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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 Kevin Walter 2-30
WR Nate Washington 3-50,1
WR Kendall Wright 4-50
PK Rob Bironas 1 FG 1 XP
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 Charlie Whitehurst, TEN IND 0000020011 ***
Whitehurst saw plenty of action in the earlier game with Indy, throwing for 177 yards and a touchdown. That's actually a pretty typical game for him; no reason to set your expectations differently.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN IND 5011100000 **
Sankey scored in the earlier meeting with Indy, and at this juncture there's really no reason to give anyone else carries; the Titans need to find out what their second-round pick is capable of going forward. With greater volume comes greater responsibility--like, he'll need to turn 14 carries into more than 44 yards, like he did against Jacksonville last week, if he wants to become the feature back in Tennessee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN IND 004500000 ***
Washington had his moment in the sun with 6-102 against a bad Jets' secondary; now he's just taking up roster space.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN IND 004500000 ***
Wright is playing through a hand injury; despite that he led all Titans receivers with 4-73 last week against Jacksonville and is the best bet to post something similar against an Indy team he took for 5-55 (also team-leading) in the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN IND 005601000 ***
Walker scored against Indy in the earlier meeting--hardly surprising, seeing as the Colts have given up 10 TE TDs on the year. They've also allowed six games of 80 yards or more, including Walker's 84 earlier in the year. Given how heavily targeted Walker is, and how bad the rest of Tennessee's receiving corps is, a similar stat line feels like a starting point for Walker this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN IND 1122 ***
The Colts have allowed one multiple-field goal outing in the past 10 games. No reason to think the Titans suddenly find one between the couch cushions this week.

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 Case Keenum, HOU JAC 20000018000 ***
At this point it's no longer a surprise that the Jags aren't the cupcake matchup many assume; Tony Romo in Week 10 is the last quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns against them, and not since Philip Rivers in Week 4 have they surrendered a 300-yard game. No reason to think Keenum's stat line gets well this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU JAC 13023200000 ***
Foster has seven touchdowns in seven career games against the Titans; that total includes four 100-yard rushing days as well. He's averaged 25 carries per game over the past three, producing 322 yards in the process. No reason to think he won't find similar success against the Jags this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU JAC 301000000 **
If Arian Foster goes down with an injury, or if the Texans get ahead by so much they can start playing the backups, or if Foster just needs to share the load in what by necessity will be a run-first game plan for Houston... well, then, you're my boy, Blue!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU JAC 004700000 ***
Reduced quarterback numbers trickle down to reduced receiver numbers, as the Texans haven't had a WR TD or a receiver top 80 yards in almost a month. That stretch includes a combined 10 WR catches (on 14 targets) against the Jags; tough to carve fantasy value out of such a small number, even though Hopkins has taken over as the Texan's WR1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU JAC 005600000 ***
Johnson returned to double-digit targets last week, but he'll face quarterback issues this week and is no longer doing enough with his WR2 targets to get a free pass into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU JAC 002200000 ***
Graham's been dinged up, leaving Ryan Griffin to get the targets... except when CJ Fiedorowicz steals the touchdowns. It's a cluster, with not nearly enough production to float one boat let alone three.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU JAC 1144 ***
Bullock has at least nine points in three of his last four, including Week 14 in Jacksonville. Balance the motivation of a Houston squad still alive for the postseason with the issues of a backup-to-the-backup quarterback and you should still get a solid kicker outing 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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