Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: DET 23, PHI 27 (Line: PHI by 5)

Updated Player: Titus Young

Players to Watch: Mikel Leshoure, Michael Vick

The 1-3 Lions come off their bye having last lost to the visiting Vikings in a game that signals this is no longer 2011. The Eagles are 3-2 and 2-0 at home though they have struggled to score any points and have been held to fewer than 20 in all but one game. The Lions on the road are likely to lose this one because quite simply they turned back into a pumpkin after a magical 2011 season.

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 13-20 13 IND -----
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB -----
6 @PHI ----- 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI ----- 16 ATL -----
8 SEA ----- 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 250,2
RB Joique Bell 10 5-40
WR Calvin Johnson 6-90,1
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 3-30
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions get the short straw this year with an early bye and now four road games in the next five weeks. There is nothing easy about the Lions schedule and the only game that might be considered soft is against the Colts who are getting better. Otherwise - this is a very tough slate of games left to play.

Matt Stafford is probably not going to throw for 5000 yards this year. Not unless they change the rules and let him play with no defense on the field. Because Stafford only has thee passing touchdowns on the year against four interceptions. Not unlike Tony Romo, he has the yardage and already topped 300 yards twice. But the scores are just not there.

All the upcoming road games are going to make the ineffective rushing attack look even worse. Kevin Smith has dropped so far that he hasn't had a touch since week two. Mikel Leshoure was great in the Titans game but only managed 26 yards on 13 runs against the Vikings. He has turned in four receptions for around 35 yards both weeks to salvage some fantasy value but this offense needs a home game against a soft defense to hope that Leshoure can play a significant role. Chances are pretty good he won't look any better by the time November rolls around.

Calvin Johnson was handled by the Vikings but otherwise he has been a stud with 90+ yards in all other games. He has just one score this year though. Nate Burleson remains just a mediocre #2 and Titus Young only has one catch per game other than the Tennessee tilt. Johnson is the only wideout that matters and he is getting little help from the others.

Brandon Pettigrew has offered moderate consistnecy with around 60 or 70 yards per week but has only scored once. Pettigrew has also been dropping passes in recent games as well.

Last year was the aberation because these Lions are back to the same problems. No passing game beyond Calvin Johnson a and a decreasing ability to score. The defense that was so surprising in 2011 has yet to hold anyone to under 20 points.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 8 10 3 1 30
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 4 12 13 6 25 30

QB Matthew Stafford, DET OAK 0000031021 ***
Since his Week 5 benching Stafford has put up 661 yards and six TDs in two home starts. This week he welcomes an Oakland secondary that's given up multiple touchdowns and at least 280 passing yards in every road game, an average of 340 yards per tilt. Great opportunity for Stafford here.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET OAK 4002200000 **
Abdullah has done little since an impressive first NFL carry, and right now he's the third wheel in Detroit's backfield. There's upside to the matchup, but with just 15 touches in the past month he's unlikely to take advantage.
RB Theo Riddick, DET OAK 003400000 ***
View Riddick as a desperation play in PPR leagues against a defense that's allowed four different backs to catch at least six balls--but that's the extent of his upside.
RB Joique Bell, DET OAK 300000000 **
Bell's the primary ball-carrier against a defense that's given up 373 rushing yards and three TDs in the past two games... but seeing as he's topped 25 rushing yards just once this year, the odds of him taking advantage are slim.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET OAK 0061001000 ***
Johnson is still getting the targets, and the five receivers targeted more than 10 times against Oakland have produced 54 catches and 742 yards--but no touchdowns. Should be a big yardage day for Megatron, but the money shots might land elsewhere.
WR Golden Tate, DET OAK 004400000 ***
It's been a month since Tate was fantasy relevant, but the Raiders are hardly a stopper matchup so there should be fantasy leftovers available here.
WR Lance Moore, DET OAK 001100000 ***
It's not a matchup issue, more of a "what's left after Megatron takes his and Golden Tate takes his?" issue.
TE Eric Ebron, DET OAK 006901000 ****
Only one team has failed to put a tight end in the end zone against Oakland; the only concern for Ebron is that Brandon Pettigrew scored (on half the targets) last week so he could swipe a score just like Kellen Davis, Jesse James and Rhett Ellison have done in the previous games. It's a favorable matchup, but you've been warned.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET OAK 3322 ***
It's a favorable matchup with an Oakland defense that's allowed multiple field goals in every game this year as well as double-digit points in two straight and half the games this season. But can you really trust a guy who missed two PATs last week?

