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
RB LeGarrette Blount 30
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 @CIN 0000027020 ***
Quarterbacks have posted top-10 figures in fantasy points and yards per game against the Bengals over the past five weeks. The downside is this is the eighth-hardest defense for registering passing touchdowns. Stafford, if for nothing but volume alone, is a midrange starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CIN 2004301000 *
Riddick underwent double wrist surgery last offseason, so we played it safe with this one and omitted him from the projections. He'll return Friday after practicing in full Wednesday -- barring a setback, of course. Statistically, Washington has given up substantial gains on the ground but almost nothing via the sky to running backs over the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @CIN 3002100000 **
Abdullah is likely to be removed from the rankings after Theo Riddick enters in Friday's update. Riddick had a scare with his surgically repaired wrist but is good to go. The matchup is pretty positive, but there is little reason to trust Abdullah even if Riddick were to wind up sitting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, DET @CIN 200000000 ***
Oakland offers a promising matchup for touchdowns, so maybe gamers get lucky. Avoid Blount and his limited role where possible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CIN 006801000 ***
Tate belongs in lineups, but the matchup is not overly appealing. Cincinnati has given up bottom-half figures in relation to the rest of the league in the past five weeks. Detroit's passing volume should keep his fantasy value afloat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CIN 004600000 ***
Receivers have averaged 11 catches (21st) for 134 yards (23rd) and a touchdown every 18.3 balls (23rd) since Week 10. That is 11.3 percent below league average, and in the last three weeks the number jumps slightly to being 3 percent off the mark. Kendall Wright (20.7) and Stefon Diggs (14.7) have been solid over the last two outings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @CIN 002400000 ***
There is nothing redeeming about the matchup for such a fringe player. Cincinnati is the ninth-worst opponent for the week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CIN 3322 ***
Kickers have made 12 of 13 point-afters and 11 of 13 three-point attempts in the past five weeks against the Bengals. This is the fourth-best prospective matchup and third most favorable in reality.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass

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 Mitchell Trubisky, CHI CLE 10000024020 ***
Unless you play in a deep, two-quarterback league or want to take a wild flier in DFS, the rookie should remain out of starting lineups ... even against the Browns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI CLE 7011100000 ***
Since Week 10, Cleveland has given up only two rushing scores on 134 carries, which is 26th. The position has 32 receptions over this time, which is the sixth-highest average. Howard faces an underrated run defense that laid the smack down on a red-hot Alex Collins last week. Howard's versatility will be his best asset in this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI CLE 2004201000 **
Cohen has just one PPR game over 10 points in the last month. He's a fringe option for a lineup spot in championship contests. Cleveland has given up only one receiving TD to RBs over the last 32 catches, but this is a top-10 matchup for weekly receptions and yardage by the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Joshua Bellamy, CHI CLE 004500000 ***
Wideouts have averaged 14.4 receptions (4th) for 148.2 yards (14th) and a TD every 18 hauls (22nd). There is little reason to like Bellamy with a title on the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CHI CLE 002300000 ***
The speedster has just four catches in his last three games, including a 1-catch, 10-yard effort vs. the Saints in Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI CLE 002200000 **
Cleveland has permitted tight ends a touchdown every 7.7 receptions over the last five weeks, so there is the off-chance the rookie finds the end zone. Don't pay to find out, however.

Update: The rook is questionable and didn't practice in full all week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, CHI CLE 1122 ***
This is the eighth-worst matchup for combined kicking chances (18th FGA, 26th XPA), and 82.4 percent of all kicks made it through the posts.

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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