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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Bye Week
CIN, TB
KC, NE
WAS, PIT
*updated

Prediction: HOU 24, BUF 14

Late Update: Andre Johnson had a full day of practice on Friday and will play without limitation.

Early Update: Andre Johnson returned to limited practice and said he guarantees he will play this week after suffering from a lung contusion.  If he has a full day on Friday then he’s no risk to use this week.

The Texans rise to a 4-3 record with their impressive wins over the Bengals and 49ers and head over to Buffalo where the Bills have won two straight as well and both were on the road. The Bills are 1-2 at home oddly enough and this game will help better define which team is truly stepping up their level of play. This is all about the Bills defense against the Texans offense.

Houston Texans (4-3)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK 29-6 -9.5 41
5 @ARI 21-28 +5.5 48
6 @CIN 28-17 +5.5 46
7 SF 24-21 -3 44.5
8 @BUF - -3 40.5
9 @IND - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 IND - - -
13 @JAC - - -
14 SEA - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     260,2
RB Steve Slaton 70 70,1  
RB Chris Brown 30,1    
TE Owen Daniels   80,1  
WR Andre' Johnson   50  
WR Kevin Walter   30  
WR David Anderson   20  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Texans are not likely to catch the undefeated Colts for the division but a winning record alone would be a first for the franchise and a playoff game even as the final wild card would be a dream come true. The team is playing more inspired in recent games and had better defense than what started the year. After this week is a trip to Indy to fight for the divisional title. This week is the chance they can maybe stay in the wild card hunt.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub has been superb this season with multiple scores in five different games and a league leading 16 touchdowns against just five interceptions. He also leads the NFL with 2074 passing yards and has four efforts over 300 yards. Worth noting - every road game so far has featured at least 357 passing yards and two scores.

The Bills opened the season letting Tom Brady pass for 378 yards and two scores and Byron Leftwich threw for 296 yards and one touchdown as well. Since week two, there has only been one passing touchdown thanks to the nine rushing scores allowed. Going against familiar opponents, the Bills have been stout but Jake Delhomme had 325 passing yards just last week. Schaub likes to throw and the Texans have faced poor rush defenses before and still elected to pass. Expect two scores and moderate yardage.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton maintains his fantasy value with the sum of his parts. He's not a great runner this year and has a top game of 76 rushing yards and over half rang in with less than 40 rushing yards. But he is a receiver as well who has scored three times via a pass and his biggest efforts have been on the road in games such as this. Slaton has a problem with fumbling and has already lost four but HC Gary Kubiak has already said that Slaton's turnovers are not going to cost him his job. Only having Chris Brown to fall back on sort of helps that decision.

The Bills are horrible at stopping the run and currently rank #32 against running backs. They have allowed nine rushing touchdowns and allowed six players to gain around 90 yards or more on the ground including the 210 yards that Thomas Jones pasted them with. But Slaton is hardly a top rusher in the league so expect him to have a better game than usual as a runner but to still need those receptions to post good numbers.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson was knocked out of the game last week with what would later be diagnosed as a lung contusion that resulted from a violent hit to his chest. HC Kubiak has expressed optimism that Johnson will be able to participate and that it is just a bruise that will not hinder him playing. I will assume Johnson can play with little or no limitations and update as warranted.

The Texans need Johnson since no other wideout has matter on this team. Jacoby Jones has three scores but almost never any yardage. Kevin Walter is stuck at catching three passes per game and David Anderson works the slot for minimal yardage. If anything is happening here, it goes through Johnson and Walter is quickly erasing the memory of last season. Jones rarely catches much but at least he gets a touchdown about half the time.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels has been the recent star of this offense with 201 yards and three scores over the last two games and five touchdowns on the season already. He's been the most consistent and productive so far and is on an even keel with Andre Johnson. Tight ends are where the secondary comes up short for the Bills so expect to see Daniels with a very nice game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 5 15 11 3 22 24
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 4 32 1 25 11 24


Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 24-25 +10.5 47
2 TB 33-20 -4 41
3 NO 7-27 +5.5 52.5
4 @MIA 10-38 -2.5 37
5 CLE 3-6 -6 40.5
6 @NYJ 16-13 +9.5 37
7 @CAR 20-9 +7 37
8 HOU - +3 40.5
9 BYE - - -
10 @TEN - - -
11 @JAC - - -
12 MIA - - -
13 NYJ - - -
14 @KC - - -
15 NE - - -
16 @ATL - - -
17 IND - - -
BUF vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick     170,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 60,1 10  
WR Lee Evans   80,1  
WR Terrell Owens   40  
WR Josh Reed   20  
PK Rian Lindell   2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bills have made up for the humiliating loss to the Browns by beating both the Jets and Panthers in their home stadiums. But those ended up as big defensive efforts while the Bills offense continues to sputter along without more than 20 points scored in the last five games. Changing quarterbacks has not necessarily helped, but it has not hurt either.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards has already been ruled out for this week because of his lingering concussion and Ryan Fitzpatrick takes his second start. He has only thrown for one score in the two games he has played so far and not topped 123 passing yards yet but he is not losing the ball like Edwards did and at least has made Lee Evans return to prominence even if Terrell Owens' production remains low.

The Texans rank about average against quarterbacks but have faced several less than stellar passing attacks. The 49ers passed for over 250 yards and three scores against them last week. Palmer passed for 259 and a score while Warner turned in 302 yards and two scores. But Ryan Fitzpatrick cannot be relied on to do more than improve his yardage a bit and throw for one score.

Running Backs: Fred Jackson's fantasy value has taken a huge nosedive with the return of Marshawn Lynch and he only had five carries for two yards in Carolina last week. Lynch ran 17 times for 40 yards and scored once. Neither player has factored in as a receiver at all with Fitzpatrick under center. Lynch's touchdown last week was the first rushing score of the year for the Bills and no runner here has toped more than 71 rushing yards in a game other than the one big game of Jackson against the Buccaneers.

The Texans were among the worst against the run in the first three games when they had allowed seven touchdowns and over 100 rushing yards to each opposing primary runner. They have since greatly improved and the Bills are not running that well anyway. Look for moderate to good yardage from Lynch and the chance for one rushing score. I am not projecting for Jackson given his minimal production as of late.

Wide Receivers: Terrell "the tight end " Owens has lost all vestiges of his productive past and now settles for three meaningless catches per week with a chance that somehow he can score a second touchdown before the season is over. Fitzpatrick has an admitted preference for Lee Evans who has scored in each of the last two games and had at least 68 yards in both. That is astronomic compared to the rest of the season or Owens.

The Texans have only an average secondary that can be beaten by a talented wideout. Owens is certainly due for a score but has become a bad risk. Evans just might pull the hat trick with a score in his third straight game. No other receiver on this team has anywhere near the likelihood of scoring as Evans has.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 25 25 27 27 14 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 16 23 21 14 8 7

The Huddle
WEEK 8
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Bye Week
CIN, TB
KC, NE
WAS, PIT
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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