FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

Prediction: DET 13, CHI 27 (Line: CHI by 5)

Players to Watch: Matt Forte

The 2-3 Lions come off a nice win in Philadelphia but now face the 4-1 Bears who are coming off their bye and 2-0 at home. These teams traded home wins in 2011. The Lions prevailed 24-13 in Detroit while the Bears won 37-13 in Chicago. The Lions are struggling much more this year while the Bears defense hardly needed a week off to rest.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  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 26-23 15 @ARI -----
7 @CHI ----- 16 ATL -----
8 SEA ----- 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 260,1
WR Golden Tate 3-40

Pregame Notes: The comeback win over the Eagles may have saved their season though more likely it merely delays the inevitable. Matthew Stafford generated offense almost exclusively in the fourth quarter. He still has not thrown more than one touchdown in any game though the yardage has been high when they are not on the road facing a great defense. Like this week. Stafford passed for 329 yards and one score in Chicago last year. That would be success enough this year.

Jahvid Best has been announced as out for the year and the oft-concussed player may never suit up again. Mikel Leshoure has taken over as the primary back but only produced one game of note against the Titans. The Lions are unlikely to give him more than 15 runs per game unless the Lions are well ahead which so far has never been much of an issue.

Joique Bell still figures in as well and ran seven times for 38 yards against the Eagles compared to 15 runs by Leshoure. In fantasy terms, Leshoure is the only play here but really only when facing the weakest of defenses which may happen only once more this year when they host the Colts in week 13.

Brandon Pettigrew started the year on a promising not and while he only has one score, he has been turning in 60 or so yards in most games. Last week only produced three catches for 38 yards while Tony Scheffler had a freak big game with 81 yards on three catches but he's normally a nonfactor.

The receivers outside of Calvin Johnson have not bee much help. Nate Burleson scored twice so far but rarely gains more than 50 yards in a game and has minimal fantasy value. Titus Young has gone from red hot sleeper type to just a little guy who rarely catches more than one or two passes. The only way this team stays in games is when the defense cannot shut down Calvin Johnson. Even that is not often enough to win the game.

This season the Bears defense is even better and the Lions offense is worse. There have only been five touchdowns allowed by Chicago and the Lions hardly present an offensive juggernaut. This is a divisional matchup and the Bears are coming off their bye so any hopes for a trap game are overly optimistic.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 12 10 3 1 27
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 1 2 14 29 4 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET GB 10000031031 ***
The Packers have given up 23.5 fantasy points per game in the last five weeks, which is the sixth highest average. The Lions are in a must-win situation if the Redskins win earlier in the day, so Stafford will lay it all on the line. Their Week 3 meeting resulted in 385 yards, three TDs and a pick in Green Bay.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zach Zenner, DET GB 4001100000 ***
Zenner flashed several times in Week 16 but wasn't able to keep up the involvement when Detroit quickly fell into a big hole. Keep him away from lineups in what may be a similar situation against the Pack.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET GB 3001100000 ***
Green Bay has given up receptions and yardage to a notable degree, but touchdowns haven't been easy to come by. The Lions have no commitment to the ground game, anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET GB 0061001000 ***
Tate was quiet in the Week 3 battle at Lambeau, registering only four catches for 40 yards. The Packers have given up 15.2 catches (5th most) and 193 yards (4th most) per game since Week 11, allowing a TD every 10.9 completions to receivers (14th worst).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET GB 004600000 ***
Jones went bonkers in the Week 3 matchup by posting six catches for 202 yards and two scores for a whopping 38.5 PPR points. He hasn't totaled 38.5 PPR points in his last six games combined.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET GB 006801000 ***
The Packers have allowed a TD on the last 26 receptions faced by tight ends. Ebron hauled in five passes for 69 yards in Week 3 against Green Bay, and he was heavily involved last week as the Lions were forced into catch-up mode.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET GB 1133 ***
Green Bay has permitted all seven field goal attempts to clear the uprights, while seven of nine point-afters were good in the last five games. This is a bottom-seven matchup for Week 17.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF -----
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 230,1
WR Kendall Wright 4-50
PK Connor Barth 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The 4-1 Bears are hitting a three game stretch that is likely as easy as it will get all year and they are fresh off their bye. The loss of Alshon Jeffrey should not be more than a minor hindrance to the offense since he never gained more than 45 yards in a game since the season opener. Jeffrey fractured his right hand and is expected to miss at least a month and likely six weeks. Being a rookie, he'll probably take a little more time to get up to speed anyway and that wasn't fantasy relevant anyway.

Earl Bennett is returning and Devin Hester will play but the bottom line to this passing offense is that no one matters other than Brandon Marshall.

Marshall has three 100+ yard games and a touchdown in each. He's a lock to get about ten targets each week and that can go as high as 17. It has really evolved into wondering why the other receivers are covered when Marshall does all the damage.

Kellen Davis rarely has more than 30 yards in any game and is a nonfactor as a fantasy tight end.

The best part of the Bears is that there are only four fantasy plays here. The defense remains one of the very best. Marshall is on a red hot streak and Jay Cutler tends to throw for high yardage and two scores which depends 100% on if he can connect with Marshall.

And then Matt Forte who has only one touchdown on the year thanks to Michael Bush (3). But Forte posted moderate to good yardage in most games even though his role as a receiver has been impacted by Marshall. Forte is averaging fewer than three catches per week which shortcuts one of his best strengths. Forte missed week three and Michael Bush has carried a surprisingly heavy load in most games but most recent was in Jacksonville where Forte was healthy and productive with 22 carries for 107 yards. Bush was held to just four runs in that game. Forte will command a big chunk of all running back work ongoing but will still be plagued by touchdown hawking by Bush and even Armando Allen. Kahlil Bell was just released.

You can often throw out records when two divisional teams meet but the Lions have been consistently weak against the pass with their three road opponents all scoring twice via the pass and throwing for high yardage for the better quarterbacks. The run game may not be huge this week but should be effective and control the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 23 13 12 31 6 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 15 6 12 27 30 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @MIN 8014300000 ***
Only David Johnson was more productive in an single game against the Vikings this year than Howard's 30.2-point effort in Week 8. He finished with 202 offensive yards on 30 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI @MIN 002201000 ***
Thompson can do some nifty things with the ball, but trusting him is asking for trouble in fantasy circles. He's a risky deal in any format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI @MIN 006700000 ***
Meredith was a non-factor in Week 8's meeting, but he has come along nicely ever since. The attention paid to Alshon Jeffery gives him a lot of single looks that he has proven capable of beating. Minnesota is the eighth best matchup in PPR this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Daniel Brown, CHI @MIN 004300000 ***
Despite permitting two TE TDs in the last 18 catches, Minnesota remains a bottom-10 opponent for the position. Brown shouldn't be used in conventional formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dion Sims, CHI @MIN 003300000 ***
Just one of the last 23 receptions by tight ends against the Patriots has found the end zone. Sims doesn't deserve a shot in any conventional format.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @MIN 0022 ***
Minnesota has given up a high volume of field goal kicks all year and has limited extra points for the most part. Barth may not have to worry about the latter part anyway.

WEEK 7
2012
SEA at SF (THU) *DAL at CAR *NYJ at NE DET at CHI (MON)
*ARI at MIN *GB at STL *PIT at CIN Bye:
BAL at HOU *JAC at OAK TEN at BUF ATL, DEN, KC,
*UPDATED *CLE at IND *NO at TB *WAS at NYG MIA, PHI, SD

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