FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6
2012
PIT at TEN (THU) *DET at PHI *MIN at WAS *STL at MIA
BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: GB 20, HOU 24 (Line: HOU by 5)

Players Updated: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley

Players to Watch: James Starks, Alex Green

The 2-3 Packers bring their 0-2 road record to Houston where the 5-0 Texans come off a short week.The Packers offensive strengths match the Texans defensive strength. I'll raise you one Arian Foster and rake in the chips.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA 12-14 12 @NYG -----
4 NO 28-27 13 MIN -----
5 @IND 27-30 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20 260,2
RB James Starks 30
WR Randall Cobb 4-60
WR Jordy Nelson 2-40
TE Jared Cook 3-30,1
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers drag their losing record down to Houston with a couple of notable injuries and an inability to score more than 28 points in any game. The Packers were a scoring machine in 2011 but now struggle to post more than two touchdowns against all but the weakest of defenses. Their last three games were all decided by three points or less and came one point away from being a 1-4 record. Playing on the road has been even tougher for the Packers who now miss Cedric Benson, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley has a bad shoulder.

Aaron Rodgers has bounced back with seven touchdowns in the last two weeks but facing the Saints and Colts have made that happen. Against the tougher defenses of Seattle and Chicago he only totals one touchdown and passed for no more than 223 yards in either game. Rodgers has also been hurt by worse pass blocking and has 21 sacks already this year with 13 coming in just the two games against those two good defenses. Rodgers is dealing with a diminished set of receivers thanks to injuries and this year has not been good enough to rise above the challenges.

Cedric Benson suffered a Lis franc injury to his foot and will be out at least eight weeks meaning he won't show up until the end of the year if even then. In his place the Packers are likely to use a committee between Alex Green who they cannot trust with a full load and James Starks who has been out with a turf toe but should be ready to return. The reality is that even left to just one runner, the rushing stats here have been marginal and Benson had just one touchdown on the year.

Jermichael Finley says that he will play this week though HC Mike McCarthy was less certain after he suffered a shoulder injury last week. Finley has not scored since the season opener and has been stuck at four catches for moderate yardage every week when healthy anyway.

Greg Jennings missed last week with his groin injury and is no lock to return for this game. In his place James Jones has been very effective with two scores in each of the last two games though only around 50 yards in each. In a matter of just two games as a replacement for Jennings, Jones is now the scoring leader for the Packers with five touchdowns. No one else has more than just one. Randall Cobb just had his first touchdown last week and has also seen a nice uptick in receptions and yardage since Jennings left. Jordy Nelson has been unable to rekindle the magic he had in 2011 when he was a scoring machine in every home game. His only truly good fantasy game came at home against the Saints when he posted 93 yards and one score on eight catches. Otherwise he has just struggled to do anything in road games where he has only caught two passes for no more than 30 yards in either Seattle or Indianapolis. He's barely relevant at home and nearly invisible when he is away.

This does not match up well with the Texans who have not allowed more than two scores to any opposing quarterback and after five games no running back has scored a rushing touchdown. The only decent game by a runner was shockingly Chris Johnson when the Texans openly allowed the Titans to run draws when they were hopelessly behind on the scoreboard. Worse yet there have only been two touchdowns given up to any wide receivers and none of them had more than 50 receiving yards in Houston.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 10 26 3 12 30 19
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 3 8 4 8 3 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB HOU 30000028031 ***
Rodgers is the hottest thing going among fantasy quarterbacks right now, and Houston's once-strong pass defense has trended the wrong direction for several weeks now. QBs have averaged a TD every 11.3 completions, which ranks 10th best for exploitation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James Starks, GB HOU 4004300000 ***
The Texans have bent quite a bit versus RBs, but on this unit has not broken on the ground. Through the air, though, the Texans have allowed three TDs on the last 29 receptions faced. Starks is used a lot in the screen game, so there is hope for a sneaky TD. Don't bank on it, though.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB HOU 006601000 ***
Cobb is extremely tough to play on a weekly basis, but facing a Houston defense that has allowed a touchdown per game since Week 7, he has a puncher's chance at success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB HOU 005601000 ***
Adams has seen at least six targets in every game since Week 6, and he has found the end zone five times during that stretch. While he has been a little streaky, gamers must keep him in lineups. The Texans have regressed against receivers of late, so this is another worthy matchup for the blossoming wideout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB HOU 003401000 ***
Nelson's return tour rolls on with a decent enough matchup to instill a hint of confidence in the extension of his five-game string of double-digit fantasy points. He has scored a TD in four of his last five outings, and the Texans have given up one touchdown, on average, over the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, GB HOU 004300000 ***
Houston has given up 23 catches and two of them found the end zone, but given Cook's erratic involvement, it's tough to justify plugging the veteran into a fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB HOU 1133 ***
Houston offers a solidly neutral matchup for Crosby. This group has given up 6.5 fantasy points per contest over the last five weeks to kickers.

