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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 Zach Mettenberger, TEN @PHI 0000026012 ***
Philly has served up multiple touchdown passes in every game except one; Mettenberger has multiple scoring strikes in two of his three NFL starts. He's been less reliable on the road (small sample size, of course) so temper expectations, but there's at least reason for optimism here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @PHI 6003200000 ***
Sankey is distancing himself from Shonn Greene in the Tennessee backfield, which isn't necessarily that impressive. It did, however, yield a touchdown last week and should do the same against a Philly D that's allowed five RB scores in the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @PHI 006801000 ***
Wright remains the volume guy in Tennessee, and sometimes even turns that volume into a touchdown. With Philly surrendering five 100-yard games and seven WR TDs in just the past four games there's plenty of opportunity for Tennessee's receiving corps to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN @PHI 004700000 ***
Despite being dramatically out-targeted Washington found the end zone last week. Philly has given up plenty to opposing WRs over the past month, so if you're in a pinch Washington could at least be on the fringe of your fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @PHI 003400000 ***
Philly has allowed five 100-yard outings and seven WR TDs in just the past four games, so if there ever were an opportunity for Hunter to dust off his deep ball skills it would be this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @PHI 003400000 ***
Philly hasn't given up a TE TD since Week 2, and with Walker still dinged up he's a bit of a fantasy risk this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @PHI 3311 ***
Succop has just one game of double-digit points in the past two months, and that came against Jacksonville. Don't expect a reprise here.

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 Mallett, HOU CIN 0000023011 **
Mallett wasn't bad out of the gate with a two-TD effort in his first NFL start. He had two weeks to prep for that game, however; now he has just a week and gets a Cincy D that just held Drew Brees in check at home. Tough to like his chances of a repeat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU CIN 6012100000 **
If Arian Foster's getting his, odds are Blue isn't getting his. Use Blue only if Foster isn't ready to return from his injury. You even have to be wary of Houston's coach speak, as the last time they said Foster would be eased back into the mix he handled 25 touches to Blue's five.
Update: Foster is officially listed as questionable after sitting out practice both Thursday and Friday. Looks like you'll have to sweat this decision out right up through pre-game deactivations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU CIN 5002100000 *
If healthy, Foster's an every-week starter--and a Cincy D that's given up 384 yards from scrimmage and three TDs to opposing running backs in just the past two games should make him feel extremely comfortable.
Update: Foster's only practice session this week was a limited go on Wednesday, and he's officially listed as questionable. Might have to watch this one right up to kickoff to determine if he'll play--and if he plays, it's a favorable enough matchup that he belongs in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU CIN 005801000 ***
Hopkins and Andre Johnson are essentially splitting the passing game looks, with the key difference being Hopkins has four times as many touchdowns as AJ. Both are viable, but Hopkins a bit more reliable of a fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU CIN 006700000 ***
Johnson tends to get similar targets to DeAndre Hopkins, and his yardage is usually solid; it's his lack of end zone visits that makes him a shaky fantasy option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU CIN 002200000 ***
It's been a month since the Bengals allowed a TE TD; just because Graham found the end zone last week doesn't mean he's a safe bet to return here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU CIN 3322 ****
Bullock's been hot of late, with three three-FG games in the past month. He's also been much more active on the road, as four of his five games with double-digit points have come away from home. Split the difference with Bullock as a good-not-great 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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