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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
*updated
STL

Prediction: IND 27, HOU 23

This road trip takes on a new meaning for the Colts who are only 1-3 on the season and remarkably have lost both of their home games. The Texans are 0-3 despite a valiant effort in Jacksonville last week. The Colts swept the Texans in 2007, winning 30-24 in Houston and later 38-15 at Indy in the final game of the season. The Texans have only beaten the Colts once in the last ten meetings.

Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU - -3 47.5
6 BAL - - -
7 @GB - - -
8 @TEN - - -
9 NE - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 HOU - - -
12 @SD - - -
13 @CLE - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 DET - - -
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     260,2
RB Joseph Addai 80,1 20  
TE Dallas Clark   30  
WR Marvin Harrison   40,1  
WR Reggie Wayne   110,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   50  
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: This is going to be a brutal year for the Colts if they don't come around quickly because the schedule that seemed bad already only gets worse as we know more about teams this year. This may be the easiest game on the schedule for six week until these teams meet up again at Indianapolis. With the Titans undefeated, the division is only getting farther and farther out of reach at a ridiculously early date.

Quarterback: No denying that three games into the season and Peyton Manning is still a little rusty. He has averaged 260 yards each week but has yet to score more than once per game. He does, however, have four interceptions on the year. With a rushing game that has been mediocre at best, Manning is not yet back to the form we have been used to for the last six years.

Manning passed for 273 yards and one score in Houston last year but had 311 yards and three touchdowns in the home meeting with the Texans.

Running Backs: The Colts have started out with a tough schedule but even considering the quality of defenses faced, Joseph Addai has not been a big factor in any game this year. He's had 44 carries but only gained 142 yards for a 3.3 yard per carry average. He has boosted his fantasy value with three touchdowns over the last two weeks but he has also not had much role as a receiver either. Dominic Rhodes is only given two carries each week so Addai is getting all the action but it just hasn't been very productive.

Addai rushed for 72 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns in Houston last year but later was held to only 26 yards and a score in week 16 when he did not play a full game.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne has offered the best consistency of any Colts receiver (or player for that matter) and he has two scores and at least 74 yards each week. Marvin Harrison has resumed his role but only has one score and hasn't had more than 40 yards in a game since opening with eight catches for 76 yards to start the season. Anthony Gonzalez had a monster nine catch, 137-yard effort in Minnesota but only had around 40 yards in each of the other two games. This one-time elite unit has looked little more than average this year.

Wayne caught four passes for 84 yards in Houston last season and later had 10 catches for 143 yards and one score when the Texans were the visitors. Gonzalez never had more than 39 yards in either game and Harrison was only around for the week three meeting when he had 53 yards on six catches.

Tight Ends: The fantasy world is still waiting for Dallas Clark to score a touchdown this year after leading all tight ends with 11 last season. Clark has also been a huge disappointment to those drafting him and hasn't had more than 47 yards in a game this year.

Clark had four receptions for 58 yards and one score in Houston last year. He later had six catches for 60 yards and two scores in the second meeting.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans have been soft against the run - especially allowing six rushing touchdowns in only three games played. Expect a score and a decent showing here by Addai who really needs a good game.

Manning faces a secondary that has allowed at least one score to every opponent and that is in addition to letting them score via the run as well. Manning won't force it but should have decent stats here with at least one passing score and likely two unless it turns into a rushing score. That should favor Wayne and Harrison this year though Clark has been a great scorer against the Texans in the past.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 14 29 6 22 31 31
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 25 27 15 15 23 25


Houston Texans (0-3)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX 27-30 +7.5 42
5 IND - +3 47.5
6 MIA - - -
7 DET - - -
8 CIN - - -
9 @MIN - - -
10 BAL - - -
11 @IND - - -
12 @CLE - - -
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     240,1
RB Steve Slaton 80,1 40  
TE Owen Daniels   70,1  
WR Andre Johnson   60  
WR Andre Davis   20  
WR Kevin Walter   40  
PK Kris Brown 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The schedule makers did the Texans no favors with three road games to open the season against PIT, TEN and JAX. The one home game that was cancelled because of the hurricane was to be against the Ravens. That's a brutal opening stretch that gets a lot easier starting next week when the Texans host the Dolphins, Lions and Bengals. The Texans rallied to challenge the Jaguars last week but just fell short.

Quarterback: As bad as it has been, at least Matt Schaub finally showed some life last week when he passed for 307 yards and three scores in Jacksonville and somehow did that without using Andre Johnson. Schaub was never sacked and had no turnovers after a rocky start to the year had him with five interceptions and eight sacks after only two games. If Schaub can get through this week as the starter, he should start racking up fantasy points with a much easier schedule.

Schaub passed for 236 yards and one score when the Colts visited in 2007 and later Sage Rosenfels threw for 233 yards and two scores in Indianapolis.

Running Backs: The Texans thought they had found their answer when Steve Slaton rushed for 116 yards on 18 carries against the Titans. But last week he only managed 33 yards on ten carries while adding eight receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. Slaton as a receiver has a lot of merit and was a big reason for the success of the passing game in Jacksonville. The Texans are never going to run that well with this crew of running backs but Slaton can offer some consistency if the Texans will continue to involve him as a receiver. IT;s been one of the very few things that has worked well this year.

The Texans only rushed for 32 yards on 15 carries when the Colts visited last year and later Darius Walker ran for 66 yards on 19 carries at Indy.

Wide Receivers: Amazingly, Andre Johnson has not scored this year and after opening the season with 10 catches for 112 yards, he only has totaled five receptions for 67 yards over the next two games. Kevin Walter is the leading scorer for the Texans with three touchdowns of which two came last week when he caught eight passes for 76 yards and Johnson only posted three receptions for 38 yards. Last week Johnson only had five passes thrown to him while Walter had nine and even Owen Daniels had ten. But the Texans have yet to win a game and Johnson cannot be happy being the most talented decoy in the NFL.

No wideout had more than for catches for 70 yards against the visiting Colts last season and none scored. Later at Indy, both Johnson and Walker had one touchdown each but still only had around 70 yards each.

Tight Ends: These last two weeks have been productive for Owen Daniels who had four catches for 71 yards in Tennessee and then led the Texans with 87 yards on seven receptions in Jacksonville. He still has yet to score this year but has been the most productive receiver over these last two weeks.

Daniels led all receivers with seven catches for 56 yards against the visiting Colts last year.

Match Against the Defense: The Colts major problem has been an inability to stop the run. At all. In the course of playing just three games, the Colts have allowed FOUR runners to top 100 rushing yards and three have scored touchdowns. Evidently losing Bob Sanders has turned the middle of the defense into an Autobahn for running backs. But the Texans are one of the worst teams at running the ball. Look for Slaton to get plenty of work this week and to score once with nice yardage.

Schaub faces the #1 ranked defense against quarterbacks and wideouts but that stems from being so bad against the run that CHI, MIN and JAC just ran the ball all over them. None of those teams had more than 24 passing attempts. Schaub has never had less than 33 in a game this year. The Colts have not allowed a passing score this year but the Texans can manage one here with more yardage than the Colts are used to giving up because the run is not enough to move the ball for the Texans. Plus think about it - the Colts secondary has only faced Kyle Orton, Tarvaris Jackson and David Garrard (when his team had 228 rushing yards against them). Schaub could surprise here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 9 23 15 10 22 29
Preventing Fantasy Points    IND 1 29 1 12 32 30

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
STL
Other Features
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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