FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

Prediction: HOU 23, JAC 17(Line: HOU by 7.5)

Players to watch: Lestar Jean, Blaine Gabbert

Players Updated: Rashad Jennings, Arian Foster

The Texans hit the road after dispatching the Dolphins with minimal effort and head to Jacksonville. The Jaguars return after a solid offensive effort fell short in overtime just to make it hurt a little worse. The Texans swept the Jaguars in 2011, winning 24-14 at home and later 20-13 in Jacksonville. Even if the Jaguars really are better, they are still not this better.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI -----
2 @JAC ----- 11 JAC -----
3 @DEN ----- 12 @DET -----
4 TEN ----- 13 @TEN -----
5 @NYJ ----- 14 @NE -----
6 GB ----- 15 IND -----
7 BAL ----- 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 260,2
RB Arian Foster 80,1 4-40
WR Andre Johnson 5-60,1

Pregame Notes: The Texans had a solid effort from Matt Schaub who claims to be finally healthy. He played like it. He passed for 261 yards and one score but had no turnovers and really never needed to throw to win the game. Passing simply because he could was more like the old Schaub. His effort still gets an incomplete though because he relied on just two receivers and nearly ignored the rest.

Andre Johnson turned a team high ten targets into eight receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown. No other wideout had more than two catches or 16 yards. Lestar Jean only ended with one catch for nine yards but the rookie barely missed a 35-yard touchdown catch when one foot caught the sideline. This offense can run obviously but when it comes to passing, Johnson has to have a complement. Kevin Walter is never going to be that guy though they have yet to find anyone better - except maybe now. It may take some time but Jean looks smooth and fast. He could develop into what this offense needs and is worth keeping an eye on.

Owen Daniels was the second most used target last week and ended with 87 yards on four receptions. He is the de facto #2 receiver at least until a wide receiver like Jean steps up. It's rare that he scores and that hurts his value but he's been decent with yardage when healthy.

The fear last week was that Arian Foster was going to be limited because he hit the injury report with a sore knee but that never really mattered when the game started. Foster ran 26 times and while he only gained 79 yards, he scored twice. Ben Tate only managed six yards on five carries to disappoint fantasy owners who thought their seventh round steal was going to pay off in week one. He may never pay off. Foster carries a heavy load and has to be gone for Tate to have "startable" stats.

The Jaguars were typically run over by the Texans last year and that could happen yet again. After allowing Christian Ponder to throw for 270 yards it might spell something good for Schaub who only threw for 225 yards and one score in their last meeting. But the Jags gave up two scores and 84 yards to Adrian Peterson and that's bad when you are about to face the premier backfield in the league. Foster rushed for 65 yards and a score in Jacksonville in 2011 and added seven receptions. The Jaguars are improving at least incrementally but the Texans defense can handle this game well enough. Add in Foster and it will be another Houston win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 22 7 22 17 6 8
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 6 24 12 13 28 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU @TEN 0000023020 ***
The Texans have given up multiple touchdown tosses in four straight and seven of eight. Fitz hasn't been nearly that consistent, but for the most part he's capitalized on softer matchups and this is definitely one of those opportunities.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, HOU @TEN 0000010001 *
Matt Schaub is one of only three quarterbacks to take the Titans for multiple touchdown tosses this season; he turned the trip as part of a 298 & 3 outing back in Week 2. That's also the second-most passing yardage allowed by the Titans this season. So of course the Texans will turn the reins over to Keenum this week, facing a Titans defense that's allowed three passing scores in Tennessee all season. Good luck with all that. UPDATE: Keenum is officially a game-time decision; fantasy owners should be able to make their call well in advance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Grimes, HOU @TEN 6011100000 **
Opposing backs kill the Titans, but... Jonathan Grimes? The guy who played Uncle Rico, had a role in the vastly underappreciated Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines flick "Running Scared"? No, wait, that's Jonathan Gries. Evidently this guy is a four-year starter from William & Mary with good vision who went undrafted in 2012, then spent time with the Texans, Jets, Texans (again), Jaguars, and after being cut in August returning to Houston last week. Seriously, with the Titans giving up so much on the ground Grimes could be a factor in fantasy leagues decided in Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @TEN 004600000 **
Johnson has been heavily targeted the past three weeks--44 looks, compared to 34 for all the other wideouts on the Houston roster. So even though he'll be tangling with Alterraun Verner--who held AJ to 8-76 in the earlier meeting--he's still the Texans' best bet for passing game fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 003400000 ***
Hopkins went big on the Titans back in Week 2 while Alterraun Verner was tied up with Andre Johnson. However, he hasn't done much since, making it tough to bank on him for fantasy productivity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ryan Griffin, HOU @TEN 005501000 **
The Titans have allowed three TE TDs in the past three games, and they gave up two touchdowns to Texans tight ends in the earlier meeting. Griffin has back-to-back 60-yard games; seems like he's in an ideal spot to capitalize on the opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @TEN 1111 ***
Tennessee has given up the fourth-most points to kickers, but only two to Bullock when they crossed paths back in Week 2. Not much upside to Bullock here.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND -----
2 HOU ----- 11 @HOU -----
3 @IND ----- 12 TEN -----
4 CIN ----- 13 @BUF -----
5 CHI ----- 14 NYJ -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA -----
7 @OAK ----- 16 NE -----
8 @GB ----- 17 @TEN -----
9 DET ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Cecil Shorts 2-20
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-50,1
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars lost in overtime in Minnesota which is even worse when you consider that they only won once on the road for all of last year. Blaine Gabbert looked much improved from his rookie season when he passed for 260 yards and two scores in Minnesota. Realize that Gabbert never passed for more than one score in any road game and he never gained more than 221 passing yards in any game until Sunday. He threw no interceptions and looked like a real, legitimate NFL quarterback for the first time. This is a wildly encouraging development since the Jags brought on two new receivers.

