Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: MIN 20, DET 30 (Line: DET by 5.5)

Players to Watch: Jerome Simpson, Mikel Leshoure

Players Updated: Mikel Leshoure, Matthew Stafford, Kyle Rudolph

The 1-2 Lions have not lost a home game to the Vikings since 2009 and return after two straight road losses to the 49ers and Titans. The 2-1 Vikings come off their big upset over the 49ers and hit the road where they had their only loss. The Lions swept the Vikings last year, winning 26-23 at Minnesota and later 34-28 at Detroit. This time the Lions may have a running back while the Vikings are still trying to get Adrian Peterson 100% back.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET -----
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET ----- 13 @GB -----
5 TEN ----- 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS ----- 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 190
WR Michael Floyd 2-30
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50,1

Pregame Notes: Big win over the 49ers no matter if it was a trap game or not. The defense stepped up to hold them to just one touchdown and the offense saw Christian Ponder not only pass for two scores, but added a rushing touchdown on his seven runs for 33 yards. Ponder had almost never rushed this year before the 49ers showed up. That gives Ponder four touchdowns on the season against no interceptions and he is averaging a respectable 237 yards per game.

This week he gets Jerome Simpson off suspension and with that a sorely needed complement to Percy Harvin. Simpson will provide the deep patterns to either pull the defense back or make them pay for single coverage. Until now, the passing effort has evolved around finding Percy Harvin on short routes that rarely top ten yards. If Simpson can "take the top off the defense" it will free up Harvin even more for better yards after the catch. Simpson was impressive and exciting in the preseason and no one else has stepped up in the last three weeks.

Kyle Rudolph is now the leading scorer for the team with two touchdowns against the 49ers added to the one in week two versus the Colts. His yardage is lacking but again - Simpson can add an element to the passing game that should open it up for the other players like Rudolph and Harvin. Rudolph is not getting enough work to suggest he is a new elite tight end, but scoring three times in just two games means he may be on his way.

Adrian Peterson opened the year nicely with two scores on the Jaguars but has been less effective since. He gained 60 yards on 16 carries against a weak defense in Indianapolis and then 86 yards on 25 runs in the win over the 49ers. Not bad stats but also not exactly what we had been used to seeing. Peterson has run 58 times for 230 yards and just under a four yard rushing average. He may not be all the way back, but he is definitely back enough to matter.

The Lions have been great against the run with only one rushing score allowed while in San Francisco. But the passing defense has been average at best and Ponder again gets a chance to shine plus uses Jerome Simpson for the first time.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 15 16 17 15 10 23
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 21 3 17 31 30 31

QB Case Keenum, MIN TB 20000020011 ***
Update: Sam Bradford has been ruled out, making Keenum the starter for another week. The matchup is so-so ... Chicago wasn't a good gauge last week of how well the Bucs will defend the position. Last year, Tampa Bay was respectable, allowing 30 or more fantasy points twice and more than two TD passes three times.
RB Dalvin Cook, MIN TB 8013200000 ***
Tampa gave up a bunch of receiving work to Tarik Cohen but little else. Cook has come awfully close to scoring twice now, and getting Sam Bradford back in the starting lineup should do wonders.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN TB 004501000 **
The Buccaneers did a number on what Chicago is calling a receiving corps, and Thielen sorely missed Sam Bradford last week. He's barely playable without his marshmallow of a quarterback.

Update: Bradford has been ruled out for Week 3. Lower your expectations in all setups.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN TB 003400000 **
Assuming Sam Bradford starts, Diggs is a much safer play. The Bucs didn't give up much to WRs last week, which may be misleading given all of the Bears' injuries at the position. Cautiously treat Diggs as a PPR No. 2 or a third otherwise.

Update: Bradford has been ruled out for Week 3. Lower your expectations in all setups.
WR Laquon Treadwell, MIN TB 002300000 ***
Minnesota's third target is too erratic to matter in fantasy leagues.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN TB 003300000 ***
Rudolph will be a safer fantasy start if Sam Bradford returns to the lineup. If not, consider the veteran tight end as a fringe play. Tampa gave up a 6-42-0 line to Chicago tight ends in its one game this year.

