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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 TEN 0000022011 ****
The Beard is back at the helm, just in time to reprise the 227 & 1 he posted on Tennessee a month ago. The Titans haven't allowed a real fantasy helper to an opposing QB since Week 6, so don't look for Fitz to bounce back with a biggie here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU TEN 12023200000 ***
Foster has a "good chance" to play this week, according to his coach. If he does play he has a great chance to be a fantasy stud according to a Titans' defense that's allowed four straight feature backs to score and top 100 yards--a stretch that includes 1501 and 2 (plus a receiving TD) from Foster one month ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU TEN 4003200000 ***
If Arian Foster can't go Blue makes a great start against a Tennessee defense that's allowed four straight feature backs to score and top 100 yards. Even if Foster plays you could consider Blue as a fringe option; he racked up 64 yards from scrimmage in a wingman role in the earlier meeting with the Titans.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU TEN 005801000 ***
Hopkins was becoming The Guy with Fitzpatrick at the helm; we'll see if that trend continues here but either way it's a low-end fantasy opportunity at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU TEN 004500000 ***
Johnson has become the wingman to DeAndre Hopkins, and most weeks there's barely enough passing game production to make one of them fantasy relevant; tough to bank on two, especially given the difficult matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU TEN 2233 ***
The Titans have given up more than 11 points per game to opposing kickers over their last five outings, so it's an opportunity for the up-and-down Bullock to be up this week.

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 WAS 20000030030 ***
Luck eased up last week, turning a season-low 32 attempts into just 253 and 1. The Redskins aren't a pushover, but there's no reason to think he can't get back in the saddle with the usual attempts turned into what's become the norm: multiple TDs and something approaching 300 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dan Herron, IND WAS 3005300000 ****
Herron has moved into roughly half the Indy backfield workload, but he's not doing enough with those touches to warrant significant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Trent Richardson, IND WAS 4002200000 ***
Richardson has become purely a volume guy, and with half his volume going to Dan Herron--and the Redskins a relatively tough matchup for opposing RBs--he's a fringe fantasy entity at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND WAS 0081202000 ***
Washington's allowed a gaudy WR performance each of the past two weeks--Mike Evans' 7-209-2, Anquan Boldin's 9-137-1--and Hilton is the Colt most likely to follow that lead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Reggie Wayne, IND WAS 005601000 **
Wayne's a solid wingman but not much of a fantasy option against a team that hasn't allowed multiple WR fantasy helpers in more than a month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Hakeem Nicks, IND WAS 003400000 ***
Nicks is too lightly targeted and too inconsistently productive to bank on for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Coby Fleener, IND WAS 002300000 ***
Given his performance the previous two weeks, last week's 2-28 from Fleener was a genuine disappointment. Washington's a bit softer of a TE matchup so Fleener's a slightly better bet to put that disappointment in the rear view mirror and deliver a fantasy helper here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND WAS 3333 ****
My Cousin Vinny hasn't been below eight points since the season opener and hit double-digits three of the past four games. He's as money a kicker as you can find right now.

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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