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
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 NE 20000027030 ***
Rodgers is money at home, with at least three TD tosses in every Lambeau game this year and 300-plus yards in three of the five. Facing a Bill Belichick defense will be different, but not so much that it keeps him from his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Eddie Lacy, GB NE 10014401000 ****
Lacy has scored in four straight at home and topped 100 combo yards in four straight overall. He's blossomed as a receiver so even if Green Bay can't afford to run him heavily he has ways of padding his fantasy stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jordy Nelson, GB NE 0071001000 ***
Nelson has scored in every home game this year, topping 100 yards in three of the five. Expect the Patriots to have a scheme to take him away, but five games worth of stats suggest that even the best-laid schemes can break down and allow Nelson to provide fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Davante Adams, GB NE 002301000 **
Despite being at best the third wheel in this passing game Adams has scored in three of the past four at home. That's a solid enough trend to make him at least worthy of fantasy consideration this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Randall Cobb, GB NE 005600000 ****
Cobb is just barely behind Jordy Nelson in the passing game pecking order. He's scored in four of five at Lambeau and topped 120 yards in two of his last three at home. He may be tougher to match up with than Nelson, so he may be a bit more matchup proof. Hey, he's too big a part of the offense to be left on the sidelines regardless of matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Andrew Quarless, GB NE 002400000 ***
The Pats have given up some big games to tight ends of late, but with Quarless splitting looks with Richard Rodgers neither makes for a particularly favorable fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB NE 1144 ****
Though he's averaging a shade under two field goals per game at home, Crosby is also averaging more than five PAT attempts per game at home so he's getting the opportunity to make up for it.

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 Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 210,1
RB Arian Foster 110,1 1-10
WR Andre Johnson 4-70,1

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 Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU TEN 0000022011 ****
The Beard is back at the helm, just in time to reprise the 227 & 1 he posted on Tennessee a month ago. The Titans haven't allowed a real fantasy helper to an opposing QB since Week 6, so don't look for Fitz to bounce back with a biggie here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU TEN 12023200000 ***
Foster has a "good chance" to play this week, according to his coach. If he does play he has a great chance to be a fantasy stud according to a Titans' defense that's allowed four straight feature backs to score and top 100 yards--a stretch that includes 1501 and 2 (plus a receiving TD) from Foster one month ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU TEN 4003200000 ***
If Arian Foster can't go Blue makes a great start against a Tennessee defense that's allowed four straight feature backs to score and top 100 yards. Even if Foster plays you could consider Blue as a fringe option; he racked up 64 yards from scrimmage in a wingman role in the earlier meeting with the Titans.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU TEN 005801000 ***
Hopkins was becoming The Guy with Fitzpatrick at the helm; we'll see if that trend continues here but either way it's a low-end fantasy opportunity at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU TEN 004500000 ***
Johnson has become the wingman to DeAndre Hopkins, and most weeks there's barely enough passing game production to make one of them fantasy relevant; tough to bank on two, especially given the difficult matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU TEN 2233 ***
The Titans have given up more than 11 points per game to opposing kickers over their last five outings, so it's an opportunity for the up-and-down Bullock to be up this week.

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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