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
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.

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

QB Matthew Stafford, DET PHI 0000028021 ***
Only one quarterback has topped 300 yards against the Eagles, but the 10 touchdown passes they've allowed over the past three weeks--five to Jameis Winston last week alone--more than make up for it. Stafford used a rushing score to salvage fantasy value last week; this time around he'll do his damage by air.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET PHI 3003200000 ***
Abdullah got an extended audition last week, garnering half of Detroit's carries but producing just 46 yards from scrimmage. Philly surrendered 235 on the ground to Doug Martin last week and has allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of the last four games so there's some upside here, but all three of those 100-yard rushers saw 20 carries and that ain't happening in Detroit.
RB Theo Riddick, DET PHI 1004400000 ***
Riddick is the pas-catching back; against a Philly D that's given up RB receiving scores in two straight and three of the last four games that's enough to make him the most valuable fantasy member of this backfield.
RB Joique Bell, DET PHI 200000000 ***
On the bright side, the Lions seem to be reducing Bell's touches; you'd have thought the fact he hadn't been producing with what he'd been given would have prompted them to do so earlier.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET PHI 0061001000 ***
It's not Grandma Dodo's pecan pie that has Johnson salivating, it's a Philly secondary that's already served up 15 WR TDs and a half-dozen 100-yard games. Enjoy the show.
WR Lance Moore, DET PHI 002201000 ***
The Eagles have allowed multiple wide receeivers to score or top 90 yards in three straight games, including giving up five passing scores--two to wideouts--last week alone. Moore has become the Lions' designated scorer, with touchdown grabs in two of the last three and four of the past six; that's more scores than Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate combined over that same span. Kick off Turkey Day with a fantasy appetizer from Moore, setting the table for a big week.
WR Golden Tate, DET PHI 006700000 ***
Tate actually saw more targets than Megatron last week. While that's an aberration, what's not is Tate reclaiming his role as wingman in the Detroit offense. And against a Philly secondary that's been scorched three straight weeks, there should be more than enough to go around.
TE Eric Ebron, DET PHI 003200000 *
Philly allowed just its second TE TD of the season last week, and with Ebron's targets falling off--not to mention Brandon Pettigrew horning in on his action--he's tough to trust with a fantasy start here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET PHI 2222 ***
Philly has allowed eight or nine kicker points in four straight, so there's a Turkey Day opportunity for Prater to put up some points. Or miss PATs, as it were.

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 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.

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

QB Blaine Gabbert, SF ARI 0000020012 ***
Gabbert has been borderline serviceable in his two starts, but it's tough to see him being anything more than a desperation fantasy play against a defense that held the Niners to just 67 passing yards in the earlier meeting.
RB Shaun Draughn, SF ARI 4006400000 ***
It's been a month since a back rushed for more than 50 yards against the Cardinals, but they've given up almost 65 RB receiving yards per game in that span. Draughn has 12 catches for 78 yards in two games with Blaine Gabbert checking down, so you could do worse than a back who'll touch the ball 15-20 times and generate 75-plus yards from scrimmage.
WR Anquan Boldin, SF ARI 004500000 **
Two games tell us Blaine Gabbert can feed one wide receiver a week, and after missing Gabbert's Niners debut Boldin went 5-93 against the Seahawks last week. He's the best bet of this passing game, which is a little like being the tallest jockey at Pimlico.
WR Torrey Smith, SF ARI 003300000 ***
Smith has been a wingman in both of Blaine Gabbert's starts, totaling 60 yards on three catches. Don't look for Gabbert to suddenly develop a deep ball, which puts Torrey on the fantasy sidelines once again.
TE Vance McDonald, SF ARI 003401000 *
McDonald has seen more targets than Garrett Celek and last week claimed the TE TD as well. Blaine Gabbert loves throwing to tight ends, and with Arizona giving up three TE TDs the past three weeks the Niners' fantasy lottery ticket might be a McDonald touchdown.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, SF ARI 2211 ***
Dawson scored just one point in the earlier meeting with Arizona. Unlikely he'll be that bad again--but odds are he won't be a whole lot better, either.

* 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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