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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 Ronnie Brown 10 6-50
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 @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.
  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.

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 Jay Cutler, CHI @NYJ 0000029031 ****
Cutler has multiple TD tosses in each game this year; the Jets have allowed multiple touchdown passes to both Aaron Rodgers (expected) and--in his NFL debut--Derek Carr (far from expected). Assuming one or both of Cutler's top targets manage to make it to the field, he's a rock-solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @NYJ 5006400000 ****
Forte is scoreless on the season, and he'll get no help from a stout Jets' run defense. The saving grace is Forte's contribution to the passing game, though he's still facing an uphill battle to provide his usual fantasy stud-ness.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI @NYJ 0081002000 ****
Even nicked up Marshall was a rock star last week; no reason to sit him against a Jets defense that just got light up for 209 yards by Jordy Nelson and two TDs by Randall Cobb.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @NYJ 005701000 **
If the Raiders can have multiple receivers find the end zone against the Jets, surely a healthy (or at least healthier) Jeffery can join Brandon Marshall in the fantasy winner's circle this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Santonio Holmes, CHI @NYJ 002200000 ****
Right now Holmes is the third wheel on Chicago's tandem bike of a passing game. Unless one of the starters is ruled out this week, Holmes is an unusable fantasy commodity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @NYJ 006300000 ***
The Jets haven't surrendered much to opposing tight ends, but Bennett serves as the Bears' de facto WR3--and gets an upgrade when one or both of the starters are hobbled or out. He's targeted enough so as to defy the difficult matchup and remain a viable fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @NYJ 2233 ****
The Jets provide a situation where bad offenses get nothing and good offenses often have to settle for field goals. That bodes well for Gould, who was forced to count by ones last week against the Niners.

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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