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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16 ARI at SEA DEN at HOU NE at BAL PIT at GB
CHI at PHI IND at KC NO at CAR TB at STL
CLE at NYJ MIN at CIN NYG at DET TEN at JAC
*UPDATED DAL at WAS MIA at BUF OAK at SD ATL at SF (MON)

Prediction: NE 20, BAL 27 (Line: NE by 1.5)

Update: Joe Flacco and Ray Rice are both questionable to play this week but both are expected to play and were just resting bruises and dings. Joe Flacco has a sprained MCL but it was mild and is not expected to be an issue. Both Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins are questionable and yet may still play. The risk is far bigger than the reward on the two so they are not recommended starts even if active.

The Patriots loss to the Dolphins ruined a chance to advance to the #1 seed and a loss here might end up dropping them to the #3. This is a big game. The Ravens are on a four game winning streak and are 6-1 at home. the Patriots are only 3-4 when they leave home. And yes, apparently not having Rob Gronkowski makes a difference, especially at the end of games on that final drive.

1 @BUF 23-21 10 BYE WEEK
2 NYJ 13-10 11 @CAR 20-24
3 TB 23-3 12 DEN 34-31
4 @ATL 30-23 13 @HOU 34-31
5 @CIN 6-13 14 CLE 27-26
6 NO 30-27 15 @MIA 20-24
7 @NYJ 27-30 16 @BAL -
8 MIA 27-17 17 BUF -
9 PIT 55-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 340,2
RB Stevan Ridley 30
RB Shane Vereen 30 7-50
WR Danny Amendola 8-90,1
WR Julian Edelman 8-110,1
WR Brandon LaFell 4-60
TE Michael Hoomanawanui 1-20
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots only need to win one more game to take the AFC East and at worst that happens in the season finale when they host the Bills. But the loss to the Fins broke several years of owning that matchup and the offense just did not look the same without Gronkowski. Even the previous week when they barley clipped the visiting Browns by one point. The Pats have to find a way to win on the road against a good team and that is something they struggled with even at full strength.

QUARTERBACKS: The Pats may not be blowing anyone out anymore or even maintaining their historic mastery of the Dolphins, but at least Tom Brady is finally posting decent fantasy stats every week. He's thrown for 340+ yards and at least two scores in each of the last four games. But he has only once had more than two touchdown in that time and even on the entire season went over the two score mark only twice.

RUNNING BACKS: The backfield is no less a mess than it has ever been. Shane Vereen was the hot hand with the big game in week 14 but the Dolphins sold out to stop him and he ended with only three catches for eight yards. He also fumbled which seemed a reasonable explanation for his bad game but it was as much about facing a good defense. Stevan Ridley is not getting eight carries per game and producing about 30 yards with no scores. He has to share with LeGarrette Blount who gets slightly more work recently but none of these backs have the consistency or reliability you need for a fantasy start. Ridley used to. Seemed like Vereen would. But no.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Josh Boyce injured his leg and left the loss to the Dolphins without explanation. Kenbrell Thompkins was inactive again with his hip injury. That left Julian Edelman to turn in a season high 13 catches for 139 yards and one touchdown and even Danny Amendola recorded ten receptions for 131 yards. The loss of Gronkowski has shifted his workload back to the wideouts with only Edelman and Amendola benefiting.

TIGHT ENDS: Michael Hoomanawanui caught his first touchdown as a Patriot last week but it was his only catch in the game. He still rarely ends up with more than one catch and carries no fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens at home have been great against the pass with only seven touchdowns allowed in the seven games played there and never more than two. There should be some room to throw the ball with at least the two wideouts playing well and that is about all the Pats can hope for since the Ravens are among the best against the run. More so at home where they have only allowed two touchdowns this year to a rusher. Brady, Edelman and Amendola are good starts though one could get shut down depending on what Jimmy Smith is tasked with and how the Pats address that. This is a week to avoid the convoluted backfield that is less likely to score or gain appreciable yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 19 6 6 16 1 23
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 10 3 17 11 22 16

 

1 @DEN 27-49 10 CIN 20-17
2 CLE 14-6 11 @CHI 20-23
3 HOU 30-9 12 NYJ 19-3
4 @BUF 20-23 13 PIT 22-20
5 @MIA 26-23 14 MIN 29-26
6 GB 17-19 15 @DET 18-16
7 @PIT 16-19 16 NE -
8 BYE WEEK 17 @CIN -
9 @CLE 18-24 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 280,2
RB Ray Rice 50 5-40
WR Marlon Brown 5-70,1
WR Jacoby Jones 4-50
WR Steve Smith 4-50,1
WR Torrey Smith 4-50
TE Dennis Pitta 5-60,1
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens remain just one game back of the Bengals with that week 17 matchup still looming and already owning a win over them in week ten. This seems strangely familiar though last year had a far more formidable rushing game and a better defense. This is the last home game for the Ravens where they always play the best. No need to think about the following week - a loss here makes that game meaningless and potentially kicks them out of the wild card race.

QUARTERBACKS: Joe Flacco had his knee get speared by a helmet last week but he remained in the game and the team felt good enough about it that no MRI was considered. Flacco was on an eight game scoring streak before letting the kicker produce all the points in Detroit. Playing in home games this year usually serves up at least one score and 250+ yards.

RUNNING BACKS: This has been the weakness of the Ravens all season. All combined, there have only been six rushing touchdowns and Ray Rice rarely ever takes more than 15 carries in any game. His role as a receiver varies greatly but in the end it almost never produces more than 30 yards. Bernard Pierce takes eight to ten runs each week which is just enough to keep Rice outside of fantasy relevance. Rice scored four times this year and never at home. He ends up around 60 total yards in most weeks.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Torrey Smith is the most consistent of the wideouts and scored four times this year but he;s only topped 70 yards three times in the last nine games and is not above a bad game when targeted by the defense just as certain this week is with Aqib Talib. Marlon Brown leads the wideouts with six scored and while he has marginal results in most games, he also shows up big when Smith is taken from the equation. Jacoby Jones also looms as a deep catch that can happen at any time though it only does about once every four games.

TIGHT ENDS: Dennis Pitta is still playing about half of the offensive plays but after debuting with 48 yards and a score on six catches against the Vikings, he only managed two catches for 24 yards in Detroit. Ed Dickson had three catches in that game. This week should be a better measure against a worse defense versus tight ends.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Patriots almost always allow multiple touchdowns to any decent passer along with higher yardage if Brady can force a shootout. They've been weaker against true receiving tight ends if Pitta gets used that way. The Patriots have also been weaker against the run and more so in away games. Flacco and Pitta are moderate starts and Smith could be big but likely gets depressed by Talib. Ray Rice is hard to ever rely on but this is a better situation than usual for him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 26 30 14 22 6 19
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 18 19 12 23 10 14

WEEK 16 ARI at SEA DEN at HOU NE at BAL PIT at GB
CHI at PHI IND at KC NO at CAR TB at STL
CLE at NYJ MIN at CIN NYG at DET TEN at JAC
*UPDATED DAL at WAS MIA at BUF OAK at SD ATL at SF (MON)


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