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AFC South Player Analysis
Matt Wilson, FantasySharks.com, Staff Writer

Tennessee Titans (vs Houston Texans)

QB Jake Locker: As of late Wednesday morning, Locker (sprained thumb) was tentatively expected to return to the starting lineup after sitting out two weeks. If he plays, Locker would battle a Houston Texans defense that surrendered an average of 296 passing yards and 2.3 touchdown passes per contest since Week 4. We'll leave Locker's projections in place for now and provide an update on his status later in the week. ( 151 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 20 yds rush )

QB Charlie Whitehurst: Jake Locker (thumb) was expected to return to the starting lineup after missing two games. If he is a no-go, Whitehurst would make his fourth start of the season. We'll provide an update later in the week. ( 92 yds pass with 1 TD; 9 yds rush )

RB Shonn Greene: Heading into late Wednesday morning, the Week 8 playing status of Greene (hamstring) was unknown. He has missed two straight games. It's not known whether Greene will get his starting job back or operate as the backup to rookie Bishop Sankey. Our projections were calculated on the assumption that Greene and Sankey will operate in a timeshare. The Houston Texans defense ranked 21st in fantasy points allowed to enemy running backs during the last month. We'll provide an update on Greene's status later this week. ( 22 yds rush; 1 catch for 3 yds )

RB Bishop Sankey: With Shonn Greene (hamstring) sitting out, Sankey failed to impress in two consecutive starts. The rookie runner amassed 117 rushing yards on 35 carries (3.3 yards per carry). Sankey lost goal-line carries to Jackie Battle and most passing-down work to Dexter McCluster. Heading into late Wednesday morning, the assumption here is that Greene will return and share touches with Sankey. It's unknown whether Sankey will continue to start. The Houston Texans defense, during the last four weeks, ranked 21st in fantasy points yielded to opposing ball carriers. We'll provide an update on Sankey later this week. ( 42 yds rush; 1 catch for 7 yds )

RB Dexter McCluster: McCluster's week-to-week production has been wildly inconsistent during the last four weeks. Consider him a weak fantasy RB5 play. ( 8 yds rush; 2 catches for 22 yds )

RB Leon Washington: ( 3 yds rush; 1 catch for 3 yds )

WR Kendall Wright: Wright currently leads the Titans in catches (32) and touchdown grabs (four), but he hasn't amassed more than 70 receiving yards in a game all season. Consider him a solid play as a flex option or fantasy WR3 against a Houston Texans defense that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to enemy receivers since Week 4. ( 1 yd rush; 6 catches for 59 yds )

WR Nate Washington: The distant fourth option in the Tennessee passing attack lost his starting job to Justin Hunter three weeks ago. Washington is a role player in the NFL's 28th-ranked passing attack and lacks fantasy appeal. ( 4 catches for 48 yds )

WR Justin Hunter: Hunter has been starting since Week 5. However, he has been targeted just four times per contest, and the second-year pro hasn't caught more than three passes in a game. Despite a favorable matchup versus a Houston Texans defense that yielded the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts during the last month, Hunter rates as a boom-or-bust flex option. ( 3 catches for 47 yds )

WR Derek Hagan: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

WR Kris Durham: ( 2 catches for 19 yds )

TE Delanie Walker: With Jake Locker (thumb) sitting out, Walker's production dried up. During the last two weeks, he amassed just five catches for 74 yards on 13 targets. If Locker starts this week, Walker should rebound modestly against a Houston Texans defense that gave up the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends during the last four weeks. ( 5 catches for 56 yds and 1 TD )

TE Taylor Thompson: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

PK Ryan Succop: Succop kicks for an offense that ranks 27th (tie) in the NFL in scoring, and he has scored more than five points in just two games so far this season. You should be able to find a better option in your free-agent pool. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Tennessee Titans: Consider Tennessee a weak starting option. From Week 4 through Week 7, the Titans allowed 25.8 points per game. They also averaged 2.5 sacks and 1.5 takeaways per outing. In the same time span, the Houston Texans scored 22.8 points per game. The Texans also surrendered 2.3 turnovers and 2.3 sacks per contest. ( 3 sacks, 1 INT )



Indianapolis Colts (vs Pittsburgh Steelers)

QB Andrew Luck: The must-start Luck should have no problems carving up a softer-than-you think Pittsburgh Steelers defense that gave up an average of 243 passing yards and 1.3 touchdown passes per contest during the last month. By the way, Pittsburgh also allowed game-manager Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 262 yards and two touchdowns this past Monday night. The stars are aligned for Luck. ( 274 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 19 yds rush )

QB Matt Hasselbeck: ( 16 yds pass )

RB Trent Richardson: Heading into late Wednesday morning, the playing status of Richardson (hamstring) was unknown. We'll leave his projections in place for now and provide an update later this week. We didn't have high hopes to start with however. ( 43 yds rush; 2 catches for 23 yds )

