FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: HOU 27, DEN 24 (Line: HOU by 2)

Players to Watch: Owen Daniels

This should be a great game to watch. The 2-0 Texans hit the road after dominating both the Dolphins and Jaguars. The Broncos return home on a short week after losing to the Falcons on Monday night. Where this game turns is that the Broncos have not faced any decent rushing attack and now faces one of the best backfields in the NFL. And the Texans are #1 against quarterbacks but that was built up playing Ryan Tannehill in his first NFL game and a freebie going against Blaine Gabbert. This game should end up with the Texans but it won't be easy or over early. Enough unknowns here to make this a coin flip game.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI -----
2 @JAC 27-7 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 @ DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 10 260,1

Pregame Notes: The started about as well as could be hoped. The defense squashed both opponents while the running game trampled them for plenty of yards and scores. Matt Schaub opened the season with 266 yards and one score against the Dolphins but the Jacksonville game became a laugher and was controlled by Arian Foster (28-110, TD) and B en Tate (12-74, 2 TD). This is an offense predicated on the run and with the blocking to allow this throw back to the old power rushing ways of the NFL to thrive. A stingy defense only encourages more rushing.

Arian Foster and Ben Tate are must start players though Tate's production tends to fluctuate far more than Foster who has been good for 26 carries per game after two weeks. That is a pace for 430 carries and will slow down soon enough. Maybe this week. The Broncos have not allowed more than 43 rushing yards to any runner and that is maybe one quarter's worth from Tate and Foster. Something has to break and it probably not going to be the so far unstoppable rushing tandem.

This week will see the Andre Johnson vs. Champ Bailey matchup unless the Texans can somehow move Johnson around to get a mismatch. But the Texans have no other wideout of any concern to a secondary let alone as good as the Broncos. No other wideout for the Texans has more than 34 yards in any game. The lone passing score went to Johnson.

But Owen Daniels has been the second best target behind Johnson and turns in around five catches per game. That's high production in this offense and an advantage this week against a team that has allowed tight end scores each week.

The Houston defense can dictate this game if they can rattle Manning and that would mean more rushing attempts. But the Broncos are legitimately a better team with Manning there so just rushing would be a luxury likely not afforded in this road game. This game is a measuring stick as well after opening the year with two cakewalks.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 32 1 31 14 8 14
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 15 7 18 18 10 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, HOU @GB 10100023011 ***
Green Bay offers the second highest opportunity rating that has translated into surrendering the seventh most fantasy points per game since Week 7. Quarterbacks have averaged 298.6 yards and a TD every 10.5 completions vs. Green Bay. A great matchup shouldn't translate to a starting gig for Osweiler in fantasy, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU @GB 6002100000 ***
Green Bay went from being the toughest opponent for RBs to face much of the season to becoming fantasy's most opportunistic matchup in PPR over the last five weeks. While it has allowed only the fifth most PPR points, Green Bay is dead last in allowing running TDs, combined scores, and points per touch in that window.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @GB 005600000 ***
Is this the week Nuk goes bonkers? Probably not, but the numbers work in his favor. Green Bay has allowed receivers to score once every 7.1 grabs, which is the second weakest defense of this category. The Packers offer the fifth most exploitable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller, HOU @GB 003400000 ***
Fuller has upside against a weak secondary like Green Bay's, although trusting Brock Osweiler can do his end of the deal is risky.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @GB 003300000 ***
Miller sees scraps each week and doesn't (yet) belong in the fantasy conversation for traditional leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU @GB 005501000 ***
Green Bay has permitted the fourth most fantasy points on a per-game basis using data since Week 7. This stems from giving up the fourth most catches and fifth highest yardage figure per meeting over that span.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU @GB 1122 ***
Green Bay has given up the fifth most combined kicking tries and ninth highest fantasy points average to kickers since Week 7.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU ----- 12 @KC -----
4 OAK ----- 13 TB -----
5 @NE ----- 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD ----- 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO ----- 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Emmanuel Sanders 2-30
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-70,1

Pregame Notes: Tough loss at Atlanta on Monday night and now a short week to prepare to meet the NFL's best rushing attack. Peyton Manning made a game of it in Atlanta despite throwing three interceptions to open the game. That makes two weeks and around 250 passing yards in each matchup. Back at home should be better but then again it means there is now two weeks of tape to review about the Colts offense with Manning at the helm. This team will live and die with whatever Manning does and this will be his third tough defense to start the year.

Willis McGahee was already effective with 64 yards on 16 runs against the Steelers and then cranked it up in Atlanta with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 22 runs. He gets spelled by Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball but he's the primary back here that has yet to turn in a bad game. He's proving a very nice value to fantasy owners who picked him up towards the end of starting running backs.

Under Manning there has been only two consistent receivers. Eric Decker has games of 5-54 and 4-53. And Demaryius Thomas has a touchdown in each game along with a team high 18 targets for 13 receptions and 188 yards. Thomas is the main weapon in the passing game while Decker just provides a possession role. No other receiver has mattered - even Jacob Tamme only caught two passes for 13 yards on Monday night.

This will be the toughest defense yet faced by the Broncos but it will be at home. And no matter the mistakes he might make, Manning is never out and always dangerous.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 9 26 10 10 28 1
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 1 18 2 1 1 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Paxton Lynch, DEN @JAC 0000021011 ***
Update: Trevor Siemian won't play, so the rookie starts his second game. Jacksonville is the third toughest opponent since Week 7 when it comes to allowing fantasy points to QBs. While the Jags have not picked off a pass in this time, quarterbacks have accounted for only six touchdown passes in five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devontae Booker, DEN @JAC 6012100000 ***
Denver just has not been able to establish a running game since C.J. Anderson went down. Booker is talented, but the script hasn't played out as planned. The Jags present a reasonable shot at success. Running backs have averaged 104.8 rushing yards, 41.4 receiving yards, 4.6 catches and 24 PPR points since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @JAC 005701000 ***
Bay Bay has an overall weak matchup but could find success in the way of touchdowns, as the Jags have surrendered one every 10.8 grabs since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @JAC 005600000 ***
Sanders did his part last week in an explosive performance while the Chiefs blanketed Demaryius Thomas all night. This week, Jacksonville represents a difficult matchup on paper. The Jags have allowed the fewest catches and yards per game, as well as the least fantasy points on average, since Week 7. The upside is one of every 10.8 receptions have gone for scores, rating 12th.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE AJ Derby, DEN @JAC 004301000 **
Derby is up to speed after a crash course in the offense. Jacksonville has allowed only 4.6 catches per game to tight ends over the past five weeks, but the Jags have given up 58 yards and a TD per every 11.5 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @JAC 1122 ***
McManus faces an evenly favorable matchup -- the third best, in fact -- in Week 13. There isn't enough resistance on Jacksonville's side, though, to suggest we'll see many stalled drives resulting in three-point kicks.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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