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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

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

Prediction: IND 17, HOU 24

Players to Watch: Delone Carter, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Kerry Collins

Update: Austin Collie is listed as questionable because of his foot but he's had full practices all week and will play. Arian Foster continues to be bothered by his hamstring and is listed as questionable. But he has not practiced at all this week and I am removing him from the projections. Both Ben Tate and Derrick Ward will play in his place. Starting any RB from Houston this week is risky thought there will be fantasy points for the player used the most. Best speculation at this time is most likely Tate.

This game takes on a whole new slant since Peyton Manning will miss his first start ever. The last time there was a different starter was in 1998 and he is now the headcoach of the San Francisco 49ers. This is delightfully uncharted territory which will likely prove why Manning is considered one of the top players in his position ever. Less so for Kerry Collins.

The Colts opened 2010 with a 24-34 loss in Houston but later won at home 30-17.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @HOU - 10 JAC -
2 CLE - 11 Bye -
3 PIT - 12 CAR -
4 @TB - 13 @NE -
5 KC - 14 @BAL -
6 @CIN - 15 TEN -
7 @NO - 16 HOU -
8 @TEN - 17 @JAC -
9 ATL -      
Colts Report | Statistics | Roster
QB Kerry Collins - - 240,2
RB Delone Carter 30 10 -
RB Joseph Addai 70 20 -
TE Dallas Clark - 50,1 -
WR Reggie Wayne - 60,1 -
WR Austin Collie - 60 -
WR Pierre Garcon - 30 -
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Those nerves in Peyton Manning's neck are taking a long time to regenerate but there is no concern about them other than they are just taking a little longer than expected. The Colts have to host the Steelers in week three as well so the longer Manning takes, the bigger the hole the team may be in when he returns. This is probably not a great time to realize that your rushing game is not all that great.

QUARTERBACK: The 39-year old Kerry Collins is not likely to pull a Favre here (circa 2009 - not the 2008 or 2010 versions).Collins left being a starter when he went to Tennessee in 2006 and then just filled in whenever Vince Young was injured or had some "freak out". "Back in the day" Collins was an adequate quarterback but for the last five years has been mostly a caddy. And the Colts do not remember what "adequate" play means.

At least the Texans are always soft in the secondary and were among the worst last year. Collins bears watching because the Manning injury is still not over and no end date is known.

Manning passed for 433 yards and two scores in Houston last year. He only managed 268 yards and two scores in the home game.

RUNNING BACKS: There is at least some hope that the rushing game can help sustain the team. Joseph Addai is no bruiser and he is not used to carrying more than about 15 or so times per game. He knows the offense obviously and will help protect Collins whenever he passes. The rookie Delone Carter is the one to watch here since he has already become the #2 back and showed how explosive a 225 pound back who is only 5-9 can be. He should show up in short yardage but could buy himself a bigger role with good play. The ratio of carries will be interesting as well since Addai has only been a part-time for the last several years.

Addai only gained 44 yards on ten carries in Houston last year. He added six catches for 29 yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It is all conjecture about how the passes will be distributed since these wideouts simply do not know any other quarterback other than Peyton Manning. Collie was the star in Houston last year when he caught 11 passes for 163 yards and one score. Reggie Wayne turned in 99 yards on seven receptions. At this early point you can only assume that Collins will connect with the better talent of Wayne and then Austin Collie. We'll know more next week but at least the Texans have a bad secondary despite attempts to improve it.

TIGHT ENDS: The tight end is usually the best friend for a new quarterback and Dallas Clark is among the best in the business. Clark had 11 receptions for 80 yards and a score in Houston last year. He's still safe to start.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 26 1 8 3 26
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 32 23 31 29 17 6

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND - 10 @TB -
2 @MIA - 11 Bye -
3 @NO - 12 @JAC -
4 PIT - 13 ATL -
5 OAK - 14 @CIN -
6 @BAL - 15 CAR -
7 @TEN - 16 @IND -
8 JAC - 17 TEN -
9 CLE -      
Texans Report | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub - - 230,1
RB Arian Foster 100,1 20 -
RB Derrick Ward 30 10 -
RB Ben Tate 70,1 10 -
TE Owen Daniels - 20 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 80,1 -
WR Kevin Walter - 40 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 40 -
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Texans return the same offense from 2010 including sleeper of the year Arian Foster. Wade Phillips has taken over the defense which has historically never been better than average and lately ranks near the bottom of most categories. With the Colts suddenly looking mortal, this could be the year for the Texans to finally put it all together.

I like a defensive score in this game.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Schaub had a dominating ground game last year and yet still managed to post 24 touchdowns and 4370 passing yards. The only real difference was the tendency to rush in a score rather than pass it in and Owen Daniels missed a chunk of the year as well. Schaub only passed for 107 yards and one score when the Colts visited last year thanks to Arian Foster. There will be no surprise element with Foster this time.

RUNNING BACKS: Arian Foster was the #1 back by a large margin last year and he led the league in rushing yards. He also played on an apparently torn meniscus and never mentioned it to anyone. This year he has a hamstring strain that has opened questions as to his availability this week but all indications are that he will be ready to play. The other more quiet question here is what, if any, role will Ben Tate have in games? Derrick Ward is likely the #2 this week but Tate was impressive this summer and flashed the same form that led the Texans to draft him last year. Foster had almost no sharing last year, his fantasy value does not need anyone eating into his workload.

Foster opened 2010 with 231 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Colts. He later had 102 yards and one score as a visitor.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Andre' Johnson still has no real competitor for catches in the wideouts. Kevin Walter still mans the #2 role though Jacoby Jones gets talked up every summer and then turns in mediocre numbers. That's all great for the Johnson owner but makes the Texans passing game one dimensional. Johnson only caught three passes for 33 yards against the visiting Colts last year. He later had 107 yards and a score when they visited Houston.

TIGHT ENDS: Owen Daniels never had more than one catch for nine yards in either game with the Colts. With the run more likely working this week, expect lower stats from Daniels again.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 13 3 11 10 10 32
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 15 24 5 19 29 14

NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

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