FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: BUF 17, HOU 30 (Line: HOU by 10)

Players to Watch: Arian Foster vs. #32 Defense against RBs

Players Updated: Ben Tate

The 3-4 Bills arrive with a 2-2 road record but were waxed 3-45 by the 49ers the last time they faced a good defense on the road. The 6-1 Texans are coming off their bye week with likely the softest matchup of the year.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE 28-52 13 JAC -----
5 @SF 3-45 14 STL -----
6 @ARI 19-16 15 SEA -----
7 TEN 34-35 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Fred Jackson 50 4-20
RB C.J. Spiller 40 4-30,1
WR Mike Williams 4-60,1
TE Scott Chandler 4-40
PK Dan Carpenter 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The important thing to remember for this game is that the Bills are no better than the defense is good or bad. Meaning at home against soft defenses like Kansas City or Tennessee, the Bills slap up 34+ points on the score board. On the road versus a great defense and they only managed three points against the 49ers. Playing in Houston is going to be much more like playing in San Francisco than hosting the Titans or Chiefs.

Ryan Fitzpatrick scored 15 touchdowns so far with nine interceptions but his last two road games produced no touchdowns and fewer than 160 pass yards in each. Fitzpatrick is a mirror of the Bills - he is greatly productive against a bad defense but then is mediocre when the opponent sports a decent defense. Notable too is that he has never thrown more than 208 yards in any road game this year.

Scott Chandler is no longer a fantasy factor with no scores or ever more than 40 yards in the last three weeks. He's been decent when at home against soft defenses and really no other time.

The passing offense mainly relies on Stevie Johnson who has four touchdowns on the season but never more than 82 yards in any game and in his last two road trips versus decent defenses he was unable to score. No other wideout here has any reliable fantasy value. Donald Jones shows up only at home against bad defenses.

The offense runs through both backs who have been used as much as receivers lately as they were runners. Both backs have marginal rushing stats in games because they share carries and neither gets more than about a dozen carries in most games. C.J. Spiller is the more productive runner with four rushing scores on the year and 70+ yards in each of the last two games. Jackson has been solid with 50 or so rushing yards and he scored in Arizona as did Spiller. Jackson has been more used as a receiver lately with 13 catches for 79 yards and a score over the last two weeks. Spiller is still good there as well with ten receptions for 54 yards in those two games.

The last time the Bills went on the road to face a good defense they were destroyed in San Francisco. They catch a Texans team fresh off their bye and can only hope for enough garbage time to get in meaningful scores and yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 18 4 22 18 31 14
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 9 3 15 21 3 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB EJ Manuel, BUF SD 10000021011 ***
The Bolts served up multiple TD tosses to both QBs they've faced thus far this year, but Manual hasn't thrown multiples since Week 15 of last year. That means he'll need a rushing score to salvage his fantasy day, and the Chargers haven't allowed a QB rushing TD since Week 3 of last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF SD 5003201000 ***
Spiller is essentially sharing carries with Fred Jackson, which against a stout San Diego defense won't amount to much in the way of fantasy help. However, he's also involved in the passing game and special teams (see last week's return TD), and that's a place the Bolts are vulnerable so don't write off Spiller as a lost cause this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF SD 3003200000 ****
Only four teams have allowed fewer rushing yards this year than the Chargers... but only three teams have allowed more receiving yards to RBs. Jackson can get his work done in the passing game to salvage his fantasy day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF SD 005700000 ***
On the heels of his bustout game last week Watkins gets a San Diego defense that has for the most part kept opposing wideouts in check--with the notable exception of speed guys like Michael Floyd, who had 119 receiving yards, and Percy Harvin, who had a 51-yard TD* run. Watkins certainly has speed to burn, so if you're dipping into the Buffalo passing game for fantasy help this week he's your best bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF SD 004500000 ***
Woods' brief run as the Bills' go-to receiver lasted all of one game as he was leap-frogged last week by Sammy Watkins. No reason to think he'll get that gig back any time soon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Williams, BUF SD 002300000 ***
Williams has 39 yards in two games as a Bill, and the Chargers haven't been overly friendly to opposing passing games--especially secondary targets. This isn't rocket science.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF SD 002200000 ***
Mr. September's window of opportunity is slamming shut, and a Chargers' defense that's surrendered just three TE receptions on the year is likely to help hasten the process.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF SD 3311 ***
There's something to be said for tagging along on an offense that's good enough to get close but not good enough to seal the deal; that's how Carpenter has come to lead the NFL in field goals. You could do worse if you were reaching for kicking help this week.

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 43-13 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 220,2
RB Arian Foster 120,2 4-30
WR Andre Johnson 6-90,1
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
Update: Foster was limited in practice all week and is officially listed as questionable, putting a damper on an otherwise optimistic prognostication.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
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.

Pregame Notes: The Texans come off their bye with likely their softest match-up of the year. After this will be four road games over five weeks before winding down the season with double wins over the Colts and against the Vikings. WIth a healthy lead over the rest of the division, at least the Texans will continue to play hard to ensure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

Matt Schaub still hasn't thrown a 300 yard game this year and may not with such a dominating rushing effort and a defense that keeps game scores lower. Unfortunately, his production varies greatly from game to game. He is not reliable for more than one passing score and lower 200's in passing yardage. Even less so in a home game against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league.

Arian Foster has been less prolific in yardage and only caught one pass in all but one game. But his rushing tends to produce 80+ yards and more important, he is a scoring machine that never fails to notch a touchdown this season. After seven games played, Foster scored nine rushing touchdowns and one as a receiver. Even when he had his one bad yardage game that totaled only 41 yards against the Packers he still scored twice. Ben Tate actually offered some fantasy value last year but not so for 2012. He has not turned in any real production since week two.

Andre Johnson is still good enough to merit a fantasy start every week but with only two touchdowns and never more than 86 yards since the season opener, he's just an average sort of wideout. Not the league leader of years past. What's worse is two games that produced under 25 yards. And yet that is still better than any other wideout for the Texans. Kevin Walter hangs on to the flanker spot but has no consistency or reliability.

Surprisingly, Owen Daniels has moved up to being the primary receiver for the Texans. He is the leading scorer with four receiving touchdowns and offers consistency in yardage with 50 to 70 yards in most games. Johnson still receives more targets, Daniels just catches almost all of his and scores more.

This could be fun. The best rushing offense at home facing the worst defense. You can only dream of these sort of match-ups.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 24 1 29 3 5 2
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 30 32 27 15 19 22

INSERT

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

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