Monday Night Football
Houston @ Denver
Vegas Projected Score: Broncos 24, Texans 16.5
Whereas the road-tripping Texans are coming off a home-game primetime win, the home-returning Broncos are following up back-to-back losses on 11 days rest following their Thursday night defeat in San Diego. Facing a quarterback whose strengths and weaknesses they know all too well, this is a get-right spot for the Broncos as a team and a home-run spot for their fantasy D/ST. It couldn’t set up worse for Brock Osweiler. … Coach Bill O’Brien should realize full well how badly this game could go for Osweiler. In an attempt to hide their quarterback, the Texans need to hammer Lamar Miller against a Denver run defense that has disappointed in some respects, ranking No. 16 in DVOA with the NFL’s 16th most rushing yards (520) yielded to enemy backs and the fifth most receiving yards (303) allowed to the position. Miller has at least 22 touches in 5-of-6 games this year and can still be counted on as a volume-based RB2 play.
Osweiler’s targets with Will Fuller healthy this year: DeAndre Hopkins 42; Fuller 40; Ryan Griffin 25; Jaelen Strong 20; Miller and C.J. Fiedorowicz 17. … The Broncos have allowed just two enemy receivers to clear 60 yards six games in, and they haven’t let a wideout score a TD since Week 1. This is a thoroughly brutal matchup for both Hopkins and Fuller. I am forced to start Hopkins in one season-long league and am worried about it. I’m benching Fuller where I own him. … Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates combined for an 8-99-1 receiving line against the Broncos two Thursday nights ago, perhaps providing some hope that Fiedorowicz’s hot run can continue. Fiedorowicz has drawn 20 targets over his last three games, scoring twice during that span. Overall, Denver has allowed the NFL’s 15th most catches (30) and 14th most yards (347) to opposing tight ends. I prefer Cameron Brate, Jack Doyle, and Vernon Davis as Week 7 streamers over Fiedorowicz, but he is getting enough usage to at least warrant discussion in a game where the Texans will struggle to get completions to their wide receivers.
C.J. Anderson resumed dominating snaps (78%) and touches (14) over Devontae Booker (21%, 7) in Denver’s Week 6 loss to San Diego, but Booker out-produced Anderson 46 to 37 on the ground on five fewer carries and coach Gary Kubiak stated this week that Booker deserves more involvement. While Anderson’s superior blitz-protection skills will likely keep him atop the depth chart, I would not be surprised if this backfield became an even timeshare in terms of workload going forward. Anderson has failed to reach 3.8 yards per carry in five straight games. Booker is averaging 4.74 YPC on the season. While the matchup is favorable against a Houston run defense that ranks 25th in DVOA, Anderson is fast devolving into a low-end RB2/flex play. Booker is worth a look as a desperation flex in deeper leagues. … Houston’s defensive strength is versus the pass, where they rank No. 7 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 7 in sacks (16). Trevor Siemian has finished as the QB17 or worse in all but one of his five starts. Just a game-managing caretaker with a tough Week 7 matchup, Siemian is a weak two-quarterback-league option.
Siemian’s 2016 target distribution: Emmanuel Sanders 37; Demaryius Thomas 33; Anderson 19; Jordan Norwood 14; Virgil Green 12; Bennie Fowler 11. … Sort of a poor man’s version of the Broncos defensively, the Texans have allowed just three 70-plus-yard games to opposing wide receivers through six weeks. Houston is yielding the NFL’s eighth fewest catches (65) and seventh fewest yards (857) to wideouts. They did lose stud RCB Kevin Johnson (foot) for the season, which will certainly sting. Still, this is an unideal matchup for Thomas and Sanders, who are playable on talent alone in season-long leagues but would both be tough to project for big Week 7 games. … Green’s target counts through three starts are 5, 4, 3. He hasn’t cleared 50 yards or scored a touchdown in any of them and is hard to take seriously as a streamer regardless of matchups.
Score Prediction: Broncos 23, Texans 13
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