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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: HOU 31, NE 27 (Line: NE by 4)

Players to Watch: Arian Foster, Tom Brady

Now this is a good Monday Night Football game. The 11-1 Texans have already clinched a playoff berth and are two games ahead of New England, Baltimore and Denver for the #1 seed in the AFC. So far, the Texans are a perfect 6-0 on the road and are on a six game winning streak. The 9-3 Patriots are 4-1 at home and also on a six game winning streak. Here is another wonderful angle - this pits the #1 against the #2 scoring team. And the Texans secondary has been hard hit by injuries to make this even more fun.

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 24-10
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 @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 220,1
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: This is an all important game for the Texans and could well be the precursor to the AFC Championship game. With two home games to follow against the Colts and Vikings, the Texans could make that season finale' against in Indianapolis a moot point by remaining two games ahead of the AFC pack. While this may be a particularly bad time to be missing a couple of cornerbacks, the Texans have risen up and got the job done before and tend to play up or down to whatever their opponent is like.

If this moves entirely to the air later in the game, Matt Schaub can hang with that having thrown for multiple scores in half his games and scorching the Jaguars for 527 yards and five scores in week 11 followed by 315 yards and a score in Detroit. This will not be a game decided purely by the Texans running offense and Schaub can mix it up when needed.

Arian Foster scored his fifteenth touchdown on the year in Tennessee last Sunday but was limited to only 14 carries partly to rest him up for this week. Foster has shouldered a heavy load this year and even added three to five receptions per week as well. Ben Tate remains the #3 thanks to Justin Forsett's recent three game streak of over 60 yards per game. Those came against weaker defenses to be sure and his role is likely to be scaled back in a tough game like this with such important consequences at play. The Patriots rank well against running backs and yet have not faced many of the top backs. And Foster is the top back.

Owen Daniels already has six touchdowns this year and now will face the weakest secondary against tight ends. He was turning in 60+ yard efforts every week until recently when the opponents became easier to beat. He's sure to play a big role this week and Garrett Graham may be out this week which would call up James Casey into play and further the importance of Daniels.

The Patriots secondary is better but still allows big yardage and scores to primary receivers like Andre Johnson. He's no hidden weapon to be sure but did just post 9-188 and 14-273 in two of the last three games. No doubt he'll come into heavy play again this week. Foster could do better in New England than they expect and if so, that could lower the passing production from both sides.

I like a defensive score in this game.

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 NE 30 13 28 32 3 1

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Savage, HOU @TEN 0000023011 *
Savage will start in Week 17 even though Houston has nothing to play for against the Titans. Tennessee is a top-12 matchup, as this defense has given up the sixth most yards per game in the last five weeks. Starting Savage could brutalize your chances of winning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU @TEN 4003200000 ***
Blue will again shoulder the load if Lamar Miller cannot go, and Houston would be foolish to chance it without anything to gain. Tennessee is the third strongest opponent of RBs entering Week 17.

Update: Miller has been ruled out of Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU @TEN 002301000 **
Tennessee has given up a TD per game to wideouts since Week 11. This is the third best overall matchup for PPR scoring, but Miller is nothing more than a wild flier.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 004500000 *
Tennessee provides a brilliant matchup, but Hopkins may not play a lot since Houston has nothing on the line. The Titans have provided the third most points per game since Week 11 in PPR scoring. Nuk caught only one pass for four yards in Week 4 with Brock Osweiler under center.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller, HOU @TEN 004400000 *
Fuller had a nice game in Week 4 versus the Titans, going for 81 yards on seven catches, including a score. That was with Brock Osweiler, and the Texans have obviously moved on. Fuller is a barely viable play in deep setups for flex spots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU @TEN 005400000 **
CJF contributed a 4-48-1 line in the Week 4 game against Tennessee. The Titans have put the clamps on his position of late, so this one probably could go either way.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, HOU @TEN 3311 ***
Novak has made all 13 of his field goal tries in the past five weeks, but Houston has afforded him only six touchdown-capping kicks (four made). Tennessee is a neutral matchup for the position.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF -----
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 290,3
WR Danny Amendola
TE Dwayne Allen 3-30
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Not unlike the Texans, this is a big game for the Patriots and as soon as this is over, the 49ers show up next week for two games against likely the two toughest defenses they will face this year. The final weeks in Jacksonville and hosting the Fins are sort of "gimmees" but these next two weeks will go far in defining what the Patriots are going to do in the playoffs and where they will fall in the seeding. With a current three-way tie for the #2 seed, any loss is going to be hard to compensate.

