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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: IND 20, HOU 27 (Line: HOU by 9)

Players to Watch: Andrew Luck, Arian Foster

The Texans come off an embarrassing trashing by the Patriots that pretty much screamed "you are not there yet". But at 11-2 they still remain the best record in the AFC and one game ahead of those pesky Patriots. The 9-4 Colts have won their last three games but are only 3-3 on the road. This is one of those odd situations where these teams play this week and then again in the season finale' in week 17.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC 27-10
2 MIN 23-20 11 @NE 24-59
3 JAC 17-22 12 BUF 20-13
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET 35-33
5 GB 30-27 14 TEN 27-23
6 @NYJ 9-35 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE 17-13 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN 19-13 17 HOU -----
9 MIA 23-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 270,2
WR T.Y. Hilton 2-30
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Colts are just one win away from locking down a playoff spot and if nothing else, week 16 in Kansas City should get that done. This will be the toughest game left on the schedule since it is played in Houston and the Texans won't be in a jovial mood after Monday night's disaster. This week gets to see just how much better the Colts have become

Andrew Luck comes off one of his worst efforts with only 196 yards and one score on the Titans and the record setting rookie is showing a few chinks in his armor. He's thrown nine interceptions over the last four games and only once all year threw more than two touchdown passes. He still has an NFL best six 300 yard games as a rookie but he best games recently have been on the road and not at home.

Donald Brown was placed on injured reserve because of his ankle and Delone Carter is not certain to play this week either because of his own ankle injury. The Colts resigned both Deji Karim and Mewelde Moore for depth but they are getting comfortable with Vick Ballard as the starter. He responded well with 19 runs for 94 yards in the Titans game. Delone Carter was given the short score though and Ballard has only one rushing touchdown on the year. But he has done well enough to likely keep the Colts out of the running back line early in the 2013 NFL draft.

This week will be key in several ways. It not only has playoff implications for both teams but this is the first of likely many future meetings between the new Colts and the Texans. For years the Texans have wished for a different Colts team to face twice every season.

Be careful what you wish for. the Texans new difficulty in stopping the pass goes to the heart of the Colts offensive success this season. Vick Ballard is due for a down game against the #1 rushing defense though.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 3 28 3 18 19 27
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 17 1 24 25 4 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jacoby Brissett, IND @BAL 10000018002 ***
Brissett is not a viable fantasy option in any setup and faces a lethal defense to boot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marlon Mack, IND @BAL 2002200000 ***
Mack has been non-existent for fantasy owners over the past five weeks, and unless he scores a touchdown, his contributions will remain insignificant. Tempting fate to find out if he can take advantage of this fruitful matchup is unwise. Baltimore has, for the record, the softest defense when it comes to allowing running backs to score offensive touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @BAL 004500000 ***
Baltimore is a great matchup for receptions (5th most) and yardage (3rd) but ranks as the toughest defense for permitting touchdowns to receivers. Precisely zero have gone into the end zone on the last 71 tries.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Ryan Grant, IND @BAL 002300000 ***
Grant doesn't belong in a lineup against the third-toughest defense of his position. There are better choices for gambling gamers.

Update: Grant will see more looks if Jamison Crowder (questionable) cannot play, yet no gamer should feel inclined to take a chance on him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chester Rogers, IND @BAL 003300000 ***
The Ravens have not given up a touchdown in the past five games, or 73 receptions worth of action. There is no reason to consider Rogers in any conventional league.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, IND @BAL 004400000 ***
Tight ends have averaged 4.8 snares (11th) for 50.6 yards (15th) and a score every 12 grabs (17th) since Week 10. Ebron has 33 targets, 27 receptions, 248 yards an a TD over that span, making him a viable flex or low-tier TE start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jack Doyle, IND @BAL 003300000 ***
The Ravens have surrendered the third-highest average number of receptions to tight ends without giving up a touchdown in the past five games. Doyle should be in the mix for yardage and catches for PPR gamers.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @BAL 1000 *****
The position has missed one of their nine field goal tries and one of the eight PATs provided to them. This combines to create the ninth-fewest kicking chances per game in the last five weeks.

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 14-42
6 GB 24-42 15 IND -----
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 250,1

Pregame Notes: The debacle on last Monday night was a beat down from the start and the Texans never got into the game. It was clear enough that is was just not going to happen and by the end of the game, even the most diehard fans needed a game program to figure out who was who. No matter though - the Texans are still one game in the lead for the #1 seed and just lost their margin of error since the #2 team of the Patriots just picked up an important tie breaker of head to head.

Fortunately, that means the Texans have to win out and they get two home games and then end in Indianapolis. Winning this week is not only important, but sets the stage for the final game of the year that too must be a win.

Breaking down last week is meaningless since it was just one of those games and the Texans threw in the towel eventually. Matt Schaub has been solid to spectacular in home games this year and returns to Houston for the first time since week 11 when he jacked up the Jaguars with 527 pass yards and five touchdowns. This week is finally a home game to regroup and get back on track against one of the weaker secondaries in the league.

Arian Foster also needs to get back on track. He's scored a touchdown in all but one game this year but for the last two weeks he's been held under 50 rushing yards in both games. He's also been limited to 15 or less carries in those games instead of the 20+ he normally receives. At least Ben Tate looked good against the Patriots when he rushed for 46 yards on eight carries though in fairness, he did that once the Texans were already hopelessly behind and letting Tate run was the least of the Patriots concerns. Tate offers more than Justin Forsett but has struggled to stay healthy this year.

Andre Johnson should see a decent game here since his home venues have always been better including the 273 yards he posted on the visiting Jags in the most recent home stand. Johnson remains good for at least 70 yards whenever they play at home. Lestar Jean offers marginal help and Kevin Walter doesn't even catch passes in every game anymore.

The Texans need a game to get back on track and this should provide just that though not without the Colts making a game of it.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 16 1 26 2 5 4
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 15 24 28 9 19 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU PIT 5002200000 ***
Pittsburgh offers one of the better matchups of the week in both scoring formats, and it's an excellent rating for trying to find a cheap touchdown. One in 16.7 carries over the past five games have scored, plus RBs added an aerial TD to the mix. Houston will likely want to run it to keep the game as close as possible. Nevertheless, counting on Miller for more than flex numbers could get games in trouble. He has two scores in his last 93 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU PIT 005801000 ***
Hopkins saw 13 targets last week, landing only four, but he salvaged a respectable fantasy line. The Steelers have permitted seven receiver touchdowns in the last five games, or once every 8.0 receptions (4th). This is the 17th-best matchup for weekly receptions and yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller V, HOU PIT 003400000 ***
Fuller hasn't offered much since Deshaun Watson went down. This matchup is good for the flier touchdown gamble, but there is little else to like about it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU PIT 002300000 ***
Update: Miller is not on the injury report and should play. Avoid him in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Stephen Anderson, HOU PIT 002200000 ***
Anderson has caught a pathetic eight of his last 24 targets and offers no credible reason to enter a fantasy lineup. The Steelers haven't given up a TE score over the last 27 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU PIT 2211 ***
This matchup is great for extra points (3rd) and not so much for field goals (23rd). Houston isn't particularly good at racking up either.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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