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 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 0000030021 ***
Stafford has multiple touchdowns each of the last three times the Bears have visited Ford Field. However, he's been scoreless the past two weeks and is playing closer to Teddy Bridgewater/Josh McCown level (one TD each the past two weeks against Chicago) than Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers level (11 TDs in the two games prior to that). So temper expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET CHI 6002200000 ***
Looks like Bell will carry the load again for the Lions this week. Split workload, plus a Bears' D that's been significantly better against the run of late... it doesn't add up to much in the way of fantasy help from Joique this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET CHI 2002200000 **
Reggie's nicked up again; even if he goes on a short week he can't be counted on for much in the way of fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET CHI 0071101000 ****
After seeing two Bucs receivers top 100 yards against the Bears last week and another one reach the end zone you have to think we'll see some vintage Megatron this week--the guy who scored thrice in last season's series but who has been largely absent thus far this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET CHI 0081001000 ****
Tate has remained heavily targeted even after Calvin Johnson's return. After three Bucs WRs made fantasy splashes last week, no reason to think both Megatron and Tate can't get theirs against the Bears this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET CHI 004400000 ***
Last week the Bears kept an opposing tight end out of the end zone for the first time in a month. Ebron is seeing enough targets to make fantasy noise, but he's also sharing looks with Joseph Fauria. With the WRs back atop the pecking order, Ebron is more of a reach play than a reliable fantasy helper this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET CHI 3333 ***
Prater has multiple field goals in four straight; the Bears have served up multiple treys in six consecutive games. This may be the most positive confluence of trends involving Detroit's kicker position all season.

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 Zach Mettenberger, TEN @HOU 0000023021 ***
Mettenberger has three multiple TD efforts in four career starts and posted a career-high 345 yards last week. The Texans are a tougher matchup, but not so tough that Mettenberger can't be viewed as a fringe fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @HOU 5004300000 ****
Sankey still loses looks at the stripe to Shonn Greene and simply isn't doing enough with his touches to warrant a fantasy start unless the matchup is far more favorable than this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @HOU 003401000 **
Wright continues to get a steady dose of targets, probably enough to warrant fringe fantasy consideration. But the upside still lies with deep shots to Justin Hunter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @HOU 004500000 ***
Hunter continues to be Zach Mettenberger's favorite target, and while that doesn't necessarily mean he can turn in a 6-158-2 like Jeremy Maclin or 12-121 like AJ Green he should be able to put up decent fantasy numbers against a shaky Texans' secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN @HOU 003300000 ***
Washington is still in the Titans' mix, but he doesn't offer nearly the sexy upside of a big Justin Hunter game nor does he possess the reliable target totals of Kendall Wright. So he's a fringe option at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @HOU 005401000 **
The Texans aren't necessarily a soft TE mark, but on the heels of 5-155 last week Walker should be on your fantasy radar.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @HOU 1022 ***
Ryan's fantasy point production puts the "suc" in "succop".

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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