FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: NE 30, JAC 13 (Line: NE by 14.5)

Players Updated: Rob Gronkowski

Players to Watch: Cecil Shorts, Wes Welker

Losing to the 49ers last Sunday night dropped the 10-4 Patriots back into the #3 seed which means no bye and only one home field game. But this week they face the 2-12 Jaguars who have already packed their suitcases and are just watching the clock for for week 17 Sunday to be over. That the highest scoring offense in the NFL now faces a team that has declined to the point they do not score touchdowns could be concerning. The Pats will win of course but won't need 40 points to get the job done.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU 42-14
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF 34-41
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 270,2
WR Danny Amendola 8-100,1
TE Dwayne Allen 4-40
TE Rob Gronkowski
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the 49ers really shook up the Patriots image coming on the heels of them looking so dominant against the Texans the previous week. The reality too is that both those games came at home where the Pats are always far better and losing that #2 seed may come back to haunt them. The Pats cannot afford any more losses either since they are only one game ahead of the Ravens now who have already beaten them back in week three to own that tie breaker should it be an issue.

The Pats almost never take any game lightly no matter what the situation is and in this case, they have to win and may want to flex some muscles doing it after last week's loss.

Tom Brady on the road has been plenty prolific other than facing inter-divisional foes and the Jaguars are soft in the secondary. But the are even worse against the running backs which could end up with a depressed stat line for Brady who won't need 400 yards to compete here.

The running backs are going to be harder to call than usual - and it has been largely impossible anyway - since both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen lost fumbles last week and then disappeared from the game plan while Danny Woodhead had a big game holding onto the ball. Ridley's faux pas ended his six game scoring streak but he's fumbled before and not carried the shame into the next week. It will always be tough to accurately predict who does what here but Ridley should end up with his job back.

What is nice too is that Aaron Hernandez is finally showing up as a major weapon for the Patriots only three months after everyone drafted him with big expectations. He's caught at least eight passes in the last two games while scoring a total of three touchdowns.

Both the Texans and 49ers schemed to take Wes Welker away with great success but Brandon Lloyd picked up the slack finally with 89 yards against the Texans and 190 yards versus the 49ers. While he won't be needed nearly so much this week, it is nice to see him finally being in the game plan and producing more than the roughly 50 yards and no score he had going the rest of the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 2 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 23 32 16 8 32 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE ATL 0000030020 ***
Going back to the Super Bowl, Brady went for 466-2-1 versus Atlanta. The Falcons have yielded 1.5 TDs per matchup to quarterbacks, holding passers to just 235 aerial yards and 60.1 percent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE ATL 2011100000 ***
Atlanta his given up the ninth-most receiving yards per game, so there's at least that going for him. Additionally, Lewis' involvement has increased the last two weeks. Consider this an optimistic projection and him playable only in dire circumstances based on the erratic nature of a three-pronged backfield.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, NE ATL 400000000 ***
Only one of the last 88 carries versus Atlanta has found the end zone, making this the fourth-hardest defense to score against. Rushers have averaged a modest 84.3 yards per game on the ground.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE ATL 1004200000 ***
White scored three times in the Super Bowl and caught 14 balls along the way. While expecting anything remotely close to that performance is foolish, he could be a viable flex in PPR formats. Atlanta has allowed averages of 5.3 receptions for 51.3 yards and a TD every 21 snares.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE ATL 005701000 **
Receivers have scored five times in four games and have averaged 12.5 catches (9th most) against this mid-tier opponent. Hogan posted four catches and 57 yards in the Super Bowl.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE ATL 004600000 ***
In the last four games, receivers have averaged 12.5 catches, 128.8 yards and a score every 10 catches facing the Falcons. Seven teams have been worse at stopping WRs from scoring TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE ATL 006600000 ***
For PPR types, Amendola's matchup is solid. The Falcons have given up 12.5 catches per game, which ranks ninth, and the position has gone for a score every 10 times. This is a midrange matchup for reception-rewarding scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE ATL 006901000 ***
None of the 18 receptions against have scored on Atlanta by TEs, and the averages of 4.5 catches for 55 yards rate in the middle of the league. Gronk missed the Super Bowl meeting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE ATL 2233 ***
All 18 kicks -- 10 FGs -- have been accurate against the Falcons. The 9.5 fantasy points given up rates as the fourth most in football.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND 10-27
2 HOU 7-27 11 @HOU 37-43
3 @IND 22-17 12 TEN 24-19
4 CIN 10-27 13 @BUF 18-34
5 CHI 3-41 14 NYJ 10-17
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA 3-24
7 @OAK 23-26 16 NE -----
8 @GB 15-24 17 @TEN -----
9 DET 14-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
JAC vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne 230,1
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-50

