FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

Prediction: HOU 20, CHI 17 (Line: CHI by 1.5)

Players Updated: Owen Daniels, James Casey

Players to Watch: Brandon Marshall

This should have been the Thursday or Monday game. Granted - not likely to produce a ton of points here but two of the top defenses will meet and both teams sport 7-1 records. The Texas are undefeated on the road and the Bears are unbeaten at home. This is going to be interesting. We just have to hope it doesn't end with as low of a score as seems likely.

This game pits too similar teams. Both have a great defense. Both have one stud receiver and then almost no one else. Both have a great running back who is a dual threat. The Texans have a better offensive line.

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 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 240,2
RB Arian Foster 100,1 1-10
WR Andre Johnson 4-50

Pregame Notes: Naturally the Texans faced their weakest opponent when the Bills visited last week and they scored their lowest total of the year. It was a scrimmage really compared to this week which may be the toughest game left on the schedule along with perhaps the trip to New England in week 14. As it shockingly ends up, the Texans may not lock down the division before playing the Colts twice in the final three weeks. The last two years have scheduled division games mostly in the second half of the season but now they end up the same team twice in the final week.

The Texans have only played in three road games this year and the only good teams they have faced are the Broncos back when they were not yet all together and then the Packers who gave them their only loss.

Matt Schaub is no better than the opponent's secondary allows him to be and that will be a problem this week. Schaub produced four games with two or more touchdowns but three came at home and only in the Denver game was he able to post more than one touchdown pass.

What helps here is that while Andre Johnson is clearly the main threat in the passing game, he is actually not the only one with some level of consistent production. Owen Daniels is the leader in receiving touchdowns with five over the last six games. He rarely tops 60 yards or so but he's been nothing short of a touchdown machine for more than the past month. That helps compensate for the marginal set of wideouts that continue to be of minimal production outside of Johnson. It has to be of concern too that Johnson only caught a total of six passes over his three road games.

Ben Tate remains out with a bad hamstring not that it has mattered much. If anything, Arian Foster owners get the benefit of him getting around 25 touches every week with no one to share with other than Justin Forsett who really, really does not count. Foster played last week with the flu and was vomiting before the game but still gained 74 yards on 12 runs and scored twice. He's scored at least once in every game this year. All nine. He rarely ever has more than one catch though though he is certainly a capable receiver that caught as many as six passes in a game back in week two.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 22 2 30 3 9 4
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 2 4 15 24 5 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, HOU BAL 0000020011 *
Brees, Rivers, Roethlisberger; those are the three quarterbacks who've had fantasy success passing on the Ravens (Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton augmented their numbers with rushing scores). Keenum is nowhere near those gentlemen and should take up a similar proximity to your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU BAL 6016500000 *
Gutted at quarterback, all the Texans will be able to do is hand the ball to Foster and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it's a brutal matchup with a Ravens defense that hasn't allowed a back to top 68 yards all year or 59 yards in Baltimore. So while Houston will lean heavily on Foster, that doesn't mean big carry numbers will translate directly into big fantasy numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Damaris Johnson, HOU BAL 003500000 ***
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU BAL 004500000 *
Maybe Johnson returns to action this week, but even if he does he has serious issues at quarterback dampening his fantasy impact.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU BAL 00000000 *
The Ravens have had their issues in the secondary, but they've given up just one TD in the past two games and no receiver topped 76 yards in either game. Hopkins should see plenty of targets, but coming from either Thad Lewis or Case Keenum that doesn't necessarily mean much. He's Houston's best bet for fantasy success, but he's far from a sure thing.
Update: Hopkins didn't practice at all this week as he battles an ankle injury. He's listed as questionable, but even if he goes he'll be hampered by both his injury and his quarterback situation.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU BAL 1122 *
Multiple treys are no lock for Bullock, who has turned the trick in just half of his 14 games--and only two of six at home. The Ravens might enable, however, having given up multiple field goals in four straight. Still, we're talking about two field goals and maybe a PAT so don't set the bar too high here.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF -----
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 240,1
RB Matt Forte 50 5-30
WR Brandon Marshall 5-70
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50,1
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears are on a six game winning streak though recent games have been closer than expected. The next two weeks offers an entirely new challenge for the Bears going against two of the very best defenses in the league. The offense remains two dimensional - either Brandon Marshall catches it or Matt Forte runs it. There have been no other successful players in the offense. That's worked well enough against average defenses and the Chicago defense has been a big contributor to the scoreboard as well. This time will be different.

