FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: HOU 31, NYJ 13 (Line: HOU by 9)

Players to Watch: Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow

Players Updated: Dustin Keller, Stephen Hill, Ben Tate

The 4-0 Texans are back on the road but still have not scored less than 27 points in any game. The 2-2 Jets may be .500 but are on the verge of complete armageddon according to the media who delights in such. This could be a trap game, but it would need to happen in an alternate universe and would not be broadcasted on NFL Sunday Ticket unless you purchased the HBO/Dual Reality Package.

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 38-14 13 @TEN -----
5 @NYJ ----- 14 @NE -----
6 GB ----- 15 IND -----
7 BAL ----- 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU @ NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 270,1
WR Cecil Shorts 2-40
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Tough game in Denver but otherwise - this has been a cakewalk so far. Three wins were by 20+ points and the Houston defense has been only let up at the end of games to allow a little trash yardage and maybe a score. The passing offense under Matt Schaub has largely been mediocre in stats simply because they were not needed but in the one close game, he threw for 290 yards and four touchdowns in Denver. Schaub is only playing up to the level he needs to and with once again a premier rushing offense, he is just rarely that productive.

Arian Foster has scored in each game and never gained fewer than 79 rushing yards. His role as a receiver has been mostly limited but he makes that up with big rushing yards and touchdowns. Ben Tate is just a relief player and his two scores in the Jacksonville win along with his 74 rushing yards were just a one-time thing. Tate has produced under 30 total yards in all but one game. Foster remains an elite back with a heavy load.

The passing may not be prolific but Owen Daniels has caught a touchdown in both of the last two games and he has always been good for around 50 yards worth of production each week.

As so often happens, the tremendous success of both the rushing effort and the defense means that the minimal passing needs affect all receivers including Andre Johnson. He has two scores on the year but he is only averaging three catches for around 50 yards per game over the last three weeks. No doubt he will come back into play in upcoming weeks with the likes of the Packers and Ravens up next. But against the Jets? Could be another low effort from a guy you have to start regardless because of his potential every week.

No other receiver matters here - ever. The fantasy value has dwindled down to only Foster, Daniels in a pinch and Johnson with your fingers crossed.

The Jets started the season by giving up 169 rush yards to C.J. Spiller and three weeks later have yielded seven rushing touchdowns and well over 100 yards to runners from every opponent other than the Steelers. With the Jets losing Darrelle Revis and now Santonio Holmes, the disarray is ripe for a bulldozer job by the Texans.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 21 2 29 9 10 2
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 8 25 6 10 16 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, HOU JAC 10000024010 ***
The Chargers have held four straight quarterbacks to one or zero touchdown pass and 216 yards or less, including Osweiler's 166 and 1 in Week 13. Osweiler has averaged better than 300 yards in the three games since facing San Diego, and a home date with playoff positioning on the line should yield better results than the earlier meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU JAC 801000000 ***
Blue seems slated for the largest share of touches against a defense that's allowed four RB TDs in the past two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU JAC 7004300000 ***
Miller scored last time out against New England, scored last week... and can't be trusted with a fantasy start because the Dolphins inexplicably bench him even when he's producing. There's upside with touches, but Jay Ajayi looms.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Polk, HOU JAC 200000000 ***
Polk crept up on Alfred Blue's carries last week, swiping 11 of his own. Were he more productive than three yards a pop we'd project more in a favorable matchup--but he wasn't, so we won't.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU JAC 0081102000 ***
Hopkins gouged the Jags for 10-148-2 in the earlier meeting, and a defense that's given up four straight 100-yard games to WR1s--with three also finding the end zone--is no better equipped to slow him than before.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ryan Griffin, HOU JAC 002200000 ***
Griffin hasn't scored in a month, hasn't topped 30 yards in longer, and didn't even see the field in the earlier matchup with Jacksonville. Little reason to like him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU JAC 2233 ***
Multiple field goals
in three straight games for Novak
That's a solid trend

New York Jets
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 BUF 48-28 10 @SEA -----
2 @PIT 10-27 11 @STL -----
3 @MIA 23-20 12 NE -----
4 SF 0-34 13 ARI -----
5 HOU ----- 14 @JAC -----
6 IND ----- 15 @TEN -----
7 @NE ----- 16 SD -----
8 MIA ----- 17 @BUF -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Matt Forte 80,1 5-30
RB Bilal Powell 30 4-30
WR Eric Decker 6-80
WR Brandon Marshall 8-100,1
TE Kellen Davis 2-20
PK Nick Folk 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Few teams are 2-2 and have as much bad press as the Jets but then again, losing 0-34 at home to anyone is going to draw negative attention. Plus losing Santonio Holmes who was not only marginally productive, he was clearly the best weapon they had. Plus we have the obligatory "What about Tebow>" side story that only gets stronger with every bad game by Mark Sanchez.