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars have won only once in the last 11 games and the offensive output that seemed to spike with Chad Henne starting has faded to where they cannot even score a touchdown anymore. This is the final home game of the year but that's hardly a reason to expect any progress.

The only difference this week is that Maurice Jones-Drew has not been ruled out yet and HC Mike Mularkey said he was "questionable" this week but closer to playing than he has been. There is really no reason to bring him back - the season was over long ago and MJD is only risking further injury for nothing. One has to expect a more earnest holdout this coming summer since the worst case just happened this year.

Cecil Shorts returned last week after missing the Jets game with a concussion and he turned in 101 yards on six catches in Miami right back to his high level of performance though it was his first time to not score a touchdown in the last five games played. Justin Blackmon has reeled in six catches in each of the last two games but has not scored since week 12. This is the last home game so it should help both receivers facing one of the weaker secondaries in the NFL.

Aqib Talib has been a great addition for the Patriots and he matches on Justin Blackmon which should depress his stats this week, not that they were that big to start with anyway. This will be the final home game for a team that has made very little progress in Mike Mularkey's first season as head coach. If MJD does play this week, it may have to do with it being the final home game but I'll project for another week of Montel Owens until a decision is made.

Sadly facing the Patriots secondary is not as much fun as it was earlier in the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 26 32 18 29 30 30
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 12 26 30 8 2

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blake Bortles, JAC @IND 10100018011 **
Bortles takes on fantasy's second-easiest matchup to exploit, so there is at least a little hope. In 2016, he averaged nearly 25 points per game in two meetings. You could do worst in trying to replace Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson or Matthew Stafford for one week, but starting Bortles is a risk-reward decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Ivory, JAC @IND 6004201000 *
Ivory has quietly become a PPR asset and faces an Indy defense rated as the sixth-worst at stopping backs in this scoring system. Only seven teams have yielded more aerial yards to running backs per game, and two teams have given up TDs with greater ease.

Update: Ivory is in line for more touches with Leonard Fournette listed as a DNP for three straight days and being questionable for Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Leonard Fournette, JAC @IND 5001100000 *
Fantasy's most consistent scorer has an ideal matchup with divisional-rival Indianapolis. The Colts have allowed four rushing TDs in the last five games, translating to one every 28.5 carries. This is the fifth-highest frequency. The number improves to a score every 23.3 touches when the two receiving scores are factored, and backs have managed 154.2 offensive yards.

Update: Fournette is questionable, and all signs point to him being a game-time call after not practicing all week. He may lose some touches to Chris Ivory if he dresses.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC @IND 003400000 ***
In one game versus the Colts last season, Hurns caught two balls for 47 yards and a touchdown. This defense has given up catches (12th most) and yards (4th) but only the sixth-lowest touchdown frequency to wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marqise Lee, JAC @IND 004400000 ***
Indy hasn't cared too much about slowing wide receivers from catching passes or even racking up some yardage, but the Colts have clamped down around the stripe. This defense has given up only three TDs over the past 61 receptions, which is the sixth-toughest ratio. Lee was rather quiet in two games against the Colts last season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, JAC @IND 3333 ***
Lambo is a fringe consideration but should be left on the wire with just two teams on the bye.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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