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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David M. Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 9
November 3, 2004
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
NYJ at BUF* ARZ at MIA CHI at NYG NE at STL MIN at IND*
OAK at CAR* PHI at PIT* NO at SD* Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
DAL at CIN KC at TB SEA at SF* CLE at BAL ATL, JAX
WAS at DET* *updated HOU at DEN *updated GB, TEN
  Houston Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 190,1
RB Domanick Davis 40 30 0
RB Jonathan Wells 40 10 0
TE Miller/Bruener 0 10 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 50 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 60 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 30,1 0
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 1 XP -
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 10 0 230,2
RB Reuben Droughns 120,1 10 0
TE Jeb Putzier 0 30 0
WR Rod Smith 0 70,1 0
WR Darius Watts 0 30 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 80,1 0
PK Jason Elam 2 FG 3 XP -

HOU (4-3) vs DEN (5-3)

Game Prediction: HOU 13, DEN 27

The Broncos are on a two game losing streak and the Texans have won four of their last five games. Those streaks just cannot last. This season is already screwy enough.

Pre-Game Notes - HOU

The Texans are riding mighty high in the saddle these days what with all these wins and being over .500 this deeply into the season. The passing game looks great and the running game is no longer being relied on as heavily. And somehow, someway - Houston appears to have an actual defense. Just like a real NFL team. They'll find out for sure this week.

Quarterback: David Carr has been rock solid this season, not quite to the level of the elite but he's thrown at least one score in each of the last six games and never fallen below 233 yards. He only has one interception in the last four games and his lack of mistakes mirror the Texans advance in the standings.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis seemed a great draft pick last summer until week three of the season. Since then he only has one touchdown and has not rushed for more than 56 yards. Jonathan Wells has been more effective running and scoring since week two while Tony Hollings is merely a footnote now.

The Texans are moving away from the running game and mixing Davis and Wells enough that neither are a safe play when they are both healthy which includes this week.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson is only in his second season, but he looks a lot like a traditional third year break out player. He has four touchdowns on the year and has never done worse than 58 yards in a game. He has two 100 yard games and has caught up to 12 passes for 170 yards in a single game. His production has not waned and yet he has allowed other receivers to shine as well.

Jabar Gaffney has two 80+ yard games the last two weeks and Corey Bradford is also back in the mix with a score against the Jaguars. Throw in Derick Armstrong as the occasional long ball catcher and this group is exponentially better than what the Texans had put on the field the last two seasons.

Tight Ends: They've turned into nice blockers but no fantasy points worth considering here.

Match Against the Defense: In the four home games in Denver, opposing runners had done little after Priest Holmes' week one bonanza until last week when both Duckett and Dunn scored. Opponents have either done nothing or had great games with nothing in the moderate range. Given that both Wells and Davis now share, figure on the production to be watered down between them and the low side to be most likely. Denver is in a bad mood now and the Texans will find out just how bad.

The pass defense should keep Carr to one of his lowest outputs of the season though one score is possible. Champ Bailey will undoubtedly cloak Andre Johnson all game and will depress his numbers though as Chad Johnson showed, he can be beaten on occasion if a quarterback is wiling to take the risk.

Pre-Game Notes - DEN

A short two weeks ago the Broncos were 5-1 with only a last second road loss in Jacksonville preventing them from a perfect record. Now they have been soundly beaten by the Bengals on national TV followed by a complete meltdown against the visiting Falcons. With the Chargers now tied in the AFC West with Denver there is no more room for error and the Broncos head into their bye the following week. No way that Shanahan will allow a three game losing streak to happen when they'll stew about it for two weeks.

Quarterback: Jake Plummer turned in the 9th best performance by a quarterback last week when he threw for an astounding 499 yards and four scores against the Falcons. And yet they still lost by 13 points. He's had multiple passing scores in three of the last four games but he's also developed a nasty habit of tossing interceptions over the past month. While he has 10 touchdowns in the last four weeks, he also has eight interceptions.

Running Backs: Reuben Droughns was unable to continue his 100 rushing yard streak against the Falcons, but he still had 112 total yards thanks to 63 receiving yards. He'll be back on track this week and with Griffin gone for the year and Bell perpetually injured, Droughns won't be sharing.

Wide Receivers: Rod Smith had a career game last week when he had nine catches for 208 yards and one score but oddly enough he's not had a game over 83 yards until last week. Smith only has three scores on the season compared to the four that Ashley Lelie has caught and while Lelie hasn't had the monster game like Smith, he's actually been more consistent over the past month.

Tight Ends: Jeb Putzier has 47 yards last week but his shutout in week seven casts doubts on what he'll do week to week.

Match Against the Defense: The Houston defense has been much improved the last two weeks but that was against TEN and JAX which both had problems with injured quarterbacks. In the two other road games this year they allowed three passing scores to both Harrington and Green. Look for Plummer to turn in a solid game and likely at least two scores. The yardage will definitely be below the 499 of last week and likely won't exceed the 225 mark since the Broncos will want to open the run back up.

The Texans have not allowed a rushing score in their three road games so far but Priest Holmes had 134 yards against them and otherwise they have not faced a good running attack this season other than Tomlinson as a visitor and he had 121 yards and one score. Expect this game to feature an effective Droughns who will control the game just so Carr doesn't have too much time to figure out how to throw away from Bailey.

Expect that both Lelie and Smith have a great opportunity to score this week though they won't likely have enough catches to rack up big yardage.

HOU DEN 2004 Averages DEN HOU
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
274
168
Pass yards
256
244
1.3
0.8
Pass TDs
1.9
2.0
0.7
0.4
Interceptions
1.3
1.6
20
19
Rush yards
13
12
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
77
71
Rush yards
118
97
0.7
0.5
Rush TDs
0.4
0.4
47
11
Receive yards
31
31
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.5
0.1
---
---
WR's
---
---
209
129
Receive yards
178
163
1.3
0.8
Receive TD's
1.0
1.6
---
---
TE's
---
---
17
31
Receive yards
46
50
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.4
0.3
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.9
1.5
Field Goals
1.8
0.9
2.1
1.6
Extra Points
2.3
2.4
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.3
0.6
Fumbles
0.5
1.1
1.6
0.9
Interceptions
0.4
0.7
0.4
0.1
Touchdowns
0.0
0.1
1.7
0.9
Sacks
1.9
2.4
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Texans (4-3)
Score Opp.
20-27 SD
16-28 @DET
24-21 @KC
30-17 OAK
28-34 MIN
20-10 @TEN
Week 7 bye
20-6 JAX
Week 9 @DEN
Week 10 @IND
Week 11 GB
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @NYJ
Week 14 IND
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 @JAX
Week 17 CLE
Broncos (5-3)
Score Opp.
34-24 KC
6-7 @JAX
23-13 SD
16-13 @TB
20-17 CAR
31-3 @OAK
10-23 @CIN
28-41 ATL
Week 9 HOU
Week 10 bye
Week 11 @NO
Week 12 OAK
Week 13 @SD
Week 14 MIA
Week 15 @KC
Week 16 @TEN
Week 17 IND