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 Alex Henery 2 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 @NYJ 0000030031 ***
Stafford hasn't been his rock star self of late, but a Jets defense that's surrendered multiple TD tosses in every game this year should be the cure for what ails.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @NYJ 2005401000 ***
Maybe Bush isn't losing touches to the degree we thought, but this week it won't hardly matter as starting any back against the Jets is fantasy folly: they're surrendering just 67 combo yards per game at only 3.5 yards per touch.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @NYJ 4004300000 ***
There is absolutely nothing to like about Bell's jobshare facing a Jets D that has yet to allow a RB TD and has surrendered just 105 rushing yards through three games at a less-than-robust 2.5 yards per carry.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @NYJ 008901000 ***
Jordy Nelson blew up the Jets for 209 and a score, Alshon Jeffery had 105 yards... Megatron is the next NFC North receiver to dominate Gang Green.
Update: Johnson's only practice work this week came on a limited basis Friday... but you know the drill: if he's active on Sunday he's in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @NYJ 006901000 ***
The Jets have allowed a secondary receiver to score in two of three this year, and Tate's targets suggest he's a prime candidate to make that three out of four.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET @NYJ 001200000 ***
The Lions aren't getting much out of their tight end collective--certainly not enough to warrant giving any one of them a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Alex Henery, DET @NYJ 1133 ***
The Lions afforded Nate Freese multiple field goal opportunities in every game, but Freese's inability to convert cost him his gig. It's a nice situation for Henery to walk into.

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 @IND 0000021012 *
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN @IND 00000000 *
Locker disappointed the last time he had a favorable matchup, and Indy isn't necessarily a favorable matchup; their numbers have been padded by Peyton Manning, Nick Foles and garbage-time Blake Bortles. You're bound to find better fantasy help elsewhere.
Update: Locker was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday and only worked on a limited basis Friday. Officially he's questionable, but fantasy owners can rule him out prior to any pregame deactivation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @IND 3001100000 ***
To the surprise of no one, Sankey was far more productive than Shonn Greene when given similar touches last week. However, best wait until the Titans' backfield roles are more clearly delineated and the matchup is more favorable before trusting the Bishop with a starting fantasy gig.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @IND 300000000 ***
Montee Ball and LeSean McCoy were rendered ordinary by the Colts' run D; no reason to think Greene will fare better.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @IND 003500000 ***
You can't bank on the wildly inconsistent Hunter for... well, anything at this juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @IND 004500000 ***
Wright's a volume guy, but even high volume targets haven't been the key to fantasy success against Indy: four receivers each targeted double-digit times have amassed just 20 catches, 207 yards and two TDs. It's better than not being frequently targeted, but it's no guarantee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @IND 006400000 **
Highly targeted, and Indy has struggled to defend talented tight ends like Julius Thomas and Zach Ertz. Keep tabs on Walker's injury status; if he's healthy, he's a viable fantasy option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @IND 2211 ****
Succop has five total points the past two games; you can do better elsewhere.

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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