FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: DET 34, TEN 13 (Line: DET by 3)

Players to Watch: Mikel Leshoure

Players Updated: Calvin Johnson, Tony Scheffler

The Lions lost in San Francisco but made it into fight. The Titans are 0-2 and are still trying to lose by fewer than 21 points. This is exactly what the Lions need. Not so much for the Titans.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN -----
2 @SF 19-27 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 @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 260,2
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: So far the Lions have outlasted a surprisingly spry Rams and lost to the 49ers and in both those high point games from 2011 have not materialized. Chances are good that should start now with the Titans and Vikings up next on the schedule.

Matthew Stafford only scored twice this year against four interceptions and the passing game that looked so good through the preseason has yet to really materialize beyond the obligatory pitch-and-catch with Calvin Johnson. Titus Young was a sleeper type to some this summer but he only has a single catch in each game and may actually be a really little guy who won't carry much of a load. Nate Burleson has been far more productive though another problem here is that no wideout has actually caught a touchdown this year.

Brandon Pettigrew has one of the scores but has not provided much in the yardage department. He started with 77 yards on five catches but dropped to only 18 yards on three receptions in San Francisco.

This week Mikel Leshoure finally starts his NFL career one torn Achilles and a marijuana-induced suspension later. Nothing he brings can hurt since Kevin Smith has not made anyone forget Barry Sanders. Most likely Leshoure just waters down what Smith and we are denied any real primary back. It is worth tracking just in case the Lions do remember how to score again.

This should be a good week. The Titans have allowed 34+ points to opponents so far and the Lions could really use a soft defense now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 23 11 19 5 7 23
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 24 26 5 32 19 19

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CHI 10000028010 ***
Chicago has been stout vs. QBs, giving up only one TD pass in the last four games (86 completions). That is the stiffest rate in football. Four interceptions and 225.5 yards allowed later, this is the third-worst opponent of the week. Stafford averaged a modest 17 fantasy points vs. the Bears in last year's two games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CHI 5011100000 ***
The Bears rank as the 10th-easiest defense for gaining rushing yards and racking up rushing TDs. Abdullah could turn in a decent game, if you're willing to take the risk. This one is probably much closer to being a coin toss than a lock.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 1005500000 ***
Chicago's defense has granted running backs 6.5 receptions (8th) and the 17th-highest average (42.3) aerial yards. None of the 26 catches permitted since Week 5 have found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 005801000 ***
Tate is always the safest bet among Detroit's receiving corps. The Bears, though, won't be a friendly opponent. Since Week 5, only one time has a reception gone into the end zone. That's 42 catches worth. Chicago is the eighth-hardest opponent in PPR and seventh-worst in standard. He generated a total of just 12.8 PPR points in two games last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CHI 005700000 ***
Jones' streak of quality play game to a crashing halt last week. It may need to wait a week before getting back on course. The Bears rate as the eighth-best defense of the position and have allowed only one TD in the last four games, spanning 41 catches. He was good for 12.4 and 10.7 PPR points in the two 2016 meetings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @CHI 002400000 ***
Golladay returned last week but is hard to bank on in fantasy. Consider him nothing more than a contrarian play in huge DFS contests.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 003300000 ***
Chicago is the second-worst matchup of the week, and Ebron might as well be the second-worst tight end of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 2222 ***
Chicago offers a midrange matchup. Fourteen of the 15 kicks have been good, and the best part is nine of them were field goals. The volume prevents this from being an elite matchup.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET ----- 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU ----- 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN ----- 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 10 260,1
RB DeMarco Murray 110,1 2-20
WR Eric Decker 4-50,1
WR Harry Douglas 3-30
PK Ryan Succop 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: It is certainly a bad thing when your defense gives away 34 points or more each game. It is even worse when your offense cannot generate more than one touchdown per week. The coaching staff is trying to hold firmly behind Jake Locker to give him time to develop but that seasoning on the bench last year may not have been completely finished.

Locker has thrown for around 200 yards per week with one score and one interception. That is not terrible except when you consider his team was trailing by three or four touchdowns and the running effort is completely abandoned in the second half. At some point either Locker improves or the coaches make some excuse about Locker needing to "watch the game" and insert Matt Hasselbeck back into the lineup.

Chris Johnson has played do poorly that he has called out the offense in general and his blockers in particular. That is akin to insulting your bodyguards right before going to beer night at Fight Club. Johnson has 19 runs for a whopping 21 yards. By now the defense is just stopping Johnson cold and not caring what Locker does.

The meager passing has hit all the receivers and the best game by a wideout so far is only 53 yards on two catches by Nate Washington in the opener when he scored. Kendall Wright has high potential and looked great in the preseason but has only seven receptions for 61 yards and one score on the season. Until Hasselbeck gets the call, it looks like a lost season for these receivers. Even Kenny Britt returned last week to only one catch for five yards.

Problem this week is that the Lions have a decent to good defense. And average is all you need to stop the Titans this year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 25 32 16 21 24 25
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 11 16 11 22 24 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN @PIT 20000019011 ***
The Steelers have softened slightly of late against quarterbacks. It could continue that way with the loss of Joe Haden. Mariota faces a defense that hasn't given up a score on the ground, and quarterbacks have thrown for only five in the past four games. Pittsburgh has conceded 257.8 yards worth through the sky.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN @PIT 4003200000 ***
This is a truly awful matchup. None of the last 69 carries went into the end zone, and the same can be said for the 19 receptions allowed. The Steelers have given up only 52 rushing yards (31st).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN @PIT 300000000 ***
As we've seen countless times, Henry is effectively useless for fantasy when DeMarco Murray is alive and well. Furthermore, Pittsburgh is the harshest matchup of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN @PIT 003401000 ***
Pittsburgh had been a terrible matchup for wideouts most of the year. They recently lost CB Joe Haden, which definitely hurts. This defense has given up one touchdown per game since Week 5 to the position. Wideouts have averaged 172.9 yards (8th most) on just the 18th-highest average for weekly receptions.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN @PIT 004300000 ***
Wide receivers have averaged 10.8 receptions (18th), 172.8 yards (8th) and a touchdown every 10.8 snags (6th). While the matchup rating has drastically improved from just a few weeks ago, Decker is a risky fantasy start in any setting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Davis, TEN @PIT 003300000 ***
Davis was awfully close to scoring a TD last week before losing it out of bounds for a touchback. The bright spot is he was targeted 10 times on the day. Pittsburgh has given up a TD every 10.8 receptions, which is the sixth-highest frequency in football. Overall, it's a positive enough matchup to make Davis a starter in a pinch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @PIT 004500000 ***
The total stat line against the Steelers since Week 5: 14 catches, 146 yards, one TD. That's it. This is a bottom-six matchup in both scoring systems.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @PIT 2211 ***
This is a routine matchup stats-wise for Thursday's contest. It should come down to game flow and situational football more than usual. The veteran kicker has been good enough to earn the benefit of the doubt this year.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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