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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 Ronnie Brown 10 6-40
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 @OAK 10000020011 ***
Nothing in either Fitzpatrick's track record suggests he can be banked on for anything more than a pedestrian effort here. Copy and paste, at least until Ryan Mallett takes over.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Arian Foster, HOU @OAK 11013200000 ****
The Jets split their 174 RB rushing yards amongst three backs, though Chris Ivory did reach triple digits on his own. Foster will house all of those for Houston, as well as any receiving yards--and probably any touchdowns the Texans score as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Johnson, HOU @OAK 006800000 ***
Johnson is still the big dog in this hunt, though not quite as big as last year when he saw 17 of the Texans' 28 WR targets against Oakland. A more even distribution shouldn't put too much of a damper on his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU @OAK 005500000 ***
Hopkins is still a wingman to Andre Johnson, but he's definitely closing the gap--enough so that he's a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, HOU @OAK 1122 ***
Bullock should see an uptick in opportunity this week--maybe not enough to be a great fantasy start, but at least enough to warrant plug-in consideration if you're streaming kickers.

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 Kevin Ogletree
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 4-30,1

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 @CAR 0000025011 ***
Carolina allowed three 300-yard games all of last season and only two multiple-touchdown games, so this isn't a particularly favorable matchup for Stafford. So long as he has Calvin Johnson on his side he's always a threat, but dial back expectations significantly this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Reggie Bush, DET @CAR 2006501000 ***
The silver lining is that Carolina allowed an RB receiving score last week and Bush accounted for six of the Lions' seven RB receptions. That said, the rest of his matchup this week looks brutal.
Update: After early-week concern over his knee, Bush got in a full practice on Thursday and should be good to go for this weekend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Joique Bell, DET @CAR 3001100000 ****
You have to hope that this week Bell is more fullback than halfback; last week Tampa Bay fullback Jovorskie Lane ripped off a 54-yard run while halfbacks Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey combined for 21 yards on 13 carries. If you have the RB depth, this is a good week to sit Bell and look elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Calvin Johnson, DET @CAR 005600000 ***
Tough matchup, but never bench Megatron. He'll get the targets, which Tampa Bay's NBA-worthy wideouts turned into 11-93-1 last week, and productivity is sure to follow.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CAR 006500000 ***
Megatron has dibs on the first bite; after that expect slim pickings as the Panthers didn't allow multiple receivers to score in the same game last year and only four times did two wideouts top 50 yards in the same game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nate Freese, DET @CAR 3311 ***
Last year multiple field goal games were frequent against the Panthers; in Week 1 of this season the Bucs didn't attempt a single trey. Detroit's offense is at least good enough to get close, which is great news if you're banking on fantasy points from Freese.

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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