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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 ATL 0000030030 ***
Stafford hasn't faced Atlanta in the last two years. This defense shut down the Packers a week ago, albeit one without Jordy Nelson for most of the game. The Packers also didn't have their two starting tackles. Stafford's blindside protection is a problem, therefore volume passing may be his only hope for a strong fantasy outing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET ATL 1006601000 **
Only in PPR leagues, as the usual disclaimer goes ... this is a fine week to chance it, since the Falcons have given up the most receptions (19) to running backs and the third-most receiving yards (143). No team has granted more scores this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET ATL 8003200000 ***
Abdullah looked the part last week and was close to giving Detroit a 100-yard rusher in what might as well be forever. Atlanta has been gouged by the position, yielding 166 yards on the ground, 143 through the air, and a pair of touchdowns each rushing and receiving.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET ATL 0071001000 ***
Two games worth of data say Atlanta is pretty solid against wideouts, but that could be a fake trend. Green Bay and Chicago had no receivers to speak of in each contests with the Falcons. Tate is a must-start each and every week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET ATL 004601000 ***
Detroit has shown a desire to send him deep, which is encouraging if gamers want to take a shot in the dark. Golladay is also a capable red zone weapon. Atlanta has been mediocre vs. wideouts, and there's a chance this develops into a shootout.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET ATL 004400000 ***
Unless he finds the end zone, Jones is a wasted lineup spot most weeks. Atlanta has given up only one receiver TD in two games, albeit against the Bears and a hobbled Green Bay cast.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET ATL 003300000 ***
The Falcons have allowed tight ends 13 catches for 139 yards and no scores through two games. Ebron showed up to play in Week 2 after a quiet start, and he has been known to disappear from one week to the next. Play him with caution if you don't have better choices for upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET ATL 2233 ***
Enemy feet have accounted for only 10 fantasy points in two games this year when facing the Falcons.

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
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 Carson Palmer, ARI DAL 0000024021 ***
After not giving up a TD to Eli Manning, Dallas was assaulted four times by Trevor Siemian. The Cowboys secondary is an injury-marred mess at the moment. Palmer should throw it a bunch in this contest. Play him without a better option present.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Johnson, ARI DAL 600000000 ***
The Cards may give him more work this week. Johnson doesn't see much work in the passing game and isn't an ideal red zone choice. Dallas has allowed just under 100 yards rushing per game and only one TD to RBs on the ground so far.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Andre Ellington, ARI DAL 1003300000 ***
Ellington has a good matchup, so there's that going for him, but little else. Too few touches makes him a sketchy fantasy choice.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kerwynn Williams, ARI DAL 200000000 ***
Williams isn't a trustworthy fantasy choice in any format. Chris Johnson should have a larger role this week, and Dallas isn't a total slouch against the position. Williams shouldn't be counted on without showing more.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI DAL 006701000 ***
Dallas is facing a mess of backend injuries on defense, which bodes well for Fitz to get on track with a big day. Even after blanketing the Giants receivers in Week 1, Dallas still rates as a top-12 opponent to exploit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR J.J. Nelson, ARI DAL 005601000 ***
In non-PPR, Nelson is the No. 2 scorer through two weeks among wideouts. Dallas will focus more on stopping Fitz, which makes Nelson a viable play in all formats. The Cowboys were decimated by injuries in the secondary last week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jaron Brown, ARI DAL 004400000 ***
Brown is a role player who at least has a good matchup against a Dallas secondary that has been brutalized by injuries.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Phil Dawson, ARI DAL 2222 ***
Dallas has allowed only two field goal attempts this year. The six XPAs against rank in the top five of the most yielded by any team.

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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