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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
September 20, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
On Bye
GB at DET WAS at HOU STL at ARZ   updated

Prediction: WAS 20, HOU 17

The battle of the beatens happens in Houston and the Redskins have to win this game in order to entertain any thoughts of reaching the playoffs. The Texans offense has shown a bit of life in the passing game but there's no hint of a Denver-quality running attack here. And above all, the Houston defense looks just as bad as it did last year and maybe worse because the Texans are scoring more and forcing teams to stay more interested in games.

Update: Clinton Portis returned to practice on Thursday and did not appear to have any setbacks. He is upgraded to probable on the injury report and is now expected to play. While Portis could have a very nice game here, the Texans still have a decent rush defense and a terrible secondary so the Redskins should remain as effective passing. This should be the one game where Brunell should post some decent numbers. At this point consider Portis a safe start - finally - but temper expectations in the first game back.

Washington Redskins (0-2)
1 16-19 MIN 10 --- @PHI
2 10-27 @DAL 11 --- @TB
3 --- @HOU 12 --- CAR
4 --- JAX 13 --- ATL
5 --- @NYG 14 --- PHI
6 --- TEN 15 --- @NO
7 --- @IND 16 --- @STL
8 Open Bye 17 --- NYG
9 --- DAL - MON SAT
WAS at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Brunell 0 0 220,2
RB Clinton Portis 80 20 0
TE Chris Cooley 0 30 0
WR Santana Moss 0 80,1 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 50,1 0
WR Antwaan Randle El 0 30 0
PK John Hall 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Redskins imported Al Saunders to help direct the offense and they are still waiting for the "let's score a touchdown" to kick in. So far after two games, the only touchdown scored by the offense was by Clinton Portis who wasn't even expected to do much (nor did he last week). Against the Cowboys the best they could manage was a single field goal.

Quarterback: Mark Brunell was a delight last season when he stepped in during week one and made a star out of Santana Moss but that hasn't carried into 2006. His best game so far has been only 197 yards and he has yet to actually throw a touchdown. He has one interception so far. The offense has been struggling without a healthy Clinton Portis and Brunell has not been taking up the slack. There's no movement to switch to Jason Campbell yet, but the question is starting to be asked each week.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis did not play in Dallas after aggravating his partially dislocated left shoulder the previous week against the Vikings. Ladell Betts was the starter again but he only had 40 yards on 11 carries and added seven catches for 57 yards largely because Brunell could not find an open receiver. I am projecting for Bettis to start again this week and will update it if information comes out that Portis may play.

Wide Receivers: Last year the Redskins wideouts were really only Santana Moss who excelled in a few games when he caught deep passes but the offseason brought new hope in Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El. So far - the Skins were better off with just Moss. He comes off a four catch effort with 69 yards in Dallas mainly thanks to two catches at the end of the game. Lloyd only had one catch in each of the two games this year and Randle El topped out at 34 yards in week one. No touchdowns yet from this group that was supposed to be a major upgrade. Not yet.

Tight Ends: Chris Cooley remains one of the most targeted receivers in games but that's only resulted in a total of three catches for 20 yards. While it was expected that Saunders experience with Tony Gonzalez would boost Cooley's value or at least maintain his role, the poor passing game has doomed his season so far.

Match Against the Defense: Not unlike seasons past, the Texans are not yielding a huge amount of rushing yardage mainly because teams still find it so easy to pass against them. Granted, facing McNabb and Peyton Manning is no easy task, but in two games the Texans have already surrendered 714 passing yards and six passing scores.

The rushing game will work to some degree here but the Houston defense is upgraded so don't expect too much. This should be the game where Brunell either shines or loses his job because opposing teams have found it so easy to throw that the Texans have needed trash time just to draw within 14 points of their opponent so far. Look for Brunell to throw for at least one score and likely two that could favor any receiver against this secondary. Santana Moss of course should be the most likely and this could be where Brandon Lloyd finally gets involved.

Houston Texans (0-2)
1 10-24 PHI 10 --- @JAX
2 24-43 @IND 11 --- BUF
3 --- WAS 12 --- @NYJ
4 --- MIA 13 --- @OAK
5 Open Bye 14 --- TEN
6 --- @DAL 15 --- @NE
7 --- JAX 16 --- IND
8 --- @TEN 17 --- CLE
9 --- @NYG - - -
HOU vs WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 10 0 220,2
RB Ron Dayne 40 0 0
RB Samkon Gado 20 20 0
RB Wali Lundy 20 10 0
TE Owen Daniels 0 30 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 70,1 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 60,1 0
WR Kevin Walter 0 20 0
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The rebuilding Texans still look suspiciously similar to last season with the exception that now even the rushing game has disappeared. Facing the Eagles and Colts was a tough way to start the season though and yet the schedule really doesn't get much better outside of eventual match-ups with Tennessee and Oakland. But the passing game is coming together and that should make for at least a more competitive team until the rushing game improves - if it can with the current cast of runners.

Quarterback: David Carr has started the year far better than in 2005. He has thrown for at least 208 yards in each game so far and comes off a 219 yard effort against the Colts that featured three passing scores. Carr even has yet to throw a single interception so far this year. His rushing yardage is almost gone now but he's enjoying better protection and has not needed to take off running as much.

Running Backs: So much for Domanick Davis, Antowain Smith and Vernand Morency. Now the Texans are mixing in Wali Lundy, Ron Dayne and Samkon Gado with rather mediocre results. Lundy was only given six carries last week that netted 25 yards while Ron Dayne took the bulk with 11 runs for 37 yards. Gado showed up too for three runs that totaled 36 yards thanks to a 27 yard run that happened later in the fourth quarter when the Texans already trailed 37-10. There's no apparent rhyme or reason behind the ratio other than HC Gary Kubiak taking a look at the motley crew he has assembled.

With Morency gone, the Texans now have three rather similar runners other than Dayne being larger and slower (and yet more used). This is all one situation to steer clear of because so far it has not even combined for fantasy relevance and picking the individual players is just a guessing game at this point. To make matters worse, LT Charles Spencer broke his leg and is out for the rest of the season and C Mike Flanagan injured his foot and may not play as well.

Wide Receivers: The improved passing has benefited Andre Johnson who has 157 yards and one score so far this year. He's still not getting more than six or seven passes thrown his way in games. Eric Moulds had a score and 68 yards in week one but he only turned in 59 yards last week. Outside of those two, no other wideout has turned in more than one catch in a game so far.

Tight Ends: The Texans relied on the tight ends last week after almost completely ignoring them against the Eagles in week one. The rookie Owen Daniels had four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown while Mark Bruener had a scoring catch as well. Jeb Putzier had five passes and just one catch in week one and only had one pass last week. They cannot even decide on which tight end to use here. Daniels is the starter and had five passes last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Redskins have allowed a rushing score in each of the last two games but who that could favor is impossible to determine now if in fact any runner should be favored. Steer clear from this situation until there is some clarity.

Carr has been hovering around that 210 yard mark the first two weeks and that matches up to around how much the Redskins have have been allowing. Expect two scores here if trash time gets productive that have to favor Johnson first and then a slot receiver if history holds true. The slot (or multiple receiver sets) have posted one score in each of the last two games but Kevin Walter just is not used for more than one catch per week. CB Shawn Springs should miss this week as well and in his absence the pass defense has not been good.