Oh Say Can You C.J.

Staring at the standings on FantasyDraft can be a bit nerve-racking if sitting just slightly inside or outside the cash line of a contest but owning players from this game should ease those concerns. Assuming you find yourself in a situation where tonight’s game can make or break the weekend, here are my projections for the game tonight that will help make your likely fate abundantly more clear:

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Quarterbacks: In a battle between two of the top eight defenses in terms of total yards allowed, this has all the makings of an ugly game similarly to Sunday Night Football. Why? Both offenses rank in the bottom eight of total yards per game as well so this should prove to defensive struggle until the end. At least Denver’s offense has averaged 23.3 points per game this year because Houston’s 18.0 tally ranks in the bottom four (behind only the Bears, Jets and Rams). Denver literally ranks as the number one pass defenses (182.3 passing yards per game allowed) so an already slumping Brock Osweiler’s prospects are not looking pretty. The game plan will no doubt be to pound the ball against a Broncos defense allowing 112.7 rushing yards per game. Osweiler projects as one of the worst possible starts of the entire weekend as he would be lucky to top 200 yards passing. On the other side of the ball, Trevor Siemian faces the defense allowing the second fewest passing yards so this is literally a battle of the two best passing defenses. Like Osweiler, Siemian projects as a poor start but his talented receivers at least give him a chance. Projections: Trevor Siemian 16 fantasy points, Brock Osweiler 12 fantasy points

Running Backs: Coach Gary Kubiak has pledged to get Devontae Booker more touches for a long time now and yet Booker’s snaps were down in Week 6 as were both his carries (five compared to six the week before) and his targets (two compared to six the week before). Therefore, it is fair to assume the sentiments are nothing more than coach speak and C.J. Anderson is still the “the guy” in the Broncos backfield. Only the Raiders, Dolphins, Browns and 49ers have surrendered more rushing yards per game than the Texans so Kubiak would be foolish not to commit to the run throughout the entire evening. If starting one offensive player from this game, Anderson is the one with the highest prospects. Sure he has not eclipsed 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) since Week 1 but he has been targeted four times in all but one game this season and has been given 76.0-percent of the team’s red zone rushes (which has led to three rushing TDs)…and he has even caught a receiving TD. Up until last week, Lamar Miller has failed to eclipse 15 fantasy points in every game since Week 1 and he had yet to top 19 fantasy points all season…then he played the Colts. Like so many others, Miller went absolutely nuts against Indianapolis’ porous run defense and he finished with 6.2 YPC (previous season-high had been 4.3). Against a stout Broncos defense, expect him to come back down to Earth because his monster performance came on the heels of his first two TDs of the season. If the Texans offense struggles to move the ball, which is expected, then Miller’s red zone opportunities should either be limited or non-existent. Expect him to regress back to the Miller of earlier this season. Projections: C.J. Anderson 18 fantasy points, Lamar Miller 12 fantasy points and Devontae Booker seven fantasy points

Wide Receivers: Both Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. have graded as top four players at the cornerback position so far this season according to Pro Football Focus so good luck to the receivers drawing the one-on-one matchups. The good news is Talib and Harris most likely line up on the left side and in the slot so DeAndre Hopkins theoretically should draw plenty of opportunities against the weak link in the secondary: Bradley Roby. With that being said, Harris has still lined up over the right side receiver 32-percent of a time and the Broncos very likely schemed for a matchup against Hopkins. In other words, Hopkins will have to make the most of his limited opportunities in favorable matchups because otherwise he will be going against one of the best (although Harris only stands 5’10”). Since we already determined Osweiler is likely destined for a long evening, there is not a receiver that stands out in this matchup although Will Fuller’s 17.7 yard average depth of target (aDOT) suggests he only needs one long play to produce. His upside deems him the best play in the Titans’ receiving core. As for the Broncos, Emmanuel Sanders draws the unfortunate matchup against Jonathan Joseph. In theory, Joseph is an upper-echelon corner but he has struggled so far this season. With Demaryius Thomas priced slightly cheaper than Sanders, he was the better bargain this week despite the fact he has been targeted 13 less times overall this season. Both Sanders and Thomas are averaging nearly the identical fantasy output this season so rostering them is dependent completely on matchup. Expect both to catch a fair amount of passes but Thomas has the better opportunity to both lead the team in receptions and score the TD (three inch advantage on his defender). Projections: Demaryius Thomas 16 fantasy points, Emmanuel Sanders 13 fantasy points, Will Fuller 14 fantasy points, DeAndre Hopkins 10 fantasy points and Jaelen Strong four fantasy points

Tight Ends: Although Virgil Green was hyped as a preseason sleeper, he has failed to catch more than four passes in any game this season and has only bested 30 receiving yards once. So far, only six teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing TEs than the Texans and they have only allowed one score to the position. Basically, there is not a whole lot to like about Green’s matchup. The Texans, on the other hand, have an emerging young stud named C.J. Fiedorowicz who ranks as TE8 over the past two weeks. In order to beat the Broncos passing defense, throwing to the TE is the way to do it. Over the last two games alone, Fiedorowicz has caught 10 passes for 146 yards and a TD so there certainly is some potential here. Projections: C.J. Fiedorowicz 13 fantasy points, Virgil Green five fantasy points

Defense: As eluded to in all of the previous tidbits, this should be a defensive battle between two of the game’s better defenses. Opposing defenses have produced the sixth most fantasy points against the Texans compared to all other offenses while the Broncos have ranked middle of the pack. Osweiler has been sacked 12 times, thrown eight interceptions and teams have even returned a kick for a TD on the Texans special teams unit. With the Broncos built on defense, their defensive unit gets a boost in a fantastic matchup against a low-scoring team. All-in-all, they are probably the best play of this entire game, even edging out the aforementioned Anderson. As for the Texans, the matchup is just fine and dandy for them as well. Projections: Denver Broncos 14 fantasy points, Houston Texans nine fantasy points

Final Score Projection: Denver Broncos 13, Houston Texans 6

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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