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
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 Kyle Orton, BUF @NE 0000025021 **
Orto threw for 299 and 2 in the earlier meeting with New England, but he'd been in a bit of a slump until last week's 329 and 3 in Oakland. He'll catch the Patriots with nothing to play for, but he's still a bit of a risky fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Fred Jackson, BUF @NE 2007500000 ***
Jackson has scored in three of his last four against the Patriots, and four of his last six--including a rushing TD in the earlier meeting with New England. The risk is that the Bills know what they have in Jackson so they may give CJ Spiller some extra looks--but that's just one of the many risks you run with a Week 17 title game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Spiller, BUF @NE 3003200000 ***
Spiller returned to four carries for negative four yards last week in Oakland, along with four catches for 14 yards. But he actually has a decent track record in New England, topping 100 combo yards on each of his last three visits and scoring in two of his last four trips to Gillette Stadium. If the Bills opt to give him an audition to keep his job, he has a decent shot of carving out some fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Robert Woods, BUF @NE 007701000 **
With Darrelle Revis all over Sammy Watkins, Woods paced the Bills in the earlier matchup with 7-78-1. Woods also scored last week, and they're likely to be playing catchup so another solid fantasy outing wouldn't surprise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, BUF @NE 004500000 ***
Hogan has the distinct advantage of not drawing Darrelle Revis. He scored in the earlier matchup and is a viable option if New England's varsity corners stick around long enough to blanket Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF @NE 003300000 **
Watkins was shut down by Darrelle Revis in the earlier meeting, but with New England having locked up home field advantage Revis may make an early exit. You wanna hang your fantasy hat on that, go ahead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Scott Chandler, BUF @NE 004401000 ***
Chandler had his best game of the season, 105 yards, in the earlier meeting with New England. He scored last week and, given the strength of the Patriots' corners, is a viable alternative for Kyle Orton--and thus a fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Dan Carpenter, BUF @NE 1122 ***
New England has allowed multiple field goals in five of their last six; Carpenter has kicked multiple field goals in five of his last seven. Expect an uptick over his two point performance against the Patriots earlier this season--maybe even a big one if Bill Belichick starts playing the JV sooner rather than later.

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
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, HOU JAC 20000018000 ***
At this point it's no longer a surprise that the Jags aren't the cupcake matchup many assume; Tony Romo in Week 10 is the last quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns against them, and not since Philip Rivers in Week 4 have they surrendered a 300-yard game. No reason to think Keenum's stat line gets well this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU JAC 13023200000 ***
Foster has seven touchdowns in seven career games against the Titans; that total includes four 100-yard rushing days as well. He's averaged 25 carries per game over the past three, producing 322 yards in the process. No reason to think he won't find similar success against the Jags this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU JAC 301000000 **
If Arian Foster goes down with an injury, or if the Texans get ahead by so much they can start playing the backups, or if Foster just needs to share the load in what by necessity will be a run-first game plan for Houston... well, then, you're my boy, Blue!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU JAC 004700000 ***
Reduced quarterback numbers trickle down to reduced receiver numbers, as the Texans haven't had a WR TD or a receiver top 80 yards in almost a month. That stretch includes a combined 10 WR catches (on 14 targets) against the Jags; tough to carve fantasy value out of such a small number, even though Hopkins has taken over as the Texan's WR1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU JAC 002200000 ***
Graham's been dinged up, leaving Ryan Griffin to get the targets... except when CJ Fiedorowicz steals the touchdowns. It's a cluster, with not nearly enough production to float one boat let alone three.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU JAC 1144 ***
Bullock has at least nine points in three of his last four, including Week 14 in Jacksonville. Balance the motivation of a Houston squad still alive for the postseason with the issues of a backup-to-the-backup quarterback and you should still get a solid kicker outing this week.

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