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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: DET 27, ARI 13 (Line: DET by 6 )

Players Updated: Ryan Lindley

Players to Watch: Calvin Johnson, Megatron, WR Johnson

The 4-9 Lions are on a five game losing skid and are only 2-5 on the road this year. But the 4-9 Cardinals are on a nine game losing streak. These teams have the same record but not much else is similar. The Lions last four losses came by a touchdown or less. The Cardinals just lost by 58 points last week. That is hard to bounce back from and especially without a quarterback.

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 31-34
4 MIN 13-20 13 IND 33-35
5 BYE ----- 14 @GB 20-27
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 @ ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 290,2
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 3-40
WR Golden Tate 4-60
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions have just about perfected "not quite good enough" but have a realistic chance of winning a road game this week. The last two games come at home but go against division leaders of the Bears and Falcons which is probably not going to go well. Once again, the Lions are just playing for little more than the glory of Calvin Johnson since that is about all they have left to play for.

Johnson has already gained 1546 yards on 96 receptions with three games left to play. He is on pace to break the all-time single season record of 1848 yards set by Jerry Rice and it would be a fitting accolade to the player that has meant so much to the Lions and a positive way to end an otherwise dreary season. The Cardinals are typically good against wide receivers though this is the same team that watched Brian Hartline go off for 253 yards back in week four. Besides, it is hardly like every defense has not been plotting against Johnson every week.

Matthew Stafford tends to throw for fewer yards when he is on the road but still is good for at least one score every week if not multiples. With Ryan Broyles and Titus Young gone, the offense is devolving into little more than pitch-and-catch with Megatron anyway. Stafford has added four rushing touchdowns so far.

Mikel Leshoure snapped his three game scoring streak last week in Green Bay but did score four times in road games this year. The Cardinals defense has been good at home against the run but has allowed a 100 yard rusher in each of the last four games. Something about futility not being a great motivator. The wheels are coming off the Cardinals wagon and even the opposing running backs are having fun there.

In a fantasy sense, there is just Calvin Johnson on this team. Brandon Pettigrew is hobbled with a sore ankle and may not play this week. Tony Scheffler was due to get more work but settled for just three catches and 20 yards in Green Bay though one was his first touchdown of the year. The Lions are so thin at wideout that they called up a practice player Kris Durham from the minor league practice squad and made him a starter. His first ever start resulted in nine targets, four catches and 54 yards. There is just nothing reliable here in the passing game outside of Johnson.

Coming off a 58 point shutout means the Cards will want to have a good game here and have absolutely none of the tools to accomplish that.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 10 6 6 4 26
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 4 9 13 4 11 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET MIN 0000025020 ***
Stafford's worst game of 2017 was against the Vikings in Week 4. He finished with 16 and 18.6 fantasy points, respectively, in the two meetings last year. Minnesota is one of the better defenses against quarterbacks, but this game has so much riding on it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET MIN 5011100000 ***
Would you have guessed right if the question was against which team did Abdullah enjoy his most fantasy success in 2017? Yep. The Vikings permitted him 94 rushing yards and a TD in Week 4, and he added a 3-15-0 line through the air. This time around, Minnesota enters with the 22nd-best matchup for Abdullah, based on data since Week 6.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET MIN 2003300000 ***
Minnesota has had Riddick's number. He has just seven catches and no touchdowns over the last three meetings. Since Week 6, the Vikings have granted RBs seven catches a game (6th-most) but no aerial TDs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET MIN 005701000 ***
Jones failed to score in any of the last three meetings with Minnesota. The Vikings have surrendered just two TDs in the past 47 receptions by wideouts. With only one poor game in the past seven weeks, Jones is a decent gamble.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET MIN 002500000 ***
Golladay may be good for a big play here or there, which is about all right now. It's tough to bank on his limited involvement translating into fantasy rewards, particularly so against a stout defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET MIN 003300000 ***
Tate had 16 catches in two games last year against the Vikes, scoring once and racking up 156 yards. The 2017 Week 4 meeting left much to be desired (3-29-0). Consider this a slightly conservative projection, but Minnesota ranks in the bottom dozen teams against WRs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET MIN 002301000 *
Ebron caught only two balls for 27 yards the last time out against the Vikings. Minnesota has not yielded a tight end touchdown in the last 19 grabs. This is a low-end matchup across the board, and Ebron's projection is optimistic.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET MIN 1133 ***
This is a solidly negative matchup. The position has made seven of eight field goal attempts and six of the seven point-afters. Prater made two of his three kicks in the previous meeting.

