Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: GB 20, HOU 24 (Line: HOU by 5)

Players Updated: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley

Players to Watch: James Starks, Alex Green

The 2-3 Packers bring their 0-2 road record to Houston where the 5-0 Texans come off a short week.The Packers offensive strengths match the Texans defensive strength. I'll raise you one Arian Foster and rake in the chips.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA 12-14 12 @NYG -----
4 NO 28-27 13 MIN -----
5 @IND 27-30 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20 260,2
WR Randall Cobb 4-60
WR Jordy Nelson 2-40
TE Lance Kendricks 2-20
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers drag their losing record down to Houston with a couple of notable injuries and an inability to score more than 28 points in any game. The Packers were a scoring machine in 2011 but now struggle to post more than two touchdowns against all but the weakest of defenses. Their last three games were all decided by three points or less and came one point away from being a 1-4 record. Playing on the road has been even tougher for the Packers who now miss Cedric Benson, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley has a bad shoulder.

Aaron Rodgers has bounced back with seven touchdowns in the last two weeks but facing the Saints and Colts have made that happen. Against the tougher defenses of Seattle and Chicago he only totals one touchdown and passed for no more than 223 yards in either game. Rodgers has also been hurt by worse pass blocking and has 21 sacks already this year with 13 coming in just the two games against those two good defenses. Rodgers is dealing with a diminished set of receivers thanks to injuries and this year has not been good enough to rise above the challenges.

Cedric Benson suffered a Lis franc injury to his foot and will be out at least eight weeks meaning he won't show up until the end of the year if even then. In his place the Packers are likely to use a committee between Alex Green who they cannot trust with a full load and James Starks who has been out with a turf toe but should be ready to return. The reality is that even left to just one runner, the rushing stats here have been marginal and Benson had just one touchdown on the year.

Jermichael Finley says that he will play this week though HC Mike McCarthy was less certain after he suffered a shoulder injury last week. Finley has not scored since the season opener and has been stuck at four catches for moderate yardage every week when healthy anyway.

Greg Jennings missed last week with his groin injury and is no lock to return for this game. In his place James Jones has been very effective with two scores in each of the last two games though only around 50 yards in each. In a matter of just two games as a replacement for Jennings, Jones is now the scoring leader for the Packers with five touchdowns. No one else has more than just one. Randall Cobb just had his first touchdown last week and has also seen a nice uptick in receptions and yardage since Jennings left. Jordy Nelson has been unable to rekindle the magic he had in 2011 when he was a scoring machine in every home game. His only truly good fantasy game came at home against the Saints when he posted 93 yards and one score on eight catches. Otherwise he has just struggled to do anything in road games where he has only caught two passes for no more than 30 yards in either Seattle or Indianapolis. He's barely relevant at home and nearly invisible when he is away.

This does not match up well with the Texans who have not allowed more than two scores to any opposing quarterback and after five games no running back has scored a rushing touchdown. The only decent game by a runner was shockingly Chris Johnson when the Texans openly allowed the Titans to run draws when they were hopelessly behind on the scoreboard. Worse yet there have only been two touchdowns given up to any wide receivers and none of them had more than 50 receiving yards in Houston.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 10 26 3 12 30 19
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 3 8 4 8 3 8

QB Brett Hundley, GB BAL 30100020001 ***
Fresh off of its bye, Baltimore heads to Green Bay with fantasy's second-best defense of QBs in tow. Hundley looked more competent last week, though he remains a good ways off from being a reasonable fantasy play. Baltimore has given up only three TD strikes in the last four games.
RB Jamaal Williams, GB BAL 6012200000 **
No Aaron Jones, and likely no Ty Montgomery, means Williams will have the majority of the work will fall squarely on his rookie shoulders. Baltimore returns from a bye week with the eighth-softest rushing yardage defense but the 19th-easiest scoring defense. One in 59 carries, on average, goes into the end zone.
WR Davante Adams, GB BAL 004600000 ***
This isn't the kind of situation in which a gamer should feel comfortable about a player getting on track. The Week 10 showing was nice and all, but Baltimore is coming off a bye week and has the fourth-toughest defense in fantasy. Only two of the past 39 catches have scored, and that spans four games.
WR Randall Cobb, GB BAL 003500000 ***
Cobb faces a brutal matchup with a defense coming off of a well-timed bye. The Ravens have given up just 9.8 catches for 105 yards and 0.5 TDs per game to wide receivers. It doesn't get much tougher than this.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB BAL 003400000 ***
Nelson has fallen off of the fantasy map with Aaron Rodgers' injury, and expecting him to rechart his course this week is an expedition one shouldn't want to venture. Baltimore has given up 39 catches over it's last four games, which ranks as the sixth fewest. Moreover, only two of those balls have found paydirt.
TE Lance Kendricks, GB BAL 002200000 ***
The Packers utilize the position too inconsistently to consider Kendricks for a lineup spot.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB BAL 2222 ***
Baltimore is a midrange opponent for kickers this week. Most of the work has come via three-pointers, so there is at least that going for Crosby. Even if every kick was good, the position would have averaged a modest 8.0 fantasy points.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI -----
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC -----
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET -----
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN -----
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE -----
6 GB ----- 15 IND -----
7 BAL ----- 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Lamar Miller 30,1

