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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 17
2011
BAL at CIN * DAL at NYG * NYJ at MIA SF at STL
* BUF at NE DET at GB PIT at CLE TB at ATL
CAR at NO * IND at JAC * SD at OAK * TEN at HOU
* UPDATED CHI at MIN * KC at DEN SEA at ARI * WAS at PHI

Prediction: BUF 17, NE 34

Update: Dave Rayner cannot play and Brandon Coutu will end hte season as the Bills kicker.

The Bills come off a near-freakish win over the Broncos that was everything the previous seven games were not - a win first and foremost. But the Bills are only 1-6 on the road and now face the 12-3 Patriots who want to take a week off as the #1 seed with a win. The Pats are 6-1 at home and this is a replay of week three when the Pats squeaked past 34-31 at the height of the Bills offense. The Bills scored 40 points last week but 21 were off punt returns or interceptions returns.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 41-7 10 @DAL 7-44
2 OAK 38-35 11 @MIA 8-35
3 NE 34-31 12 @NYJ 24-28
4 @CIN 20-23 13 TEN 17-23
5 PHI 31-24 14 @SD 10-37
6 @NYG 24-27 15 MIA 23-30
7 Bye - 16 DEN 40-14
8 WAS 23-0 17 @NE -
9 NYJ 11-27      
Bills Report | Statistics | Roster
BUFFALO at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - - 280,2
RB C.J. Spiller 40 40 -
TE Scott Chandler - 20 -
WR David Nelson - 90,1 -
WR Steve Johnson - 100,1 -
WR Brad Smith - 20 -
PK Brandon Coutu 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bills got their win in the nick of time to avoid a nine game losing streak to end the year but the reality is that this is still the same team that has struggled to score since week eight while the defense has allowed 27+ points in six of the last eight games. This is an interdivisional game and might end up different than expected but these Bills on the road are not likely to put up too much of a fight.

QUARTERBACK: Ryan Fitzpatrick is winding down a good year statistically with 3525 yards and 22 touchdowns but he's thrown 19 interceptions and his early season pace unraveled around mid-season when the seven game losing streak started. Fitzpatrick passed for 369 yards and two touchdowns on the Pats in week three. No doubt that the Patriots remain weak in their secondary but the Bills have been mostly ineffective on the road recently.

Fitzpatrick may end up with a big game if the Pats relent in the fourth quarter as they did against the Colts. But it would require a leap of faith to assume that since the Pats want to win the #1 seed and get a week off.

RUNNING BACKS: Fred Jackson rushed for 74 yards and a score on just 12 runs in the last meeting with the Bills and has since been placed on injured reserve. C.J. Spiller only totaled (-4) on his two touches in that game. But Spiller has been markedly better in recent weeks and even comes off two straight efforts over 100 total yards and a score or two in each. More germane this week - Spiller has scored in three recent games and all were at home. In a road game he has never had more than 60 total yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Steve Johnson had one of his best games of the year when he gained 94 yards on eight catches with one score on the visiting Patriots. Johnson has been on a nice streak for the last month as well with 75+ yards in almost every game and three scores. Donald Jones had his season best effort against the Pats when he turned in five catches for 101 yards but he's never been really replaced since leaving in week 12. David Nelson was solid in that game with 84 yards on six receptions.

Whatever is going to happen this week will go through the wide receivers as it did in the first meeting. Johnson is always worth a start and should turn in a nice game here but Nelson has to be considered more attractive than usual. He's a bit more of a risk but has a chance for perhaps his best game of the year versus a soft secondary and the potential for trash time.

TIGHT ENDS: Scott Chandler is still bothered by his ankle but will likely play since he was able to come off the bench and replace Mike Caussin who injured his knee last week. Chandler scored once in the previous meeting but only had one catch.


RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 17 10 10 22 18 5
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 32 18 32 3 8 2


New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIA 38-24 10 @NYJ 37-16
2 SD 35-21 11 KC 34-3
3 @BUF 31-34 12 @PHI 38-20
4 @OAK 31-19 13 IND 31-24
5 NYJ 30-21 14 @WAS 34-27
6 DAL 20-16 15 @DEN 41-23
7 Bye - 16 MIA 27-24
8 @PIT 17-25 17 BUF -
9 NYG 20-24 - - -
Patriots Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ENGLAND vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 310,3
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 40,1 - -
TE Rob Gronkowski - 80,1 -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 50 -
WR Chad Ochocinco - 20 -
WR Deion Branch - 40 -
WR Wes Welker - 120,2 -
PK S. Gostkowski 2 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Patriots still need to win this game to secure the first round bye and while there is a chance of resting players late in the game, it would have to be after the game was very well in hand. There could be a bit more rushing in the game which means less fantasy value but the Patriots always score 27+ points on all divisional opponents.

QUARTERBACK: It is not enough that Tom Brady passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns on the Bills in week three. It is that he already has ten 300+ yard games and 36 touchdowns on the season and the Bills have allowed 13 passing scores over their last four road games - never fewer than three. Brady is a safe play this week. Every week really but even more so this week.

RUNNING BACKS: The Patriots did not get a touchdown from the backs in the first meeting with the Bills though they did combine for 81 yards on 22 carries. There is a better chance for a score this time if not two but as always, it is a roll of the dice as to which player would score and no back is a lock for enough yardage to make him be a decent fantasy starter. I'll project for BenJarvus Green-Ellis but he is more a representative of the collection.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The previous game against the Bills had Deion Branch out but it did not matter much since Wes Welker had a career best 16 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Chad Ochocinco has been a nonfactor the entire season and scored only once this year. Branch has turned in the occasional decent game but is much more reliable to turn in marginal stats.

Welker is only going to bury franchise records more in this game and is a must start. If he only does half what he did in the last meeting he would still be a top five wideout for the week.

TIGHT ENDS: Rob Gronkowski had one of his best games of the year (which says something) when he caught seven passes for 109 yards and two scores on the Bills in week three. Aaron Hernandez did not play in that game but he only has one touchdown in the last seven weeks anyway. Gronk is a must start as always and Hernandez is a moderate play for yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 4 22 9 1 4 9
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 23 28 13 31 15 9

WEEK 17
2011
BAL at CIN DAL at NYG NYJ at MIA SF at STL
BUF at NE DET at GB PIT at CLE TB at ATL
CAR at NO IND at JAC SD at OAK TEN at HOU
  CHI at MIN KC at DEN SEA at ARI WAS at PHI

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