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 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 NO 0000023020 ***
You'd like to think Lions vs. Saints, Stafford vs. Brees, shootout in the offing. However, the Lions D threatens to put the kibosh on Brees while Stafford hasn't thrown multiple TDs since Week 4 or topped 300 yards since the season opener. Dial those expectations back accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET NO 701000000 ***
Four of five opponents have scored RB TDs on the Saints, and with Bell the likely leader in Detroit backfield touches he's the best bet of the group to find the end zone--and as such, have fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET NO 4004300000 ***
Assuming Bush returns from injury to his earlier workload--without offloading a handful of touches to Theo Riddick, who performed well in Reggie's absence--he's still the junior partner in the Detroit backfield. It's not a bad matchup, but Bush falls behind Joique Bell in the pecking order and as such is a bit longer of a bet to carve out fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET NO 006701000 ***
Tate bumps up to WR1 in Detroit with Calvin Johnson sidelined. Fortunately the Saints have been a favorable matchup for both primary and secondary wideouts so regardless of role the highly-targeted Tate should have plenty of opportunity to produce fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Ross, DET NO 003400000 ***
With Calvin Johnson sidelined Ross becomes the primary secondary target in Detroit... if that makes sense. Considering that the Saints have five different wideouts to either score or top 100 yards over the past two games, that role should provide enough opportunity for Ross to be a sneaky fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET NO 00000000 ****
Calvin Johnson's absence provides an opportunity for Ebron, especially in the red zone. However, he hasn't really capitalized with just two catches in each of the past two games. And the Saints aren't a particularly favorable matchup for tight ends, so there's little reason to expect he'll suddenly step up this week.
Update: Pretty much everything that could go wrong with regards to Ebron's fantasy potential this week did go wrong, with Calvin Johnson upgraded to questionable and Ebron himself doubtful. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET NO 1133 ***
In one corner it's the curse of the Detroit kickers, who are a collective 5-for-15 on field goal attempts this year. In the other it's a Saints defense that has yet to force a missed kick this year and has surrendered at least seven points to every opposing kicker. At minimum you can find safer fantasy options.

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 CLE 0000023012 ***
The Browns aren't a particularly favorable passing game matchup, and Bortles has yet to do enough in his career to warrant a fantasy plug-in here without benefit of a favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Storm Johnson, JAC CLE 5011100000 **
The Browns are far from a shutdown matchup against the run, but nothing in Storm's 2.1 yards per carry in his first NFL start suggest you should go out of your way to get him into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cecil Shorts, JAC CLE 005601000 **
What the heck is wrong with Joe Haden? Four of five WR1s to face the Browns have scored and racked up at least 99 yards. Shorts' 16 targets last week suggest the Jags view him as their WR1, so among Jacksonville's multiple receivers he has the best chance of putting up fantasy numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Robinson, JAC CLE 003400000 ***
Robinson took a back seat to Cecil Shorts last week when all of Jacksonville's receivers were (finally) healthy. As the WR2 he should get opportunities, but with no reason not to throw at Joe Haden it's not as advantageous a fantasy position as it's been in the past.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Allen Hurns, JAC CLE 003300000 ***
The Jacksonville receiver rotation is a work in progress, but with everyone healthy for the first time last week Hurns ran a distant third in both targets and productivity. This passing game doesn't offer nearly enough for you to plumb the depths of the receiving corps for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clay Harbor, JAC CLE 004300000 ***
The Browns have allowed four TE TDs in the past two games, the Jags have scored two in the past three, and Harbor has housed all of the positions' looks over the past two games including last week's 3-91-1 showing. He's a sneaky fantasy helper if you're dealing with Jimmy Graham's injury or Zach Ertz's bye week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Scobee, JAC CLE 2222 ***
Scobee is averaging less than five points per outing; you can do better.

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