RB Ahmad Bradshaw: Although he has averaged just 13.4 total touches per contest and hasn't touched the ball more than 19 times in a game so far in 2014, Bradshaw deserves must-start fantasy RB2 status. The Colts' goal-line and third-down specialist draws a nice matchup against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that ranks 20th in fantasy points to opposing running backs during the last month. As an added incentive to start Bradshaw, he could receive extra touches if Trent Richardson (hamstring) doesn't suit up. ( 51 yds rush; 3 catches for 30 yds and 1 TD )

RB Dan Herron: Second-year pro 'Boom' Herron toted the rock five times for 37 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals last week. If Trent Richardson (hamstring) is unable to suit up, Herron could be fantasy relevant as Ahmad Bradshaw's backup versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. We'll provide an update later in the week. ( 10 yds rush; 1 catch for 1 yd )

WR T.Y. Hilton: The Pittsburgh Steelers yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to enemy receivers during the last four weeks, but their shaky cornerbacks have had trouble containing speedy wideouts like the must-start Hilton. Start him with confidence as usual. ( 1 yd rush; 8 catches for 105 yds )

WR Reggie Wayne: As of late Wednesday morning, the Week 8 playing status of Wayne (elbow) was unknown. We'll leave his projections in place for now and provide an update later this week. ( 4 catches for 41 yds )

WR Hakeem Nicks: If Reggie Wayne (elbow) is unable to suit up for Week 8, Nicks could see an expanded role. However, the sixth-year pro has done very little to impress in limited duty. We'll leave Nicks' projections alone for now. Check back for an update later this week. ( 3 catches for 28 yds )

WR Donte Moncrief: The rookie could play some extra snaps in a backup role if Reggie Wayne (elbow) is a no-go for Week 8. We'll provide an update later in the week if it's warranted. ( 1 yd rush; 1 catch for 12 yds )

WR Griff Whalen: ( 1 catch for 10 yds )

TE Dwayne Allen: Even though he and Coby Fleener have received close to the same number of targets so far this season (33 for Allen and 30 for Fleener), Allen has been the far more productive of the two. If Reggie Wayne (elbow) is unable to play in Week 8, Allen could see a few extra targets come his way. Consider Allen a low-end fantasy TE1 option against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that ranks just 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends during the last month. ( 4 catches for 52 yds and 1 TD )

TE Coby Fleener: In terms of production, he takes a backseat to Dwayne Allen. However, Fleener offers some middling fantasy TE2 value against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that ranks 17th in fantasy points given up to enemy tight ends since Week 4. ( 3 catches for 35 yds and 1 TD )

TE Jack Doyle: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

PK Adam Vinatieri: Only Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots) has racked up more kicking points than Vinatieri. He is a strong play against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that yielded the sixth-most points to enemy kickers during the last month. ( 3 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Indianapolis Colts: Consider the Colts a solid starting option. Since Week 4, Indianapolis has allowed 14.5 points per game, logged 4.0 sacks per contest and compiled 2.0 takeaways per outing. ( 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



Jacksonville Jaguars (vs Miami Dolphins)

QB Blake Bortles: In five games played (four starts) so far in 2014, the rookie triggerman has averaged 232.6 passing yards, 1.0 touchdown passes and 2.0 interceptions per contest. Consider Bortles a dicey desperation play against a Miami Dolphins defense that surrendered 243 passing yards and 2.0 touchdown passes per contest during the last four weeks. ( 236 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 17 yds rush )

QB Chad Henne: ( 66 yds pass; 2 yds rush )

RB Denard Robinson: After compiling 127 rushing yards and one touchdown on 22 carries against a leaky Cleveland Browns defense during a surprise start last week, Robinson is tentatively expected to keep the starting job for now. However, if Toby Gerhart (foot) returns, he could cut into Robinson's workload in a complementary role. During the last month, the Miami Dolphins defense gave up just 95 total yards per game and two total touchdowns to opposing running backs. Because of the matchup and uncertainty about Robinson's workload, we can recommend him only as a middling fantasy RB3 or flex option play. ( 51 yds rush; 2 catches for 17 yds )

RB Toby Gerhart: Gerhart (foot) has missed two straight games. As of late Wednesday morning, his Week 8 playing status was unknown. If Gerhart is healthy enough to play, he is expected to operate in a backup role behind new starter Denard Robinson. We'll leave Gehart's projections alone for now and provide an update on his status later this week. ( 17 yds rush; 1 catch for 10 yds )

RB Storm Johnson: Even though the rookie seventh-round selection scored two weeks in a row, it looks like he has tumbled down the depth chart behind Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart (foot) for now. Johnson lacks fantasy appeal. ( 13 yds rush; 1 catch for 4 yds )

RB Jordan Todman: Averaging just 2.5 combo touches per game in the last month, the third-down specialist remains buried on the depth chart. Todman obviously should not be on your fantasy radar. ( 9 yds rush; 1 catch for 10 yds )

WR Cecil Shorts: Shorts hasn't made many plays downfield, and his week-to-week production has been inconsistent with rookie Blake Bortles under center. Consider Shorts a middling flex option against a Miami Dolphins defense that ranked 15th in fantasy points allowed to enemy receivers during the last four weeks. ( 6 catches for 56 yds )

