Last week, I promised we'd start with the stats-based matchup projections this week. I'm not one to break promises, so indeed we will. But before we do, let me just recap the factors on which these matchup projections are based:
1. Opposing defense.
2. How opposing teams do against particular players.
3. How likely a team is to win.
4. Whether a team is at home.
5. The small stuff (e.g., injuries, weather, game film review, etc.).
The way things work is that we throw data related to the first four factors into a regression analysis, and our supercomputer spits out a projection for each player each week. Then we adjust the projection based on the small stuff, which comprises things that are more difficult to quantify. You may find this peculiar given that Football Outsiders relies heavily on statistics. However, as we repeatedly emphasize, the nature of football dictates that the objective and subjective are complementary, not adversarial.
Compared with what my predecessor, Grantland's Bill Barnwell, did, you'll only see two changes in our fantasy matchups article. First, my brain works differently from Bill's (for better or worse), so that subjective part of the equation will be different in spots. After all, Football Outsiders is not in the automaton-producing business. Second, rather than presenting matchup-based gains or losses for particular players in terms of a percentage, I'll be expressing matchup gains or losses (i.e., his plus/minus value) in terms of fantasy points. For instance, I can tell you right now that Aaron Hernandez's matchup against the Chargers this week suggests he'll score four fantasy points more than he would otherwise, specifically because of that matchup.
So, now that you know the drill, let's take a look at several players whose Week 2 matchups are particularly favorable or unfavorable at their positions.
Chad Henne (plus-7 points)
Henne has several things going for him, not the least of which was a 416-yard performance in Week 1 that absolutely zero people outside Miami talked about, thanks to Tom Brady's record-setting night. Rather, if you look at his matchup against Houston, you find that (A) he's at home, (B) Houston's pass defense isn't as good as it looked against Indy, for obvious reasons, and (C) he's once again likely to be forced into passing situations by virtue of having to answer a high-powered offense.