FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: DET 27, JAC 20 (Line: DET by 3.5)

Players Updated: Calvin Johnson

Players to Watch: Mikel Leshoure, Calvin Johnson, Cecil Shorts

The 3-4 Lions come off their best win of the year and head to Jacksonville where the 1-6 Jaguars are on a four game losing streak and dealing with the loss of their franchise star running back.

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 7-13 16 ATL -----
8 SEA 28-24 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 10 300,2
RB Joique Bell 30 4-20
RB Reggie Bush 80 5-40
WR Ryan Broyles 3-40
WR Calvin Johnson 6-90,1
WR Golden Tate 5-70
TE Kellen Davis 4-40,1
TE Brandon Pettigrew 5-50
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: Maybe it was just one of those unexplainable games but the Lions took down the Seahawks last week while Matthew Stafford had his best game of the year against one of the toughest defenses he will face. It was the first time this season that the Lions were able to rekindle some the magic of 2011. The rest of the schedule will prove fairly brutal after this week so keeping the fires burning for one more game should happen thanks to going to Jacksonville where Maurice Jones-Drew stands on the sidelines.

Stafford passed for 352 yards and three scores on the Seahawks - he even rushed in a touchdown. But he hadn't thrown more than one score in any game this year. His yardage tends to remain high against below average defenses but even then, he only throws one score. On the season, Stafford stands at eight touchdowns against seven interceptions. Apparently losing Nate Burleson was the key.

it isn't that Mikel Leshoure is a bad runner. He has averaged 4.8 yards per carry over the last three games that included trips to Philly and Chicago and then home against the Seahawks. But Leshoure is never given more than 15 carries other than in Tennessee when he gained 100 yards and scored his only touchdown. Joique Bell takes a handful of meaningless carries each week but Leshoure runs surprisingly hard and well through three very good defenses and yet doesn't get more than 15 carries.

Brandon Pettigrew remains sold with catches and yardage but has just the one score back in week two. He caught a season high seven passes last week for 74 yards. Like much of the team, he is productive in some measure but doesn't produce the points.

Calvin Johnson still only caught one touchdown though he started the season with 90+ yards in four of the first five games. These last two weeks against solid secondaries devoted to stopping him crashed his fantasy value with just 34 yards in Chicago and then 46 yards versus the Seahawks. the only encouraging part of this was that Titan Young replaced Nate Burleson and recorded a career best 100 yards and two scores on nine receptions. Ryan Broyles played in his second game and scored for the second time. This is exactly what the team needs. If defenses are going to devote too much to stopping Megatron, then the others have to make them pay. This week will be interesting to see how bounced back Johnson is.

The Jaguars play better at home but still feature less than average defense in all categories besides tight ends. This should be the place that Leshoure gets to score and Johnson gets to play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 18 8 11 7 25
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 18 29 19 2 27 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @ATL 0000025010 ***
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 9022200000 ***
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 Theo Riddick, DET @ATL 2006400000 ***
Update: With Reggie Bush doubtful it's another opportunity for Riddick to shine. If you're so inclined to wake up early on Sunday and check on Reggie's status, if he can't go you'll want Riddick in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @ATL 00000000 ****
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.
Update: Officially Reggie is listed as doubtful, and he hasn't practiced since a limited session on Wednesday. Don't bank on him for a fantasy contribution this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @ATL 0081001000 ****
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
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @ATL 002300000 *
Update: Johnson is optimistically listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis all three days this week. We've seen this movie before, however, and we know how it ends: Rosebud is the name of the sled, and Megatron is a mere shell of his former self.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Brandon Pettigrew, DET @ATL 003200000 ****
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.
Update: Pettigrew is a game-time decision; let's be honest, he's not worth getting up at 6 am on the West Coast to sweat out his availability. Just make an alternative plan and get your beauty rest.
  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.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @MIN 23-26 ot 10 IND -----
2 HOU 7-27 11 @HOU -----
3 @IND 22-17 12 TEN -----
4 CIN 10-27 13 @BUF -----
5 CHI 3-41 14 NYJ -----
6 BYE ----- 15 @MIA -----
7 @OAK 23-26 16 NE -----
8 @GB 15-24 17 @TEN -----
9 DET ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Toby Gerhart 10
WR Cecil Shorts 5-70
TE Marcedes Lewis 4-40,1
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: What makes the Jaguars season just a little worse is that not only have they only one once, but that they have a fairly easy schedule in front of them and yet no way to take advantage. This is further worsened by the injury to Maurice Jones-Drew because it shows why he held out last summer and why he's likely to be on another team next year. When Jones-Drew returns, exactly how motivated will he be to further risk his health for a team that may be the worst in the NFL? Yeah, bet he tries really hard... to remain healthy.