There are even rumors that the owner is lobbying for Tim Tebow to start.

Since the season opener, Sanchez has only thrown two touchdowns and twice failed to reach 140 pass yards. That couples with a horrible rushing attack. In the meltdown against the 49ers, Sanchez only completed 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards and one interception. He had a nice throw to Holmes who crumpled untouched in pain while handing the ball to a defender who scored a touchdown. It kind of is not Sanchez fault.

He has no help.

Holmes is gone for the season with a Lis Franc injury. Stephen Hill has been nursing a hamstring strain. Patrick Turner was cut. Jeremy Kerley has scored twice this year and been as close to a productive wideout as it gets for the Jets but he is no #1 guy on any other team. Tim Tebow has one pass and that was last week when he connected with Dedrick Epps who got busted in the knee and was released on Monday. Dustin Keller has been gone since week one with a hamstring injury. Last year there were veterans like Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason and Holmes. Guys who at least once upon a time were productive. Now it is Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens as the starting receivers? Joe McKnight was changed to a cornerback last week, did poorly on his few plays and is back to being just more dead space on the running back depth chart.

It would make some sense to use Tebow in a rush heavy attack only there are no running backs on the roster that we know of. Shonn Greene may have finally wore out his welcome after four years of falling forward and trying to roll. HC Rex Ryan said he would consider other runners but then gave Greene 11 carries (34 yards) and Bilal Powell only ran four times (11 yards). There are only two real answers here.

1. Start Jonathan Grimes at running back. Yes, he comes from the HOU practice squad and will probably suck as much as Greene and Powell but we don't know that for sure yet. Or maybe Lex Hilliard who just signed.

2. Start Tebow and just let him run it every play. The wins won't likely come but at least the media finally gets what they want.

This will be an interesting week to see how the Jets respond. They are 2-2. But they look like they may be 2-14 at the end.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 27 31 19 28 25 6
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 2 14 2 6 3 7

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, NYJ @BUF 6013200000 *
Forte scored in the earlier meeting with Detroit, amusing 89 yards on 27 touches; he also ceded a score to Jeremy Langford. Of late it's been Ka'Deem Carey stealing the scores while Langford swipes touches, despite Forte being more productive than either. A back injury could relegate the free agent-to-be to the back burner once again, so keep an eye on the injury report.

Update: Forte is listed as questionable after participating only on a limited basis in practice this week. Do the Bears use him without regard for the future since he's a free agent this offseason? Does Forte shut himself down so he's not damaged goods on the open market? Lots of variables here making Forte a risky fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ @BUF 005801000 ***
Marshall has scored in seven of his last eight, including a touchdown in the earlier meeting with the Bills. Since that matchup the Bills have given up 9-117 to Amendola, 9-160-1 to Maclin, 5-88-1 to Hopkins, and 6-153-1 to DJax. In other words, all systems go once again for Marshall.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, NYJ @BUF 007601000 ***
The league's ultimate wingman scored in the earlier meeting with Buffalo, has scored in three straight, has scored or topped 100 yards in five straight, and should once again be the best sideman since Oliver Hardy teamed with Stan Laurel against a Buffalo defense that's allowed multiple receivers to score or top 60 yards--often both--in 11 of 15 games this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ @BUF 003500000 ***
With Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker taking big bites there often isn't enough left over for the likes of Enunwa--especially with Kenbrell Thompkins battling for a share as well. It's not as if the Bills are a shutdown secondary, but it's tough to trust tertiary guys to deliver the fantasy goods.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, NYJ @BUF 1133 ***
The Sex Pistols sang
"Never mind the Bullocks", but
doesn't apply here

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

a d v e r t i s e m e n t