Pregame Notes: The Texans join the Falcons as the only unbeaten teams in the NFL and with three straight home games coming up, that may not change. The schedule becomes much more challenging starting in week ten with four road trips out of five weeks but these Texans are the real deal and their defense will always help them to stay in every game. Add in one of the top rushing attacks in the league and it is a safe bet that the Texans will be still busy in January.

One notable here - ILB and 2011 team MVP Brian Cushing appears to have torn his ACL on Monday night and that will poke a hole in an otherwise great defense.

Matt Schaub is still mostly a game manager and has the luxury of usually playing with a lead. He has scored in all but one game but rarely has more than low 200's in passing yardage and has only eight passing scores over five games played. But he has just two interceptions on the season and never has to throw more than 35 times in any game. With a dominating ground game, Schaub is hard to rely on for a big game because the easier the opponent is, the more likely he'll just hand off for most of the day.

Arian Foster is the top fantasy back in most leagues and has a NFL-best six touchdowns on the season with 106 rushing yards per game. He has not had even a remotely moderate game this year since he has scored every week and produced solid yardage though with minimal receptions. Brandon Tate has been out with a toe injury but his replacement Justin Forsett only gained six yards on four carries against the Jets and is no jeopardy of keeping the back-up spot when Tate is healthy. Safe assumption this week with the Packers visiting is that the Texans will be running the ball no less than they have every week.

The only bad fantasy surprise this year is that Owen Daniels has become the preferred target for Schaub and has scored in each of the last three games while turning in 70 yard or so almost every week. That is bad because Andre Johnson has become an afterthought in this offense and was held to only one catch for 15 yards by the Jets. Worse yet he dropped two of his six targets. No other receiver here remotely matters. Kevin Walter has the only touchdown among wideouts.

This should be interesting since the Packers have a good rushing defense that has only allowed one rushing touchdown for a running back back in the season opener and held all but Frank Gore to under 100 rushing yards. But this is the best rushing team that the Packers have faced and on the road no less. The pass defense has given up two or more touchdowns in all but one game. The Texans are on a shorter week but back at home will be good enough here.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 23 2 31 7 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 24 13 21 22 14 15

QB Tom Savage, HOU ARI 0000022021 ***
Savage has been brutal for fantasy purposes and doesn't belong anywhere near a lineup, even against Arizona's fifth-weakest defense of quarterbacks. The matchup regresses to being the ninth-best if the two rushing TDs are removed.
RB Lamar Miller, HOU ARI 6003300000 ***
One of every 41 rushing attempts (14th) has gone the distance, and none of the 29 receptions faced by Arizona has scored. Miller takes on a defense giving up 77.8 rushing yards (22nd) but 64 receiving yards (2nd).
RB D'Onta Foreman, HOU ARI 300000000 ***
This matchup is mediocre, with its highlights coming by way of aerial production surrendered. Foreman could do some work on third-down or via the screen game.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ARI 006701000 ***
Hopkins' target count has been through the roof with Tom Savage under center. The veteran wideout is QB proof for anyone not named Brock Osweiler, it turns out. Arizona is a reasonable matchup.
WR Bruce Ellington, HOU ARI 003301000 *
Arizona has been a friendly opponent for much of the year. In recent weeks, the tide has turned. Arizona has given up a good chuck of yardage each week (10th-most) but rates in the bottom half of the league in receptions (19th) and TD efficiency (17th). This is an optimistic projection for Ellington, even with Will Fuller out of commission.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU ARI 002200000 ***
CJF returned last week and has a pretty good matchup this time out. The Cardinals have given up the fifth-most receptions per game, and three of those 23 balls have made it into the end zone.
TE Stephen Anderson, HOU ARI 003200000 ***
Anderson isn't a fantasy commodity, even with a good matchup like this one. Keep him on the wire.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU ARI 2222 ***
All 16 kicks (7 FGs) have been on the mark against the Cards, which averages out to being a middle-of-the-road 7.0 fantasy points per outing.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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