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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: HOU 27, TEN 17 (Line: HOU by 5.5)

Players to Watch: Jake Locker, Chris Johnson

The 10-1 Texans won 38-14 when the 4-7 Titans visited in week four. Just to throw some lack of clarity into this game, the Titans just fired their offensive coordinator Chris Palmer and replaced him with QB coach Dowell Loggains. Hard to imagine that will immediately improve the offense.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET 34-31
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 @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 230,2
RB Arian Foster 100,1 2-10
WR Andre Johnson 5-60,1
WR Damaris Johnson 3-30

Pregame Notes: What a difference a cornerback must make. It may seem extreme, but the last two full games played by CB Johnathan Joseph resulted in allowing a combined 15 points total. In two games without him, the Texans gave up 68 points. And the Jaguars and Lions were hardly the highest scoring teams prior to playing the Texans. Joseph's hamstring wasn't able to heal up in the short week before Thanksgiving but will have ten days to rest before this week.

After Schaub threw for a career best 527 yards and five touchdowns on the Jaguars, he still passed for 315 yards in Detroit though with only one touchdown. Oddly enough, letting the Texans get into shoot-outs these last two weeks have done wonders for the fantasy value of the passing game. Schaub only threw for 202 yards and two scores against the visiting Titans in week four.

Arian Foster was finally held to no touchdowns in week 11 but he was right back at it on Thanksgiving with 102 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He added five catches for 15 yards as well. Ben Tate remains out and in his place Justin Forsett had the cheapest touchdown in the history of the NFL when he was clearly down, then got back up and ran for an 81-yard touchdown. HC Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag which was not to be done since it was to be reviewed anyway. Instead he made the play stand and got a penalty to boot. This team remains pure Foster when it comes to rushing the ball. Foster gained 86 yards and one score in the last meeting with the Titans.

Andre Johnson just set the all-time record for most yardage over two consecutive games with 461 yards. He only scored once on those 23 receptions and it was his only score since week three. Johnson only caught three passes for 56 yards versus the Titans last time. Owen Daniels turned in one of his best games of the season in week three when he reeled in six passes for 72 yards and one touchdown versus the TItans.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 17 1 27 2 4 8
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 26 29 19 29 29 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU @IND 0000019011 ***
Fitz proved his six-pack against the Titans was a fluke by going belly-up to the tune of 135 and zero in Jacksonville. After throwing for 212 and one in a home loss to Indy, there's no reason to look for another fluke here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU @IND 9014201000 ***
Sticking with the run produces fantasy numbers against Indy; so do pass-catching backs, as the Colts have allowed three 50-yard receivers in the past six games. Foster is both, so a reprise of his 109 & 2 rushing, 3-32 receiving performance from the earlier meeting with Indianapolis seems likely. After all, in six career outings against the Colts he's averaging 143 yards and more than a touchdown per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU @IND 300000000 ***
Blue will need to get to 10 touches to be a fantasy factor; he hasn't done that in a game in which Foster has played in in a month and a half.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @IND 007800000 ***
While the transition of Hopkins from wingman to WR1 may be complete, he has yet to prove it against Indy. And the way Andre Johnson has killed the Colts in the past, he may have to wait until AJ calls it a career before he gets his turn. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't likely to feed two fantasy WRs, so if you're picking between the two Hopkins falls short against the Colts.
Update: Hopkins might be Houston's WR1 by default if Andre Johnson can't go, but any optimism that generates is negated by news that Indy's top cover corner, Vontae Davis, likely returns for this game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @IND 003400000 *
Johnson has historically killed the Colts, including his 7-99-1 in the earlier meeting with Indy. He's topped 100 yards three of his last four in Indy, and with Ryan Fitzpatrick likely to feed only one fantasy wideout Johnson's track record gets the nod over DeAndre Hopkins.
Update: Johnson did not practice until Friday--and then only on a limited basis--due to a concussion, and his availability for Sunday is far from assured. Best have a backup plan ready to roll if Johnson is inactive.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @IND 2122 ***
Bullock has 43 points in his last four road games but was held to just four when Indy came to town earlier this year. So any upside is offset by an Indy D that's allowed just one game north of seven points since Week 2.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA 37-3
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC 19-24
4 @HOU 14-38 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN 7-30 14 @IND -----
6 PIT 26-23 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF 35-34 16 @GB -----
8 IND 13-19 17 JAC -----
9 CHI 20-51 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Locker 230,1
RB Shonn Greene 70
RB Dexter McCluster 20 2-20
WR Nate Washington 3-40
WR Kendall Wright 2-30
PK Ryan Succop 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Titans let OC Chris Palmer go after struggling to score against the Jaguars last week and that should make the DC Jerry Gray squirm since his defense has allowed 34+ points six times already this year.

The remaining games are not likely to get much better until the season ender against the Jaguars. The season is already over and what now strikes some fear is if they will start to try out other players or mess around with the offense and impact Chris Johnson since he's been the only real fantasy starter in this offense up until now.

Jake Locker was knocked out of the week four meeting with the Texans that led to him missing six weeks. Matt Hasselbeck ended up with 193 pass yards and two touchdowns in that game that ended up with Kendall Wright (4-46) and Craig Stevens (2-24). Kenny Britt was still out that week and Nate Washington ended with only 43 yards on three receptions in that game.

Chris Johnson actually kicked off his return to prominence in that game when he rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries. He's since posted five more games with at least 90 rushing yards and scored four times. At home there's no worry that the interim OC will change up the one thing that actually works on the offense.

The Texans have been giving up major passing yardage in the last two games which at least in part happened with CB Johnathan Joseph out but he's due to return this week anyway. A switch in coaches is unlikely to spark the offense much, especially against the Texans who are already familiar with the Titans personnel.

What happens this week will be interesting since the Texans defense has not allowed anyone else to gain more than 80 rushing yards on them and only two rushers have scored on them all year. The Titans are in some turmoil this week and the Texans just see a divisional opponent they can beat. Jake Locker is less likely to have the same success that Chad Henne and Matt Stafford recently did when facing the Texans. This week should answer more about the Texans defense than the Titans offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 22 26 19 9 16 18
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 15 1 20 24 7 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN NYJ 0000023021 ***
Time for Jake to make himself some money: the Jets have allowed multiple passing scores in every road game, so it's a golden opportunity for Locker to show well and draw free agent interest in the offseason. Hey, if Bridgewater, Orton, and Smith can do it why not Locker?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN NYJ 4002100000 ***
When "the bulk" of the carries consists of 9, 10, or 11, you know it's time to look elsewhere for fantasy help. That's the deal with Sankey, with a tough matchup against Gang Green to boot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN NYJ 005701000 **
Washington had a golden opportunity sans Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, but all he could muster was three targets. A Jets secondary that allowed two Vikings WRs to top 100 yards and score last week feels like another chance for Washington to help your fantasy squad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Derek Hagan, TEN NYJ 002300000 ***
Hagan zoomed to the top of the Titans' target list last week. Facing a Jets D that stuffs the run but struggles against the pass, expect Tennessee's game plan to be heavy on passing--at least enough to push Hagan onto the fringe of fantasy relevancy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN NYJ 007801000 ***
The Jets have allowed a dozen TE TDs and a half-dozen games of 50-plus yards to the position. Mix that with the heavily targeted Walker and you have a dynamite fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN NYJ 2122 ***
The Jets have allowed at least six points to every kicker since Week 1 as well as every visiting kicker. However, Succor hasn't topped six points since Week 6, and with the Titans changing QBs there are plenty of questions about how effective their offense will be. Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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