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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
*updated Sat
*updated

Prediction: NYJ 14, HOU 24

Update: It is looking more like Kevin Walter may not play because his hamstring has kept him out of practice so far. Depending on what happens tomorrow, he'll likely be a gametime decision and a risk to rely on this week. Matt Schaub has been practicing all week and his ankle is not going to be an issue.

The Jets missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record last year and ended up with a mini-house clean on coaches and players. The Texans were 8-8 for 2008 but did manage a 6-2 mark at home. The Jets are bringing a rookie quarterback to Houston where the Texans should win if only because Matt Schaub has not been injured yet.

New York Jets (0-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @HOU - - -
2 NE - - -
3 TEN - - -
4 @NO - - -
5 @MIA - - -
6 BUF - - -
7 @OAK - - -
8 MIA - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 JAC - - -
11 @NE - - -
12 CAR - - -
13 @BUF - - -
14 @TB - - -
15 ATL - - -
16 @IND - - -
17 CIN - - -
NYJ @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez     170,1
RB Thomas Jones 60,1 10  
RB Leon Washington 40 40  
TE Dustin Keller   50,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   30  
WR Chansi Stuckey   20  
WR David Clowney   10  
PK Jay Feely 2 XP    

Pregame Notes: The Jets start the new Rex Ryan regime and the new head coach brings with him a background in defense only. The offensive will be tended by coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who remains and will offer some continuity to the offense for the fourth year in a row. His scheme features multiple sets and a no-huddle component. Not a lot of change to the offense though a rookie quarterback will be change enough.

Quarterback: Mark Sanchez was able to beat Kellen Clemens (like everyone else has) to secure a starting role for week one and in fairness, Sanchez looked very sharp and cool when playing in the preseason. He'll follow in the footsteps of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco of last year but he'll do so with a sub-standard set of receivers and eventually will learn why Eli Manning's passing stats always tail off late in the season at blustery Giants stadium.

For this week, Sanchez faces a soft secondary but his first game out will likely be similar to what Matt Ryan had when he faced the Lions (161 yards and one score). The yardage will be lagging but he could get a score right out of the gate.

Running Backs: This should be interesting and the Jets backfield could change as the season progresses. Thomas Jones remains the starter but he gets very little respect for a player who rushed for 1312 yards and a career best 13 touchdowns last year and he even scored twice on receptions. But he is 31 years old now and almost certain to hit the wall. He has not looked sharp at all in the preseason and tried squeezing more money from the Jets without any success.

Leon Washington, on the other hand, has been nothing short of electrifying this summer and seemingly turned in Barry Sanders Jr. each time he touched the ball. Washington is slated to get an increase in workload and his productivity has never been in question since he averages over five yards per carry.

Shonn Greene could show up eventually if Jones gets hurt, but for now expect the Jones and Washington show. That means they will decrease each other's productivity and make it harder to predict each week.

You have to like the rushing game here against a softer defense and with a rookie quarterback to defend. Expect one score that favors Jones but for Washington to have nice yardage.

Wide Receivers: This is where it appears the Jets did Sanchez no favors and why rumors abound about the Jets trying to trade for a real receiver. Laveranues Coles left for the Bengals but all that was left behind is Jerricho Cotchery - perhaps the model for the average #2 wideout - and Chance Stuckey who started his rookie year out with three straight touchdowns before disappearing for the rest of the season. David Clowney should also play after being the wonder of the training camp for the second year in a row. Maybe this time he too will not disappear when the games count.

This is a weak group that has no true #1 quality wideout. For now, hold off on considering any of them a starter until Sanchez proves he really can make something out of nothing.

Tight Ends: The ex-Purdue tight end was a pleasant surprise when he had 48 catches for 535 yards and three scores as a rookie. Keller should quickly become one a preferred target for Sanchez and could see a nice uptick in his second season. I like Sanchez to throw for one score here and Keller - by far - is the best bet.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 18 8 15 15 20 3
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 26 24 17 24 21 24


Houston Texans (0-0)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ - - -
2 @TEN - - -
3 JAC - - -
4 OAK - - -
5 @ARI - - -
6 @CIN - - -
7 SF - - -
8 @BUF - - -
9 @IND - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 IND - - -
13 @JAC - - -
14 SEA - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     270,2
RB Steve Slaton 80 40  
RB Chris Brown 20,1    
TE Owen Daniels   40,1  
WR Andre' Johnson   100,1  
WR Kevin Walter   70  
WR Andre Davis   10  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Texans have most all the pieces now, they just need to make them all fit together better and remain healthy as a team to take the next step. But the team did nothing to upgrade the fantasy aspect of the offense with all the same players returning from last year. That's good for continuity to be sure but harder to see how the Texans expect to get into winning season records.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub only made it for 11 games again last year but still had 3043 yards and 15 scores and the Texans ended the year ranked #4 in the league with 4474 passing yards. With Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, this is an offense that can move the ball through the air and Steve Slaton has added enough rushing ability that defenses cannot just load up against the pass. But – Schaub has to remain healthy. His knee sprain of last year is healed and he has remained healthy for the entire offseason.

Dan Orlovsky takes over for Sage Rosenfels as the #2 quarterback and prudent handcuff for all Schaub owners.

This should be a very good opening game with Schaub facing the #29 defense against quarterbacks from last season and they'll likely be worse this early since they have undergone much change in the offseason. The Jets as a visitor always allowed at least one passing score per opponent and half of them had two or three touchdowns. Look for Schaub to open the year with two scores and healthy yardage.

Running Backs: The 3.26 pick by the Texans last year paid off rather nicely when Steve Slaton rushed for 1282 yards with a 4.8 YPC and a total of ten touchdowns. He also added 50 catches for 377 yards. It was a busy year with 318 touches and the Texans decision to get him some help this year meant nothing more than expecting Chris Brown to somehow remain healthy when he has never done as much in his six year career.

This will be all Slaton soon enough though Brown could snake some scores early on. This week Slaton faces a defense that has been surprisingly good against runners but he'll just crank up the receptions if needed.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson had a league-best 115 catches last year and his 1575 yards were also tops. Johnson only scored eight times but was a gem in point per reception leagues. He is so good that Kevin Walter gets around 60 receptions and 900 yards just because he is not Johnson. Walter scored eight times last year and the duo are one of the most productive in the league. The slot will go to either Andre Davis or David Anderson but neither will carry fantasy relevance in any instance.

This should prove a nice season opener for Johnson who will total up good yards and at least one score.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels is one of the busiest tight ends in the league and he keeps getting better every season. He ended 2008 with 70 catches for 862 yards and a career worst two scores. He remains a very solid pass option and facing one of the worst teams for stopping tight ends should give him a touchdown to start the year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 6 15 4 11 12 24
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 29 5 15 31 13 27

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
 
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