FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: BAL 17, HOU 30 (Line: HOU by 6)

Players to Watch: Arian Foster, maybe even Ben Tate

The Ravens squeaked past the Cowboys last week but his the road where they are only 1-1 and just lost two of their best defenders. The Texans come off a crushing defeat by the Packers that knocked them off their unbeaten perch. The Ravens beat the visiting Texas 29-14 in week six last year and later 20-13 when they hosted the Divisional Round of the playoffs. This time the game is in Houston where the Texans are ticked about losing so poorly to Green Bay and they will want revenge on the Ravens whose defense is suddenly shredded by injury.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 11 @PIT -----
3 NE 31-30 12 @SD -----
4 CLE 23-16 13 PIT -----
5 @KC 9-6 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL 31-29 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 10 260,1
RB Danny Woodhead 20 2-20
WR Mike Wallace 6-80,1
TE Benjamin Watson 1-10
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Losing CB Lardarius Webb and MLB Ray Lewis for the rest of the year is going to an even bigger hole in a defense that already was dealing with injuries and a reduced ability to stop opponents. Week eight offers a chance to regroup on the bye but a trip to Houston this week is not what this team needed.

For being a wide open passing attack, Joe Flacco has not been the source of scoring in most games. Over the last three weeks, Flacco has only passed for two touchdowns and was blanked in Kansas City. He has managed decent yardage in most home games but only posted 234 yards and one score on the Cowboys last week and never more than 232 yards in a road game. He is connecting better with the wide receivers but at the expense of the tight ends.

Ray Rice may not be quite as prolific as last year but he's still plenty productive and consistent with around 100 total yards as the worst he has offered thus far. Concerning is that Rice has not scored in a road game though his rushing yardage has been healthy even away from Baltimore. There is a minor concern that the loss of defenders for the Ravens could mean higher opponent scores and less ability to just rush the ball. But Rice can catch the ball as well as run it. He has been held to just one catch in the last two weeks though and that too may be a function of Flacco connecting better with wide receivers.

Dennis Pitta was the man for the first three weeks as he racked up 18 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns. But he has just seven catches for 55 yards in the last three outings and can be safely dropped. Pitta was a factor until the passing game started to hit its stride. He's more of a blocker now.

Anquan Boldin has been responsible for most of the growth of the offense. He has turned in at least 82 yards and four catches in each of the last three weeks including nine catches for 131 yards versus the visiting Browns. Against the Cowboys and their improved cornerbacks. Boldin posted five receptions for 98 yards. Torrey Smith has been mostly quiet for the last couple of weeks though he scored once on the Cowboys. His four touchdowns lead the Ravens while no other wideout has more than one score.

The Ravens will try to run Rice but that should have minimal success since no one has rushed in a touchdown on the Texans and almost all runners end up with fewer than 70 rushing yards. Knowing Rice is central to their offense, the Texans will specifically plot to limit him. But the passing lanes should be better now that both Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have shown that you can throw on the Texans. The question is if that can be enough with a lack of scoring from Flacco.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 15 7 16 17 7 7
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 12 4 16 9 3 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL @CLE 0000023010 ***
Flacco, even at his best this year, doesn't warrant fantasy consideration. The Browns have permitted two TD passes per game vs. just one total interception in the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alex Collins, BAL @CLE 9012200000 ***
Collins been a fantasy weapon over the past month of play, registering five TDs in four games. The Browns gave up 42 yards on seven carries to him in his Ravens debut. Over the past five weeks, Cleveland has given up 98.2 rushing yards (13th) and 44.4 receiving yards (13th) per game. RBs have managed five offensive touchdowns in as many games, or one every 29.6 touches (17th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL @CLE 3002200000 ***
Allen could find the end zone to offset his lack of touches, though it is a risk not worth taking with playoff advancement on the line. The backfield belongs to Alex Collins at this point.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, BAL @CLE 1004300000 ***
Woodhead sees a few targets and is barely worthy of fantasy consideration at this point. The Browns have allowed reasonable figures to the position lately, giving up five catches (15th) for 44.4 yards (13th) and a TD every 12.5 snags.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @CLE 004601000 ***
Wallace caught one pass for seven yards in the Week 2 meeting. The veteran scored twice against Cleveland in one game last year. The Browns have yielded the eighth-most points in PPR and 12th-highest average in standard, giving up a TD per game in the past five. The veteran did not practice Wednesday (ankle), so check back for more clarity.

Update: Wallace will be a gametime call as questionable. The veteran didn't practice in full once this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, BAL @CLE 003400000 ***
Cleveland provides a great PPR matchup and a pretty good standard opponent. The Browns have allowed the fourth-most receptions and 12th-most yards on a weekly clip, with one TD per game coming in the last five games. Maclin posted a 4-31-1 line in the Week 2 contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Benjamin Watson, BAL @CLE 003301000 **
This is the ninth-best matchup for finding the end zone. Three of the past 20 receptions against Cleveland found paydirt, and Watson has outside appeal for a low-end starting lineup spot.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CLE 4422 ***
Tucker faces a Cleveland team that provides top-10 matchups for both extra points and field goal attempts on a weekly clip. This is the No. 8 matchup for exploitation.

