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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 3
2011
ARI at SEA * DET at MIN * KC at SD NYJ at OAK
* ATL at TB GB at CHI MIA at CLE * PIT at IND
* BAL at STL * HOU at NO NE at BUF * SF at CIN
* UPDATED DEN at TEN JAC at CAR * NYG at PHI * WAS at DAL (mon)

Prediction: HOU 20, NO 30

Players to Watch: Lance Moore, Owen Daniels

Update: Lance Moore is no longer on the injury report. Arian Foster will be a game time decision and in any case Ben Tate will be playing. Tate is the better play no matter what but Foster could end up making it a split workload. Check the inactives if you really want to use Tate or Foster. Kevin Walter is expected back and is replacing Jacoby Jones who has a knee sprain and is not sure to be playing this week anyway.

The Texans start out 2-0 on the season but the schedule is not their friend as this game indicates. The Saints are just 1-1 thanks to the Packers but back at home should make this their second win. The Texans are much better but not quite "on the road to Nawlins" good.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 34-7 10 @TB -
2 @MIA 23-13 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 at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub - - 250,2
RB Arian Foster 40 - -
RB Ben Tate 50 30 -
TE Owen Daniels - 30 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 90,2 -
WR Bryant Johnson - 20 -
WR Kevin Walter - 50 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 50 -
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The schedule is murderous for the Texans but at least they have started out very well and can withstand a slate of games including @NO, PIT, @BAL, @TEN and @TB. The final stretch will be a cake walk and these Texans are going to make some noise in the suddenly wide open AFC South.

QUARTERBACK: The effects of a good rushing game are hard on a quarterback. Matt Schaub has gone from being a top ten guy regularly posting big stats to just another average fantasy quarterback who throws up around 220 yards and one touchdown per week. That won't cut it in New Orleans though and there is the hope for a shootout here. Expect a decent game from Schaub that may grow bigger.

RUNNING BACKS: This is why drafting Arian Foster when he had a hamstring strain is hard. The Texans started Foster on Sunday but he re-injured his hamstring and only finished with 33 yards on ten carries while Ben Tate cruised for his second big game with 103 rushing yards on 23 carries and even added 32 yards on four receptions after having no catches the previous game.

HC Gary Kubiak says it will be a "process" getting Foster back to a full load which means limiting his work while letting Tate take the bigger load. This week will be the toughest venue yet for the backfield against a Saints team that has not allowed any individual runner to top 57 rushing yards yet. I will assume Foster can play a limited role and that Tate gets the most action and update as warranted.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Kevin Walter remains out and Jacoby Jones took his first start of the year and only had three catches for 48 yards like his first game when he was the #3. Andre' Johnson has turned in back-to-back games of seven catches for around 90 yards and one score each. Bryant Johnson was the #3 against the Dolphins but only had one catch. This is all about Johnson and the other wideouts still do not step up to help. The Saints have allowed four touchdowns to wideouts already this year but no 100 yard games. Best bet is to expect Johnson to make it three in a row.

TIGHT ENDS: While he has not done anything in yardage, at least Owen Daniels caught a touchdown on his three catches for 25 yards at Miami. That's still disappointing but at least he had more targets (5) than any other receiver besides Johnson. Watch Daniels to see if he is going to increase his role or not. Another low game means Daniels may be a nonfactor this season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 25 8 19 14 3 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 22 20 26 5 12 19


New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL -
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU - 12 NYG -
4 @JAC - 13 DET -
5 @CAR - 14 @TEN -
6 @TB - 15 @MIN -
7 IND - 16 ATL -
8 @STL - 17 CAR -
9 TB - - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 280,3
RB Mark Ingram 50 - -
RB Pierre Thomas 40 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 20 60,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 60 -
WR Lance Moore - 30 -
WR Devery Henderson - 60,1 -
WR Robert Meachem - 50,1 -
PK John Kasay 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: After the painful loss in Green Bay, the Saints wasted no time in bouncing back by soundly beating the visiting Bears. The rushing game still needs some work to get it where the Saints want it to be but Brees and company are not having problems with the passing. Playing this one at home helps a lot and should help propel the Saints to a stretch of wins.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Brees is still a stud. He has passed for three touchdowns in each game so far and never had less than 270 yards. If we are lucky, the Saints will never find a good rushing game. The Texans have only allowed one passing score per opponent but that's just Chad Henne and Kerry Collins, not Brees. Expect another fine effort.

RUNNING BACKS: Mark Ingram has stared his rookie season somewhat slowly with only 27 carries for 91 yards (3.4 YPC) while Pierre Thomas has 14 carries for 72 yards (5.1 YPC). But he has faced two of the best defenses out there of the Packers and Bears. Ingram remains the goal line back though without a score yet.

At least for now the rotation is in effect and will keep both Thomas and Ingram from realizing better fantasy stats. Darren Sproles plays mostly as a receiver and has scored in each game this year but minimal rushing yardage and carries. Sproles has caught at least seven passes each week as an outlet for Brees. This is a three-headed monster that won't fall back to being two guys until either Ingram steps up or Thomas steps back.

The Texans just gave up 108 yards on 18 carries to Daniel Thomas who all reports say has been a disappointment. This week should help define how good the Texans are at stopping the run and will be the softest rush defense the Saints have yet faced. But it takes a big leap of faith to expect much from either Thomas or Ingram.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Lance Moore returned last week but only played 22 snaps and had just one catch for six yards on his four targets. He is still not healed from his groin injury and is being eased back into playing. Robert Meachem was the primary wideout but only ended with four catches for ten yards though he had one score. Devery Henderson only had three passes but caught them all and went for 103 total yards and one score. That gives Henderson 100+ and a score both weeks so far.

Expect Moore's role to increase going forward but he's not just immediately stepping into what should be the #1 role with Marques Colston out. The Texans have been average against wideouts so far and allowed one score per game to go to the position. Consider both Meachem and Henderson as decent fantasy starts though they are not going to score every week. Probably not anyway.

TIGHT ENDS: Jimmy Graham has been as good as any wideout so far with a total of 10 catches for 135 yard and a score. Graham has not been less than 56 yards in a game and is a low-end fantasy starter with upside.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 5 12 7 12 1 14
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 3 3 15 3 3 10

WEEK 3
2011
ARI at SEA DET at MIN KC at SD NYJ at OAK
ATL at TB GB at CHI MIA at CLE PIT at IND
BAL at STL HOU at NO NE at BUF SF at CIN
  DEN at TEN JAC at CAR NYG at PHI WAS at DAL (mon)

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