FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: TEN 10, HOU 31 (Line: HOU by 12)

Players to Watch: The Player Formerly Known as Chris Johnson

Players Updated: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Lestar Jean, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook

The 1-2 Titans come off a thrilling win over the Lions but make no mistakes here - the Titans defense has been almost nonexistent this year. The only other trip away from home was the 28 point loss in San Diego. The Texans are 3-0 and rolling to nice wins every week with a great defense and plenty of offense to get the job done. The Titans won 23-22 in Houston in during a meaningless week 17 last season. The Texans won 41-7 during week 7 in Tennessee. That is more what to expect in this interdivisional match-up.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU ----- 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN ----- 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Locker 20 260,1
RB Shonn Greene 30
RB Dexter McCluster 2-20
WR Derek Hagan 4-50
WR Nate Washington 3-50,1
WR Kendall Wright 4-50
PK Ryan Succop 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Like several other teams in the NFL, you have a two week version of the Titans being inept on offense and being unable to stop anyone defensively. And there is the one week version that has an adequate passing offense and being unable to stop anyone defensively. Chances are the offensive effort at home against the Lions was just part of some fluky cosmic shift that will end once the TItans enter the city limits of Houston. And in the end it doesn't really matter because they are unable to stop anyone defensively.

Jake Locker may have kept Matt Hasselbeck on the bench for a while longer when he passed for 378 yards and two scores on Sunday. Locker was stuck at one score per week and 200-ish yardage. Coaches stood behind him but then again, they had to stand behind him because everyone else was asking when Hasselbeck would get the nod.

Chris Johnson has become one of those backs that you will never forget and for the wrong reasons. Not the 2000 yard rushing season. It was how he went from the height of heights, got paid and then could not get any lower if he was riding on a BunkerBuster missile. The Titans are not the #32 rushing team. They are the #32 rushing team by a mile. Total output for Chris Johnson in three games? 33 carries for 45 yards. That is three games combined. Sure, he throws in a few catches but as a runner? This is beyond comprehension and by now means you cannot start him, you cannot trade him and even if you dump him on the waiver wire - who are you going to get to replace him? He belongs on the roster in that corner you never access just in case the unlikely materializes. All things considered this is unprecedented.

Oh yes, and Johnson only gained 18 yards on ten carries against the Texans last year.

The receivers have carried the team but even that has been marginal. Nate Washington has two scores but his only road effort was two catches for 20 yards in San Diego. Kenny Britt is up to 55 yards on six catches but that's probably half what Hasselbeck would have done. Kendall Wright gets plenty of work but gets nothing but shorter throws. He turned in seven catches for only 41 yards when the Lions visited. This is all the control of Locker who they want to grow into the job. And this is the painful learning curve.

Jared Cook did score once last week on four receptions for 77 yards but he's still not consistent enough to merit a fantasy start.

The Titans offense has sputtered other than last week and a road game to Houston is no place to expect lightning to strike twice. This might end up as a shutout.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 14 32 13 10 15 7
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 4 13 5 3 4 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN HOU 30000025021 ***
Either Locker isn't ready yet or the Titans have seen enough to know they won't be renewing his contract at the end of the season. Whatever the reason, Tennessee is giving Zach Mettenberger the start this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN HOU 6002100000 ****
Sankey should again see the bulk of the carries, but if he's losing goal line looks to Jackie Battle and passing game snaps to Dexter McCluster his upside here is limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN HOU 003701000 **
The receivers with monster games against Houston have been speed guys, and speed is what Hunter does best. He's wildly inconsistent, but if you're into throwing darts direct one at Hunter; he could give you the home run you're looking for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN HOU 006601000 **
Wright has been the high volume target, though it remains to be seen whom Zach Mettenberger favors. Odds are the rookie goes where the other QBs have gone, which makes Wright a solid PPR play with upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 005700000 ****
Lots of reasons not to like the usually reliable Walker this week: he's had a quiet month statistically, the Texans don't give up much to the position, and new quarterback Zach Mettenberger may not be as fond of the tight end as his predecessors. It adds up to looking for fantasy help elsewhere this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN HOU 2222 ***
Succop's scored five or fewer points in five of the last six games. With Tennessee's quarterback issues, you should get your kicks elsewhere.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI -----
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC -----
3 @DEN 31-25 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 vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 230,2
RB Arian Foster 100,1 5-40
RB Jonathan Grimes
WR Andre Johnson 5-90,1

Pregame Notes: The Texans survived the Peyton Manning comeback bid in Denver and should relax a little this week with a game they know they can win. The schedule this year gets tougher after this week but all the more reason to take the win where they know they can get it. The Titans are bringing in one of the worst defenses in the league.

Matt Schaub turned in a big game in Denver when he passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns. He left a part of himself there (ear lobe) and has been just a game manager handing off to Arian Foster and Ben Tate in the other two games. It was nice to see the passing game explosion but it won't much be needed this week.

Arian Foster has scored in every game and is on a two game streak with 100+ rushing yards. He merely ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the one meeting with the Titans last year. Oh, and he added 119 yards and one score on five catches in that game. Ben Tate ran for 104 yards on 15 carries. Every reason to expect more great things from both Foster and Tate this week.

The passing success of week three saw Kevin Walter with 73 yards and a score which alone says it was a one time only sort of game. Andre Johnson turned two catches there into 72 yards and a score but he did not play in the meeting with the Titans last year. Johnson remains the only receiver worthy of fantasy merit and the success of the rushing effort means that his week two performance of only three receptions for 21 yards may not be his last bad game.

Owen Daniels scored as well in the Broncos game but has been mediocre since his week one effort against the Dolphins when he gained 87 yards on four catches. This remains a three man fantasy crew - start Foster always, start Tate in easier match-ups and start Johnson every week with your fingers crossed. Owens is in a good situation if only for this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 22 2 25 14 9 14
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 31 28 25 32 29 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU @TEN 0000025011 ****
Fitz hasn't been fabulous, but he gets to face his old team--and a defense that's allowed three TDs to Brian Hoyer, 336 yards to Blake Bortles, and 267 to the Cousins/McCoy combo platter in just the past three weeks. Clearly, stranger things than a Fitz fantasy helper have happened to this defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU @TEN 10014200000 ***
Foster has scored in four straight against Tennessee, and with three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts against better defenses than the Titans there's little reason to doubt him having success again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Damaris Johnson, HOU @TEN 003401000 **
Johnson hasn't seen more than three targets in a game this season, and while he's contributed the occasional fantasy helper he can't be relied on for such an assist.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 006800000 ****
Last week was the first time in a month the Titans didn't allow multiple receivers to score and/or top 50 yards against them. The Texans have been consistently putting two receivers on the fantasy board, though from time to time Demaris Johnson bumps Hopkins or Andre Johnson aside. AJ and Hopkins are still the best bets, however, if not for fantasy greatness then at least for goodness you can plug into your lineup and bank on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @TEN 006700000 ****
Would you believe Johnson hasn't scored on the Titans since 2010 or hit the century mark in yardage since 2009? AJ still hasn't hit the century mark this season but he did break his touchdown maiden a couple weeks back and has contributed at least 58 yards each of the past four games. That's not elite, but at least it's solid.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU @TEN 002200000 *****
The Titans have surrendered four TE TDs in the past four games; if only Graham were seeing enough targets on a consistent basis to warrant a fantasy play, this would be a great opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @TEN 3322 ****
Bullock's been inconsistent, but the Titans have been consistently fantasy-friendly to opposing kickers. Upgrade Randy to a fringe fantasy option this week.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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