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 Calvin Johnson 6-70,1
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Kellen Davis 2-20
TE Brandon Pettigrew 7-70

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 @ATL 0000023010 ***
The last time these teams threw out the Welcome Matt for each other Stafford had 443 yards while Ryan threw four touchdowns. Atlanta's defense may not be quite as soft these days, but they've given up three 300-yard outings already so even sans Calvin Johnson Stafford's a decent play here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @ATL 8022200000 ***
The Falcons have given up a dozen RB TDs already, and with Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick both nicked Bell is housing the majority of the touches. More touches equals a larger share of the workload against this fantasy-friendly Falcons defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @ATL 3006400000 **
We'd like Reggie more this week if he were getting in full practices. Instead, we'll wait until the final injury report of the week to see if he's worth plugging into this extremely favorable fantasy matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @ATL 0081101000 ****
Sans Megatron it's all about the Tate. Atlanta has allowed a TD or 100-yard receiver--often both--in every game this season; Tate's a good bet to hit both ends of that daily double.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Corey Fuller, DET @ATL 002400000 ***
Fuller appears to be the receiver stepping up into the WR2 role with Calvin Johnson out. He's a sneaky fantasy play against a defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in every single game this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Ross, DET @ATL 002300000 ***
Ross is only slightly behind Corey Fuller in Detroit's passing game pecking order, but as it stands the Falcons are more prone to giving up a couple fantasy helpers--not a squadron.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET @ATL 004300000 ****
Pettigrew has been mostly a caddy for rookie Eric Ebron this season. With Ebron injured it's Pettigrew's opportunity to shine, but the Falcons aren't particularly soft against opposing tight ends; odds are your fantasy lineup can do better.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @ATL 2133 ***
Baby steps: last week was the first time the Lions didn't miss at least one kick all season. Prater should get some opportunities against a Falcons' defense that's allowed multiple treys in four straight games, but... baby steps.

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 Jay Cutler 10 280,2
RB Matt Forte 80 3-20,1
WR Brandon Marshall 7-100,1
WR Josh Morgan 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 3-30
PK Robbie Gould 2 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
QB Jay Cutler, CHI @NE 0000026021 ***
The list of quarterbacks the Patriots have held without multiple touchdowns includes Matt Cassel, Derek Carr, and the Geno Smith/Michael Vick dual entry. While Cutler was held in check by the Dolphins last week, he's certainly more quarterback than any of the aforementioned strugglers so pencil him in for his usual rounds against New England this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @NE 8016600000 ***
Nothing in the three 100-yard rushing games or four RB receiving scores the Patriots have allowed suggest New England has any hopes of containing Forte this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI @NE 006701000 **
Assuming Darrelle Revis shows up on time, does he get Marshall or Alshon Jeffery, or some combination of the two? The Pats haven't allowed a receiver to top 81 yards on them, but they also haven't much in the way of WR talent; the two best they've seen, Mike Wallace and AJ Green, both hit that 81-yard mark and scored. Marshall hasn't seen the Pats since his Dolphins days, but he ruined them the last two times he saw them (both in 2011) with a combined 13-282-1. Pencil him in for a minimum of the 81 and 1 and we'll go from there.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @NE 003400000 ***
If Bill Belichick remembers how Brandon Marshall torched them during his days as a Dolphin it might mean Marshall gets Darrelle Revis... and Jeffery gets to run unabated through the New England secondary. He's as talented a wideout as the Pats have seen, and the talented targets have wound up with 80 yards and a score--a decent day's work for Jeffery.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @NE 005601000 **
Bennett's been relatively quiet since both Bears' wideouts returned to health, but he could return to fantasy relevancy here against a Patriots defense that's allowed two TE TDs in the past four games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @NE 1133 ****
Gould hasn't cracked double-digits yet this season, has multiple field goals just once in the last month, and can no longer be considered a plug-and-play fantasy option.

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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