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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 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 @GB 0000028011 ***
Stafford travels to Green Bay, where he has historically failed to produce strong fantasy numbers. He has one game in his last four trips with more than two passing touchdowns and none with more than 300 yards. That said, Detroit lost Ameer Abdullah and likes to throw a ton of passes. The Packers looked mediocre vs. Sam Bradford without cornerback Sam Shields. Play Stafford only if you must.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @GB 3006400000 ***
More work for Riddick is ahead, although it may not matter too much. He's not a good running back, particularly inside, and Detroit's coaching staff knows it. He'll be used in space and as a receiver out of the backfield. Green Bay has stifled running backs so far this year, good for the second best defense of PPR backs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET @GB 300000000 *
No Ameer Abdullah should mean much more of the rookie. The 6-foot-2, 226-pounder brings 4.44 speed to the table. He's leggy and not very elusive, with a penchant for putting the ball on the turf. This matchup (second toughest) isn't a great place to find your first NFL start, and fantasy owners should respond accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @GB 006900000 ***
Jones has overtaken Golden Tate as Matt Stafford's primary target and is even seeing more playing time. The stats agree, too, for fantasy purposes. Green Bay presents a lousy matchup when their top cornerback, Sam Shields, is on the field. His Week 3 status is uncertain. If Shields sits, Jones safely becomes a WR1 in PPR and a WR2 in standard scoring. Bump those numbers down a tier for each if Shields goes.

Update: Shields has been ruled out for Week 3, making Jones that much better of a play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @GB 004500000 ***
Let's forget Week 2 happened ... Tate caught only two of nine targets and finished with 13 yards. That's not likely to happen again In his two full seasons with Detroit, he has snagged 69 percent of his targets. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Green Bay isn't going to be a friendly matchup, though, unless you're a PPR owner willing to accept Tate as a flex who may not crack double figures.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET @GB 003300000 ***
Detroit loves three-wide sets, as illustrated by Boldin being one of a Lions trio to play at least 85 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 2. That kind of time, coupled with attention on Golden Tate, makes Boldin playable in PPR formats as a flier.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @GB 006501000 ***
Ten receptions, 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns allowed ... Green Bay stinks at defending Ebron's position through two games. He's a quality start in any format and a good bet for seeing the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @GB 2211 ***
Kickers have gone 4-for-4 from both field goal range and extra point kicks against Green Bay, which is only 19th in three-point tries allowed.

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 @BUF 0000030020 ***
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for a lot of yards (374) but only one touchdown. There is no reason Palmer cannot push for 300 yards and three TD passes, but Buffalo will play better overall defense than last week. You don't get that embarrassed, fire your OC (logical, right?) and not play better on D. Only 13 teams have been stronger vs. fantasy quarterbacks so far this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB David Johnson, ARI @BUF 6014500000 ***
Matt Forte scored thrice against this defense in Week 2, and Johnson (a similar back) has all the upside in the world as he takes a crack at the Bills. As usual, start him with confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @BUF 007801000 ***
Never sit your studs. Fitz is the primary option in the passing game and has a refined level of chemistry with Carson Palmer. The Bills are the second best matchup for PPR wideouts, if you needed more convincing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Floyd, ARI @BUF 005801000 ***
Buffalo has given up an AVERAGE of 49.9 fantasy points per game to the position through two weeks. Denver, Seattle and Carolina have not given up more than 47 TOTAL points in that time. Floyd is usually the second or third read most plays and has the ability to get loose for a big play at any time. WR3 for safety, WR1 upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR John Brown, ARI @BUF 002300000 ***
Brown hasn't enjoyed much success yet in 2016, and he'll be the benefit of matchups that stifle Larry Fitzgerald. This won't be one of them. Buffalo allowed two 100-yard receivers last week (and nearly a third).
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chandler Catanzaro, ARI @BUF 2233 ***
Kickers have been a perfect 5-for-5 from both XPA and FGA ranges, making this the fifth easiest matchup.

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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