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 Anquan Boldin 6-80,1
WR Andre Roberts 4-50
WR Golden Tate 3-40
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 @CHI 20000028020 ***
The matchup isn't ideal -- Chicago has given up just four touchdown passes -- but volume passing alone makes Stafford a playable option each week. This could begin the unraveling for Chicago's fantasy pass defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is now on IR. Stafford destroyed the Bears in 2015 (703 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT in two games).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET @CHI 7011100000 **
Washington has the size and speed to do damage, but patience and vision can be questionable attributes at times. He'll see the majority of the ground work for Detroit against Chicago's 12th weakest defense of fake backs. Take a chance on him as a weak RB2 or safer flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 2005300000 ***
PPR only ... Riddick is lousy at that whole "running" part of being a running back. He's a wide receiver in disguise. This week, Chicago presents a troubling matchup for his mold. RBs have caught only 11 balls for 49 yards through three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CHI 0061001000 ***
Jones has been outright dominant this season. Fantasy owners have a prized weapon to keep in their lineups of all fashions. Chicago ranks 21st against fantasy receivers, but from the "not good for Jones" end. Chicago lost its top corner, which can't hurt Jones' cause. Temper your expectations after last week's blow-up performance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET @CHI 004301000 ***
The matchup suggests Boldin should be sat down, but Chicago lost its best defensive back and may have a tired defense if Detroit can play up to its offensive potential. Flex the veteran to cover a bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 005500000 ***
Tate needs a big game, but the matchup is less than ideal. He posted 23 PPR points over two games vs. the Bears in 2015. It's clearly a different year. Tate is a fringe lineup play but an understandable one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 005500000 ***
The matchup is not ideal, although there is hope. The Bears have permitted only one touchdown on 13 grabs, which puts them on the lower end of a midrange matchup. Ebron is a top-10 fantasy tight end at this point.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 1133 ***
Five teams have been bigger pushovers against kickers than the Bears, a group that has allowed 9.7 fantasy points per game.

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
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
QB Brian Hoyer, CHI DET 0000026021 ***
There's a reasonable chance that Hoyer keeps the starting job. Check back Friday for Jay Cutler's status update. Until then, presume it's Hoyer's gig for Week 4. The Lions stink when it comes to slowing QBs, allowing 28.9 fantasy points per contest. Only Atlanta has been worse. That said, Hoyer is a fringe consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 00000000 *
Check back for a Friday update on Cutler's playing status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI DET 7004400000 ***
It's Howard's time to shine -- or continue to, really. The matchup is difficult. Detroit hasn't given up a single touchdown, and they rank in the bottom half of fantasy points allowed. Play Howard with cautious optimism as a flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI DET 005701000 ***
Detroit has given up the third most touchdowns to receivers this year. Their best pass rusher, Ziggy Ansah, won't be 100 percent, assuming he even plays. Jeffery makes for a fine WR2 this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kevin White, CHI DET 004400000 ***
White shows signs of traction last week, and there's reason to like him as a PPR flex in Week 4. Detroit has given up 34 receptions, five of which went for touchdowns, for a midrange ranking against WRs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, CHI DET 002300000 ***
Royal belongs no where near fantasy lineups this week or most any.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI DET 006701000 ****
Miller is a must-start with Brian Hoyer at the helm. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Detroit is the second worst defense of the tight end position, paved by giving up five touchdowns in three games. Literally half of the league hasn't even allowed one TD to TEs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI DET 2222 ***
Detroit ranks squarely in the middle of the NFL against fantasy kickers, allowing an average of 7.7 points per game. Game flow will matter a great deal in this one.

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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