Game Predictions & Player Projections - WAS vs. HOU

Game Predictions & Player Projections - WAS vs. HOU

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Game Predictions & Player Projections - WAS vs. HOU

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Prediction: WAS 17, HOU 24 (Line: HOU by 2.5)

UPDATE: Garrett Graham is a game time decision with a bad back and has not practiced this week. I have lowered his projections but he may not play at all.

The Redskins ended 3-13 last year and are currently on an eight game losing streak. They were also 1-7 on the road all of which bodes poorly this week. But the Texans were just 2-14 and even at home ended only 1-7 last year. Both teams changed head coaches and offensive coordinators. Both are in a rebuilding year. This is a coin flip game in almost every way.

Washington Redskins

1 @HOU —– 10 BYE —–
2 JAC —– 11 TB —–
3 @PHI —– 12 @SF —–
4 NYG —– 13 @IND —–
5 SEA —– 14 STL —–
6 @ARI —– 15 @NYG —–
7 TEN —– 16 PHI —–
8 @DAL —– 17 DAL —–
9 @MIN —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Pierre Thomas 30 4-30
WR Pierre Garcon 7-80
WR DeSean Jackson 4-60,1
WR Andre Roberts 2-30
TE Vernon Davis 6-80,1
TE Jordan Reed 4-40,1

The Redskins picked up Jay Gruden from the Bengals to become the new head coach and with him bring along an offense predicated more on the pass – deep throws at that. Gruden had helped Andy Dalton become much more productive and set career marks while allowing A.J. Green to also set career highs. Gone was the tired Shanahan scheme that focused on the run and that never seemed to get along with Robert Griffin III.

But this new scheme has not seemed suited for Griffin. He’s now a year and a half removed from his knee surgery and in good health. But he’s never been a pocket passer much though he has a strong arm and is accurate. The new offense seems more like something that Kirk Cousins would do well in but the Skins are adamant that RG3 will come to life under this system even if it takes a little time.

Gruden’s system also likes two running backs. Alfred Morris remains the starter but he has no role as a receiver with just 20 catches over the last two years. He dipped from the 335 carries as a rookie (1613 yards and 13 touchdowns) to only 288 runs for 1275 yards and seven scores as the Skins struggled all year. Morris is still consistently good and yet he is never great. Roy Helu should figure in more as the receiving back. Gruden left behind Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a model for what he liked.

The emphasis on passing led to acquiring DeSean Jackson with the hopes he minimized throwing any gang signs during games. Jackson comes off a career best 82-1332-9 in Philadelphia as the primary wideout in Chip Kelly’s new offense there. In Washington, he’s only #2 with Pierre Garcon already racking up 113 catches for 1346 yards last year. Andre Roberts was brought over from Arizona to become the #3 man in the wideout corps. This is easily the best set of wideouts that the Redskins have featured in many years. But it all depends on RG3 to command the offense in the right way.

Jordan Reed was a nice surprise last year when he ended with 45 catches for 499 yards and three scores over their first nine games but was lost for the season with a concussion. He’s back and receiving good reviews though Gruden’s offense moves primarily with wideouts and running backs and less with tight ends. Still, Reed is a receiving tight end and more akin to a wideout when he plays.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Matching to the defense is highly speculative other than the Texans are certain to be much better than 2013 when they imploded in almost every facet of the game. The Skins don’t travel that well anyway and both teams are learning all new playbooks if not with new players. J.J. Watts is back and Jadeveon Clowney already impressed in the preseason. CB Johnathan Joseph matches on Garcon but the Skins could move players around anyway. Moderate plays are Morris, Garcon, Jackson and possibly Reed or Griffin. A lot more will be known next week once we can examine what both teams really look like and are trying to do.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 18 19 14 13 30 15
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 9 22 6 18 28 31

Houston Texans

1 WAS —– 10 BYE —–
2 @OAK —– 11 @CLE —–
3 @NYG —– 12 CIN —–
4 BUF —– 13 TEN —–
5 @DAL —– 14 @JAC —–
6 IND —– 15 @IND —–
7 @PIT —– 16 BAL —–
8 @TEN —– 17 JAC —–
9 PHI —–  
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Lamar Miller 60 1-10
WR DeAndre Hopkins 5-70,1
WR Cecil Shorts
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 2 XP

The Texans are hard to scout so far since new headcoach Bill O’Brien comes over from Penn State and he’ll handle the play calling as well. O’Brien weaned under Bill Belichick coaching running backs, then wide receivers and finally quarterbacks in 2009 with a guy named Tom Brady who won the NFL MVP with O’Brien there. He is considered an offensive mastermind in the pros and in college. It was somewhat surprising when the Texans passed over all the top quarterbacks in the NFL draft given his experience with grooming the position.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter for his fifth NFL team in 11 years. Ryan had moderate success in Buffalo for three years and then became a starter in Tennessee last year when Jake Locker was injured. But the Texans traded for Ryan Mallett and drafted Tom Savage with their fourth round pick so there could be changes down the road. For now – Fitzpatrick is as good as it gets.

Arian Foster was a fantasy gem for three straight years but then injured his back and only played eight games in 2013. He’s back and healthy again though he admitted considering retirement in the offseason. Not a great sign. With Ben Tate gone, Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue would have to fill in if Foster has any more problems. This all smacks of an offense that will probably be rebuilt in 2015.

Andre Johnson was unhappy originally and wanted to be traded but he remains a Texan and at the age of 33, the market for his skills won’t be any better next year. While he has always been light on scoring, Johnson has topped 1400 yards in four of the last six years. DeAndre Hopkins managed to catch 52 passes for 802 yards and two scores as a rookie and should be in line for a nice breakout season himself if Fitzpatrick is able to connect.

Garrett Graham is the starter this year and he’s an average tight end in his sixth season. Tight ends have played a big part in O’Brien’s system and that should give Graham a minor uptick but the Texans also drafted 6-7 C.J. Fiedorowicz who could develop later on into a better receiver.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The only really certain thing here is that the Texans defense will be improved and the Skins on the road don’t do well. Everyone is learning a new scheme and involving new coaches and players. Foster will always be a starter every week as is Johnson. But beyond that, Garrett and Hopkins remain just risky plays for likely moderate gains. Next week should be clearer.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 25 23 23 9 25 32
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 23 29 21 22 16 30

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