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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 Anquan Boldin 4-50
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 3-40
WR Andre Roberts 3-40
WR Golden Tate 4-60
TE Clay Harbor 5-50
TE Brandon Pettigrew
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 @NO 20000025021 ***
Despite having the 10th highest opportunity rating, quarterbacks have averaged only the 23rd most fantasy points points meeting with the Saints. Quarterbacks have averaged 263 yards and a touchdown every 13.1 completions since Week 7 vs. New Orleans.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @NO 7005301000 ***
In its last five games, New Orleans has permitted averages of 4.2 catches, 54.2 yards and 0.2 touchdowns to RBs ... not exactly inspiring for Riddick owners. This is the 12th worst matchup for PPR backs, but C.J. Prosise, Todd Gurley and DuJuan Harris all caught at least four balls. Harris and the rookie produced 80-plus yards each.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET @NO 3001100000 ***
Washington continues to see minimal work and have no viable path to fantasy lineup worthiness.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @NO 007801000 ***
Tate has reemerged as Detroit's top receiving target among wideouts. He's the safest bet of this group to post across-the-board numbers that garner respect and deserve a lineup spot. The Saints have allowed receivers to average 12.4 catches (17th), 151.2 yards (21st) and a score per game (17th).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @NO 004500000 ***
There was a glimpse of Jones last week after his midseason descent. Shot out of a cannon to begin the season, Jones has gone from a top-flight starter to a barely playable option. He has fringe PPR appeal this week in the off-chance Detroit finds itself in a shootout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET @NO 003300000 ***
A lack of a running game has made Boldin a favorite around the stripe, so don't downplay his upside. However, he cannot score every game (right?!?). The Saints have given up one receiver score per contest over the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @NO 005600000 ***
Ebron faces a Saints defense that has given up 13.6 PPR points per game over the past five weeks, which is the 15th most. Two of the 23 catches surrendered found the stripe, so there is hope here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @NO 3322 ***
Only two teams have granted more fantasy points per game to kickers since Week 7, and most of which came from distance. The Lions have given Prater 11 kicking tries from three-point land in this time.

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 Chris Johnson 70,1 3-20
WR Larry Fitzgerald 5-50,1
WR Michael Floyd 4-50
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-50

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 Carson Palmer, ARI WAS 0000026022 ***
Washington offers a promising matchup, which, on the surface, appears to be driven by allowing two rushing scores in the last four games. Removing those scores, since Palmer is not the running type, leaves us with the eighth best matchup instead of ninth. QBs have averaged 23.7 points per game without those TDs factored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB David Johnson, ARI WAS 7018601000 ***
As if the best back in fantasy needed a boost, Week 13 offers the second worst defense of keep running backs out of the end zone since Week 7. Washington has given up the the eighth most points per play in PPR and 1.5 touchdowns per game over this time.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI WAS 005600000 ***
Receivers have averaged 14.5 catches for 173.8 yards and 0.75 TDs per game as a team versus the Redskins in the last four weeks, and most of that came from Stefon Diggs several weeks ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI WAS 004500000 ***
Some bend-but-don't-break defense going on here ... Washington has given up the sixth most catches and 10th highest per-game average of receptions, but only the third worst ratio for touchdowns (one per 19.3 catches).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI WAS 002200000 ***
Brown is dealing with a sickle-cell trait and is uncertain for Week 13. Return Friday for more details.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, ARI WAS 005401000 ***
Washington has allowed teh most fantasy points per game to tight ends since Week 7, and most of that stems from ranking second in both receptions and yards per game allowed. Gresham is a fine stream or bye week replacement.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI WAS 1133 ***
Washington has allowed the third most extra points but the fourth fewest field goal tries per game since Week 7.

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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