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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 @CIN 0000027020 ***
Quarterbacks have posted top-10 figures in fantasy points and yards per game against the Bengals over the past five weeks. The downside is this is the eighth-hardest defense for registering passing touchdowns. Stafford, if for nothing but volume alone, is a midrange starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CIN 2004301000 *
Riddick underwent double wrist surgery last offseason, so we played it safe with this one and omitted him from the projections. He'll return Friday after practicing in full Wednesday -- barring a setback, of course. Statistically, Washington has given up substantial gains on the ground but almost nothing via the sky to running backs over the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CIN 3002100000 **
Abdullah is likely to be removed from the rankings after Theo Riddick enters in Friday's update. Riddick had a scare with his surgically repaired wrist but is good to go. The matchup is pretty positive, but there is little reason to trust Abdullah even if Riddick were to wind up sitting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tion Green, DET @CIN 300000000 ***
Green figures to be the lead back when Friday's rankings update comes out. Theo Riddick was removed because we were being cautious about his wrist injury. He's now ready to go. This means Ameer Abdullah is poised to return to fantasy obscurity. At any rate, the matchup is rock-solid for Green, should gamers be in a position to take a chance. He's best left for DFS lineups only.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CIN 006801000 ***
Tate belongs in lineups, but the matchup is not overly appealing. Cincinnati has given up bottom-half figures in relation to the rest of the league in the past five weeks. Detroit's passing volume should keep his fantasy value afloat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CIN 004600000 ***
Receivers have averaged 11 catches (21st) for 134 yards (23rd) and a touchdown every 18.3 balls (23rd) since Week 10. That is 11.3 percent below league average, and in the last three weeks the number jumps slightly to being 3 percent off the mark. Kendall Wright (20.7) and Stefon Diggs (14.7) have been solid over the last two outings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @CIN 002400000 ***
There is nothing redeeming about the matchup for such a fringe player. Cincinnati is the ninth-worst opponent for the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CIN 004400000 ***
Tight ends have averaged 4.8 snares (11th) for 50.6 yards (15th) and a score every 12 grabs (17th) since Week 10. Ebron has 33 targets, 27 receptions, 248 yards an a TD over that span, making him a viable flex or low-tier TE start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CIN 3322 ***
Kickers have made 12 of 13 point-afters and 11 of 13 three-point attempts in the past five weeks against the Bengals. This is the fourth-best prospective matchup and third most favorable in reality.

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 LAR 20000019012 ***
Los Angeles presents a solidly average matchup for Mariota. Tennessee's offense has been mostly ineffective over the second half of 2017, and the Rams pose one of the more daunting pass rushes in football. Look for a better option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN LAR 401000000 ***
For as ferocious as the Rams can be on defense, their running back control has been shoddy most of the season. In the past five games, this is the 12th-best non-PPR opponent. One of every 27 carries, or four in the last five games, has found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN LAR 6002200000 ***
Murray's closing month was promising on paper, but he has been an abject failure in fantasy outside of one huge game. Trusting him is a risky deal. He has a favorable schedule, so there is a hint of hope for brave owners. LA ranks 11th-easiest in PPR at slowing RBs, and the matchup is rather even on the ground and through the air.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN LAR 005800000 ***
Matthews is the only receiver of this crop with playability, and that is stretching the word out to include fringe flex considerations. Los Angeles has given up just three WR touchdowns in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, TEN LAR 004400000 ***
Decker has just 17 catches over his last five games, and he hasn't scored. The Rams bring to Nashville the sixth-strongest defense at limiting receiver touchdowns in the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN LAR 005401000 ***
Walker faces a Rams defense that has given up only 19 catches in the last five games (22nd), yet four of them have scored (2nd). TEs have gone for 46.6 yards, on average (19th). The veteran has a hint of upside but may be a disappointment without scoring.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN LAR 1122 ***
It's as neutral as one will find this week, ranking 14th in both field goal and extra point attempts, 16th in combined kicks, 13th in possible points and 19th in actual fantasy points per contest.

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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