Tom Brady comes off his worst game of the year when he only managed 238 pass yards and one score in Miami that included only his fourth interception of the year. He was also sacked a season-high four times. But Brady has been golden almost every week this year with seven efforts over 300 yards and multiple scores in the previous six games. Catching the Texans with a banged up secondary only makes it better.

The Patriots placed Julian Edelman on injured reserve from his broken foot which leaves them thin enough at wideout to call back Donte Stallworth. With Rob Gronkowski still out, the passing game has shrunk to mostly Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. Brandon Lloyd has just gone cold despite the need for help and last week comes off a single catch in Miami of his only pass target in the game. Edelman was starting to take hold on a role in the offense but now his workload is likely just absorbed by Welker and Hernandez.

Brandon Bolden has concluded his four-game suspension but the Pats rushing effort has been more than solid and combined ranks #2 in fantasy points. Stevan Ridley is currently on a five game scoring streak and gets help from Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead already. No real place for Bolden currently. This week they all face the best rushing defense in the league so their stats are bound to take a dip. In the end, this will be mostly about Brady exploiting the banged up Texans secondary and Houston trying to run Foster as much as they can to delay the inevitable aerial war that will break out.


RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 3 2 15 1 2 2
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 15 1 20 24 7 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE @MIA 0000029020 ***
Brady has struggled in Miami throughout his career, but this time around should be much different: The Dolphins are the second best matchup for quarterbacks when using the last five weeks' data. He did not play in the last meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mike Gillislee, NE @MIA 301000000 ***
Running backs have scored twice on 16 catches and once every 34.5 rushing attempts when facing the Jets since Week 11. Gillislee caught a touchdown on his only target in the first meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dion Lewis, NE @MIA 5002200000 ***
No team has allowed more receptions per game to RBs in the past five weeks, but Lewis shares third-down chores. Consider him only in PPR DFS.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, NE @MIA 4003200000 ***
Burkhead is not even a fringe play in the deepest of leagues. He doesn't factor enough into the game play to deserve attention.

Update: Burkhead could see more work if Jeremy Hill (questionable) is limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB James White, NE @MIA 003300000 ***
A great matchup for the time-sharing back ... avoid him unless you're looking to make a huge gamble.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE @MIA 006901000 ***
Hogan caught 4-60-0 without TB12 in the earlier meeting this year. The Dolphins have allowed six WR scores in the last five games, or one every 9.8 receptions. Hogan has a hint more upside than we projected, but these are safe numbers.

Update: Hogan could see more looks with Malcolm Mitchel being doubtful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE @MIA 006601000 ***
Miami has allowed a TD every 9.8 receptions in the last five weeks, and PPR receivers have averaged 37.3 fantasy points a game as a team. Edelman was good for 7-76-0 without Tom Brady in Week 2.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NE @MIA 004500000 ***
The Falcons have allowed only two touchdowns on the last 61 catches by receivers, which is the third stingiest ratio in the league over the past five weeks. Cooks was held to two catches on eight targets for 13 yards in Week 3 vs. the Falcons.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, NE @MIA 002200000 ***
Allen is largely useless for fantasy owners. It's a crapshoot to predict his involvement most weeks.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE @MIA 2233 ***
Miami is a negative-leaning matchup for kickers, having given up 15 extra point attempts (5th most) but only nine FGAs (six good) in the last five games.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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