The rookie Justin Blackmon only managed to gain 24 yards on three catches in his first game but Laurent Robinson threw down five receptions for 66 yards and in this offense - that is something notable. It is a sign that the Jags may pull themselves out of the league passing cellar this season. Cecil Shorts scored once and ended with 74 yards on four catches thanks to a 39-yard score with 20 seconds left to play for what seemed to be the winning touchdown. Did not work out as a victory but the passing stats were superior to anything seen last year. That's plenty of progress for week one.

Marcedes Lewis scored once last week and ended with five catches for 52 yards which was reminiscent of the expectations of 2011 that were dashed. Lewis had two touchdowns in 2010 but then failed to reach the end zone in 2012. This is a good sign that Lewis may be back to form if Gabbert continues to throw better.

The Jaguars lost Rashad Jennings to a knee injury which was still waiting an MRI at this writing. We will update as needed but with Maurice Jones-Drew back, there is no real reason to consider Jennings anyway. MJD gained 77 yards on 19 carries and added three catches though all was not positive. Jones-Drew didn't have much burst which is understandable given his holdout. The question is when that returns. At least he'll continue to be the primary runner and it appears likely that Jennings is not going to interfere as much as initially believed.

This will be a good measure this week facing the familiar Texans with their dominating defense. A win here would be huge but the Texans have a better team in almost every facet.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 11 14 17 11 16 22
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 2 22 5 4 3 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Chad Henne, JAC @IND 0000018012 ***
Henne has multiple touchdown passes in four straight games, though he hasn't topped 237 yards in any of those outings. He'll be better than Blaine Gabbert (179 & 0) was in the earlier meeting between these clubs; whether he'll do enough to be a fantasy helper is another matter entirely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Brown, JAC @IND 004600000 ***
Indy has shut out the last two receiving corps they've faced, and with Jacksonville down to its depth receivers there isn't much to see here. Brown has been the most successful of late, so if you're reaching he's the one to reach for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ace Sanders, JAC @IND 003400000 ***
Sanders was a serviceable wingman in the earlier meeting with Indy, but he was a bit player last week against the Titans and has a total of just 63 yards the past three games. Tough to bank on him for any sort of fantasy contribution here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC @IND 005301000 ****
No tight end is hotter than Lewis, who has scored in four straight. It's not a particularly favorable matchup here, but with all of Jacksonville's wideouts hurt Lewis has become the go-to guy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC @IND 1111 ****
Scobee has just one double-digit effort all year, and it certainly wasn't his three-point showing in the earlier meeting with Indy. Get your kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

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