Arizona Cardinals
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SEA 20-16 10 BYE -----
2 @NE 20-18 11 @ATL 19-23
3 PHI 27-6 12 STL 17-31
4 MIA 24-21 13 @NYJ 6-7
5 @STL 3-17 14 @SEA 0-58
6 BUF 16-19 15 DET -----
7 @MIN 14-21 16 CHI -----
8 SF 3-24 17 @SF -----
9 @GB 17-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer 250,2
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 5-30
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50,1
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50
PK Phil Dawson 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: What to say about a team devoid of any fantasy relevance that just lost 0-58 in one of the all-time bad beats in recent history. It was like one of those first week college games where some Div. III PoDunk Univ. somehow gets a game against Alabama. In Alabama. That loss comes at a time when the Cardinals are already on a horrific losing streak. And it wasn't like Seattle rolled the score up Patriot-style. They yanked Marshawn Lynch from the game after 11 carries because he already had three touchdowns and 128 yards. It could have been much worse.

The owner Bill Bidwell has already said that HC Ken Whisenhunt will remain through the season which is another way of saying start cold calling your coaching buddies for a assistant gig next year. With the Bears and 49ers left to play, it is not going to get any better. This is one of the worst teams in recent history and that's on more than just the head coach - the quality of players he's saddled with has been sub-standard outside of Larry Fitzgerald.

The Cardinals picked up Brian Hoyer off waivers from the Steelers but he's not expected to play until maybe next week when he has a uniform, a playbook and has met some of his new team mates. Whisenhunt has not yet named a starter but it really doesn't matter. Kevin Kolb is out and picking between John Skelton or Ryan Lindley is like deciding which hammer to use to whack yourself in the head. It's just going to hurt no matter what.

Beanie Wells is three games away from finishing an NFL season and never gaining as much as 50 yards in any game.

Larry Fitzgerald is unstartable now along with all other players in Arizona. For the next three games, they will combine to provide an excellent way to score points for the Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco defenses while no doubt allowing opponents to shine just when you need them the most. To that I say thank you Arizona.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 29 32 21 30 25 9
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 19 11 21 29 24 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Blaine Gabbert, ARI JAC 10000018002 ***
A week after a career game, Gabbert takes on the second-worst opponent for fantasy quarterbacks. Avoid him in all setups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Adrian Peterson, ARI JAC 6011100000 ***
Jacksonville has given up three receiving scores to RBs but only one on the last 68 attempts. Consider this an optimistic projection. Jacksonville is the toughest team for rushing yards allowed per game (48) since Week 6.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI JAC 004400000 ***
As noted last week, Fitz is quarterback-proof. He probably isn't Jaguars-proof, though. None of the last 31 receptions by a wideout found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR J.J. Nelson, ARI JAC 002300000 ***
Nelson barely touches the ball and hasn't scored in more than a month. The matchup is also stifling.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chad Williams, ARI JAC 002300000 ***
Williams will get his shot, according to his head coach. The Jags have surrendered the fewest fantasy points per game to receivers, including no scores since Week 6.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, ARI JAC 002300000 ***
Gresham has no fantasy utility and a tough matchup. Blaine Gabbert showed an affinity for rookie Ricky Seals-Jones to boot.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, ARI JAC 2211 ***
Jacksonville is easily the worst matchup for kickers. The position has averaged 1.75 possible fantasy points a game. The next closest opponent is at 4.75 possible points. The highest is at 12.4.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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