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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 Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 230,2
RB Arian Foster 100,1
WR Andre Johnson 4-70,1

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
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU @TEN 0000025011 ****
Fitz hasn't been fabulous, but he gets to face his old team--and a defense that's allowed three TDs to Brian Hoyer, 336 yards to Blake Bortles, and 267 to the Cousins/McCoy combo platter in just the past three weeks. Clearly, stranger things than a Fitz fantasy helper have happened to this defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU @TEN 10014200000 ***
Foster has scored in four straight against Tennessee, and with three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts against better defenses than the Titans there's little reason to doubt him having success again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Damaris Johnson, HOU @TEN 003401000 **
Johnson hasn't seen more than three targets in a game this season, and while he's contributed the occasional fantasy helper he can't be relied on for such an assist.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 006800000 ****
Last week was the first time in a month the Titans didn't allow multiple receivers to score and/or top 50 yards against them. The Texans have been consistently putting two receivers on the fantasy board, though from time to time Demaris Johnson bumps Hopkins or Andre Johnson aside. AJ and Hopkins are still the best bets, however, if not for fantasy greatness then at least for goodness you can plug into your lineup and bank on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @TEN 006700000 ****
Would you believe Johnson hasn't scored on the Titans since 2010 or hit the century mark in yardage since 2009? AJ still hasn't hit the century mark this season but he did break his touchdown maiden a couple weeks back and has contributed at least 58 yards each of the past four games. That's not elite, but at least it's solid.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU @TEN 002200000 *****
The Titans have surrendered four TE TDs in the past four games; if only Graham were seeing enough targets on a consistent basis to warrant a fantasy play, this would be a great opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @TEN 3322 ****
Bullock's been inconsistent, but the Titans have been consistently fantasy-friendly to opposing kickers. Upgrade Randy to a fringe fantasy option this week.

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
RB Reggie Bush 30 1-10
WR Ryan Broyles 4-60
WR Calvin Johnson 6-100,1
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Kellen Davis 2-20
TE Brandon Pettigrew 4-30,1
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 @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.

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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