Game Predictions & Player Projections - HOU vs CLE

Game Predictions & Player Projections - HOU vs CLE


Game Predictions & Player Projections - HOU vs CLE

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Prediction: HOU 17, CLE 30 (Line: CLE by 3)

UPDATE: Arian Foster never practiced this week and is not expected to play. Alfred Blue will take the start in his place.

The 4-5 Texans come off their bye and bring their 2-3 road record to face the 6-3 Browns who are on a three game winning streak and looking great after decimating the Bengals in Cincinnati in week ten. The Texans are swapping out quarterbacks which makes this even more in favor of the Browns.

Houston Texans

1 WAS 17-6 10 BYE —–
2 @OAK 30-14 11 @CLE —–
3 @NYG 17-30 12 CIN —–
4 BUF 23-17 13 TEN —–
5 @DAL 17-20 14 @JAC —–
6 IND 28-33 15 @IND —–
7 @PIT 23-30 16 BAL —–
8 @TEN 30-16 17 JAC —–
9 PHI 21-31  
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Alfred Blue 100,1 2-10
RB Lamar Miller 30 3-20
WR DeAndre Hopkins 4-70,1
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: Losing four of the last five was enough for the Texans who opted to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and see what they have in Ryan Mallett. The losses have been less about the offense unable to score points than the defense that has allowed four different opponents over 30 points. But Fitzpatrick was never more than a game manager and a place holder.

QUARTERBACK : Ryan Mallett came over in a trade with the Patriots and gets his shot since the Texans rank below average in every passing category. The ex-Arkansas quarterback has been in the league for four years but never had a shot behind Tom Brady. His entire career has just one completion and one interception. What he brings is a big arm that should lengthen the passing game and allow for more deep routes but his underneath accuracy is unknown. There is just almost nothing to go on so far to help predict what he might do in his first ever start.

RUNNING BACK : Arian Foster broke his four game streak of 100+ rushing yard games when he pulled up lame in the Eagles loss. So long as he is healthy, Foster is money every week and has already turned in six 100+ yard games and ten touchdowns that include a passing score in each of the last three games. Foster went into the bye week with a groin injury but says he intends to play this week. Alfred Blue would take his place if he cannot go but I will project for a healthy Foster and update later if needed.

WIDE RECEIVER : A change in quarterback throws a lot of unknowns into the passing game but it wasn’t like Andre Johnson has that much to lose with just one touchdown all year and an average of only 63 yards per game. Johnson comes off a season worst two catches for 12 yards and that may have played into Mallett’s chance to start. DeAndre Hopkins scored four times already but just once in the last five games. He’s been more effective with three efforts over 100 yards and yet could be even better if Mallett can connect on deeper throws. The switch to Mallett was done in particular to get more success for these wideouts.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value. The switch to Mallett seems unlikely to change that but at least we’ll need a week or two before we can once again write off the Texans tight ends.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Browns have not allowed more than two passing scores to any team and this is Mallett’s first action so what to expect is impossible to gauge. The Browns should let Arian Foster have at least an average day if not break 100 yards yet again – assuming his groin is okay. Joe Haden matches on Andre Johnson and that might scare Mallett away at least partially and end up favoring Hopkins. But his level of success cannot be known other than a first game tends to be better than expected since the defense doesn’t know what to prepare against. That still doesn’t make more than Foster a sure start this week. Johnson and Hopkins have a little upside but the risk is big in the first start by Mallett and on the road.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 27 8 24 32 15 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 7 17 14 10 13 1

Cleveland Browns

1 @PIT 27-30 10 @CIN 24-3
2 NO 26-24 11 HOU —–
3 BAL 21-23 12 @ATL —–
4 BYE —– 13 @BUF —–
5 @TEN 29-28 14 IND —–
6 PIT 31-10 15 CIN —–
7 @JAC 6-24 16 @CAR —–
8 OAK 23-13 17 @BAL —–
9 TB 22-17  
News | Statistics | Roster
CLE vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 20 290,2
QB Josh McCown 10 280,2
RB Isaiah Crowell 10 3-30
WR Taylor Gabriel 4-70,1
WR Brian Hartline 4-40
WR Andrew Hawkins 5-60
TE Gary Barnidge 2-30

Pregame Notes: The Browns are for real and after years of folly it is hard to accept. Granted this is the only team to lose to the Jaguars, but the Browns have also beaten the Steelers handily in week six and now dominated the Bengals last week in their own stadium. Made them look like they did not belong in the NFL. The next three games are also all winnable and the final month will be the toughest stretch of the year but judging by the last month, you cannot count the Browns out anymore.

QUARTERBACK : The Browns almost have to stick with Brian Hoyer and sign him to a longer contract now that the Browns are winning and at the least Hoyer doesn’t get in the way. He’s working with a good rushing offense though and two of his last four games held no passing scores and low passing yardage. But in most games Hoyer posted a single score and solid yardage. With a defense that holds most opponents under 20 points that is enough to win games.

RUNNING BACK : The good news is that this backfield works. Even losing a Pro bowl center was not enough to keep them from scoring 13 times this year and three times against the Bengals. The bad news is that they won’t stop playing around with the rotation or honing it down to fewer than three running backs. In Cincinnati, Ben Tate (10-34, TD), Isaiah Crowell (12-41, TD) and Terrance West (26-94, TD) all were factors in the game and West’s good game could have been great. West is the primary back but any of the three could end up as the hot hand in any given week. That places risk in relying on any of them even though the next two games should produce solid rushing stats.

WIDE RECEIVER : Last week even had Andrew Hawkins out with a thigh injury but the rushing effort was more than enough to beat the Bengals. Taylor Gabriel was on the upswing in recent weeks and even scored with 87 yards on five catches in the win over the Buccaneers but fell to just three receptions for 31 yards last week when the pass was largely ignored. There is still no reason to consider any of these receivers for a fantasy start other than Hawkins in a reception points league since he was getting five to seven catches per week.

TIGHT END : Jordan Cameron missed the last two games but in his place there was no shift to using Gary Barnridge in his place. Cameron has been a marginal play himself all year with only one decent game with a touchdown..

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Still no word that Jadeveon Clowney will make it back for this one. The Texans have allowed two passing scores to nearly every opponent and the yardage has been solid to very good. This could be a spot for Hoyer to turn in the rare double score game. The rushing rotation is a mess and the Texans have been very good against all but the top runners. How that translates to a ever-evolving three headed backfield is harder to predict. The best play here is the Cleveland defense. Hoyer is likely to remain mediocre like most every other week. A passing score could go anywhere and a rushing score is likely and yet too could end up with any of the three backs. West deserves fantasy consideration after last week but there is no guarantee here. This remains largely outside of fantasy relevance from a lack of stars.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 31 17 15 20 12 10
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 24 21 31 11 14 10

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