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 23-17 14 @NE -----
6 GB ----- 15 IND -----
7 BAL ----- 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 240,1
RB Lamar Miller 30,1
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Texans join the Falcons as the only unbeaten teams in the NFL and with three straight home games coming up, that may not change. The schedule becomes much more challenging starting in week ten with four road trips out of five weeks but these Texans are the real deal and their defense will always help them to stay in every game. Add in one of the top rushing attacks in the league and it is a safe bet that the Texans will be still busy in January.

One notable here - ILB and 2011 team MVP Brian Cushing appears to have torn his ACL on Monday night and that will poke a hole in an otherwise great defense.

Matt Schaub is still mostly a game manager and has the luxury of usually playing with a lead. He has scored in all but one game but rarely has more than low 200's in passing yardage and has only eight passing scores over five games played. But he has just two interceptions on the season and never has to throw more than 35 times in any game. With a dominating ground game, Schaub is hard to rely on for a big game because the easier the opponent is, the more likely he'll just hand off for most of the day.

Arian Foster is the top fantasy back in most leagues and has a NFL-best six touchdowns on the season with 106 rushing yards per game. He has not had even a remotely moderate game this year since he has scored every week and produced solid yardage though with minimal receptions. Brandon Tate has been out with a toe injury but his replacement Justin Forsett only gained six yards on four carries against the Jets and is no jeopardy of keeping the back-up spot when Tate is healthy. Safe assumption this week with the Packers visiting is that the Texans will be running the ball no less than they have every week.

The only bad fantasy surprise this year is that Owen Daniels has become the preferred target for Schaub and has scored in each of the last three games while turning in 70 yard or so almost every week. That is bad because Andre Johnson has become an afterthought in this offense and was held to only one catch for 15 yards by the Jets. Worse yet he dropped two of his six targets. No other receiver here remotely matters. Kevin Walter has the only touchdown among wideouts.

This should be interesting since the Packers have a good rushing defense that has only allowed one rushing touchdown for a running back back in the season opener and held all but Frank Gore to under 100 rushing yards. But this is the best rushing team that the Packers have faced and on the road no less. The pass defense has given up two or more touchdowns in all but one game. The Texans are on a shorter week but back at home will be good enough here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 23 2 31 7 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 24 13 21 22 14 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, HOU @GB 10100023011 ***
Green Bay offers the second highest opportunity rating that has translated into surrendering the seventh most fantasy points per game since Week 7. Quarterbacks have averaged 298.6 yards and a TD every 10.5 completions vs. Green Bay. A great matchup shouldn't translate to a starting gig for Osweiler in fantasy, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU @GB 6002100000 ***
Green Bay went from being the toughest opponent for RBs to face much of the season to becoming fantasy's most opportunistic matchup in PPR over the last five weeks. While it has allowed only the fifth most PPR points, Green Bay is dead last in allowing running TDs, combined scores, and points per touch in that window.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @GB 005600000 ***
Is this the week Nuk goes bonkers? Probably not, but the numbers work in his favor. Green Bay has allowed receivers to score once every 7.1 grabs, which is the second weakest defense of this category. The Packers offer the fifth most exploitable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller, HOU @GB 003400000 ***
Fuller has upside against a weak secondary like Green Bay's, although trusting Brock Osweiler can do his end of the deal is risky.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @GB 003300000 ***
Miller sees scraps each week and doesn't (yet) belong in the fantasy conversation for traditional leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU @GB 005501000 ***
Green Bay has permitted the fourth most fantasy points on a per-game basis using data since Week 7. This stems from giving up the fourth most catches and fifth highest yardage figure per meeting over that span.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU @GB 1122 ***
Green Bay has given up the fifth most combined kicking tries and ninth highest fantasy points average to kickers since Week 7.

WEEK 6
2012
PIT at TEN (THU) *DET at PHI *MIN at WAS *STL at MIA
BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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