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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Bye Week
CHI, MIN
Monday
DEN, GB
 
* updated

Prediction: CIN 17, HOU 24

Update: T.J. Houshmandzadeh rested his ankle on Wednesday but practiced on Thursday and Friday. He'll play this week. Andre Davis has been ruled out because of his finger that required surgery and will be replaced by mostly Jacoby Jones but David Anderson could also get some playing time. I am removing Davis but not replacing him.

The Texans have won their last two games and are trying to erase their memory of what the Bengals are still struggling through. The Bengals started the season out by losing close games but now without Carson Palmer, they are not even in games anymore. Each of the last four opponents have won by nine points or more and that has to be wearing down a team that has to accept futility as commonplace. This week will be one of the best chances that they Bengals have of winning but there's no reason to expect it to happen.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-7)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL 10-17 -1 39
2 TEN 7-24 -1 37.5
3 @NYG 23-26 +13.5 42
4 CLE 12-20 +3.5 44
5 @DAL 22-31 +17.5 44
6 @NYJ 14-26 +6 45
7 PIT 10-38 +9.5 37
8 @HOU - +10 44
9 JAX - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 PHI - - -
12 @PIT - - -
13 BAL - - -
14 @IND - - -
15 WAS - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 KC - - -
CIN at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick     190,1
RB Cedric Benson 70,1 10  
TE Reggie Kelly   10  
WR Chad Johnson   40  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   80,1  
WR Chris Henry   30  
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Owning an NFL worst 0-7 record and watching head coaches drop around the league does not make for a happy time in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer remains out and Ryan Fitzpatrick has not been a savoir. It's about that time of year to start making changes to look like they are still trying so the depth charts could be changing soon if only for the sake of change. Simply enough there is no remaining game that looks like a win so the Bengals will be stumbling along for a while longer.

Quarterback: HC Marvin Lewis has already ruled Carson Palmer out this week and that leaves Ryan Fitzpatrick to have his fourth start of the season. In three games, he has thrown for two touchdowns and three interceptions while getting sacked 15 times. But he has added a rushing score as well and can move the ball via a run. Fitzpatrick has not thrown for more than 164 yards in a game yet. This is only one of many bad areas on the team.

Running Backs: Cedric Benson took over the starting tailback role last week when he rushed for 52 yards on 14 carries and Chris Perry was limited to only 14 yards on 11 runs. Benson has looked far better than Perry so far but the Bengals still feature one of the worst rushing attacks in the league and no running back has been given more than 21 carries in a game so far. Perry moves to a more third down role while Benson remains the starting running back that no one wants to use. The loss of Palmer has sealed the fate of this running game that no one respects but that has no passing attack for them to worry about either.

Wide Receivers: Chad Johnson comes off his best game of the year but that only means he had eight catches for 52 yards and one score. After seven weeks, Johnson still has yet to turn in more than 57 yards in any game. T.J. Houshmandzadeh has fared much better but has been largely limited to less than 60 yards in a game and has only three scores so far. There have only been five passing touchdowns this year and they all went to either Johnson or Houshmandzadeh.

Chris Henry is coming along slowly with two games played since returning. He has three catches for 44 yards against the Steelers.

Tight Ends: Minimal fantasy value here for a unit that has no touchdowns or more than 34 yards in any game.

Match Against the Defense: As always, it is more about what the Bengals are bringing to the party than what they will find when they get there. This should be a chance for Benson to have whatever his best game is going to look like until the end of the season when the Chiefs show up (flip a coin on what coaches show for that game). The Texans defense is nothing special and should allow at least one rushing score since they have allowed eleven already. If Benson was to score twice it would only be the fourth back to manage that trick. This should be a nice week for Benson to be your bye week filler.

Fitzpatrick faces a bad secondary but there is no reason to expect him to suddenly become an NFL quarterback. Look for one passing score here and Fitzpatrick's highest passing yardage of the season (which only needs to be 165 to quality). That one score almost has to go to the tall Houshmandzadeh.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 24 32 22 31 29 25
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 27 29 10 18 18 29


Houston Texans (2-4)
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 27-31 +3 47.5
6 MIA 29-28 -3 45
7 DET 28-21 -9 48
8 CIN - -10 44
9 @MIN - - -
10 BAL - - -
11 @IND - - -
12 @CLE - - -
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     230,2
RB Ahman Green 50 10  
RB Steve Slaton 70,1 10  
TE Owen Daniels   60,1  
WR Andre Johnson   110,1  
WR Andre Davis 20
WR Kevin Walter   30  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Facing a couple of soft defenses at home has made all the difference for the Texans. The offense is scoring, Schaub looks sharp and they have stopped working on that pole they are planning on using to ride HC Gary Kubiak out of town. After this week the schedule takes another nasty turn but for one more week all should be good and proper in Houston. Just as important, this three game stretch has been invaluable to inject some confidence after the demoralizing opening to the season.

Quarterback: The last three games for Matt Schaub have been solid with never less than 267 passing yards and six touchdowns in those games. He has picked up with Andre Johnson once again and as long as the Texans remain at home against a soft defense, Schaub is looking like a Pro Bowler. That only lasts for one more week so make sure you start Schaub on Sunday while you still can. In fairness, Schaub has scored in all but one game this year and after throwing five interceptions in the first two games he has only had three over these last four weeks.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton comes off a nice game of 80 rushing yards and one touchdown but he hasn't been as productive in the last few games and has been removed from the passing equation again after his big eight catch game in week four. Another problem for Slaton is that Ahman Green is back and had 14 runs for 62 yards and a score last week as well. Green will continue to mix in with Slaton and diminish what these nice home game matchups could have provided

Wide Receivers: There is a good chance that Andre Johnson could take over the #1 NFL receiving yardage from Greg Jennings this week. Johnson has merely logged 30 catches for 450 yards and two scores over the last three games and has been nearly unstoppable at home. Even the Colts could only hold him to 131 yards. Johnson will need to prove himself again next week in Minnesota but this game points at another monster showing.

Johnson's big games have all but removed the rest of the wideouts from mattering. Kevin Walter only had 27 yards on three catches last week and since this homestretch began has only averaged around 50 yards per game without a score. It is all about Johnson here, at least in home games.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels had been solid on yardage in every game this year but last Sunday finally had his first touchdown on the year - and his second as well. Daniels has become an every week fantasy starter and needs more of those scores to be considered an elite tight end.

Match Against the Defense: The question is how do the Texans want to score? The rushing defense of the Bengals is weak with running backs allowed ten touchdowns already this year but since Green and Slaton are sharing carries it decreases what either could do. Expect good numbers here for Slaton and Green should offer fantasy relevancy this week as well.

The Bengals have been average against the pass because most teams just elect to rush against them but rest assured that Schaub wants a nice game here and Andre Johnson needs to extend his 100 yard string. Look for one passing score at least here with a second one probable unless it ends up short enough for Green or Slaton to hawk.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 6 20 11 7 18 30
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 14 25 14 14 22 24

The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Bye Week
ARZ at CAR
KC at NYJ
SEA at SF
IND at TEN
CHI, MIN
ATL at PHI
NYG at PIT
STL at NE
DEN, GB
BUF at MIA
OAK at BAL
TB at DAL
CIN at HOU
CLE at JAX
SD at NO
WAS at DET
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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