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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: HOU 24, DET 20 (Line: HOU by 3)

Players to Watch: Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew

The 9-1 Texans are undefeated on the road but will be playing in the early game for Thanksgiving which means a very short week with little time to prepare. The 4-6 Lions are on a two game losing streak and are only 2-2 at home. The Texans are also coming off an overtime win over the Jaguars in a game that ruined all their defensive averages.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET -----
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN -----
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE -----
6 GB 24-42 15 IND -----
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND -----
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Brandon Weeden 220,1

Pregame Notes: What happened last week was a trap game of enormous proportions coupled with the Jaguars refusal to let Arian Foster ravage them yet again. So they sold out to stop the run and held him to 77 yards on 28 carries with no touchdowns for the first time this year. All it cost was allowing Matt Schaub to throw for the second highest passing yardage (527 yards) in NFL history. This was made even more entertaining knowing that the previous week, Schaub only passed for 91 yards and one score in Chicago.

In the process, the Jaguars also allowed a career game for Andre Johnson who turned 14 receptions into 273 yards and one touchdown that won the game in overtime.

Schaub is usually good for around 250 yards with one ot two scores. Even with the monster game last week, he's thrown 18 touchdowns on the year and never threw more than 290 yards in any other game.

What the Jaguars proved was that Arian Foster can be stopped and denied any touchdowns all it takes is giving up NFL records for the other players from Houston. Foster scored in every other game this year and and topped 95 yards six times. He still has 12 total touchdowns on the year already.

Owen Daniels missed week ten with a bad hip but returned last Sunday to post six catches for 57 yards which is right at his weekly average. Daniels already scored five times and since he was still not 100%, Garrett Graham scored twice against the Jags. Figure on that not happening again since Daniels is healthier this week and remains the biggest part of the passing game along with Andre Johnson.

What is troublesome this week is that Johnson had his worst three games while on the road. Those three never produced a score or more than 35 yards in any of them. Johnson went off on the Jags last week for 273 yards but in Jacksonville in week two, he only caught three passes for 21 yards. His upside means he is always a must-start but his success away from Houston means this week will be interesting. No other wideout has any fantasy relevance for the Texans and even last week when 527 yards happened, no other wide receiver gained more than 54 yards besides Johnson.

The Lions have a decent defense that ranks no worse than average against any fantasy position. No visitor to Detroit scored more than 24 points this year so the scoring is almost certain to be low this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 17 2 29 2 6 7
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 12 4 17 23 24 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lamar Miller, HOU PIT 5002200000 ***
Pittsburgh offers one of the better matchups of the week in both scoring formats, and it's an excellent rating for trying to find a cheap touchdown. One in 16.7 carries over the past five games have scored, plus RBs added an aerial TD to the mix. Houston will likely want to run it to keep the game as close as possible. Nevertheless, counting on Miller for more than flex numbers could get games in trouble. He has two scores in his last 93 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU PIT 005801000 ***
Hopkins saw 13 targets last week, landing only four, but he salvaged a respectable fantasy line. The Steelers have permitted seven receiver touchdowns in the last five games, or once every 8.0 receptions (4th). This is the 17th-best matchup for weekly receptions and yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Will Fuller V, HOU PIT 003400000 ***
Fuller hasn't offered much since Deshaun Watson went down. This matchup is good for the flier touchdown gamble, but there is little else to like about it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Braxton Miller, HOU PIT 002300000 ***
Update: Miller is not on the injury report and should play. Avoid him in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Stephen Anderson, HOU PIT 002200000 ***
Anderson has caught a pathetic eight of his last 24 targets and offers no credible reason to enter a fantasy lineup. The Steelers haven't given up a TE score over the last 27 catches.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU PIT 2211 ***
This matchup is great for extra points (3rd) and not so much for field goals (23rd). Houston isn't particularly good at racking up either.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 STL 27-23 10 @MIN 24-34
2 @SF 19-27 11 GB 20-24
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 31-14 ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 260,2
WR Golden Tate 3-40
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions are back in the NFC North cellar and while the next six games feature four home games, it is of little consolation when they go against winning records and great defenses of the Texans, Falcons and Bears. After an encouraging 2011 season when they ended 10-6 and made the playoffs, it's like that never happened and it is just another disappointing losing season for the Lions.

Matthew Stafford is off his 5000 yard pace but he's still posting big yards in most games and has five efforts that exceeded 300 yards. But he's only thrown for more than one touchdown in two games all season and twice did not throw any scores. What works in his favor this week is that the Texans have less time to prepare and CB Johnathan Joseph strained a hamstring and may not play. He'll likely be a game time decision and won't be 100% regardless. If you think that is not a big deal, consider what Justin Blackmon did last week. 236 yards was the third best by any rookie wide receiver in the history of the NFL. Chris Henne passed for 354 yards on them. It was a trap game granted, but the loss of a cornerback is material to this week.

Mikel Leshoure gained 84 yards and a score on the Packers for one of his best games of the year and Joique Bell has been demoted from being the third down back. He no longer gets more than one pass instead of the four to seven in previous games. Leshoure is the only fantasy play here and rarely tops 70 rush yards in a week with minimal role as a receiver.

Brandon Pettigrew scored two weeks ago but has been little used in the last month and rarely manages more than 40 yards in any game. He was a bigger factor when facing the best defenses though and that could show up this week as well. That is a risk though since he has been largely phased out of the passing scheme as of late.

Titus Young was suspended for this game because of behavior unbecoming of a rookie. He had a display of immature self-importance that didn't settle well with the coaching staff so he gets a time out to think about it. Young generally remained under 40 yards in most games and his absence should not be of much impact. It will allow Ryan Broyles a chance for more playing time. Calvin Johnson is currently on a three game streak of 100+ yards and after scoring just once in the first eight weeks, he scored in each of the last two games. This week will be interesting since Seattle and Chicago held him to under 50 yards but the Texans are on a short week, on the road and without their best corner.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 8 10 5 7 8 27
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 11 2 14 12 8 5

  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.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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