FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

Prediction: DET 17, SF 27 (Line: SF by 6.5)

Players to watch: Brandon Pettigrew

Players Updated: Calvin Johnson

The Lions outlasted the Rams but that should have never been such a close game. The 49ers return home after their upset of the Packers in Green Bay and now that the offense is looking as good as the defense, this team might be scary "let meet in New Orleans on February 3rd" kind of good.

The 49ers won 25-19 in Detroit last year.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN -----
2 @SF ----- 11 GB -----
3 @TEN ----- 12 HOU -----
4 MIN ----- 13 IND -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB -----
6 @PHI ----- 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI ----- 16 ATL -----
8 SEA ----- 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 10 300,2
WR Calvin Johnson 8-100,1
WR Lance Moore 5-70
TE Brandon Pettigrew 5-50,1
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Facing the Rams should have been a freebie complete with party favors and time to beat the crowd home. Instead it became throwing the winning touchdown with only ten seconds left to play to secure the win. Like the Eagles, this team struggled with turnovers and almost let the unthinkable happen against a weaker opponent. Matthew Stafford passed for 355 yards but just the one score with ten seconds left to play. He also threw three interceptions including one returned for a touchdown.

Stafford passed for 293 yards and two scores when the 49ers visited last year.

Kevin Smith provided more than adequate rushing with 62 yards and one score on 13 carries and four catches for 29 yards with the game winning score. No other back had more than one carry though Joique Bell made his a touchdown from one-yard out. So far, Smith is playing well enough to be the starter and has yet to be injured.

It turned into a pass-heavy game and that meant big numbers from Calvin Johnson (6-111) and Nate Burleson (6-69) while the littlest sleeper in the league only posted once catch for 14 yards. Titus Young added a run for 11 yards but only had the two touches in the game. In the meeting with the 49ers last season, Johnson produced 113 yards on seven catches while Burleson scored on his four grabs for 34 yards. Titus Young - still just one catch.

What may be a sign of better things is that Brandon Pettigrew was the primary receiver with ten targets and five catches for 77 yards. Pettigrew scored once and collected eight receptions for 42 yards in the last meeting with the 49ers.

Playing in San Francisco is not going to be any easier and the 49ers just dropped the hammer on the Packers in Green Bay. The rushing effort is about to get a major slow down but Matthew Stafford will get his passing yards if only later in the game when it no longer matters.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 18 3 18 2 15 26
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 26 1 30 27 1 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CHI 0000026020 ***
Stafford carved up the Bears for 405 and 4 in the earlier meeting, but that was at home; he's only thrown multiple scores once in six visits to Chicago. A 242 and 2 performance in Green Bay in Week 10--his last game outdoors, by the way--provides hope, as do multiple scoring strikes in five straight.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 2006400000 ***
The Lions' pass-catching back was also their most productive in the earlier meeting with Chicago, and you have to like his chances against a defense that's given up more RB receiving scores (7) than rushing TDs (6).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CHI 3002200000 ***
Just when it looked like the Lions were going to test-drive their second-round pick as their feature back of the future, they stopped giving him carries: he hasn't seen double-digit totes since 13-67 against the Packers a month ago. Maybe it's the fumbles. Whatever the reason, Abdullah is fighting an uphill battle for relevancy in his own backfield, which makes his fantasy fight that much more difficult.

Update: Abdullah was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury--further dimming his fantasy prospects for this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @CHI 200000000 ***
The upside is that Bell is getting goal line looks; the downside is that the Bears have allowed only six RB rushing scores all season, so the goal line looks might be scarce.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @CHI 004701000 ***
Only five WRs have scored on the Bears since three Lions wideouts--including Megatron--found the end zone against Chicago in Week 6. And none have topped 100 yards since two Lions--including Calvin--did so in that earlier meeting. But Johnson owns the Bears, having scored or topped 100 yards in five straight meetings, so business as usual here.

Update: Johnson practiced just once this week, and then on a limited basis, due to his lingering ankle injury. So weigh that against the optimism of his career history against the Bears.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 007701000 ***
Tate sang lead vocals for a little while but Calvin Johnson is back on the mic now, relegating Tate to leftovers. Against a secondary that's allowed only six WR TDs and one 100-yard game in the past 10 weeks, that's not a very big fantasy plate.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 004500000 ***
Tim Wright, replacing the injured Ebron, scored in the earlier meeting with the Bears. Ebron is back in the starter's role but has just one score in the past eight games so he's a fringe fantasy helper at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 1122 ***
Three points per game less
outside than in; has not kicked
outdoors since Week 10

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 30-22 10 STL -----
2 DET ----- 11 CHI -----
3 @MIN ----- 12 @NO -----
4 @NYJ ----- 13 @STL -----
5 BUF ----- 14 MIA -----
6 NYG ----- 15 @NE -----
7 SEA ----- 16 @SEA -----
8 @ARI ----- 17 ARI -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SF vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Blaine Gabbert 10 200,1
RB Reggie Bush 90,1 5-40
WR Anquan Boldin 4-70,1
WR Torrey Smith 3-60
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: If ever one game said this is the year, this is the year. The 49ers went to Green Bay where they held the Packers to two offensive touchdowns and one returned punt. Cedric Benson went from glowing reports to only gaining 18 yards on nine carries. They held the three main receivers to less than 65 yards each. But it was not only a defensive victory.

The 49ers offense - on the road - scored three times and kicked three field goals. Alex Smith completed 20 of 26 for 211 yard and two touchdowns with no turnovers. He relied mostly on Michael Crabtree (7-76) but threw touchdowns to Randy Moss (4-47) and Vernon Davis (3-43). The passing stats may have gone bigger but the rushing attack was holding it own.

Frank Gore gained 112 yards and one score on just 16 carries like it was the first half of 2011 again. He looked fresh and fast. Kendall Hunter was given nine runs and gained 41 yards but was not thrown any passes.

It was an offense that just all worked and took down the same team that went 15-1 last season. At their house.

This week is a rematch of sorts with the Lions and last year Gore rumbled for 141 yards and a score on just 15 carries. Crabtree ended with 77 yards and nine receptions but that may change with the new receivers. This offense has regained the rushing form of last season and is not only passing more, but passing better and more efficiently. Attach that to perhaps the best defense in the league and yeah, maybe this is the year.

I like the chance of a defensive score this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 13 13 16 7 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 8 9 10 5 24 29

WEEK 2
2012
* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

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