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
RB Reggie Bush 110,1 4-40
WR Calvin Johnson 6-90,1
TE Kellen Davis 2-20
TE Brandon Pettigrew 6-80,1
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 0000031030 ***
Stafford hasn't thrown a road TD since Week 8, but a date with the dysfunctional Bears--whom he gutted for 390 and 2 back in Week 13--should get him back on course.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @CHI 7012200000 ***
Bell gouged the Bears for 91 yards and two TDs just three weeks ago; in the two games since, Chicago has served up 419 combo yards and three TDs to opposing backs. Bell has accounted for 236 combo yards and a pair of scores in the two games since, so there's really nothing preventing him from a repeat of--maybe even improvement on--those solid fantasy stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @CHI 00101202000 ***
Megatron has five TDs in his last three against the Bears, including 11-146-2 just three weeks ago. Unlikely that Chicago's secondary has improved enough since Thanksgiving to not consider Johnson one of the better fantasy plays of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 007901000 ***
Tate chipped in 8-89 against Chicago a couple weeks back, then last week scored his first TD in a game in which Calvin Johnson also played significant snaps. He's obviously not as reliable a fantasy play as Megatron, but he should still give you a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 002200000 ***
It's an incredibly favorable matchup, as no team has given up as many TE TDs as the Bears and it isn't even close. However, the Lions have exactly two TE TDs on the year and with the receivers set to have success it's unlikely they suddenly swerve and turn to Ebron.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 2244 ***
Inking Prater midseason has turned out to be the best move the Lions could have made; he has half the misses of his 2014 predecessors in twice as many games. More importantly, he's booted multiple treys in seven straight, has three consecutive games with double-digit points (including Week 13 against Chicago) and faces a Bears D that's surrendered at least seven points to every kicker they've faced.

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 Jake Locker 20 240,1
RB Shonn Greene 40
RB Dexter McCluster 5-50
WR Nate Washington 3-40
WR Kendall Wright 3-40
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 Charlie Whitehurst, TEN @JAC 0000022010 ***
As luck would have it, Whitehurst was at the helm for the earlier meeting between these clubs, throwing for 233 yards and no touchdowns in a 16-14 Titans win. His receiving corps has been gutted by injury since then, which will make the task a bit more challenging. Don't look to him for fantasy help and you won't be disappointed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @JAC 3011100000 **
Green handled the bulk of the carries last week against the Jets and gave us exactly what we've come to expect from him: a shade over three yards per carry. After missing the earlier meeting with Jacksonville, maybe the Jaguars won't be prepared for Green's deceptively slow running style. He'll likely get the goal line shots, so there's a chance he could salvage fantasy value--just not a great chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @JAC 3002100000 ***
Sanky saw the first extended duty of his NFL career back in Week 6 against the Jags, carrying 18 times for 61 yards. Now he's back to taking a back seat to Shonn Greene, which takes a significant bite out of his fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN @JAC 004600000 ***
The Titans will likely be without 135 of the 158 WR yards they amassed back in the Week 6 meeting with Jacksonville, as Justin Hunter, Dexter McCluster, and Kendall Wright are all likely to miss this game due to injury. That leaves Washington, who has quietly remained in the thick of the Tennessee passing mix and now must move to the fore. It's not a dynamite matchup, but as the Titans have almost no one else at their disposal Washington should chalk up some decent stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @JAC 004501000 **
If he's healthy enough to play, Walker could easily be the top pass-catching option for the Titans. He had 57 yards in the previous meeting with Jacksonville and has 275 yards over the past three games. The Jags just allowed 99 yards and a touchdown to Baltimore tight ends; a healthy Walker could do that all by himself. Of course, with Walker officially listed as questionable you'll actually have to tune in to the pregame to learn if he's going to play or not.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @JAC 0022 ***
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. And in a battle of awful teams it might just be which team gets reasonably close enough to kick more field goals who wins. Succor produced 10 points in a 16-14 win in Jacksonville back in Week 6, and every AFC South kicker has tallied at least nine points against the Jags thus far this year. So if you're dumpster-diving for a kicker, Succop might just turn trash into treasure.

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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