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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
December 20, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
updated IND at HOU TEN at BUF CIN at DEN NYJ at MIA

Prediction: IND 24, HOU 7

Just in time to save the season that started out red hot and then went cold, the Colts big win over the Bengals last week keeps them in contention for a first round bye even if that #1 seed may be out of reach. The Colts have lost their last three road games but won 43-24 when they hosted the Texans in week two. The Texans can only hope for a letdown by the Colts this week. Hope only goes so far.

Update: Joseph Addai has been wearing a walking boot and has not practiced this week with foot and ankle injuries. He may still play but is obviously a far greater risk. I am removing him from the projections. I am also downgrading Ricky Proehl who has a balky hamstring and may not play. He is still likely to play but will be limited.

Owen Daniels is questionable this week with a sprained shoulder and has not practiced. His playing status may not be certain until game time and I am removing him from the projections.

The Texans also intend on giving RB Chris Taylor some playing time this week which will come at the expense of Wali Lundy.

Indianapolis Colts (11-3)
1 26-21 @NYG 10 17-16 BUF
2 43-24 HOU 11 14-21 @DAL
3 21-14 JAX 12 45-21 PHI
4 31-28 @NYJ 13 17-20 @TEN
5 14-13 TEN 14 17-44 @JAX
6 Open Bye 15 34-16 CIN
7 36-22 WAS 16 --- @HOU
8 34-31 @DEN 17 --- MIA
9 27-20 @NE - - MON
IND at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 270,2
RB Dominic Rhodes 70,1 10 0
RB Joseph Addai 60 20 0
TE Ben Utecht 0 30 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 80,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 90,1 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 20 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: After losing three of the last four - all road games - the Colts get one of the easier match-ups to make them feel good away from home. Manning was in top form last Monday and the defense finally did not resemble a sieve. Dwight Freeney had three forced fumbles and Harrison caught three scores. With only a home game left against the Dolphins next week, the Colts have to guard against a let down this week but the Texans are on the ropes this season while the Colts are warming back up.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards as a season high and threw three scores against the visiting Texans in week two. He had 237 passing yards and two scores in Houston last year. Manning has always played well against the Texans and there's no room for error these last two weeks.

Running Backs: Joseph Addai sprained his ankle during the Bengals game and sat out the second half. He was considered probable during the game though he did not return so pending practice reports, he is assumed to play this week with little or no limitation.

Addai gained 82 yards on 16 carries and had two catches for 22 yards and one score against the Texans this year. Rhodes and Ran Carthon also scored in that game.

Wide Receivers: Marvin Harrison had seven catches for 127 yards while Reggie Wayne caught six passes for 135 yards against the Texans this year. Neither scored. Wayne had 89 yards while Harrison turned in 65 yards and a score in Houston last season. The only change this week is that Ricky Proehl and Aaron Moorehead may take a few catches as they did last Monday.

Tight Ends: Ben Utecht had settled down to around 20 or 30 yards per game now that Clark is sidelined but he has never scored this season. The tight ends of Dallas Clark, Utecht and Bryan Fletcher combined for 67 yards and one score against the Texans.

Match Against the Defense: What to expect this week against a soft opponent but after a big win and a short week? Much depends on Addai being healthy but expect at least one rushing score and decent yardage from Rhodes and Addai. If the rookie cannot play, then Rhodes should still manage one score and moderate yardage.

Manning is a safe bet here for healthy yardage and at least a couple of scores. He could go much higher but the need won't exist and the Colts will look to run the clock out late. This game is in Houston instead of Indy as it was back in week two but the Texans are weaker offensively now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 3 15 3 6 4 23
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 25 24 11 3 23 26


Houston Texans (4-10)
1 10-24 PHI 10 13-10 @JAX
2 24-43 @IND 11 21-24 BUF
3 15-31 WAS 12 11-26 @NYJ
4 17-15 MIA 13 23-14 @OAK
5 Open Bye 14 20-26 TEN
6 6-34 @DAL 15 7-40 @NE
7 27-7 JAX 16 --- IND
8 22-28 @TEN 17 --- CLE
9 10-14 @NYG - - -
HOU vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 0 0 140
RB Ron Dayne 90,1 10 0
TE Owen Daniels 0 20 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 60 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 20 0
WR Kevin Walter 0 10 0
PK Kris Brown 0 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Texans were demolished last week and the debut of HC Gary Kubiak has seen the new offense looking just as bad as last year and maybe worse since Ron Dayne is no receiver like Domanick Davis was. The passing game has been nothing less than horrific since October and the defense looks good only when the opponent gets so far ahead that they just try to consume the clock with inside runs. This would be a monumental trap game but it would require Ron Dayne to do all the work - nothing else on this offense seems to work.

Quarterback: The new offense manned by David Carr has brought the passing game to all new lows - and that says something. Carr has thrown for one touchdown over the last eight games and comes off a 127 yard, four interception performance against the Patriots. That contract extension he signed last February has proven to be little bang for a lot of bucks.

Carr threw for 219 yards and three scores at Indianapolis during week two of this season. That was easily his best game of the season. He had a horrible showing last year when the Colts came to town, throwing for only 48 yards in the entire game with one touchdown.

Running Backs: Ron Dayne has been the only aspect of this offense that has worked but even that is largely related to the Texans running when they should be passing. Dayne has scores in the last two games and has gained at least 90 yards for the last three weeks. Wali Lundy is nothing more than a relief player for a few plays each week.

The Texans used Lundy, Dayne and Gado against the Colts this year and none had more than 11 carries or 37 rushing yards. They also combined for one catch for three yards.

Wide Receivers: That Andre Johnson made the pro bowl is a clear sign that voting is not directly tied to production. Johnson only scored once in the last seven games and has not topped 100 yards since week seven. Over the last three weeks, he has caught 13 passes for 105 yards in total. unfortunately, that is about three times what Eric Moulds has done.

Johnson had four catches for 56 yards and one score while Moulds caught four passes for 59 yards at Indy this year. Johnson did not play when the Texans hosted the Colts last year.

Tight Ends: The demise of the passing game has equally rendered the tight ends without fantasy value. Owen Daniels only had one catch for nine yards last week and only three catches for 34 yards over the previous three games.

Daniels turned four receptions into 45 yards and a score against the Colts this year while Mark Bruener had one catch for a touchdown as well.

Match Against the Defense: The match-up is less about what the Texans will face than what the Texans bring to the game to use. Beyond reason, Ron Dayne should carry the ball this week until he has nearly 100 yards and he could score once. The rest of the offense has been so ineffective that there is no fantasy value worth relying on.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 22 27 26 13 30 29
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 6 32 1 13 11 5