Game Predictions & Player Projections - HOU vs. DEN

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: HOU 10, DEN 27 (Line: DEN by 7, O/U = 41.5)

FRIDAY UPDATE: Will Fuller has been limited in practices but is still expected to play.

This is the Monday night game.

The 4-2 Texans are 0-2 on the road and face the 4-2 Broncos who have lost their last two games but are 2-1 at home. The offensive woes of the Texans should be amplified in this game and that means a lower score at least for the visitors. The interesting tact of this game is the return of Brock Osweiler who bolted from the Broncos to join the Texans. That will provide some subtext and a little more motivation by the Broncos.

Houston Texans

1 CHI 23-14 10 @JAC ---
2 KC 19-12 11 @OAK ---
3 @NE 0-27 12 SD ---
4 TEN 27-20 13 @GB ---
5 @MIN 13-31 14 @IND ---
6 IND 26-23 15 JAC ---
7 @DEN --- 16 CIN ---
8 DET --- 17 @TEN ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Lamar Miller 60,1 5-40
WR Will Fuller 2-20
WR DeAndre Hopkins 4-40
WR Jaelen Strong 3-30
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz 5-50
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Coming from behind to beat the Colts no doubt helps the confidence but then again, they were at home and behind and playing the Colts before managing the three point win. The Texans have only played in two road games and against two of the best teams but lost both by at least 18 points in games in which they were never competitive. And now the third road game has to be in Denver. The schedule clears up significantly after this week.

QUARTERBACK : Ending with 269 passing yards and two scores, Brock Osweiler comes off his best game of the year though it almost entirely happened in the fourth quarter when the Colts collapsed. Osweiler has not been as billed and despite the comeback win, he's been an overall disappointment. He's thrown for eight touchdowns against eight interceptions and has been the first quarterback that actually devalued DeAndre Hopkins. He is doing what Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and Brandon Weeded did not.

He's back in Denver where he stiffed the team that groomed him. But apparently they are okay with it since John Elway said "sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make."

RUNNING BACK : Lamar Miller finally scored for the first time as a Texan and even doubled up with a score as a rusher and a receiver. But that was against the visiting Colts and his most recent road game was when he ran for just 20 yards on eight carries in Minnesota. Miller gets around 25 touches per game if the offense can afford it. He's usually tended to getting more receptions in away venues as well.

WIDE RECEIVER : DeAndre Hopkins turned in nine receptions for 71 yards against the Colts and four of those came in the closing minutes. That was his best yardage over the last four games and he scored just once since Week 2. The problem is that when the opponent has a top corner that gets locked onto Hopkins, Osweiler just doesn't throw his way as much. Will Fuller was active last week but did not play while Jaelen Strong and Braxton Miller rounded out the receivers though they only combined for three catches. Neither have ever scored or gained more than 40 yards in any game.

This crew has been terrible in every road game.

TIGHT END : C.J. Fiedorowicz was suddenly made into an option starting in Week 4 and for three games he has caught at least four passes for 48 yards and scored in the last two home games. Even in Minnesota, he ended with 61 yards on four catches. Unfortunately his production just serves to reduce what the wide receivers are doing.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: A few characteristics to this game. The Texans are on the road and facing the Broncos who lost their last two games and that was jilted by Osweiler. And that is before the matchup of a great defense against a bad offense.

The Broncos have never allowed more than one passing touchdown and just one went to a wide receiver. They are weaker against the run where they allowed four rushing scores and three different backs rushed for over 80 yards. Miller is still worth a start here and along with the likely receptions should be at least moderate with a chance of a score.

C.J. Fiedorowicz is worth a very deep consideration since the Broncos are so good against wideouts that they force opponent though some moderate yardage would the most to expect. The Broncos just held Julio Jones to 29 yards and T.Y. Hilton managed 41 yards in Denver. Miller is the only recommended play here other than Fiedorowicz as a desperation play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 30 26 27 7 10 11
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 5 22 1 15 20 17

Denver Broncos

1 CAR 21-20 10 @NO ---
2 IND 34-20 11 BYE ---
3 @CIN 29-17 12 KC ---
4 @TB 27-7 13 @JAC ---
5 ATL 16-23 14 @TEN ---
6 @SD 13-21 15 NE ---
7 HOU --- 16 @KC ---
8 SD --- 17 OAK ---
9 @OAK ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Trevor Siemian 250,2
RB C.J. Anderson 70,1 3-20
RB Devontae Booker 30 3-20
WR Emmanuel Sanders 6-70,1
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-70,1
TE Virgil Green 3-30
PK Brandon McManus 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Broncos went down to San Diego last Thursday and left both HC Gary Kubiak and a functional game plan back in Denver. The difference in the offense was surprising but noticeable. But the next four games before the Week 11 bye should all see the Broncos favored and after the Texans this week comes a home meeting with those pesky Chargers and then road trips to Oakland and New Orleans. That's bound to be a very good time to start Denver players.

QUARTERBACK : Trevor Siemian threw 50 passes last week and yet ended with just 230 yards on 30 completions with one touchdown. It was a big disappointment against what is normally a bad Chargers secondary and Siemian had thrown for 312 yards and four scores in Cincinnati in his only other full road game. Siemian has never thrown for more than one score at home or more than 266 yards.

RUNNING BACK : C.J. Anderson started the year out with two big weeks but has since cooled significantly and only scored once in the last four games. He's been held below 50 rushing yards for the past month and isn't adding much as a receiver. Against the Chargers, he ran for 37 yards on ten carries. But Devontae Booker is doing more with less. He only rushed five times in San Diego but gained 46 yards. He's taking a big enough bite out of Anderson's workload to render him as just a mediocre fantasy play every week. Booker is still limited to around eight to ten touches per week and isn't quite to the point of meriting a fantasy start. Hopefully one of the backs will see a bigger share in time to take advantage of games against the Raiders and Saints.

WIDE RECEIVER : It doesn't matter who the quarterback is, there are only two wide receivers of any note. Demaryius Thomas saw his three game scoring streak end in San Diego but he's been worth around 90 yards in most games. Emmanuel Sanders was quiet the first two weeks but since is far better with around 80 yards or more in each game until the San Diego fiasco. Both wideouts have scored three times so far and Sanders has even received more targets that Thomas in most games but that largely depends on the opposing secondary.

TIGHT END : Virgil Green returned last week after missing three games but was held to only three catches for 21 yards. So far no Denver tight end has been relevant for fantasy purposes and the only touchdown to the position went to John Phillips

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is not the same Texans defense that started the year by any means. Injuries have removed their best players and the secondary has seen injuries to almost all defensive backs. Trevor Siemian hasn't been that effective as a passer other than the one game in Cincinnati so relying on him to have a big game is optimistic. The Texans have become weak against the run and allowed five rushing scores over the last four games and three rushers have finished with 95+ yards.

There's nothing different here than usual. The Denver defense is a must start and C.J. Anderson should bounce back this week. Both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are must starts though neither have monster games this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 23 21 11 30 11 4
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 4 14 3 6 23 20

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