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 Kellen Davis 2-20
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 @NE 0000025021 ***
Fresh off a disappointing 183 and zero performance in Arizona, Stafford heads to the other side of the US to face the Patriots. While New England has allowed multiple TD tossed in three straight, Stafford is 20 yards per game worse on the road and has a definite ceiling to his upside this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @NE 1004301000 ***
Riddick makes an intriguing fantasy play if Reggie Bush is dinged up once again, based primarily on his pass-catching ability and the 168 RB receiving yards and two RB receiving scores the Patriots have surrendered in the past three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @NE 4003300000 ***
Ideally Bell would get the bulk of the work for the Lions as they kept Tom Brady off the field, but he's a bit dinged up and won't see the volume of touches necessary to carve out a significant fantasy helper against New England.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @NE 3004200000 ***
If Reggie can go he could have some fantasy value in PPR leagues, as the Lions will likely be throwing to keep up and the Patriots have given up their share of receiving yards to opposing backs. Of course, odds are Theo Riddick fills Reggie's shoes once again, so monitor Bush's status leading up to kickoff.
Update: Bush practiced on a limited basis all week and is listed as questionable, neither of which goes a long way towards answering questions about his availability this weekend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @NE 006801000 ***
After holding fantasy value through the first game of Calvin Johnson's return Tate fell off the map last week with just two targets in Arizona. He should thrive with non-Revis coverage against the Patriots, but he's a bit riskier play than when he was the only show going in Detroit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @NE 005600000 ***
Megatron has been targeted 27 times in two games since returning from injury, so clearly he's back on Matthew Stafford's radar. He'll see plenty of attention from Bill Belichick this week, but that volume of opportunity should still allow him to carve out a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @NE 004300000 ***
It's a definite opportunity for Ebron, as the Patriots have allowed a TE TD or 100-plus yards to the position in five straight games. So if you're streaming at the position, he's a quality alternative.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @NE 2222 ***
The Lions finally have a kicker settling in, as Prater has three straight multiple field goal games. However, a road trip to New England doesn't feel like an opportunity for him to extend that roll.

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 @PHI 0000026012 ***
Philly has served up multiple touchdown passes in every game except one; Mettenberger has multiple scoring strikes in two of his three NFL starts. He's been less reliable on the road (small sample size, of course) so temper expectations, but there's at least reason for optimism here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @PHI 6003200000 ***
Sankey is distancing himself from Shonn Greene in the Tennessee backfield, which isn't necessarily that impressive. It did, however, yield a touchdown last week and should do the same against a Philly D that's allowed five RB scores in the past four games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @PHI 006801000 ***
Wright remains the volume guy in Tennessee, and sometimes even turns that volume into a touchdown. With Philly surrendering five 100-yard games and seven WR TDs in just the past four games there's plenty of opportunity for Tennessee's receiving corps to take advantage.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN @PHI 004700000 ***
Despite being dramatically out-targeted Washington found the end zone last week. Philly has given up plenty to opposing WRs over the past month, so if you're in a pinch Washington could at least be on the fringe of your fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @PHI 003400000 ***
Philly has allowed five 100-yard outings and seven WR TDs in just the past four games, so if there ever were an opportunity for Hunter to dust off his deep ball skills it would be this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @PHI 003400000 ***
Philly hasn't given up a TE TD since Week 2, and with Walker still dinged up he's a bit of a fantasy risk this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @PHI 3311 ***
Succop has just one game of double-digit points in the past two months, and that came against Jacksonville. Don't expect a reprise here.

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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