Update: Bradford has been ruled out for Week 3. Lower your expectations in all setups.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN TB 2222 ***
Gauging Tampa's defense of fantasy kickers is skewed from having a Week 1 bye and returning to face the Bears. Sam Bradford's status will also play a role in the final projections for Forbath.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN -----
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB -----
3 @TEN 41-44 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 vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 280,2
WR Golden Tate 2-30
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions have dropped their two road games but were competitive in both and should have won in Tennessee. This week they face the familiar Vikings with only the bye week waiting on the other side. This is a must win or the Lions will drop to 1-3 with a very tough four road match-ups in their next five games after the bye. Having already gone 0-2 away from Detroit, that will be brutal.

Matthew Stafford was knocked from the game last week but Shaun Hill came in and threw two scores while completing 10 of 13 for 172 yards. He is a more than capable backup. Stafford has the yardage each week but still only has one touchdown pass per game. He missed out a chance at nice stat padding in Tennessee but returns home where he last posted 378 yards and two scores on the Vikings. Stafford has a hamstring issue and is no lock to play but even if he cannot, the Lions are in good shape with Hill. Particularly at home against a very familiar opponent.

The big news last week was that Mikel Leshoure finally had his first game after missing his entire rookie season and then serving a suspension. He rushed for 100 yards and a score on 26 runs and added 34 yards on four catches. Granted he was only third straight back to do as much against the Titans this year but the important part was that he was given nearly all the carries while Kevin Smith never saw the field. Joique Bell provided a handful of carries to give Leshoure a breather but it was a nice coming out party and buys him plenty of playing time until he too falters or gets injured like all other Detroit backs.

Calvin Johnson remains the uber-stud here and comes off a big ten catch, 164 yard effort in Tennessee with one score. Titus Young finally provided more than one meaningless catch per game when he caught the Hail Mary carom before halftime but that is going to be hard to rely on. Megatron is the only constant here with the other receivers rising and falling in relation to how bad or good the secondary is.

Brandon Pettigrew has also offered some consistency for a tight end and comes off a season high eight catches for 61 yards but he has only one score so far.

The Lions have to win this game and should. Their defense will be tested by an improved Vikings team but the Lions have something new in Leshoure as well. More importantly, they are at home against a secondary they should be able to beat.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 6 7 3 4 2 27
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 16 1 22 24 20 10

QB Matthew Stafford, DET ATL 0000030030 ***
Stafford hasn't faced Atlanta in the last two years. This defense shut down the Packers a week ago, albeit one without Jordy Nelson for most of the game. The Packers also didn't have their two starting tackles. Stafford's blindside protection is a problem, therefore volume passing may be his only hope for a strong fantasy outing.
RB Theo Riddick, DET ATL 1006601000 **
Only in PPR leagues, as the usual disclaimer goes ... this is a fine week to chance it, since the Falcons have given up the most receptions (19) to running backs and the third-most receiving yards (143). No team has granted more scores this season.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET ATL 8003200000 ***
Abdullah looked the part last week and was close to giving Detroit a 100-yard rusher in what might as well be forever. Atlanta has been gouged by the position, yielding 166 yards on the ground, 143 through the air, and a pair of touchdowns each rushing and receiving.
WR Golden Tate, DET ATL 0071001000 ***
Two games worth of data say Atlanta is pretty solid against wideouts, but that could be a fake trend. Green Bay and Chicago had no receivers to speak of in each contests with the Falcons. Tate is a must-start each and every week.
WR Kenny Golladay, DET ATL 004601000 ***
Detroit has shown a desire to send him deep, which is encouraging if gamers want to take a shot in the dark. Golladay is also a capable red zone weapon. Atlanta has been mediocre vs. wideouts, and there's a chance this develops into a shootout.
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET ATL 004400000 ***
Unless he finds the end zone, Jones is a wasted lineup spot most weeks. Atlanta has given up only one receiver TD in two games, albeit against the Bears and a hobbled Green Bay cast.
TE Eric Ebron, DET ATL 003300000 ***
The Falcons have allowed tight ends 13 catches for 139 yards and no scores through two games. Ebron showed up to play in Week 2 after a quiet start, and he has been known to disappear from one week to the next. Play him with caution if you don't have better choices for upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET ATL 2233 ***
Enemy feet have accounted for only 10 fantasy points in two games this year when facing the Falcons.

CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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