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
RB Reggie Bush 90,1 5-30
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 MIN 0000030020 ***
Stafford has offered little fantasy help his last two matchups with the Vikings, including earlier this year when he produced just 185 & 1 against Mike Zimmer's defense. Both of those games were played without Calvin Johnson, however; with Megatron back in the mix expect Stafford's numbers to rise to usual solid fantasy-helper levels.
RB Joique Bell, DET MIN 8012200000 ***
Bell banged out 18-74-1 in the earlier meeting with Minnesota, similar to his 18-83-1 last week. The Vikings are susceptible to big backs; no reason to think Bell can't match those totals.
RB Reggie Bush, DET MIN 2004300000 ***
Bush's role with the Lions is declining, and after demolishing the Vikings on a regular basis he's been reduced to bit player. He's usable in PPR leagues, but with Joique Bell getting the bulk of the work he's barely on the fringe of the fantasy radar.
Update: Bush is expected to play, but he only got in a couple of limited practices this week so he's clearly not at full speed. Set your fantasy lineup accordingly.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET MIN 0091202000 ***
It's been a while since the Vikings got the full, healthy Megatron. 19-304-3 the past two weeks suggest that's what they'll see this week, and a defense that's let Sammy Watkins, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Percy Harvin all top 120 yards in the past seven games isn't likely to have enough firepower to keep Johnson in check.
WR Golden Tate, DET MIN 0071000000 ***
After allowing the significantly less-talented Jets passing attack produce two fantasy-worthy receivers last week, how can you expect anything less from Megatron and Tate? You can bank on Tate in performance leagues, but noe that he hasn't seen the end zone since Calvin Johnson returned from injury.
TE Eric Ebron, DET MIN 002200000 ***
The Vikings are significantly better against tight ends this year, and the Lions are splitting production at the position multiple ways. Tough to bank on any one of Detroit's tight ends for a fantasy helper given those circumstances.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET MIN 1144 ***
Prater's Lions debut came in Minnesota in Week 6; since then he's had multiple field goals in six straight and back-to-back games with double-digit points. He catches the Vikings fresh off giving up five field goals to Nick Folk a week ago, plenty to like about his chances indoors this 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 Mark Sanchez 10 220,1
RB LeSean McCoy 80,1 5-30
WR Jeremy Maclin 4-50
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 DAL 0000024011 ***
The league appears to be catching on to Sanchez, as his numbers continue to decline with each start. He salvaged fantasy value against the Cowboys with a rushing score but will be hard-pressed to do so again this time around.
RB LeSean McCoy, PHI DAL 11011100000 ***
In his last two against the Cowboys Shady has 293 combo yards and two TDs. Philly would love to give him another heavy workload here in what might turn out to be a battle of the running backs as opposed to a Romo/Sanchez shootout.
RB Darren Sproles, PHI DAL 2003100000 ***
Sproles hasn't had 10 touches from scrimmage in a game since Week 2; not surprisingly, he hasn't scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 2 either. He was lightly used (four touches, 32 yards) in the earlier meeting with Dallas, and an uptick dramatic enough to reverse his fantasy fortunes seems unlikely.
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI DAL 006701000 ***
Maclin has first dibs on Philly's passing stats, as he's the kind of speed receiver that gives the Cowboys fits. He racked up 8-108 in the earlier meeting and has a touchdown or 100 yards in four of his last five meetings with Dallas; it's a solid track record, one suggesting Maclin will be a fantasy helper this week.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI DAL 005601000 ***
Matthews scored in the earlier meeting with Dallas and presents all kinds of matchup problems out of the slot. He's only slightly less likely than Jeremy Maclin to put up quality fantasy numbers against the Cowboys this week.
TE Zach Ertz, PHI DAL 004300000 ***
The Cowboys are one of the softer teams against tight ends, but Ertz was blanked in the earlier meeting and Brent Celek mustered only one catch. After watching Martellus Bennett go off for 12-84-1 against Dallas last week, while Ertz found the end zone, we're willing to give Ertz a shot at redemption here.
TE Brent Celek, PHI DAL 003200000 ***
Sure, Celek could steal a score from Zach Ertz but he's too inconsistently targeted to be trusted with a fantasy spot at this critical juncture of the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, PHI DAL 3333 ***
Parkey's hot streak came to a screeching halt against the Seahawks last week, but aside from two dates with NFC West powerhouses he's been uber-reliable with at least seven points and an average of almost 11 points per game. He racked up 15 the last time he saw Dallas, no reason to think he won't make his appointed rounds again this week.

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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