FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17 BAL at CIN DEN at OAK JAC at IND STL at SEA
BUF at NE DET at MIN KC at SD TB at NO
CAR at ATL GB at CHI NYJ at MIA WAS at NYG
*UPDATED CLE at PIT HOU at TEN SF at ARI PHI at DAL

Prediction: BUF 13, NE 27 (Line: NE by 9.5)

Update: Shane Vereen is going to be a game time decision. He had limited practices this week and will still be a risk to rely on but he may still play. I am not adding him into the projections because of his risk.

This is a replay of the season opener when the Patriots won 23-21. The Pats are 7-0 at home and the Bills have won only once in the last ten meetings.. and that was in Buffalo a few years ago. The Patriots have to win because they have a shot at the #1 seed if Denver was to lose to the Raiders and more relevant they don't to lose and be passed by the Colts for the #2 seed and a first round bye.

1 NE 21-23 10 @PIT 10-23
2 CAR 24-23 11 NYJ 37-14
3 @NYJ 20-27 12 BYE WEEK
4 BAL 23-20 13 ATL 31-34
5 @CLE 24-37 14 @TB 6-27
6 CIN 24-27 15 @JAC 27-20
7 @MIA 23-21 16 MIA 19-0
8 @NO 17-35 17 @NE -
9 KC 13-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BUF @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB E.J. Manuel 30 230,1
RB Fred Jackson 40 4-30
RB C.J. Spiller 30 2-10
WR Marquise Goodwin 4-60,1
WR T.J. Graham 3-30
WR Robert Woods 5-70
TE Scott Chandler 4-30
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills remain in the AFC East cellar at 6-9 but that came with wins in the last two weeks including a shocking shutout over the Dolphins who they swept this season. The Bills are still an inconsistent team that is building for the future and while the year contained plenty of stumbles, there were bright spots and reasons for optimism.

E. J. Manuel is practicing and appears likely to play after missing last week with a sprained knee. The rookie started nine games this year and tossed 11 touchdowns in the process with only nine interceptions - four coming in just one game. He's still looking for his first game with more than two passing scores or 300 yards. Manuel opened his career with the loss to the Patriots when he passed for 150 yards and two scores.

The backfield that is always touted as a future strength just never turns the corner. Fred Jackson already scored a career best eight rushing touchdowns but he's already 32 and the 30-year-old wall is getting small in the rear view mirror. It is a testament to him that he's remained this productive for so long. Just last week he had his first 100 yard game of the season. Jackson ran for 67 yards on 13 carries versus the Pats in the opener. C.J. Spiller gained 41 yards on 17 runs in that game.

Spiller remains as enigmatic as ever. About once a month, he looks like an all-star ripping off long runs. In all the other games he's a slug and a fantasy team killer. Spiller scored just twice this year and the five times he ran for 75+ yards was random. It is all a question if he breaks a long run or two or three. He usually doesn't though.

Next year should be better for the receivers since the rookies Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods can look to improve upon inconsistent and injury marred first years. Both showed promise as well if only occasionally. For this week the limitation is going to be that Stevie Johnson is expected to miss this game as well because of the death of his mother. Heading into New England with two rookie wideouts as starters maybe not the way they wanted but it will happen along with T.J. Graham who plays a weekly game of "will I catch my one pass or not?"

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Patriots regularly hand out multiple passing touchdowns to opponents but the Bills are coming in with a banged Manuel who never threw more than two in any game and he will be without his best receiver Stevie Johnson who caught that only touchdown pass against them. Aside from Knowshon Moreno, no running back has done much there. The only fantasy play that seems reasonable here is Jackson as a low end flex play. Spiller is too inconsistent to rely on and the rest are rookies trying to complete a pass play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 28 7 29 27 15 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 21 18 14 20 9 15

 

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 41-7
8 MIA 27-17 17 BUF -
9 PIT 55-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 260,2
RB Stevan Ridley 50
RB Shane Vereen
WR Danny Amendola 5-60
WR Aaron Dobson 2-50
WR Julian Edelman 10-120,1
WR Brandon LaFell 4-50
TE Timothy Wright 4-40
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots just have to get through this which should be one of the easier games all year. After stumbling to mostly wins in the first half of the season, the offense is back in gear and looking great. And there goes Gronkowski again... As long as Tom Brady remains upright, it all gets figured out eventually.

Brady has been less productive in 2013 if only because the cast of players around him are constantly changing and a realistic step down from recent seasons. Brady lost one of his tight ends to the penal system to start the year and is ending with his other yet again on the sidelines. It becomes reminiscent of the early years when there were no top talent receivers on the roster and Brady just mixed and matched a different set every week for solid results.

Brady passed for 288 yards and two scores in the season opener over the Bills. His best games all occurred at home but not having Gronkowski is still an issue. Julian Edelman went from bench player to " well, he is as good as it gets."

The backfield is still four players all vying for playing time. Shane Vereen injured his groin and sat out almost all of the Ravens win while fantasy owners wept openly and loudly. I will consider him out for now and he'll likely be a game time decision just as a final week "screw you" to the fantasy world trying to guess what the Pats are going to do for running backs in any given week. Stevan Ridley is back until the next fumble and LeGarrette Blount scored twice last week. Brandon Bolden is the odd man out but still had one carry last week. This is not only a mess to figure out, it is supposed to be that way and changes dramatically during the game anyway.

Rob Gronkowski's absence is not filled by any other tight end. No other tight end is getting more than one catch in any game.

Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins are both still likely out this week so Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Aaron Dobson will be the ones doing the damage. Edelman is the primary wideout here and one that Brady is using to great success in recent weeks. Three of the last four games saw Edelman with over 100 yards and he scored four times in that span. Amendola had the one nice efforts in Miami (10-131) but remains around 50 yards in all other games. Aaron Dobson is just a long bomb waiting to happen but it has been waiting since week nine.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Pats need this week but no reason to go for the big beatdown here. Brady is a moderate play while Edelman has to be considered a must-start every week regardless. Amendola holds less appeal. The backfield should combine for solid stats as well but flip a coin to see which back might be best for this one week. The Pats need this game and will play in earnest but may be a little more likely to take it easy at the end if the game looks well in hand.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 19 6 5 18 1 25
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 12 12 28 9 27 25

WEEK 17 BAL at CIN DEN at OAK JAC at IND STL at SEA
BUF at NE DET at MIN KC at SD TB at NO
CAR at ATL GB at CHI NYJ at MIA WAS at NYG
*UPDATED CLE at PIT HOU at TEN SF at ARI PHI at DAL


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