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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 Arian Foster 100,1 1-10

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 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.

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 @MIN 0000026011 **
Cutler returns to the lineup, facing a team he's thrown for 620 yards and six touchdowns (with four INTs) against in the past two games. He won't have Brandon Marshall, but you have to think his "WTF" approach to throwing into coverage will be exacerbated in what could be his final game as a Bear. That's both good and bad; caution on using Cutler if you're penalized for picks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @MIN 8016500000 ***
Forte is working on a 10-game touchdown drought against the Vikings, but hopefully you play in a yardage league because he's had triple-digit combo yards in each of his last four against Minnesota. The Vikings have given up 100-plus combo yards to six of the last seven feature backs they've faced. PPR leaguers are also fond of the matchup; Forte has 25 catches in those same four against the Vikings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @MIN 0071001000 **
In his last two against the Vikings, Jeffery has 23 catches (not a misprint) for 384 yards and three TDs. With no Brandon Marshall to get in his way, all that stands between Jeffery and more monster numbers is a banged-up Xavier Rhodes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI @MIN 003400000 ***
Wilson has been an adequate replacement for Brandon Marshall, but not necessarily someone you should be going out of your way to get into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @MIN 006600000 **
Bennett was nearly nonexistent with Jimmy Clausen at the helm last week, so he'll welcome the return of Jay Cutler. And on the heels of the Vikings giving up 149 yards and a TD to the position last week, Bennett will be happy to be facing Minnesota as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI @MIN 1122 ***
Hope Feely didn't opt for performance-based pay, as the Bears have provided him with exactly zero field goal opportunities since signing him to replace the wounded Robbie Gould one month ago. He could match the three points Gould scored in the earlier meeting with Minnesota, but that's hardly enough to stir the fantasy pot.

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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