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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 Case Keenum, HOU JAC 20000018000 ***
At this point it's no longer a surprise that the Jags aren't the cupcake matchup many assume; Tony Romo in Week 10 is the last quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns against them, and not since Philip Rivers in Week 4 have they surrendered a 300-yard game. No reason to think Keenum's stat line gets well this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU JAC 13023200000 ***
Foster has seven touchdowns in seven career games against the Titans; that total includes four 100-yard rushing days as well. He's averaged 25 carries per game over the past three, producing 322 yards in the process. No reason to think he won't find similar success against the Jags this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Alfred Blue, HOU JAC 301000000 **
If Arian Foster goes down with an injury, or if the Texans get ahead by so much they can start playing the backups, or if Foster just needs to share the load in what by necessity will be a run-first game plan for Houston... well, then, you're my boy, Blue!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU JAC 004700000 ***
Reduced quarterback numbers trickle down to reduced receiver numbers, as the Texans haven't had a WR TD or a receiver top 80 yards in almost a month. That stretch includes a combined 10 WR catches (on 14 targets) against the Jags; tough to carve fantasy value out of such a small number, even though Hopkins has taken over as the Texan's WR1.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU JAC 005600000 ***
Johnson returned to double-digit targets last week, but he'll face quarterback issues this week and is no longer doing enough with his WR2 targets to get a free pass into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Garrett Graham, HOU JAC 002200000 ***
Graham's been dinged up, leaving Ryan Griffin to get the targets... except when CJ Fiedorowicz steals the touchdowns. It's a cluster, with not nearly enough production to float one boat let alone three.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU JAC 1144 ***
Bullock has at least nine points in three of his last four, including Week 14 in Jacksonville. Balance the motivation of a Houston squad still alive for the postseason with the issues of a backup-to-the-backup quarterback and you should still get a solid kicker outing 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 Jon Baldwin 2-30
WR Ryan Broyles 4-60
WR Calvin Johnson 6-100,1
WR Chaz Schilens 4-50
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Kellen Davis 2-20
TE Brandon Pettigrew 4-30,1
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP
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 @GB 0000024022 ***
The Pack limited Stafford to 246 yards and zero scores in the earlier meeting; in fact, in five matchups with divisional foes Stafford has produced only one legit fantasy helper--390 and 2 at home against the Bears last month. And he's had just one fantasy game of note--330 and 3 last November--in his last five against the Lions. So keep those expectations in check this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @GB 5002100000 ***
Bell took a back seat to Reggie Bush in the earlier meeting with the Packers, but he moved to the fore in Detroit when Reggie went down and he has yet to relinquish the role. Bell could follow in the footsteps of fellow bigger backs Mark Ingram and Marshawn Lynch, both of whom rushed for 100 yards against the Pack, though it's more likely his split workload won't result in enough touches for such a productive day.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @GB 2004300000 ***
Bush was the better back for the Lions the last time they faced Green Bay, but he's become junior partner to Joique Bell so he's a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @GB 005601000 ***
Tate's as good a wingman as there is, and Green Bay's been more permissive to secondary targets of late--three Atlanta receivers found the end zone, as did two Vikings and two Eagles, all in the last six games--so he's a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @GB 0071000000 ***
The Packers have yet to find an answer for Megatron; he's scored in 9 of 13 career meetings with Green Bay, producing a total of 12 TDs along with 6 100-yard games--four of them in the last five meetings. Johnson is definitely back in the mix after missing time midyear due to injury, so look for yet another big game from him.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @GB 0022 ***
Prater has multiple field goals in eight straight outings. If his defense can keep the Packers under wraps again, counting by threes won't be a bad thing--for either the Lions or Prater and his fantasy owners.

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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