Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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* 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
  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
RB Reggie Bush 90,1 5-40
WR Calvin Johnson 8-100,1
TE Kellen Davis 1-10
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.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 18 3 18 2 15 26
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 26 1 30 27 1 23

QB Matthew Stafford, DET @ATL 0000025010 ***
The last time these teams threw out the Welcome Matt for each other Stafford had 443 yards while Ryan threw four touchdowns. Atlanta's defense may not be quite as soft these days, but they've given up three 300-yard outings already so even sans Calvin Johnson Stafford's a decent play here.
RB Joique Bell, DET @ATL 9022200000 ***
The Falcons have given up a dozen RB TDs already, and with Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick both nicked Bell is housing the majority of the touches. More touches equals a larger share of the workload against this fantasy-friendly Falcons defense.
RB Theo Riddick, DET @ATL 2006400000 ***
Update: With Reggie Bush doubtful it's another opportunity for Riddick to shine. If you're so inclined to wake up early on Sunday and check on Reggie's status, if he can't go you'll want Riddick in your fantasy lineup.
RB Reggie Bush, DET @ATL 00000000 ****
We'd like Reggie more this week if he were getting in full practices. Instead, we'll wait until the final injury report of the week to see if he's worth plugging into this extremely favorable fantasy matchup.
Update: Officially Reggie is listed as doubtful, and he hasn't practiced since a limited session on Wednesday. Don't bank on him for a fantasy contribution this week.
WR Golden Tate, DET @ATL 0081001000 ****
Sans Megatron it's all about the Tate. Atlanta has allowed a TD or 100-yard receiver--often both--in every game this season; Tate's a good bet to hit both ends of that daily double.
WR Corey Fuller, DET @ATL 002400000 ***
Fuller appears to be the receiver stepping up into the WR2 role with Calvin Johnson out. He's a sneaky fantasy play against a defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in every single game this year.
WR Jeremy Ross, DET @ATL 002300000 ***
Ross is only slightly behind Corey Fuller in Detroit's passing game pecking order, but as it stands the Falcons are more prone to giving up a couple fantasy helpers--not a squadron.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @ATL 002300000 *
Update: Johnson is optimistically listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis all three days this week. We've seen this movie before, however, and we know how it ends: Rosebud is the name of the sled, and Megatron is a mere shell of his former self.
TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET @ATL 003200000 ****
Pettigrew has been mostly a caddy for rookie Eric Ebron this season. With Ebron injured it's Pettigrew's opportunity to shine, but the Falcons aren't particularly soft against opposing tight ends; odds are your fantasy lineup can do better.
Update: Pettigrew is a game-time decision; let's be honest, he's not worth getting up at 6 am on the West Coast to sweat out his availability. Just make an alternative plan and get your beauty rest.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @ATL 2133 ***
Baby steps: last week was the first time the Lions didn't miss at least one kick all season. Prater should get some opportunities against a Falcons' defense that's allowed multiple treys in four straight games, but... baby steps.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
  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 Frank Gore 110,1
RB Kendall Hunter 40 2-10
WR Anquan Boldin 4-70,1
WR Michael Crabtree 5-70
WR Steve Johnson 6-80,1
WR Brandon Lloyd 6-90,1
TE Vernon Davis 4-40,1
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.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 12 13 13 16 7 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 8 9 10 5 24 29

* 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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