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 @NYG 0000025011 ***
Week 2 brings another tough matchup for Stafford. He overcame it in the second half of Week 1, but now he travels to what could be the best secondary in all of football. Stafford failed to account for a TD in Week 15's meeting in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @NYG 4003200000 ***
Detroit tried pretty hard against Arizona to make Abdullah productive, but he was having none of it. Perhaps it was nerves or facing a stout run D. This week doesn't look much better. NYG rated as the four best defender of RBs last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @NYG 1005400000 ***
NYG was one of three teams to prevent RBs from scoring a receiving TD in 2016. The defense allowed a healthy 83 receptions, though, so Riddick has mild appeal. He did not play in the Week 15 meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @NYG 003501000 ***
Jones has really come alive in the red zone and has developed quite the relationship with his quarterback. New York was the seventh toughest defense of receivers last year when Jones caught three balls for 41 yards in Week 15 after he fell into a slump.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @NYG 005600000 ***
Tate should draw considerable defensive attention from New York and is playable with lowered expectations. The Giants rated well against WRs last year. Tate still found room, though, to post a line of 8-122-0 in Week 15.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @NYG 003400000 ***
Golladay will be frustrating to play, but there is some sizzle here. The upside is that he logged seven targets and only one was in the red zone, which is surprising based on how he was used in the preseason. He may struggle to find a groove against this elite pass defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @NYG 002200000 ***
Ebron's role wildly fluctuates and appears to have taken a back seat to rookie WR Kenny Golladay. For whatever it may be worth, probably just to DFSers, the Giants allowed 59 yards and a TD on seven catches by Dallas TEs last weekend.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @NYG 3311 ***
New York gave up 13 fantasy points to kickers last week, and its defense matches well with slowing the Lions' vertical attack.

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 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 @JAC 30000024021 ***
The Jags boasted a top-five defense against QBs in 2016. Mariota was injured in the second meeting. He posted 22.6 fantasy points in Week 8. There is upside here but not without nearly as much risk.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN @JAC 5003200000 ***
Three teams didn't allow a receiving TD to running backs in 2016. Jacksonville was invited to that party. Murray authored a 19.8-point PPR day in Week 8 and an 8-point effort two months down the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN @JAC 300000000 ***
Henry is just a spell at this point, and if he cannot cross the goal line, his fantasy value is zero.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN @JAC 003301000 ***
Matthews still appears to be Marcus Mariota's favorite after the addition of two prominent receivers. The vertical threat scored a single TD in each of his two meetings with the Jags last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Davis, TEN @JAC 004600000 ***
Jacksonville was the sixth worst opponent for wideouts in 2016. Davis' NFL debut was sound. It will be interesting to see how TEN uses him in the red zone, especially if Jalen Ramsey cannot play for Jacksonville.

Update: Jags CB Jalen Ramsey doesn't appear likely to play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN @JAC 003300000 **
Counting on Decker to produce in a starting lineup isn't advised this week. The matchup is stingy, and he still isn't in sync with his quarterback after landing only three of eight targets in Week 1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @JAC 005501000 ***
The Jags permitted Houston TEs to log six catches for 60 yards before injuring literally everyone the Texans could trot out there. Walker should have a sound fantasy day and deserves lineup love in most normal setups.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @JAC 1122 ***
Succop would be risky in fantasy contests. The Jags granted him 12 points in Week 8 last year and just five in the Week 16 meeting. This is an improved Jacksonville defense.

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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