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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 Andre Brown 30 2-10
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 Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU @TEN 0000023020 ***
The Texans have given up multiple touchdown tosses in four straight and seven of eight. Fitz hasn't been nearly that consistent, but for the most part he's capitalized on softer matchups and this is definitely one of those opportunities.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, HOU @TEN 0000010001 *
Matt Schaub is one of only three quarterbacks to take the Titans for multiple touchdown tosses this season; he turned the trip as part of a 298 & 3 outing back in Week 2. That's also the second-most passing yardage allowed by the Titans this season. So of course the Texans will turn the reins over to Keenum this week, facing a Titans defense that's allowed three passing scores in Tennessee all season. Good luck with all that. UPDATE: Keenum is officially a game-time decision; fantasy owners should be able to make their call well in advance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Brown, HOU @TEN 8012200000 *
The Skins have allowed nine RB TDs in the past four games and a league-high 23 on the season. That number includes two from Brown in the earlier meeting, so while he hasn't scored since he should capitalize on the matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Grimes, HOU @TEN 6011100000 **
Opposing backs kill the Titans, but... Jonathan Grimes? The guy who played Uncle Rico, had a role in the vastly underappreciated Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines flick "Running Scared"? No, wait, that's Jonathan Gries. Evidently this guy is a four-year starter from William & Mary with good vision who went undrafted in 2012, then spent time with the Texans, Jets, Texans (again), Jaguars, and after being cut in August returning to Houston last week. Seriously, with the Titans giving up so much on the ground Grimes could be a factor in fantasy leagues decided in Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @TEN 004600000 **
Johnson has been heavily targeted the past three weeks--44 looks, compared to 34 for all the other wideouts on the Houston roster. So even though he'll be tangling with Alterraun Verner--who held AJ to 8-76 in the earlier meeting--he's still the Texans' best bet for passing game fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 003400000 ***
Hopkins went big on the Titans back in Week 2 while Alterraun Verner was tied up with Andre Johnson. However, he hasn't done much since, making it tough to bank on him for fantasy productivity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ryan Griffin, HOU @TEN 005501000 **
The Titans have allowed three TE TDs in the past three games, and they gave up two touchdowns to Texans tight ends in the earlier meeting. Griffin has back-to-back 60-yard games; seems like he's in an ideal spot to capitalize on the opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @TEN 1111 ***
Tennessee has given up the fourth-most points to kickers, but only two to Bullock when they crossed paths back in Week 2. Not much upside to Bullock 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 Domenik Hixon 3-40
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 Jay Cutler, CHI GB 0000026021 ****
Four straight quarterbacks have thrown for multiple touchdowns against the Packers, something Josh McCown also did back in the Week 9 meeting between these clubs. You'll have to trust Cutler to bounce back from 222 & 1 in last week's 54-11 shellacking at the hands of the Eagles, but he had multiple touchdowns in each of the four previous home games he both started and finished so it shouldn't take a great leap of faith.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI GB 8015300000 ***
The Packers have allowed 100-yard rushers in two straight, four of five, and six of eight--a stretch that includes Forte's 125 & 1 back in Week 9. Five of those six 100-yard backs (including Forte) also scored touchdowns. No Clay Matthews, a motivated Bears team gunning for a playoff spot... it all adds up to a very nice fantasy day for Forte.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI GB 005801000 ****
Jeffery's 5-60-1 against Green Bay in the earlier meeting, coupled with Jay Cutler's slight preference for Brandon Marshall, relegate Jeffery to the WR2 role. No biggie: secondary targets have scored in three of four and six of eight against the Pack, so it's all good for Alshon.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI GB 005701000 ***
Doesn't matter if Marshall is WR1 or WR2, though his 13 targets and 7-107-1 in the earlier meeting with Green Bay suggest he's still the alpha. WR1s have topped 100 yards in four of six against the Pack and either scored or topped 100 yards in six of eight. Marshall has 100 yards or a touchdown in three straight and seems to be Jay Cutler's favorite--good news for his fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI GB 003400000 ***
It's been a while since Bennett found the end zone, but he has 156 yards in the past two games as an alternative to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. And against a Packers defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight, Bennett just might make his way back to the end zone as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI GB 2244 ***
Gould tallied nine points in his last meeting with the Packers, has hit double-digits in his last two at home, and will be kicking to get the Bears into the playoffs. Not a bad combo if you're looking for points.

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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