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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: HOU 27, IND 17 (Line: HOU by 7)

Players to Watch: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson

This game takes an interesting twist. Now it is that the Texans must win this to ensure a first round bye and homefield advantage throughout - pretty important stuff. And yet the Colts are locked into their #5 seed wild card and have nothing to play for. So it is now the Texans hoping to sponge off a meaningless game for the Colts and not vice-versa.

This is a replay of just two weeks ago when the Texans won 29-17 at home.

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 29-17
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN 6-23
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 210,1
RB Ronnie Brown 20 4-20
RB Arian Foster 80,1 3-20
WR Andre Johnson 7-100,1
WR DeVier Posey 2-30
TE Garrett Graham 2-20

Pregame Notes: The Texans have really stumbled here at the end with a 1-2 record these last three weeks and their losses were not just overtime lose-by-a-field-goal variety. They were trounced and embarrassed by the Patriots and then beaten shockingly well by the visiting Vikings. At least the one win was against the Colts and everything is on the line this week because no one wants to travel to Denver for the Championship game.

Arian Foster was pulled from the game last week right when fantasy owners needed him the most. He ended with only 29 total yards and had an irregular heartbeat that prompted them to shut him down. He has since been to a cardiologist and gotten the thumbs-up and will play. With a week to rest, this will be a full effort from him and shortened only in the event the Texans got a large and seemingly insurmountable lead. Foster ran for a season high 165 yards on 27 carries in Indy.

Owen Daniels has not practice on Thursday to rest his hamstring but so far is expected to play this week. He only caught four passes for 40 yards in the last meeting.

Matt Schaub threw for 261 yards and one score against the Colts and 151 of those yards - and the touchdown - all went to Andre Johnson on his 11 catches. Johnson has been on a hot streak for the last six weeks and will again need to show up to secure this game. He remains the only wide receiver of any fantasy relevance on this team all year.

Foster should be a lock here for a big game since they will rely on him first and mix in as much passing as needed to win the game. Johnson is a must-start regardless and along with Foster are the only two really attractive starts this week. Had the Texans won just one more game this year, there would be no fantasy players from the Texans.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 19 1 28 3 5 5
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 14 27 26 6 23 23

  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.
Update: Foster was limited in practice all week and is officially listed as questionable, putting a damper on an otherwise optimistic prognostication.
  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.

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 17-29
7 CLE 17-13 16 @KC 20-13
8 @TEN 19-13 17 HOU -----
9 MIA 23-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 20 280,2
RB Vick Ballard 80 3-20
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 60,1 3-20
WR T.Y. Hilton 4-60
WR Hakeem Nicks 4-50
WR Reggie Wayne 6-80,1
TE Dwayne Allen 4-40,1
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: HC Chuck Pagano said he will not rest players in Sunday's game against the Texans and he may believe that. But unless the game remains very close, the players may see the sideline eventually anyway which makes relying on any of them at least a small risk. These Colts are new at heading to the playoffs and could use the time to stay sharp.

Andrew Luck already scored twice in Houston though he completed just 13 of 27 passes for 186 yards and was sacked five times. J. J. Watts needs just two sacks to tie the single-season record and three to break it which seems highly likely in this game. Luck has been sacked 18 times over the last five games and now stands in the way of a record. And he wants to play in a meaningless game.

Vick Ballard ran for a career best 105 yards on 18 carries in Houston and the Colts are no longer shy about feeding him 18+ carries a game. That could be impacted by a big Texans lead or just the reality that Ballard needs to be healthy for next week too and taking a pounding for nothing may not be the wisest plan.

Reggie Wayne specifically made an appeal to not be rested this week and to play the game despite only coming up with 14 yards on three catches in the previous matchup. T.Y. Hilton was the lead receiver that week with 78 yards on three catches and one score.

Relying on any Colt this week is risky. The Texans have a great rushing defense and while they have played much worse against the pass overall in the second half of the year, they are getting all their defenders back from injury and they have to win this game. The Colts have good intentions on starting players but how long they play could become the issue.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 10 29 4 19 17 26
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 20 1 24 28 7 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andrew Luck, IND @JAC 0000028020 ***
Luck continues to fight through Pep Hamilton's offense to produce quality fantasy numbers, with multiple TDs in each game this year. He's also scored multiple times in three of four against the Jags, who themselves have surrendered 280 and 2 to each of the quarterbacks they've faced. It all adds up to another solid showing for Luck, with spectacular hiding behind Hamilton's run-dominated call sheet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @JAC 7012200000 ***
Richardson will likely see enough touches to produce a helpful fantasy line; how could he not against a Jaguars defense that's already allowed four different backs to score--a group that doesn't even include Shady McCoy and his 115 combo yards?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND @JAC 4005301000 ***
The touch discrepancy isn't as great as you might think, though on five fewer touches Bradshaw has produced 35 more yards from scrimmage. He'll get his here, by land or air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND @JAC 006801000 ***
Wayne may not own the Jags but he definitely leases with an option to buy, averaging 85 yards per game over 23 career meetings--though strangely enough, only seven touchdowns in that span. His targets haven't been as consistent as TY Hilton's, but Jacksonville's secondary couldn't slow either Philly or Washington so it's unlikely they reverse Wayne's career trend here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @JAC 005600000 ***
Wayne has back to back 11-target games going for him, so you know he'll get chances. He's already posted two 100-yard games on the Jags in his brief NFL career, and he'll have ample opportunity to make it three this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @JAC 002300000 ***
A week after snapping his scoreless streak Nicks actually recorded negative yardage on his one catch against the Eagles. He can't be relied upon, and while there's upside in facing the Jags here's hoping you have a more dependable option at your disposal.
Update: Nicks didn't practice Thursday or Friday, and his fantasy prospects don't warrant paying any more attention to whether or not he's available in Week 3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND @JAC 003300000 ***
Allen went from 4-64-1 to 0-0-0 in the span of one week, representative of how inconsistent the Colts' tight end production is. Despite the favorable matchup, use Allen only if you can't find a more stable alternative.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND @JAC 002200000 ***
Thus far this year the Jags have been unable to defend Zach Ertz (3-77-1) or Niles Paul (8-99-1). Problem is, Fleener has to share with Dwayne Allen and now Jack Doyle. There's fantasy points here, we're just not sure they'll be centralized enough in one guy to matter.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @JAC 3333 ***
The Jags have surrendered double-digit kicking points in each game this year; Vinatieri hit double-digits in both meetings last year. What's not to like here?

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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