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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 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 PHI 0000025011 ***
Tempting to plug The Beard into fantasy lineups this week against a Philly D that's allowed multiple TD tosses in every game save for the shocking shutout of Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 6. But Fitz has just one multiple TD outing of his own in the past six games so he simply can't be banked on for true fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU PHI 11024300000 ***
Foster is working on a streak of four straight games with 100-plus rushing yards, with touchdowns in each of those games and multiple scores in three of the four. Fear Philly's run D if you'd like, if Frank Gore can bust off 119 yards and Benny Cunningham and Roy Helu can find the end zone you have to like Foster's chances for success.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU PHI 006701000 ****
Hopkins has out-fantasy pointed Andre Johnson in seven of eight this year; we'd call that a trend. Philly allowed multiple 100-yard, TD-scoring receivers last week and has given up multiple TDs in two of the past three games so Hopkins can still be a fantasy helper even if he's relegated to WR2 looks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU PHI 007900000 ****
There's hope for Andre, who has been relegated--fantasy-wise, at least--to WR2 in Houston's passing attack. Last week Arizona dropped two 100-yard, TD-scoring receivers on the Eagles and two weeks before that the receiver-challenged Rams managed to get two of their own into the end zone. So maybe being WR2 isn't such a bad gig for Andre after all.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU PHI 002300000 ***
Remember when Houston used to be a great place to score some TE fantasy points? This year's version of the Texans have produced a total of 15.2 fantasy points out of the tight end position. That's an eight game total. Clearly you can do better elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU PHI 1133 ***
Feast or famine with Bullock: four games of five or fewer points, four games of 11 or more. He's been more feast mode of late--three of the past four games, to be precise--so you may as well stick with him here.

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 @NYG 20000031030 ****
Luck has six straight 300-yard games and multiple touchdowns in every game this season; you're going to trot him out against any defense, doesn't matter who. Though it doesn't hurt that the Giants have allowed multiple TDs in back-to-back games, does it?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND @NYG 4004401000 ***
Bradshaw gets the third-down work, a healthy share of the goal line work, and if Trent Richardson isn't fully healthy an increased share of all the other stuff as well. He's the more dynamic and more effective back in Indy's stable, so he's at least as good of a bet as Richardson to capitalize on a Giants' defense that's allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers and at least one RB TD in six of seven games this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND @NYG 401000000 **
Richardson returns to action just in time to face a Giants defense that's allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushing efforts and at least one RB TD in six of seven games. Whether or not he returns to his lead role in the Indy backfield remains to be seen however, and even if he does Ahmad Bradshaw has been the more effective fantasy play anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND @NYG 004601000 **
It's a revenge game for Nicks, who dogged the Giants with a zero-TD swan song last season. Revenge would be more likely has Nicks not amassed a paltry 8-86 in the five games since he last saw the end zone. It's not a matter of targets, either; that 8-86 came on 26 targets. It would take a concerted effort by the Colts to rub Tom Coughlin's face in a Nicks TD for revenge to happen here, and Indy probably doesn't care that much about a free-agent-to-be WR3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND @NYG 0081100000 ****
Three straight 100-yard efforts, six straight with at least 80 yards... yeah, Hilton's handling the transition to WR1 just fine. No reason for his roll to slow against a Giants secondary that's already allowed four feature receivers to reach triple-digit yardage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Donte Moncrief, IND @NYG 003400000 ***
Moncrief has moved into the WR2 role in Indy, just in time to capitalize on a matchup with a Giants' secondary that's allowed fantasy helpers to multiple WRs in three of the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dwayne Allen, IND @NYG 002201000 ****
Over the past two games the Giants have allowed 210 yards and four TDs to opposing tight ends. The Colts have a TE TD in every game this season, and even if Allen has to share some stats with Coby Fleener this is a favorable enough matchup that Allen--heck, maybe both Indy TEs--belongs in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND @NYG 2144 ***
Multiple PATs in every game, multiple FGs in every game since Week 1... Vinatieri is getting ample opportunity to swing the leg on an every-week basis.

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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