Game Predictions & Player Projections - IND vs. BUF

Game Predictions & Player Projections - IND vs. BUF


Game Predictions & Player Projections - IND vs. BUF

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Prediction: IND 23, BUF 17 (Line: IND by 2.5)

Injury Report
Wednesday – (Did Not Practice) Percy Harvin

The 11-5 Colts stumbled in the playoffs but Andrew Luck secured his place among the elite quarterbacks in the league. Reggie Wayne may be gone but he’s been amply replaced by Andre Johnson and the speedy rookie Philip Dorsett. The Trent Richardson experiment is over and Frank Gore will finally get a chance to experience the NFL when the entire defense is worried about the pass much more than the run. Gore and Johnson could not have wished for a better final stop in their careers.

The 9-7 Bills cleaned house and brought in Rex Ryan as head coach and Greg Roman as offensive coordinator. Roman spent the last four seasons running the offense in San Francisco which doesn’t seem like much of a resume builder. The Bills lost C.J. Spiller but signed LeSean McCoy to be the workhorse in the backfield. Percy Harvin followed Ryan over from the Jets and hopes his fourth team over the last four years will be somehow different. A quarterback competition recently ended with Tyrod Taylor under center while E.J. Manuel will back him up.

First game of the year has to favor the Colts who are into their fourth season under Chuck Pagano. The Bills have an outstanding defense but the offense will be a work in progress to start.

Indianapolis Colts

1 @BUF —— 10 BYE ——
2 NYJ —— 11 @ATL ——
3 @TEN —— 12 TB ——
4 JAC —— 13 @PIT ——
5 @HOU —— 14 @JAC ——
6 NE —— 15 HOU ——
7 NO —— 16 @MIA ——
8 @CAR —— 17 TEN ——
9 DEN ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 20 280,2
RB Frank Gore 80 3-20
WR Phillip Dorsett 2-40
WR T.Y. Hilton 7-80,1
TE Dwayne Allen 3-40
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: It is as if the Colts are back to ten years ago when they had the hottest quarterback in the league and the richest fantasy offerings of almost any team. Andrew Luck has become the premier quarterback and taken his teammates along with him. Already the #1 offense in pass attempts, completions, yardage and touchdowns, they should be even better for 2015 with the additions of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. The defense is a step down but that only makes it even better for fantasy purposes. And if the Colts take another quarterback in the first round again, he’s going to have some monster shoes to fill.

QUARTERBACK : Andrew Luck was the #1 fantasy quarterback last year with 4761 passing yards and a league-leading 40 touchdown passes. He is truly the new Peyton Manning including the team-wide collapse in the playoffs last season. Luck is only entering his fourth NFL season and already averages over 4300 yards and about 30 touchdowns per year including his rookie season.

RUNNING BACK : The Colts spun through several running backs last year and Trent Richardson was the best of the bunch with only 159-519-3 as a runner. Ahmad Bradshaw was next with only 9-425-2. Now both are gone and Frank Gore arrives looking for his ninth 1000 yard season. Gore always averages at least 4.1 yards per carry and is an accomplished receiver as well. The Colts have ranked around 10th in the league for running back completions the last few years. This is clearly the best offense that Gore has played in and should be a tremendous place to wind down a career. Gore may never see another eight man front again.

WIDE RECEIVER : The Colts finally parted ways with Reggie Wayne and with that the final vestige of the Peyton Manning days. T.Y. Hilton comes off his third season with 82-1345-7 last year and a chance for even better since he’s developed great chemistry with Luck. Andre Johnson also seeks to finish out his career playing with the #1 quarterback in the NFL. That’s a far cry from what he’s spent 12 years in Houston doing even though he has led the NFL twice in receiving yardage (2008, 2009). Johnson’s stats were down last year with the quarterback problems with the Texans but ended 2103 with 109-1407-5. As if that is not enough, the third spot goes to the first round rookie Philip Dorsett. The ex-Hurricane runs a sub 4.35/40 and averaged over 20 yards per catch in his final two seasons at Miami. He offers the defense-stretching speed that makes this passing attack even harder to defend. This should be an exceptional year for Luck and the strength at wide receiver will see more three-wide sets this season.

