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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: NE 24, BUF 13

Friday Night Update: Aiken remains questionable to play this week and is a game time decision.

Thursday Night Update: Terrell Owens was held out of practice on Thursday for an undisclosed illness. Fred Taylor had some limited work on Wednesday but then was held out on Thursday and is not expected to play this week. Sam Aiken has practiced on a limited basis but is not a lock to play this week. He may be updated later on Friday.

The Patriots got back on a winning track last week when they hosted the Panthers but remain only one game ahead of both the Dolphins and Jets in the AFC East. The Pats are also only 1-5 on the road this year. The Bills are 5-8 and out of the race but can play the spoiler.

The Patriots squeaked past the Bills 25-24 in the season opener.

New England Patriots (8-5)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BUF 25-24 -10.5 47
2 @NYJ 9-16 -6 46
3 ATL 26-10 -4 44.5
4 BAL 27-21 -2 44.5
5 @DEN 17-20 -3.5 41.5
6 TEN 59-0 -9.5 43
7 @TB 35-7 -15.5 44.5
8 BYE BYE - -
9 MIA 27-17 -10.5 47
10 @IND 34-35 +1 48
11 NYJ 31-14 -10.5 45
12 @NO 17-38 +3 56
13 @MIA 21-22 -4.5 46
14 CAR 20-10 -12.5 43.5
15 @BUF - -7 40.5
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NE at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     260,1
RB Laurence Maroney 80,1    
RB Kevin Faulk 50,1 20  
TE Ben Watson   20  
WR Randy Moss   60,1  
WR Wes Welker   90  
WR Sam Aiken   40  
PK Stephen Gostowski 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Patriots have a horrible road record but have played plenty of good teams on the road including both the Saints and Colts. Tom Brady has been playing injured for a while now and with a very tenuous hold on the division lead, the Patriots cannot afford to take a week off and let Brian Hoyer put some training wheels on the offense. There seems to be dissent inside the organization which is new ( at least the public nature of it) but the Saints can win out. Getting a first round bye won't happen but a home game to start the playoffs is always a benefit.

Quarterback: According to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady really was a game-time decision last week and his stats - 192 passing yards and one score - support that all is not right in the House of Brady. And maybe more than just having one more mouth to feed at home. Brady is banged up but showing maturity as well in calling out his team to play better and yet stepping in to defend individual players.

Brady passed for 378 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against the Bills. But this defense has vastly improved since and only allowed seven passing scores over the last ten games. No team has passed for more than one touchdown since back in week two. The last five home games only saw the visitors score twice via the pass.

Brady is banged up and the Bills are better at home. Expect a lower effort from him this time with moderate yardage and one score. The Bills lack of a rush defense has been the path taken by almost every opponent.

Running Backs: Fred Taylor was an inactive again last week but he will be returning soon according to reports. For this three-headed monster relies on Laurence Maroney for most of the rushing, works in Sammy Morris for half a dozen carries and then calls on Kevin Faulk for ten more runs. Maroney had scored in six straight games but has been blanked the last two weeks. Faulk has scored in those games and once you rely on either Sammy Morris or Fred Taylor will probably horn in.

I will project for Maroney and Faulk but take little confidence in it. The Bills are the worst team in stopping running backs so expect big yardage here and one or two scores in total. How that gets divided up not even Belichick knows yet.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss was called out by the defense for taking plays off last week but Tom Brady defended him and it was his first bad game since week five in Denver. Moss has nine touchdowns so far and racked up 12 catches for 141 yards in the first meeting with the Bills. Wes Welker turned in 93 yards on 12 catches that week and has continued with nine games of eight or more catches. This week Welker gets his yardage because that is the default play for the Pats but I like Moss to get back into the swing which would help the team mood. The Bills have only allowed two passing scores to wideouts in Buffalo but Moss can log one here.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson scored last week to give him five touchdowns on the season but he rarely has more than 40 yards in a game and is far too inconsistent to warrant fantasy attention.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 5 8 1 23 6 22
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 2 32 2 16 15 26


Buffalo Bills (5-8)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 24-25 +10.5 47
2 TB 33-20 -4 41
3 NO 7-27 +5.5 52.5
4 @MIA 10-38 -2.5 37
5 CLE 3-6 -6 40.5
6 @NYJ 16-13 +9.5 37
7 @CAR 20-9 +7 37
8 HOU 10-31 -3.5 42
9 BYE - - -
10 @TEN 17-41 +9 41
11 @JAC 15-18 +9 41
12 MIA 31-14 +3.5 38
13 NYJ 13-19 +3.5 37
14 @KC 16-10 -1 38
15 NE - +7 40.5
16 @ATL - - -
17 IND - - -
BUF vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick     140,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 30 10  
RB Fred Jackson 60 20  
WR Lee Evans   40  
WR Terrell Owens   40,1  
WR Josh Reed   10  
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bills move up with their win over the Chiefs and they may catch a major break after this week since the Falcons are all injured and the Colts in week 17 may show up wearing Hawaiian shirts and flip flops instead of uniforms. The season is ratcheting down and a new coach will be found and with that a new direction. Until then, they are mostly getting just a paycheck way bigger than you and I.

Quarterback: The Trent Edwards era is safely over now and Ryan FItzpatrick remains the starter this week and beyond even though he has not passed for more than 98 yards in two weeks. Five of his starts produced less than 125 passing yards and now we head into the bad weather weeks.

Back in week one, Trent Edwards passed for 212 yards and two scores.

The Patriots have a much worse secondary now that has allowed over 300 passing yards in four different road games and multiple scores in four different venues but the Bills passing attack has never had more than one passing score with Fitzpatrick. Expect mediocrity again - he only managed 86 yard versus the Chiefs.

Running Backs: The Bills have moved to using Fred Jackson as the primary carrier and brining in Marshawn Lynch for goal line duty and more short yardage plays. That worked well against the soft defense of the Chiefs last week but Fred Jackson only ran for 57 yards on 15 carries as the only back in the season opener against the Patriots. He did add five catches for 83 yards and a score but has never had more than 43 yards as a receiver in the last 13 games.

Lynch has been ineffective the entire year so the move helps but the Patriots have only allowed three runners to score this entire season and most were held to moderate yardage. Expect no rushing score this week and marginal yardage split up between the two runners.

Wide Receivers: The paltry passing numbers of the Bills have eroded all fantasy value from these players though Terrell Owens has managed to score in three of the last four games. Owens was held to just 46 yards on two catches in the season opener in New England and Lee Evans only managed 25 yards on three receptions as well. I like the chance that Owens can score one here because the Patriots secondary is nothing special and getting worse as the season progresses. The Bills are not good en9ough to take advantage of that with Fitzpatrick at the helm but Owens could sneak in a score this week.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 26 26 24 31 13 7
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 13 4 24 9 2 4

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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