Jay Cutler threw for more than 200 yards only four times and three were in road games, At home he has stuck around one score and sub-200 yardage because the defense and rushing game is good enough to secure the win in almost every game. His yardage is always defined by how well he is able to connect with Marshall.

The tight ends do not always catch a pass each week and remain one of the least used units in the NFL in terms of receptions. Marshall caught seven of the 12 team passing touchdowns and his yardage dwarfs all other receivers - combined. Since Alshon Jeffrey left in week six, no other wideout has produced more than around 50 yards per game and more usually just one or two short catches. Marshall has been probably the most unstoppable receiver in the NFL this year though again - they have not faced a lot of great defenses either. Jeffrey remains out again so chances are pretty good they Texans have noticed that the passing effort starts, thrives and ends with Marshall. Only two teams have seen a wideout manage a big game against the Texans - Packers and Broncos. Both have at least two legitimate threats at wide receiver.

The tandem backfield still leans heavily towards Matt Forte and the closer the game, the more that Forte remains on the field. He's scored in each of the last two games and produced 100+ total yards in each of the last four games. His role as a receiver should see an uptick this week as well given the chance that Cutler cannot merely play pitch-and-catch with Brandon Marshall at will.

Problem this week is that the Texans have not allowed any running back to run in a score this year. None. Only Chris Johnson managed more than 70 yards on them and that was all because of one run. This week will show just how good both teams really are this season. These teams come off so even that both of them only have one loss and the Packers delivered both of them. The Texans also rank in the top ten for not making mistakes and the Bears defense may not be contributing to the scoreboard this week. Hard as that seems to accept by now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 23 15 12 32 4 1
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 9 3 9 11 3 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jimmy Clausen, CHI DET 0000023022 *
Clausen hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2010; heck, he's only thrown nine passes total since 2010. Jay Cutler threw for 280 and 2 in Detroit; sans Brandon Marshall, it's a safe bet Clausen won't approach those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 00000000 *****
Benched for Jimmy Clausen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI DET 3008700000 ***
Worry. Forte's worst game in years came in Detroit in Week 13, when he rushed for six yards on five carries. 52 receiving yards kind of salvaged the day, but with Jimmy Clausen at the helm you can expect the Lions to focus on Forte. It'll be tough to pull the trigger on a replacement, but this doesn't look particularly good for Forte this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI DET 005601000 ***
You might feel positive about this matchup after seeing Jeffery score twice in the earlier meeting, but consider what's happened since then: no Brandon Marshall to draw coverage, and the uber-rusty Jimmy Clausen throwing the ball. He's still reasonably startable, but not with nearly as much confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI DET 003200000 ***
Wilson scored in his first extended action in place of Brandon Marshall, but it's a significantly tougher matchup this week--not to mention a quarterback who hasn't had to progress through his reads in game action for almost four years. Temper your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI DET 007601000 ***
Bennett came up large in the earlier meeting with Detroit, and tight end has been a recent Achilles' heel for the Lions as they've allowed games of 69, 109, and 78 yards and a two-TD game--all in just the past month. Bennett should be a favored target for Jimmy Clausen, but it's still a risky proposition given that Chicago's QB hasn't seen significant action in four years.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI DET 1122 ***
It's a telling sign that in two games as a Bear Feely has more onside kick attempts (4) than total points (3). Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

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