WR Allen Robinson: Operating as a starter since Week 3, the rookie currently leads Jacksonville in catches and receiving yards. Consider him a low-end deep play against a Miami Dolphins defense that has ranked 15th in fantasy points allowed to enemy receivers during the last month. ( 6 catches for 57 yds )

WR Allen Hurns: Entrenched as a backup behind Cecil Shorts and Allen Robinson, the rookie Hurns is splitting targets with Marqise Lee in three- and four-receiver sets for now. Hurns obviously lacks fantasy appeal. ( 3 catches for 36 yds )

WR Ace Sanders: ( 2 catches for 18 yds )

WR Marqise Lee: Since Week 6, Lee has caught just three passes in a backup role. He is sharing targets with Allen Hurns in three- and four-receiver sets. Lee has no fantasy value. ( 1 yd rush; 1 catch for 14 yds )

WR Mike Brown: ( 3 catches for 31 yds )

TE Clay Harbor: Since Blake Bortles took over as Jacksonville's starting passer, Harbor has been targeted only 5.5 times per game. In addition, he usually has been more productive in road contests. Consider Harbor a middling fantasy TE2 versus a Miami Dolphins defense that ranks 15th in fantasy points yielded to opposing tight ends during the last month. ( 4 catches for 53 yds )

TE Nic Jacobs: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

PK Josh Scobee: Scobee kicks for a team that ranks 31st in both scoring and total offense. He has tallied more than six points in just one game this season. ( 1 XP, 1 FG )

Def Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have shown a little improvement in the last few weeks, but this still isn't a unit that you can trust as a starting option. From Week 4 through Week 7, Jacksonville allowed 18 points per game, compiled 3.0 sacks per contest but just 1.0 takeaways per outing. In that same time span, the Miami Dolphins scored 26 points per game. The Dolphins also allowed just 1.67 sacks per contest and committed just 2.0 turnovers per outing. ( 3 sacks, 1 Fumble )



Houston Texans (vs Tennessee Titans)

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: His matchup against a Tennessee Titans defense that surrendered an average of 321.8 passing yards and 2.3 touchdown passes per contest during the last month is obviously a favorable one. Facing the team that he played for as a backup last year could light a fire under Fitzpatrick, too. However, his downfield passing remains inconsistent, and 'Fitz Magic' continues to falter in pressure situations. Don't trust this game-manager as anything more than a low-end fantasy QB. ( 217 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 10 yds rush )

QB Ryan Mallett: ( 18 yds pass )

RB Arian Foster: Coming off three straight outings with 100-plus rushing yards and at least one touchdown scored, the must-start Foster draws a slightly challenging matchup against a Tennessee Titans defense that gave up 104.5 rushing yards per contest and three total touchdowns to the running back position since Week 4. ( 90 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 26 yds )

RB Alfred Blue: Don't chase the fluky red-zone receiving score that he vultured from Arian Foster last week. Blue receives only a handful of change-of-pace touches per game as long as Foster is healthy. ( 25 yds rush; 1 catch for 8 yds )

RB Jonathan Grimes: Buried on the depth chart behind Arian Foster and Alfred Blue, Grimes hasn't touched the ball since Week 3. ( 7 yds rush; 1 catch for 4 yds )

WR Andre Johnson: Even though the 33-year-old Johnson has lost some explosiveness and has scored just once so far in 2014, he is the Texans' most-targeted receiver. Johnson offers solid fantasy WR3 value in PPR scoring formats against a Tennessee Titans defense that surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers during the last month. 'AJ' didn't score in his two matchups against the Titans last season. ( 7 catches for 86 yds )

WR DeAndre Hopkins: He tops all Houston receivers with three touchdown grabs and two 100-yard games, but Hopkins remains second in the team's wideout pecking order behind Andre Johnson. Consider Hopkins a decent flex option play against a Tennessee Titans defense that allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to enemy receivers since Week 4. ( 5 catches for 66 yds )

WR Damaris Johnson: ( 1 yd rush; 2 catches for 20 yds )

WR DeVier Posey: ( 1 catch for 9 yds )

WR Keshawn Martin: ( 1 catch for 9 yds )

TE Garrett Graham: Since Week 4, the Tennessee Titans defense has given up the second-most fantasy points to the tight end position, but don't expect the rarely used Graham to exploit this great matchup. He has been targeted an average of only 2.8 times per game, and Graham disappointed in a couple of promising matchups earlier this season. ( 4 catches for 43 yds )

TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: The rookie has caught two passes so far in 2014. ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

TE Ryan Griffin: He has been targeted just three times so far this season, and Griffin's last reception came in Week 5. ( 1 catch for 10 yds )

PK Randy Bullock: On paper, Bullock looks like a decent play against a Tennessee Titans defense that ranks 21st in fantasy points allowed to opposing kickers during the last month. Bullock's week-to-week scoring totals, however, have been inconsistent so far in 2014. We think you can find a more reliable option in your free-agent pool. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Houston Texans: Consider the J.J. Watt-led Houston defense a good play against a struggling Tennessee Titans offense that gave up 2.5 sacks and committed 1.3 turnovers per game during the last month. In that same time frame, the Texans compiled 2.3 sacks and 2.0 takeaways per contest. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



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