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 LAR 0000023011 ***
Keenum may have put a stranglehold on the starting job in Week 10. The visiting Rams have been a formidable opponent for quarterbacks. The position has averaged 217.5 yards (25th) and 15.4 fantasy points (29th) on a weekly basis, giving up only one TD per game.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN LAR 5014300000 ***
If McKinnon indeed lives up to his projected touchdown, it will be only the second time in the past five weeks. The general theme of his matchup is negative. LA ranks 27th in rushing TDs, 20th in total TDs, 18th in rushing yards, 19th in receiving yards, 21st in standard fantasy points and 22nd in PPR points.
RB Latavius Murray, MIN LAR 6001100000 ***
Murray will have to defy the odds against a solidly negative matchup. Just one time in the past 81 attempts has a running back made it into the end zone. His only justifiable utility is as a flex in deep leagues.
WR Jarius Wright, MIN LAR 002201000 ***
Without scoring a TD, Wright is wrong for fantasy purposes. Taking that gamble is unnecessary, especially vs. such a strong defense of the position in the Rams.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN LAR 006600000 ***
The Rams have been strong against wideouts all season. In the past five weeks, only two of 42 completions have found the end zone by receivers, which is the sixth-lowest rate in football. Thielen faces a defense that has given up just 10.5 catches for 132 yards, on average, to an entire team's worth of wideouts.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN LAR 003500000 ***
Only one catch per every 21 against the Rams has found the end zone. This is the sixth-lowest frequency, and LA ranks as the sixth-hardest defense to exploit in fantasy. Wideouts have averaged 10.5 receptions (22nd) and 132 yards per contest (21st).
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN LAR 006300000 ***
LA has yielded very little to the position. Only one of the 14 catches has scored in the last four games, and the position has managed just 45.3 yards an outing. Rudolph is a fringe play in this one.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN LAR 2222 ***
Despite allowing a reasonable seven field goal kicks, only two have made it, which depresses this matchup's rating. The position has kicked only five XPAs, and the 2.8 fantasy points per game allowed is the fewest since Week 5.

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 @CHI 10000028010 ***
Chicago has been stout vs. QBs, giving up only one TD pass in the last four games (86 completions). That is the stiffest rate in football. Four interceptions and 225.5 yards allowed later, this is the third-worst opponent of the week. Stafford averaged a modest 17 fantasy points vs. the Bears in last year's two games.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CHI 5011100000 ***
The Bears rank as the 10th-easiest defense for gaining rushing yards and racking up rushing TDs. Abdullah could turn in a decent game, if you're willing to take the risk. This one is probably much closer to being a coin toss than a lock.
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 1005500000 ***
Chicago's defense has granted running backs 6.5 receptions (8th) and the 17th-highest average (42.3) aerial yards. None of the 26 catches permitted since Week 5 have found the end zone.
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 005801000 ***
Tate is always the safest bet among Detroit's receiving corps. The Bears, though, won't be a friendly opponent. Since Week 5, only one time has a reception gone into the end zone. That's 42 catches worth. Chicago is the eighth-hardest opponent in PPR and seventh-worst in standard. He generated a total of just 12.8 PPR points in two games last year.
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CHI 005700000 ***
Jones' streak of quality play game to a crashing halt last week. It may need to wait a week before getting back on course. The Bears rate as the eighth-best defense of the position and have allowed only one TD in the last four games, spanning 41 catches. He was good for 12.4 and 10.7 PPR points in the two 2016 meetings.
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @CHI 002400000 ***
Golladay returned last week but is hard to bank on in fantasy. Consider him nothing more than a contrarian play in huge DFS contests.
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 003300000 ***
Chicago is the second-worst matchup of the week, and Ebron might as well be the second-worst tight end of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 2222 ***
Chicago offers a midrange matchup. Fourteen of the 15 kicks have been good, and the best part is nine of them were field goals. The volume prevents this from being an elite matchup.

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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