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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: HOU 20, MIN 27

Update: Andre Davis is out this week and has been removed from the projections. David Anderson will take his place. Ahman Green missed two days of practice with a thigh injury and on Friday only had limited practice with the scout team. He has not been entirely ruled out but I am removing him from the projections.

The Texans went on a winning streak once they were no longer constantly on the road against great defenses but that could end this week since they are 0-3 on the road. The Vikings are 2-1 at home but both these teams are 3-4 on the season and just looking to reach .500. This should be the week that Adrian Peterson makes all the difference.

Houston Texans (3-4)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  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 35-6 -10 44-
9 @MIN - +4.5 47
10 BAL - - -
11 @IND - - -
12 @CLE - - -
13 JAX - - -
14 @GB - - -
15 TEN - - -
16 @OAK - - -
17 CHI - - -
HOU @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     260,1
RB Ahman Green 40
RB Steve Slaton 70,1 20  
TE Owen Daniels   70,1  
WR Andre Johnson   90  
WR Andre Davis 30
WR Kevin Walter   50  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: It was a horrific four game opening to the season but now that the Texans have dispatched three weak visiting teams in a row, all seems much better than before - or that it should. The defense has been the weak link in every road game and the upcoming schedule turns brutal all over again but at least the offense has gotten on track. Matt Schaub has re-established himself as the franchise quarterback while Andre Johnson currently leads the league in receiving yardage. This will all change soon enough but this is a likely highpoint to the season now.

Quarterback: Once again, Matt Schaub comes off a great game with three scores and 280 yards against the hapless Bengals. If the Texans could only have a weak schedule like, say, the Bills then they could really rack up some fantasy points. Schaub has thrown for nine touchdowns over the last four games while remaining above 265 passing yards in each. But that was not limited merely to home games. Schaub started his impressive string with a 307 yard, three score game in Jacksonville so he can do some damage on the road as well.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton hasn't been as effective a runner lately but he has scored four times in the last three games to boost his fantasy value even though his role as a receiver has been really curtailed for the past month. He is also losing action to Ahman Green now who is getting around ten carries each week to the 15 or so that Slaton takes. This week will be a major challenge against a solid rushing defense in Minnesota but Slaton did win his job with a big showing in Tennessee. Then again, he hasn't surprised anyone since.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson has now taken the NFL lead with 772 receiving yards and his 56 catches also rank #1 among all wideouts. Where he falls short is with just two touchdowns on the season. Johnson gets an obscene amount of passes each week and has remained at or above ten catches for the last three games. He's been huge in reception point leagues and if he'd just throw in some touchdowns there would no stopping his fantasy owners.

Kevin Walter is the wildcard in this offense because he had no scores for three weeks and then he went off for two touchdowns against the Bengals. He had two scores against the Jaguars as well. He ends up as feast or famine but when he is good - he is very good.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels had a very uncharacteristic three catches for 21 yards against the Bengals when most weeks saw him remain at 60 yards or better but the beat was on last week and Daniels just wasn't necessary. He will be this week and his best games have come on the road.

Match Against the Defense: This is no place to rely on your Slaton points to win a game. The Vikings at home have not allowed any runner to exceed 62 rushing yards and have only allowed a couple of short rushing scores that are possible for the Texans but very hard to rely on.

Schaub faces a secondary that plays better at home and has only allowed six passing scores all year. Orton recently had two scores at home against the Vikings but no other quarterback had more than one passing score. I like Schaub to throw for one score and two is possible but it would depend on game situation. One is more reasonable and has to favor Daniels.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 4 21 4 11 20 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 13 6 13 19 15 31

Minnesota Vikings (3-4)
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 19-24 +3 38.5
2 IND 15-18 +2 43.5
3 CAR 20-10 -3.5 37
4 @TEN 17-30 +3 36
5 @NO 30-27 +3 47
6 DET 12-10 -13.5 47
7 @CHI 41-48 +3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU - -4.5 47
10 GB - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 @JAX - - -
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN vs. HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     210,1
RB Chester Taylor 20 30  
RB Adrian Peterson 120,2 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   20  
WR Bernard Berrian   70,1  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   30  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Tough loss in Chicago in a game that could have really turned the season around for the Vikings. But even at 3-4 they are only one game out of the lead for the NFC North. That will probably be as close as they get since the schedule turns against them after this week with games against GB, TB, JAX and CHI. But on the plus side, the prospects during fantasy playoff weeks are extremely encouraging with games @DET, @ARI and ATL.

Quarterback: After five starts, Gus Frerotte has been far more productive than Tarvaris Jackson had ever been even though he only has five passing scores this year. Frerotte has never passed for less than 200 yards (where Jackson regularly lived) and topped 290 yards in the last two games. In Chicago before the bye week, Frerotte had his first two score game and passed for 298 yards but had four interceptions after only tossing three up until then. Frerotte is brining the passing game all new life that hasn't been seen since.. well... before Brad Childress and Tarvaris Jackson showed up.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson has been hampered by a hamstring for part of the year but has been healthy the last couple of games that finally saw him back atop the century mark in yardage. Peterson turned in his best fantasy effort in the last game when he rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and added a nine-yard reception. His role as a receiver was supposed to increase this year but it has never happened. Chester Taylor remains the receiving running back in passing formations. But after a slow couple of weeks, Peterson is back to turning on the rushing jets.

Wide Receivers: Bernard Berrian seemed like a wasted free agent acquisition for the first couple of weeks of the season (AKA the Tarvaris weeks) but has really come on since Frerotte took the helm. Berrian has never had less than 78 yards in a game and has caught a touchdown in each of the last three games while topping 100 yards in two of them. Bobby Wade never scores but has turned into a solid possession receiver with around 60 yards per week but Sidney Rice has not played much thanks to a sprained knee.

Rice actually started the previous game but then came out almost immediately and did not return. With the bye week to heal, I am assuming that Rice is good to go this week. He will bring a nice facet to the passing game that has been clicking well for the past month without him. Rice is actually a decent free agent to grab in your league if you have the room and he has been dumped by his original owner. Berrian was supposed to bring the long ball to the club with Rice taking over the possession duty that Wade has been performing.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe has turned into a fantasy relevant tight end now with a touchdown in three of the last five games and usually around 30 yards or so. The key to Shiancoe is that the better the opposing defense, the more that Frerotte ends up with him. In Chicago, Shiancoe had four catches for 68 yards and one score. Against the visiting Lions he only managed one catch for ten yards. The harder the game - the more Shiancoe you get.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans are weak against the run away from Houston and the Vikings are in a prime spot to let a healthy Adrian Peterson do what he does best. Look for a big game this week with multiple scores by Peterson.

Frerotte could post some stats on this defense but the run will be enough and there's plenty of reasons to use ball control this week and not allow Schaub and Andre Johnson to be a deciding factor in the game. Look for Frerotte to end up with one touchdown but not likely more.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 19 13 21 12 5 12
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 22 25 8 16 17 26

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
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