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
WR Anquan Boldin 4-60,1
WR Andre Roberts 4-40
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 20000028020 ***
The matchup isn't ideal -- Chicago has given up just four touchdown passes -- but volume passing alone makes Stafford a playable option each week. This could begin the unraveling for Chicago's fantasy pass defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is now on IR. Stafford destroyed the Bears in 2015 (703 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT in two games).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET @CHI 7011100000 **
Washington has the size and speed to do damage, but patience and vision can be questionable attributes at times. He'll see the majority of the ground work for Detroit against Chicago's 12th weakest defense of fake backs. Take a chance on him as a weak RB2 or safer flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 2005300000 ***
PPR only ... Riddick is lousy at that whole "running" part of being a running back. He's a wide receiver in disguise. This week, Chicago presents a troubling matchup for his mold. RBs have caught only 11 balls for 49 yards through three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CHI 0061001000 ***
Jones has been outright dominant this season. Fantasy owners have a prized weapon to keep in their lineups of all fashions. Chicago ranks 21st against fantasy receivers, but from the "not good for Jones" end. Chicago lost its top corner, which can't hurt Jones' cause. Temper your expectations after last week's blow-up performance.

Update: Jones tweaked his hamstring in Thursday's practice but is listed as a full participant Friday and enters the game "questionable." He's likely to play and should remain in fantasy lineups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET @CHI 004301000 ***
The matchup suggests Boldin should be sat down, but Chicago lost its best defensive back and may have a tired defense if Detroit can play up to its offensive potential. Flex the veteran to cover a bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 005500000 ***
Tate needs a big game, but the matchup is less than ideal. He posted 23 PPR points over two games vs. the Bears in 2015. It's clearly a different year. Tate is a fringe lineup play but an understandable one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 005500000 ***
The matchup is not ideal, although there is hope. The Bears have permitted only one touchdown on 13 grabs, which puts them on the lower end of a midrange matchup. Ebron is a top-10 fantasy tight end at this point.

Update: Ebron continues to play through questionable listings, as he is this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 1133 ***
Five teams have been bigger pushovers against kickers than the Bears, a group that has allowed 9.7 fantasy points per game.

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 Matt Cassel 10 270,1
RB DeMarco Murray 110,1 2-20
WR Harry Douglas 3-30
WR Andre Johnson 6-80,1
WR Kendall Wright 3-40
TE Anthony Fasano 3-20,1
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 @HOU 20000024002 ***
Mariota has done little to inspire fantasy owners and gain trust. He has six turnovers on the season and faces the third toughest defense of QBs in Week 4.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN @HOU 7017600000 ***
The good: Houston has allowed a touchdown per game to RBs. The bad: Houston has allowed only six catches to RBs. Murray could be in for his worst outing of 2016, but he has earned the benefit of the doubt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN @HOU 2002200000 ***
Henry continues to see scraps after DeMarco Murray does his thing, and he should remain on your bench as insurance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN @HOU 004400000 ***
Houston doesn't provide the friendliest of matchups for wideouts, and Sharpe has tailed off after a hot start. Keep him in reserve for now, or toss him in as a fingers-crossed flex in deep PPR leagues.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN @HOU 003300000 ***
Matthews was targeted eight times in Week 3 but caught only a trio of passes. He now faces the fourth hardest match for WRs against a defense that has given up just one touchdown to his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @HOU 004400000 *
Walker (hamstring) missed Week 3 but appears on track to play this time out. He faces the fifth hardest matchup for his position, though. Check back for a late-week update.

Update: Walker was a limited participant Friday and is questionable. Consider him somewhere between "iffy" and "unlikely."
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @HOU 1111 ***
This could turn out to be a field goal frenzy for Succop, so play at your own risk. Houston had extra time to prepare and is ticked off after being shut out ... not ideal.

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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