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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 Matt Cassel 260,2
RB DeMarco Murray 70,1 3-20
WR Eric Decker 6-80,1
WR Harry Douglas 2-20
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 Marcus Mariota, TEN SEA 30000022011 ***
The fourth-toughest matchup comes to town, and Mariota's starting running back may not dress. While Derrick Henry is a capable backup, he isn't the receiving or pass-blocking asset of DeMarco Murray's level. Corey Davis has been ruled out, and trusting Mariota in this one isn't advised.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN SEA 10011100000 ***
Henry is the smarter choice in this backfield against Seattle, but it will take the projected score in order for Henry to live up to a start. Seattle has granted a lone TD to RBs in two games.

Update: Look for a larger load for Henry. Murray is a game-time call and may be very limited if he goes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN SEA 2001100000 *
Murray is day-to-day with a hamstring strain, an injury he has a history of suffering. Should he dress, expect more Derrick Henry than usual. Seattle has allowed only one touchdown to RBs in this young year.

Update: Following a limited session Friday, Murray is a true game-time decision. At a minimum, he'll be kept on a reasonable pitch count, if he plays.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taywan Taylor, TEN SEA 002400000 ***
Taylor extended for a beautiful grab last week and has some chops. He could see a little more work this week with Corey Davis out of action. Gamers shouldn't be excited to play him as he faces a stout pass defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN SEA 003300000 ***
Seattle has allowed 27 catches but only one TD so far to the position. There is a bit more intrigue since Corey Davis cannot go, but Decker is a dangerous play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN SEA 003300000 ***
Matthews is probably the only Titans receiver worth taking a chance on in fantasy this week, and that's a big gamble. Seattle has allowed only one TD in two games to the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN SEA 006601000 ***
Through two weeks, Seattle has given up 80 yards on eight grabs, rating as the seventh-worst matchup for tight ends. This is an optimistic projection but within reach.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN SEA 2222 ***
Seattle's defense has granted two post-TD kicks and four field goals in two weeks, averaging out to a modest seven fantasy points against.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Lamar Miller 10 2-10

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 Deshaun Watson, HOU @NE 40000015011 ***
No rookie quarterback has won in New England since head coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000. They are 0-8 with five touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 50.7 passer rating. Watson should struggle to get into a rhythm, even against a softer defense than we're used to seeing from the Patriots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU @NE 5004200000 ***
The matchup is awesome, at least on paper. Miller should get the majority of touches, although D'Onta Foreman and Tyler Ervin are in the fold. Miller was good for 14.7 PPR points in Week 3's trip to New England last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB D'Onta Foreman, HOU @NE 300000000 ***
Foreman saw his workload increase from one carry to 12 last week and could carve out a regular role in the rotation. He is too dicey right now, so keep him in reserve, unless you're looking for a deep dive in DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @NE 007801000 **
A target monster, Hopkins has 29 looks to the rest of the team's 25 in two weeks. The Patriots present a wonderful matchup to exploit in what could be a pass-happy game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @NE 002200000 ***
Miller, still learning the position, doesn't see enough targets to have much of a chance at producing outside of a singular big play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU @NE 1111 ***
Eight extra points against two field goals later, this is a statistically favorable matchup. Don't expect friendly results for the Houston offense in this one.

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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