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 24-42 15 IND -----
7 BAL ----- 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: The Texans fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when the Packers handled them in most every facet of the game. That probably said more than the Packers than the Texans though and the incoming Ravens do not have nearly as many weapons to use in their passing attack. With only a bye waiting on the other side, figure on this week being about dusting themselves off from last week and reasserting their dominance against a visiting team already weaker on the road and that just lost two more critical defenders.

Matt Schaub was unable to rally the Texans in the face of the onslaught by the Packers and passed for just 232 yards and no touchdowns. He threw a freakish four scores in Denver but otherwise has only four touchdowns over the other five games with most remaining right around that 200 yard "average" mark. It doesn't help Schaub that the Texans always bring in running plays when close to the endzone. He has marginal fantasy value and is hard to rely on even to fill in for a bye.

Arian Foster only gained 29 yards on 17 runs against the suddenly inspired Packers but he still scored two touchdowns. That makes at least one score in every game and eight touchdowns on the year. He is only caught one pass in each of the last four games so his touchdowns are the saving grace in a fantasy sense. Last week was a freakish low rushing total - Foster has been good for at least 80 rush yards in all the other games. He takes up such a big part of the rushing load that Ben Tate has lost all value besides backing up Foster should he ever miss a game.

Owen Daniels was held to just 46 yards on three catches last week but that broke a three week streak of touchdowns and decent yardage. Outside of Andre Johnson, Daniels remains a much used target and preferred receiver for Schaub.

Andre Johnson comes off his most productive game since the season opener when he caught eight passes for 75 yards on the Packers though much of that came later in the game when the defense was allowing the underneath throws. Thanks to the great rushing effort and usually dominant defense, the need to throw to any receiver has not been great in most games and that translates even to Johnson who has not scored since week three and was only good for one catch for 15 yards in the week five match-up against the Jets.

This is a good week to face the Ravens. They just lost their best cornerback and MLB Ray Lewis was not only their leading tackler but the heart and soul of the defense. The Texans should be plenty focused after their loss last week and will look to exploit the injury-ravaged defense.

The Ravens were already weaker against the run before losing Lewis and have allowed six rushing touchdowns already this year. They gave up 216 rush yards to the Cowboys and 200 rush yards to the Chiefs the week before. This will be a good week to own Arian Foster... not that they are not all that way...

I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 27 2 30 7 8 8
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 8 20 21 13 23 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB T.J. Yates, HOU @JAC 40000017002 *
If Tom Savage (concussion) is incapable of playing this week, look elsewhere. The Jaguars have boasted one of the toughest defenses of the position all year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU @JAC 5003200000 ***
Miller (knee) was limited Wednesday. Success on the ground has been hard to come by vs. the Jaguars. Since Week 9, the position has averaged 75.2 rushing yards (8th fewest) and hasn't scored over the course of 100 carries. Miller's best hope is to catch a few passes from the backfield. He mustered 11.6 PPR points without scoring in the Week 1 contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, HOU @JAC 1005400000 **
Jacksonville has done a masterful job of bottling up RBs in every facet but through the air. This is a byproduct of how good the Jags are against wideouts. Since Week 9, this group has given up 6.8 receptions (3rd) and 51.2 yards (7th) per game. Three of the 34 total catches have scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @JAC 002300000 *
Nuk was a viable fantasy play in the Week 1 game, going for 7-55-1 with Tom Savage starting. The Jacksonville defense has ranked strongly against receivers all year, but in the past five games, one in every 8.8 catches has scored (3rd), or one TD per game. Perhaps this is slightly misleading, given the 8.8 receptions allowed rates as the fewest in this time.

Update: Hopkins showed up on Thursday's report as a DNP with a toe injury. He was listed as questionable Friday and also sat. The matchup stinks, and gamers may see a poor return on a starting investment. Check 90 minutes before kickoff for his final game status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller V, HOU @JAC 002200000 ***
He didn't play in the Week 1 meeting. The Jaguars have smothered wideouts all year long, and trusting Fuller in a fantasy lineup is unwise. Receivers have average only 8.8 catches a game (worst in football).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Stephen Anderson, HOU @JAC 003300000 *
Jacksonville has been stout against the position, giving up just 8.3 PPR points a game. One of the last 18 catches, spanning five games, has scored.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU @JAC 1100 ***
Having surrendered only eight field goal and extra point attempts apiece in the last five games, Jacksonville has provided the fourth-fewest opportunities in this time.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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