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
WR Kevin Ogletree 2-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 6-80,1

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 GB 0000031020 ***
After facing a combined 60 passes from Geno Smith and Russell Wilson, the Packers' secondary will finally be tested: Stafford has averaged 43 pass attempts per game over the last six meetings. And while he's only tossed multiple touchdowns twice in that span he's had at least 262 passing yards, including 520 and 5 late in 2011 and 330 and 3 the last time Green Bay came to town.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET GB 5012200000 ***
Big backs have fared well against the Raji-less Packers front, with Marshawn Lynch and Chris Ivory combining for three TDs and 4.6 yards per carry. Pass-catching backs haven't exactly struggled, either; the Packers gave up an RB receiving score in Week 1 and 65 receiving yards to Jets backs last week. Bell was limited in practice earlier in the week with a knee issue; if he's good to go by the weekend he should capitalize in both of those arenas--much like the 19-94-1/3-34 line he posted on the Pack the last time they came to town.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET GB 4006600000 ***
Bush's role in this offense has been de-emphasized, so a repeat of last season's 182 yards from scrimmage in the back end of the season series seems unlikely--unless Joique Bell's knee issues force the Lions to load Reggie up with more touches than he's been seeing thus far this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET GB 0071102000 ***
Megatron has reached triple-digit yardage in half of his meetings with Green Bay, including his last four straight; he's also scored in three-fourths of those contests, including four of the last five. After letting Eric Decker and Ricardo Lockette find the end zone against them, it's hard to imagine the Packers secondary keeping Johnson from hitting both of those marks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET GB 006700000 ***
Tate scored twice* the last time he faced the Packers, and that was in Seattle where they throw the ball about half as much as they do in Detroit. Tate's 14 targets through two games as Megatron's wingman speak to his role, and while expectations shouldn't be gaudy a solid outing should be in store.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET GB 002300000 ***
The Lions' tight end production still seems fractured, though Ebron stepped to the fore last week. Green Bay hasn't faced much in the way of pass-catching tight ends, but until Ebron's role in this offense is more stable he can't be trusted with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nate Freese, DET GB 3233 ***
The Lions were auditioning kickers this week; by the time you read this Freese may be an ex-Lion. You'll want something a little more stable for your fantasy lineup.

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 T.J. Graham 1-10
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 Jake Locker, TEN @CIN 0000023012 ****
After laying a fantasy egg last week at home against the Cowboys, Locker on the road against a very good Cincy secondary holds no interest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @CIN 500000000 ***
What little success Bengals opponents have had on the ground has been generated by speed backs like Justin Forsett and Jacquizz Rodgers. "Shonn Greene" and "speed back" have never been mentioned in close proximity without a qualifier like "is nowhere near anything like a" in between.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dexter McCluster, TEN @CIN 3002100000 ***
McCluster came out of last week's loss to Dallas in a walking boot; if healthy he's the kind of back that has had a modicum of success against the Bengals, so it's a situation worth revisiting later in the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @CIN 200000000 ***
If Sankey were seeing more touches we'd be mildly optimistic; instead, we'll hope this week's dud from Shonn Greene is the impetus the Titans need to elevate their second-round pick to the feature back role.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @CIN 004500000 ***
Steve Smith and Julio Jones have forged solid outings against the Bengals; other receivers, not so much. Hunter has the talent to join that crew, but he has displayed said talent so inconsistently--like last week, when he should have toasted Dallas but instead turned six targets into just 2-26--that he's not to be trusted with a fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @CIN 005500000 ***
Wright has been similarly targeted and slightly more productive catch-wise than Justin Hunter, so you could make a tepid case for him as the Titans' WR1. And the Bengals have allowed one receiver to put up good numbers against them each week. So Wright isn't necessarily an awful start, but the hope is at this point in the season you still have other better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @CIN 008701000 ***
Cincy has allowed the second-most TE catches thus far this year, a number skewed somewhat by facing Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels in the season opener. That said, Tennessee's passing game has run primarily through Walker thus far this season; don't expect last week's numbers, but neither should you write off his 10-142-1 as a fluke.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @CIN 2211 ***
Cincy tends to keep a lid on the scoring, so temper expectations for Succop this week.

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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