Philadelphia Eagles
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 17-16 10 DAL -----
2 BAL 24-23 11 @WAS -----
3 @ARI 6-27 12 CAR -----
4 NYG 19-17 13 @DAL -----
5 @PIT 14-16 14 @TB -----
6 DET ----- 15 CIN -----
7 BYE ----- 16 WAS -----
8 ATL ----- 17 @NYG -----
9 @NO ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 220,1
QB Mark Sanchez 10 220,1
RB Ryan Mathews 90,1 5-50,1
RB DeMarco Murray 40 6-50
WR Miles Austin 6-60,1
TE Brent Celek 6-70,1

Pregame Notes: The Eagles have been in four games all decided by three points or less and only lost the Pittsburgh game. That is living right but a scary proposition to continue to struggle offensively. Michael Vick has not thrown an interception since the six he had in the first two weeks abut once again last week he lost two fumbles. With games that are always nailbiters each week, losing the ball a total of 11 times in five games makes the 3-2 record a surprise.

VIck has passed for at least one score in all but one game but his passing yardage has really waned. He posted two 300+ yard efforts to start the year and now he cannot get past 240 yards. Against the Steelers he only managed 175 yards. Vick is also not running much which has really hurt his fantasy value and contributuion to the team. The good news is that he has been better at home than on the road and faces a weaker team finally. It ends up going against BAL, ARI, NYG and PIT was not the easiest opening for a season.

Vick sustained a knee contusion against the Steelers but it is not expected to be a problem in this game.

LeSean McCoy was a touchdown machine last year but so far has just one rushing touchdown and another one as a reciever. Again - his best games other than in Cleveland were the two homestands versus the Ravens and Giants. McCoy is not sharing the ball and he gets whatever is there to get. But so far he is off his 2011 pace and has a glaring lack of touchdowns. McCoy's knee was swollen after the game last week but he is expected to be fine this week and the knee will not be an issue.

Brent Celek scored last week in Pittsbriugh but only turned in three catches for nine yards. He has been at his best in home games so far but only against better defenses that limit the wideouts. That is less likely this week.

Where the decline in offense is pronounced is with the wide receivers. DeSean Jackson scored only once so far and two of his last three games were under 60 yard. Jeremy Maclin has been hampered by a sore hip from back in week two and after sitting out in week three, he has been a non-factor in games. Maclin started the year with a score in both games but has returned nothing to fantasy owners since.

The Eagles at home should be able to handle the Lions without too much trouble and hopefully break their constant trend to remain within three points to all opponents. The Lions rank decent enough against the fantasy positions but have only faced STL, SF, TEN and MIN. This should be a good win.

Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 15 23 19 9 24 29
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 11 6 11 27 30 32

QB Mark Sanchez, PHI TB 0000023011 **
Sanchez faces a Bucs' defense that has strung together a couple decent home games but surrendered 300-yard, multiple-TD games the last two times they left Tampa. Sanchez had an opportunity to shake off the rust with 23 attempts against the Dolphins last week; this week he'll have an opportunity to salvage a wafer-thin fantasy quarterback position.
RB DeMarco Murray, PHI TB 9016400000 ****
It won't be easy for Murray against a Bucs defense that's been significantly better of late; since giving up 139 and 1 to Alfred Blue in Week 3 no back has rushed for more than 88 yards against them and only one has topped 50; moreover, only one back has topped 31 receiving yards, and only one has found the end zone. Murray is seeing enough touches--and producing at a steady enough pace--to warrant a fantasy start, but there's a ceiling to his upside--especially with Ryan Mathews swiping touches and touchdowns.

Update: Murray's ceiling has been lifted, at least for a week, with Mathews ruled out due to a concussion. Darren Sproles could still see touches, but Murray would be in line for the bulk of the workload here.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI TB 005700000 ***
Matthews for one embraces the Eagles' QB change; in half a season with Mark Sanchez last year Matthews compiled 56% of his catches, 68% of his yardage and 75% of his touchdowns. He'll thrive against a Bucs secondary that's given up a dozen WR TDs and five 100-yard games already this season.
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI TB 003300000 ***
Too many secondary cooks in Philly's wide receiver kitchen, making it impossible to trust Agholor--or Josh Huff or Miles Austin or Riley Cooper, for that matter--with a fantasy start.
TE Zach Ertz, PHI TB 007701000 **
The heavily targeted (38 in the last five games) Ertz gets a favorable matchup with a Bucs' defense that's allowed three 60-yard games and three TE TDs in the past month. Brent Celek might steal looks, but Ertz is the more likely beneficiary.
TE Brent Celek, PHI TB 004500000 **
There was room for both Philly tight ends last week as Celek turned four catches into 134 yards even with Zach Ertz tallying 7-68. It's a very favorable matchup with the Bucs, but Celek remains junior partner to Ertz.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Caleb Sturgis, PHI TB 3322 ***
Sturgis posted his lowest outing since taking the Philly gig with five points last week. A bounce back against a Bucs' D that's given up multiple field goals in three straight is hardly out of the question.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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