TIGHT END : The Colts ranked second in tight end yardage (1287) and in touchdowns (18) thanks to using two-tight end sets mostly with Dwayne Allen (29-395-8) and Coby Fleener (51-774-8). But that will change this year with a new direction for the offense thanks to the upgrades at wide receiver. Allen is considered the better receiver but spent the last two seasons mostly injured.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: If any team can challenge a great passing defense it is the Colts and the Bills are installing new schemes on both sides of the ball. The scores should be lower than usual for both teams. The Bills gave up just 16 passing scores in 2014 but elite quarterbacks could at least get good yardage. Luck, Hilton and Johnson are must starts every week but will have lesser games here. Gore is still a decent start as well given that there is basically no game film on the offense with the additions of Gore and Johnson. Gore will be facing a defense that only allowed two running back scores to visitors last year. Hold off on considering Philip Dorsett for now but every week there is no decision to make really – start your Colts.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 1 16 7 2 3 13
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 3 5 13 1 18 21

Buffalo Bills

1 IND —— 10 @NYJ ——
2 NE —— 11 @NE ——
3 @MIA —— 12 @KC ——
4 NYG —— 13 HOU ——
5 @TEN —— 14 @PHI ——
6 CIN —— 15 @WAS ——
7 @JAC —— 16 DAL ——
8 BYE —— 17 NYJ ——
9 MIA ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
BUF vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyrod Taylor 40 210,1
RB LeSean McCoy 100,1 2-10
WR Leonard Hankerson 4-60,1
WR Sammy Watkins 5-70
WR Robert Woods 4-50
TE Charles Clay 4-50,1
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are all new this year with Rex Ryan stepping over from the Jets and bringing with him a history of great defenses to a team that already had one. The offense could be better as well with LeSean McCoy coming over from the Eagles to offer the power rushing game that is to be the central focus. The E.J. Manuel experiment has ended with him on the sideline and Tyrod Taylor the surprising starter.The receivers remain mostly the same and that could be a bad thing since Sammy Watkins has been the only one to matter so far. The offense may take some time to come together but the defense will keep game scores low enough that the Bills could be formidable from the start.

QUARTERBACK : In the three-way race for quarterback, the team sorted through Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel and Tyrod Taylor and the only one of the three with almost no game experience ended up winning. Cassel was the early leader by virtue of his experience but showed nothing and quickly fell behind. Manuel had a few moments of good play but lacked the consistency not unlike his entire brief career. Taylor was the most accurate and brings in an entirely new facet with his ability to run. In fantasy terms, there is a risk in relying on any unproved player but at least Taylor is going to net rushing yards that are like gold every week.

RUNNING BACK : Certainly LeSean McCoy is an upgrade at running back with four 1000 yard seasons in the last five years and relative durability as well since he has not missed a game in the last two seasons. But McCoy pulled his hamstring last month and may miss this season opener. He suffered a “small tear” in his hamstring but the Bills are not worried in the long or short term. He just may miss this week. That would leave the rookie Karlos Williams, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon to cobble together a backfield this week if needed.

I will assume that McCoy can play and will update as needed. There is a realistic chance that he’ll end up sitting this one out.

WIDE RECEIVER : Sammy Watkins was the first round pick of the Bills last year and he ended with an impressive 65-982-6 stat line as the top receiver. There is a natural fear that the quarterback situation will depress what Watkins can accomplish and to be sure, any team that Rex Ryan controls has always been a meager passer. Add in a relative unknown at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor and there is plenty of risk here. But Watkins is as talented as most any wideout and posted a fine rookie year playing with only Manuel or Kyle Orton. As the primary receiver, he should still get his normal volume or more. The other receivers like Robert Woods, Chris Hogan or Marquise Goodwin have a lesser outlook.

The Bills also acquired Percy Harvin who followed Ryan over from New York. He’s three years removed from any meaningful season and on his fourth team. Pending actual game production, he remains hands off in fantasy terms.

TIGHT END : The Bills brought in Charles Clay from Miami where he’s been mostly an average tight end with marginal fantasy value. That likely won’t change in an offense that will throw less and rush more. OC Greg Roman was there in San Francisco for Vernon Davis’ best year but also his worst.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Colts defense was already weak against the run and now thanks to injuries may be even weaker this year. That should mean a good game for McCoy if he is able to play but if not, there is no clear beneficiary since Karlos Williams is also coming back from injury and neither Bryce Brown nor Anthony Dixon are anything special. This is also the first start for Taylor against a decent secondary which makes the game even harder to call. McCoy is a must start if healthy and Watkins is still a reasonable play though with lower expectations than in most weeks. The Colts were weak against tight ends last year and that could play out better for Clay. The Bills defense is another must start no matter the opponent.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 20 18 20 19 6 3
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 13 22 5 27 5 19

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