Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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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
  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.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 10 26 3 12 30 19
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 3 8 4 8 3 8

QB Aaron Rodgers, GB @DET 0000026020 ***
Before you pencil Rodgers in for something gaudy, note that in the two meetings since Matt Flynn embarrassed the Lions for 480 and 6 Green Bay QBs have totaled 413 and 1. Rodgers hasn't throw for multiple TDs against Detroit since November 2012 or topped 275 yards against them since November 2011. The Lions haven't allowed a multiple TD tosser this year, though Rodgers is a step up from Eli and Cam. Still, check expectations at the door.
RB Eddie Lacy, GB @DET 4013200000 ***
The good news is similarly-sized backs Rashad Jennings and Jonathan Stewart have both scored against the Lions this year. The bad: Detroit's D is allowing a shade over two yards per carry. Lacy himself is barely above three and was held to 16 yards on 10 carries his last trip to Motown. Still playable in TD-heavy systems, but yardage leagues may want to shop around.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @DET 008901000 ***
30 targets, 18 catches... so what if Jordy hasn't done a think against Detroit since tallying a hat trick in Matt Flynn's record-setter at the end of the 2011 season? Detroit has allowed only one WR TD and one WR to top 50 yards, but given the quarterbacking (and to some degree the receivers) they've faced those numbers are misleading. Nelson's an every-week starter, even if you need to dial back expectations just a hair this week.
WR Randall Cobb, GB @DET 005601000 ***
Cobb may be playing second fiddle to Jordy Nelson, but at least one TD in each game is sweet music to fantasy owners. Cobb rushed for 72 yards the last time he faced Detroit, so perhaps he can augment his fantasy value with a little legwork as well.
WR Davante Adams, GB @DET 002400000 ***
Welcome to the party, rookie! Unfortunately, all signs point towards reduced production from the Packers passing game this week and that reduction starts at the bottom, where Adams and Jarrett Boykin are battling for looks.
WR Jarrett Boykin, GB @DET 001200000 ***
Being blanked by Richard Sherman is one thing; being usurped by a rookie in the Packers' passing game pecking order is something else entirely.
TE Andrew Quarless, GB @DET 002200000 ***
The Lions have had their difficulties defending the tight end this year; too bad the Packers don't have a reliable one for fantasy purposes.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @DET 1133 ***
You'd think Crosby would appreciate going indoors after kicking at Lambeau, but he hasn't mustered multiple field goals in Motown since 2011. The Packers have averaged 16 points per game their last four visits to Detroit, which doesn't help Crosby's prospects.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  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 Ronnie Brown 5-50
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.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 23 2 31 7 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 24 13 21 22 14 15

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU @NYG 0000021010 ***
Fitz has underwhelmed statistically and talent-wise is much closer to Drew Stanton (167 & 0 vs the Giants) than Matthew Stafford (346 & 2). Plan accordingly.
RB Arian Foster, HOU @NYG 9013200000 ***
With back-to-back 100-yard efforts Foster is carrying the offense in Houston. Unlikely that a Giants D that's allowed 258 combo yards and two RB TDs this year will put up much of a fight.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU @NYG 400000000 ***
Blue is seeing an uptick in touches, but right now his fantasy value comes primarily as Arian Foster's handcuff.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @NYG 004501000 ***
Not only is Hopkins carving out a strong WR1B role and moving up fast on Andre Johnson, he's also become the designated scorer in the passing game. Converse of AJ, Hopkins is best used in TD-heavy scoring formats and a work in progress in performance leagues.
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @NYG 007800000 ***
Andre's been the Texans' yardage receiver, but--and stop me if you've heard this before--touchdowns are harder for him to come by. He's gold in PPR and yardage leagues, but more like tin in TD formats.
TE Garrett Graham, HOU @NYG 002200000 ***
The days of Texans tight ends being fantasy rock stars are gone. Unless you count JJ Watt.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @NYG 1133 ***
The Giants have allowed at least three field goal attempts in each game this season, and Randy comes off a three field goal game of his own. For a week, at least, we can't use the "it never gets old" never mind the Bullocks line.

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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