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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 Andre Brown 30,1 2-10
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 0000023020 ***
The Texans have given up multiple touchdown tosses in four straight and seven of eight. Fitz hasn't been nearly that consistent, but for the most part he's capitalized on softer matchups and this is definitely one of those opportunities.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Case Keenum, HOU @TEN 0000010001 *
Matt Schaub is one of only three quarterbacks to take the Titans for multiple touchdown tosses this season; he turned the trip as part of a 298 & 3 outing back in Week 2. That's also the second-most passing yardage allowed by the Titans this season. So of course the Texans will turn the reins over to Keenum this week, facing a Titans defense that's allowed three passing scores in Tennessee all season. Good luck with all that. UPDATE: Keenum is officially a game-time decision; fantasy owners should be able to make their call well in advance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Brown, HOU @TEN 8012200000 *
The Skins have allowed nine RB TDs in the past four games and a league-high 23 on the season. That number includes two from Brown in the earlier meeting, so while he hasn't scored since he should capitalize on the matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Grimes, HOU @TEN 6011100000 **
Opposing backs kill the Titans, but... Jonathan Grimes? The guy who played Uncle Rico, had a role in the vastly underappreciated Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines flick "Running Scared"? No, wait, that's Jonathan Gries. Evidently this guy is a four-year starter from William & Mary with good vision who went undrafted in 2012, then spent time with the Texans, Jets, Texans (again), Jaguars, and after being cut in August returning to Houston last week. Seriously, with the Titans giving up so much on the ground Grimes could be a factor in fantasy leagues decided in Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @TEN 004600000 **
Johnson has been heavily targeted the past three weeks--44 looks, compared to 34 for all the other wideouts on the Houston roster. So even though he'll be tangling with Alterraun Verner--who held AJ to 8-76 in the earlier meeting--he's still the Texans' best bet for passing game fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @TEN 003400000 ***
Hopkins went big on the Titans back in Week 2 while Alterraun Verner was tied up with Andre Johnson. However, he hasn't done much since, making it tough to bank on him for fantasy productivity here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ryan Griffin, HOU @TEN 005501000 **
The Titans have allowed three TE TDs in the past three games, and they gave up two touchdowns to Texans tight ends in the earlier meeting. Griffin has back-to-back 60-yard games; seems like he's in an ideal spot to capitalize on the opportunity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @TEN 1111 ***
Tennessee has given up the fourth-most points to kickers, but only two to Bullock when they crossed paths back in Week 2. Not much upside to Bullock here.

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
RB Mikel Leshoure 50 1-10
WR Ryan Broyles 4-60
WR Calvin Johnson 6-100,1
WR Kevin Ogletree
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 4-30,1
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 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 @MIN 0000024012 ***
Stafford kicked off the season with 357 and 2 against the Vikings; since then Minnesota has allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks of any team in the league while Stafford has 4,430 yards and 28 touchdowns. Nothing to play for doesn't mean Stafford won't get a chance to up those numbers in a very favorable matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @MIN 4012200000 **
Bell scored twice as the change of pace guy in the earlier meeting with the Vikings; he also chipped in 67 receiving yards. And last week, with Reggie Bush struggling, Bell added 154 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. So he's a threat, especially when the matchup is favorable like this one is.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @MIN 5004200000 *
Bush gouged the Vikings for 90 rushing yards, 101 receiving yards, and a touchdown way back in Week 1. It's a road game but it's still a fast track and a dome, and the Vikings are still giving up big yardage to pass-catching backs. Maybe the fireworks won't be quite as big as in Detroit, but there should still be fireworks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kris Durham, DET @MIN 003401000 **
Durham has parlayed his familiarity with Matthew Stafford into an occasional fantasy helper, and secondary receivers often have success against the Vikings. Hopefully you don't have to dig this deep into the depth chart for fantasy help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @MIN 005600000 ***
Tate scored twice in the earlier meeting with St. Louis, but he hasn't topped two catches in either of the Seahawks' last two games so he's a difficult fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @MIN 00000000 *
We'll write a proof for Einstein's theory of relativity before we figure out how the Vikings held Megatron to 4-37 back in Week 1. Over the past month Minnesota has served up 249 & 2 to Alshon Jeffery, 92 & 1 to Marlon Brown, 195 & 1 to DeSean Jackson, and 97 & 2 to A.J. Green; aside from bailing due to injury there's no logical way Megatron dogs fantasy owners again this week. UPDATE: What was that we were saying about injury? Megatron did not practice all week, and while he's listed as questionable there is talk he's played his last snap of 2013. That makes him a risky fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Joseph Fauria, DET @MIN 003201000 ***
With Brandon Pettigrew hurt, Fauria saw a season-high seven targets last week. Good timing, as he'll now face a Vikings defense that's allowed the second-most touchdowns to the position and let Fauria find the end zone in the earlier matchup, as well as four TE TDs in the previous three games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K David Akers, DET @MIN 2222 ***
Akers hit for double-digits in a home matchup with the Vikings back in Week 1, but he hasn't done much since--certainly not enough to be trusted with a fantasy start on the road in a meaningless game.

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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