Blaine Gabbert threw for an unholy 303 yards in Green Bay where the Packers were all but wearing mailman outfits and yet he still just had his traditional one touchdown. Gabbert still commands the #32 spot in rankings. He doesn't have many turnovers with three interceptions and two lost fumbles. He doesn't have much of anything other than losses.

Rashad Jennings paid off his fantasy owners who emptied their wallet at the waiver wire. He rushed for 59 yards and added six catches for 56 yards. That's 115 total yards in Green Bay and 102 total yards and a score in Oakland. Credible to be sure and even better in reception point leagues. The Jags have already ruled out Jones-Drew for this week and since he is not practicing and spent last week on crutches, he may not be back next week either.

The only interesting developments are with the wideouts. Mike Thomas was sent to the Lions in a trade which weakens the #30 set of wide receivers just that much more. Plus Cecil Shorts has emerged these last two weeks to post fantasy relevant stats. After scoring in Oakland on his four catches for 79 yards, he had a career best eight receptions for 116 yards in Green Bay. This week should give an indication if that was just something the defenses allowed not caring or if he is actually developing something with Gabbert who desperately needs someone to help him out. Justin Blackmon had a career best 67 yards on four catches in Green Bay as well but hasn't scored so far in the NFL

Playing at home helps, but this offense has been punchless when the opponents really care. This game would have been far easier to win with Jones-Drew playing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 32 25 30 32 25 31
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 11 6 11 25 26 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blake Bortles, JAC MIA 0000019012 ***
Bortles continues to flirt with fantasy relevancy, but he isn't getting there on a consistent enough basis yet to be trusted with a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Denard Robinson, JAC MIA 6013200000 *
Robinson shredded the Browns last week, and he should be the Jacksonville back who sees the most touches. However, he'll find the going tougher against a Miami defense that's allowed only one back to top 70 yards all season, so dial back those expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Toby Gerhart, JAC MIA 200000000 **
Update: Gerhart got in two full practices this week and is listed as probable. Denard Robinson will still start; don't expect Gerhart to see much more than token work this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Robinson, JAC MIA 007700000 ***
It was a bit shocking that the Bears couldn't get their talented wide receiver tandem going against the Dolphins last week, the first time in three games Miami hadn't ceded fantasy helpers to multiple WRs. If that means we're forced to pick one this week Robinson has the most upside as he's been the most consistently productive of the Jags' receiving corps.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC MIA 003400000 ***
Shorts continues to be the most targeted Jaguar since his return from injury, but last week he failed to turn those targets into productivity. He's not nearly reliable enough to be trusted with a fantasy start against a Miami secondary that's allowed just four WR TDs on the year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clay Harbor, JAC MIA 006400000 ***
Miami has allowed TE TDs in three of four, and Harbor's steady diet of targets at least puts him in line to capitalize on the Dolphins' largess at the position.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC MIA 0022 ***
Scobee's six-point effort last week was his second-best of the season and pushes his average to more than four fantasy points per game. You have better options at your disposal.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

a d v e r t i s e m e n t