEN 30-27
3 @SF 27-7 12 @ARI -
4 @JAC 37-3 13 TEN -
5 SEA 34-28 14 @CIN -
6 @SD 9-19 15 HOU -
7 DEN 39-33 16 @KC -
8 BYE WEEK 17 JAC -
9 @HOU 27-24 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 240,1
RB Trent Richardson 30 4-30
WR T.Y. Hilton 5-50
TE Coby Fleener 7-80,1
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Fortunately the Colts already have a significant lead in a division that may have no other winning records in it. But the defense has been less formidable in recent weeks and the offense still trying to figure out how to best replace Reggie Wayne. The only thing that really matters is beating the Titans in week 13 which would lock down the division.

QUARTERBACKS: Two weeks without Reggie Wayne and there is still reason to be concerned. Andrew Luck only passed for 232 yards and no scores against the Titans and his 353 yards and one score in the loss to the Rams happened mostly in the second half when they already trailed 28-0. The win last week came mostly thanks to a surprising rushing effort led by Donald Brown but Luck still needs to adjust to not having Wayne.

RUNNING BACKS: Donald Brown turned in a season best 80 yards and two scores on 14 carries but still remains the #2 back according to HC Chuck Pagano. He still backs Trent Richardson and openly wonders what the problem is as well. According to Pagano, Richardson is being slammed by the defense before he can reach the line and that hasn't happened to Donald Brown. There could be a little truth to defenses loading up more against the starting running back but Richardson's poor showing has continued far too long to explain it as a game issue. Richardson hasn't ran for more than 40 yards in the last five games. Running against the Cardinals #1 defense against running backs is not going to help.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Colts just released Griff Whalen so the wideouts are Darrius Heyward-Bey who has virtually no impact and is tending to an ankle injury, LaVon Brazill who hasn't caught more than one pass in any game this year and T.Y. Hilton who was having a great season until last week when the Titans seemed to notice that only Hilton was a problem for the secondary.

Heyward-Bey is expected to play but he's dropping nearly as many as he catches and remains safely below 50 yards every week. Hilton is the only wideout of any note here and if anything, the others are even less productive since Reggie Wayne was lost. This will be an area that the Colts must address in the offseason.

TIGHT ENDS: Coby Fleener turned in a career best performance when he caught eight passes for 107 yards in Tennessee. He's spent most games well under 40 yards and has not offered nearly enough productivity or consistency to merit fantasy consideration. The remaining schedule has several soft spots so Fleener could show up again but he needs to have two good games in a row before his risk outweighs his promise.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Cardinals at home are weak only against the pass and even then it could be a problem this week because Patrick Peterson is sure to match on T.Y. Hilton and that just about removes all the wideouts from the game plan. Where this is favorable is for Fleener who already had a good game last week and now faces the worst team against tight ends. The Cardinals have already allowed ten touchdowns to the position including double scores for Jared Cook, Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham. The Cardinals are also the best against running backs and that should guarantee a bad game for not only Richardson but also Brown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 7 15 19 18 10 22
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 20 1 7 32 11 20

 

1 @STL 24-27 10 HOU 27-24
2 DET 25-21 11 @JAC 27-14
3 @NO 7-31 12 IND -
4 @TB 13-10 13 @PHI -
5 CAR 22-6 14 STL -
6 @SF 20-32 15 @TEN -
7 SEA 22-34 16 @SEA -
8 ATL 27-13 17 SF -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 250,2
RB Andre Ellington 30 3-20
RB Rashard Mendenhall 40 1-10
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-70,1
WR Michael Floyd 4-60,1
WR Ted Ginn 2-20
TE John Carlson 4-60,1
TE Rob Housler 5-60
PK Jay Feely 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are on a three game winning streak thanks in no small part to facing the Falcons, Texans and Jaguars. But the wins have thrust the Cardinals into contention for a wildcard and the season doesn't turn tough until the final two games when their playoff status will be determined. Chances are this is just a nice stretch of the schedule that is soon to be over. That could happen as early as this week but catching the Colts post-Wayne and pre-Titans is a good time.

QUARTERBACKS: Carson Palmer enjoyed the three game run of luck with two passing scores in each and then a 419 yard effort versus the Jaguars. That was also his first game without any turnovers. Palmer has never been much more than average this year and half his games ended with no more than one touchdown pass and marginal yardage. He's no better than his competition allows any opponent.

RUNNING BACKS: The Cardinals still stick with Rashard Mendenhall as the starter and primary back and while he ran in a touchdown in Jacksonville, he only managed 14 yards on 13 carries. Since week three has has not topped 45 rush yards in any game. His lone value is scoring a touchdown if the Cardinals some how end up on the one-yard line. Andre Ellington was also held to minimal gain last week but has been consistently better than Mendenhall. Back at home this week should be beneficial for both backs though Ellington is always the better fantasy option despite fewer touches than Mendenhall.

WIDE RECEIVERS: If only they could all be the Jaguars. Not only did Larry Fitzgerald score on his six catches for 60 yards, but Michael Floyd finally had a breakout game with 193 yards on six catches. Granted that dwarfed all other games this year but Floyd was battling a sore shoulder in practice last week and was limited in all practices. Since Andre Roberts is a nonfactor, Floyd is critical to having any success in the passing game. He scored in three of the last five games though his yardage tends to remain below 50 each week. But he's now shown what he is capable of doing.

TIGHT ENDS: For a team that never uses the tight end position as a receiver, Rob Housler is showing up in the box score with bigger numbers than expected. After scoring for the first time the year when he faced the Texans and caught four passes for 57 yards, Housler turned in a career best 70 yards on six catches in Jacksonville. That's still nothing more than a TE2 level and his consistency needs more than two good games to buy into any real change happening. But at least he finally scored and seems to becoming part of the game plan more than just reacting to some in-game situation.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Colts are only average against the pass and will be on the road as well. Palmer throwing for lower 200's in yardage and scoring twice falls right into what he normally does and what the Colts would usually allow. The Colts rushing defense is better than average which should provide plenty of challenge to Rashard Mendenhall. Housler is hard to rely on quite yet though the Colts just allowed Delanie Walker 91 yards and a score. What Housler does this week should help to define if he really is any thing more than a blocker with the occasional decent game as a receiver.

Fitzgerald should end up with at least a decent game here since the Colts most often get hurt by the opponent's #1 wideout. Palmer is a moderate play here and in any week. There is a bigger risk than usual to use a Cardinal back but at least the receivers are worth consideration. Both Fitzgerald and Floyd should manage decent stats here in a home game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 26 20 14 26 16 8
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 16 8 23 13 15 8

WEEK 12 NO at ATL (THU) DEN at NE NYJ at BAL TEN at OAK
CHI at STL IND at ARI PIT at CLE SF at WAS (MON)
CAR at MIA JAC at HOU SD at KC On Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at NYG MIN at GB TB at DET BUF, CIN, PHI, SEA


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