Game Predictions & Player Projections - HOU vs. NE

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: HOU 20, NE 16 (Line: HOU by 2.5)

UPDATE: Jimmy Garoppolo is not expected to be active and has been removed from the projections. Rob Gronkowski is still a game time decision internationally but may actually play. I am adding him into the projections but be aware that he still is no lock to play or if he does, to play well.

This is the Thursday game. The Texans head to New England where a rookie quarterback likely waits. That's the only reason that they are favored to win in this toughest of venues.

The Patriots won 27-6 in Houston during Week 14 last season.

Houston Texans

1 CHI 23-14 10 @JAC ---
2 KC 19-12 11 @OAK ---
3 @NE --- 12 SD ---
4 TEN --- 13 @GB ---
5 @MIN --- 14 @IND ---
6 IND --- 15 JAC ---
7 @DEN --- 16 CIN ---
8 DET --- 17 @TEN ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Lamar Miller 80 4-20
WR Will Fuller V 6-90,1
WR DeAndre Hopkins 7-120,1
WR Demaryius Thomas 4-40

Pregame Notes:The Texans are still not a scoring juggernaut but Brock Osweiler is as good as he needs to be and the rushing effort has been solid and yet not spectacular. Both games coming at home should have produced more points. But the addition of Will Fuller has not only added a tremendous weapon for Osweiler, but it did not come at the expense of DeAndre Hopkins. This is setting up to be another offense like the 2015 Jets or Jaguars that funneled everything through just two wideouts.

QUARTERBACK : Brock Osweiler is only average so far with around 250 yards per game and just three touchdowns on the season. The fantasy beauty is that almost all of that went through only two players. Osweiler has his first road game this week and that should prove more challenging.

RUNNING BACK : Lamar Miller has been good but not great. And his two home games against the Chiefs and Bears should have produced more than 191 yards on 53 carries (3.6 YPC).  Miller also added a few short catches each game and gets nearly all the workload for the backfield. But he’s in his first road game and that will be telling. Miller is a heavy-use back and that promotes consistency but  so far no big games.

WIDE RECEIVER : Braxton  Miller was out with a hamstring last week but he’s only made one short catch in each game after suggesting that he could do much more in the preseason. Deandre Hopkins scored each week and remains one of the elite wideouts but so far he’s been out gained by the rookie Will Fuller who has been more than just a speedy streak down the sideline. Fuller topped 100 yards in both games and scored versus the Bears. This tandem is proving deadly even if the rest of the offense has not been.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Patriots are at home but are down to their third string quarterback which will impact the entire game. They have already allowed 270+ yards and two scores to opposing quarterbacks so both Hopkins and Fuller are good starts this week versus a secondary that has allowed three scores and two players to top 100 receiving yards against them.

Miller is a must start but this should be nothing more than another moderate yardage game. There is a chance that he could run in a score but he's not likely to have a big game unless the Pats complete fall apart with their rookie quarterback. That is unlikely. Miller, Hopkins and Fuller are the starts here but Osweiler is too focused on two players to expect major yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 25 26 11 22 2 5
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 25 17 29 23 5 14

New England Patriots

1 @ARI 23-21 10 SEA ---
2 MIA 31-24 11 @SF ---
3 HOU --- 12 @NYJ ---
4 BUF --- 13 LA ---
5 @CLE --- 14 BAL ---
6 CIN --- 15 @DEN ---
7 @PIT --- 16 NYJ ---
8 @BUF --- 17 @MIA ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Brian Hoyer 230,1
RB Jeremy Hill 50,1 2-20
WR Phillip Dorsett 2-60,1
WR Julian Edelman 5-50
WR Chris Hogan 3-50
TE Dwayne Allen 4-60,1
TE Rob Gronkowski 4-50
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Patriots already were twiddling their thumbs waiting for Tom Brady to show up again but now appear very likely to roll out their 3.29 pick of Jacoby Brissett form North Carolina State. Fortunately this is a home game though against one of the better defenses in the league. Just two more home games before Brady returns and the Pats are already 2-0. This will be a big test of the defense to hold down the Texans wide receivers when they have yet to be successful in the secondary this season. At worst, they drop this one and still drub the incoming Bills next week for a 3-1 handoff to Tommy Terrific.

QUARTERBACK : The Pats are not willing to say that Jimmy Garoppolo will sit (gasp!) but that is the expectation after he sprained his AC joint last week. The 6-4 Jacoby Brissett brings in a complete unknown into the offense and that makes all the players a risk to rely on. Garoppolo is being called a game time decision but even if he played, he would be unlikely to pass much or well. This looks like the rare down week for the offense which usually results in a big game that no one saw coming. But this is already a short week so preparation will be minimal.

RUNNING BACK : LeGarrette Blount ran for 123 yards last week and scored for the second time this year. With a rookie quarterback to protect, it is a safe bet that Blount will get all the work he can handle. So far he's taken 49 of the 56 running back carries and he could break 30 runs this week if the scoreboard allows them to just run.

WIDE RECEIVER : This group has not been that great so far with Garoppolo at the helm so whatever happens with a rookie quarterback is likely worse. The return of Brady is greatly anticipated by this unit. Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman have all been on equal footing so far but that will change in Week 5 with Edelman resuming his primary role.

TIGHT END : After only 14 yards in the opener, Martellus Bennett blew up for 114 yards and a score on the Dolphins. He should remain one of the safer plays this week with a new quarterback looking for the biggest target close to the line of scrimmage. There is a chance that Rob Gronkowski plays but with such a negative situation, they may hold him out one more week. I will update as more is known about Gronk for this Thursday.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Blount is the only lock here. He should be used as much as the game situation permits and could end up with a nice game against a defense that allowed 118 rushing yards to the Chiefs just last week in Houston. But all others are going to carry very big risk from an unknown quarterback situation.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 10 16 3 14 12 11
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 2 6 7 5 14 15

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