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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 4
2010
NYJ at BUF* CIN at CLE* IND at JAC* CHI at NYG
SEA at STL* BAL at PIT* HOU at OAK* NE at MIA*
CAR at NO* DEN at TEN* WAS at PHI DAL, KC
*updated DET at GB* SF at ATL ARI at SD* MIN, TB

Prediction: HOU 27, OAK 24

Update: Louis Murphy missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday but is expected to play. His clavicle has improved but more will be known after Friday's practice. Zach Miller was limited this week with a sore hip but is also expected to play. Andre Johnson has been deemed a game time decision and has missed practice this week. Johnson claims he will play though. Owen Daniels has also been held out of practice with a hamstring injury and is not a safe play.

Update #2: Louis Murphy only had limited work on Friday and is still bothered by his clavicle. Both he and Darius Heyward-Bey are questionable to play. I am lowering their projections and check on them Sunday though this will be a later afternoon game. Chances are both will play but not be 100% healthy. Andre Johnson has missed all the practices this week but has not yet been counted out. He will play if he possibly can but you cannot be certain until the late games in the afternoon.

The Texans fell back to earth when the Cowboys came back to life but they bring a 2-1 record to Oakland where the Raiders are still giving dirty looks to Sebastian Janikowski after giving away the win in Arizona that should have made them 2-1. This game should be better than expected but in the end the Texans should eke out the win.

The Texans beat the visiting Raiders 29-6 last year.

Houston Texans (2-1)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND W 34-24 10 @JAC --
2 @WAS W 30-27 11 @NYJ --
3 DAL L 13-27 12 TEN --
4 @OAK -- 13 @PHI --
5 NYG -- 14 BAL --
6 KC -- 15 @TEN --
7 Bye - 16 @DEN --
8 @IND -- 17 JAC --
9 SD --   - -
Texans Report | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub - - 220,2
RB Arian Foster 90,1 20 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 40 -
WR Kevin Walter - 60,1 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 60,1 -
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The lack of a defense finally made the difference and so far every opponent has scored at least 24 points against the Texans. There's a good chance that the Texans land on their week seven bye with a 6-1 record and this will be the tougher of the remaining three games. Andre Johnson continues to play despite a high ankle sprain but this offense will take a noticeable drop if he ends up taking a week off to rest his ankle.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Schaub has thrown for a score in every game but has turned in weeks of 107, 497 and 241 yards. Not a lot of consistency there. He's also prone to throw at least one interception or more each week. So far he's had one monster game and two disappointments (in fantasy terms).

Schaub passed for 224 yards and one score against the Raiders in 2009.

The Raiders have allowed exactly two passing scores to each opponent and we are talking about Vince Young, Sam Bradford and Derek Anderson. The yardage may not get that high but Schaub has to be a safe bet for those two scores and at least moderate yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: Arian Foster hasn't scored since week one but he's remained well above 100 total yards in every game and topped 100 rush yards twice. He role as a receiver is inconsistent but he's posted as many receptions (8) as all tight ends combined. Steve Slaton is no threat with only three rushes in each of the last two weeks. Foster remains a force in this offense and one of the few consistent factors.

The Texans running backs combined for 121 rushing yards and one score on 36 carries against the Raiders last year. The backs also caught a score.

The Raiders have already allowed three running scores and been dinged for at least 75 rush yards by the opposing primary runner. Look for a very respectable game here against a Raider defense that can be rushed on.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Andre' Johnson is nursing a high ankle sprain and he re-aggravated it against the Cowboys thought he returned to the game. Johnson says he has no doubt that he can play this week and even injured he was able to gain 64 yards on four catches but the coaching staff may elect to shut him down for a game to get him healthier. Both Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter have been effective. Walter has scored in every game this year though his yardage usually remains low.

Johnson was held to two catches for 66 yards against the Raiders last year. Both Kevin Walter (1-41) and Jacoby Jones (1-6) had very quiet games. Johnson should draw Nnamdi Asomugha though he may stay with his natural lineup and cover Walter.

TIGHT ENDS: Owen Daniels is slowly improving and had three catches for 27 yards last Sunday but he remains out of fantasy consideration for now.

Daniels had two receptions for 48 yards on the Raiders last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 11 2 4 27 2 31
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 8 23 11 17 8 25
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) HOU -3 21 7 -10 6 -6


Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN L 13-38 10 Bye -
2 STL W 16-14 11 @PIT --
3 @ARI L 23-24 12 MIA --
4 HOU -- 13 @SD --
5 SD -- 14 @JAC --
6 @SF -- 15 DEN --
7 @DEN -- 16 IND --
8 SEA -- 17 @KC --
9 KC -- - - -
Raiders Report | Statistics | Roster
OAKLAND vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Bruce Gradkowski - - 240,2
RB Darren McFadden 80,1 10 -
TE Zach Miller - 60,1 -
WR Louis Murphy - 50 -
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins - 30 -
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - 50 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Raiders should be 2-1 now and glowing from an actual winning record but Sebastian Janikowski missed kicks both long and short. But at least the Raiders remain competitive and Bruce Gradkowski bought himself at least one more game as the starter. The pieces are legitimately all there now for an improved Raiders team, they just need to make sure it doesn't all fall apart because of a kicker.

QUARTERBACK: Bruce Gradkowski had a solid showing in Arizona when he passed for 255 yards and one score with one interception. He only completed 50% of his passes but has a better grasp of the offense and can move the ball better than Jason Campbell did. He should have a chance to wow the coaches this week facing the #31 defense against wideouts and quarterbacks. The Texans have averaged allowing 381 passing yards per game with two scores.

That high side for this offense in terms of yardage but look for the two scores and no worse than solid yardage. For a team looking to fill a bye week problem, Gradkowski should be golden. This is likely the best passing situation for a Raiders quarterback this year.

RUNNING BACKS: Darren McFadden had 105 yards last week with one touchdown and he is averaging 115 rushing yards per game. His role as a receiver has decreased but mainly because he has been so effective rushing the ball. Michael Bush returned for the first time but only had three carries for 13 yards. Bush intends to play without a pad protecting his thumb but with McFadden rushing so well, there's no reason to expect Bush to be anything more than a change of pace player with a minimal role.

The Texans have been outstanding against the run mainly because they have been so weak against the pass. McFadden is still a safe play and should manage one touchdown in this game and moderate yardage.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Bruce Gradkowski has really brought this crew to life. Louis Murphy has back to back games of 91 and 119 yards with one touchdown. Darrius Heyward-Bey is making plays but has not scored as of yet. Murphy is aiming at a breakout year at this pace but it all depends on which quarterback plays. Under Jason Campbell, Murphy only had four catches for 28 yards.

Murphy is a must start this week and even Heyward Bey could see some significance. The Texans secondary is among the worst ranked and should be shredded by the Raiders.

TIGHT ENDS: Zach Miller was already solid but now comes off a game with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. There is an equal chance that Miller ends up with a score and he makes the fourth straight top tight end that the Texans have had to deal with.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 16 8 25 16 5 22
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 31 10 31 31 24 21
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) OAK 15 2 6 15 19 -1

WEEK 4
2010
NYJ at BUF CIN at CLE IND at JAC CHI at NYG
SEA at STL BAL at PIT HOU at OAK NE at MIA
CAR at NO DEN at TEN WAS at PHI DAL, KC
  DET at GB SF at ATL ARI at SD MIN, TB
 
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