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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: CHI 27, DET 17 (Line: CHI by 3)

Players to Watch: Calvin Johnson

The Bears are still in the hunt for the final NFC wildcard though they will need some help to get there. That makes this remake of the week seven win in Detroit still have NFL meaning instead of just being a vehicle to see if Calvin Johnson can break 2,000 receiving yards for the first time in history. Nothing would make the Lions happier though they are on a seven game losing streak.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN 14-21
6 BYE ----- 15 GB 13-21
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI 28-13
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 240,2
QB Brian Hoyer 180
RB Joique Bell 6-50
WR Alshon Jeffery 4-50,1
TE Logan Paulsen 2-20
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears offense has sputtered most of the year thanks mostly to a terrible offensive line and then an injury to Jay Cutler who plays the part of a tackling dummy in most games. This is a must-win and thankfully comes against a team that the Bears have beaten in eight of the last nine meetings. The defense has struggled in recent weeks but Brian Urlacher could be back which would help. But the offense has always been about only two players - Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall.

Forte aggravated his right ankle injury last week and had to wear a walking boot. He is optimistic that he can play and since this is a gotta-win event, he'll be there if at all possible. He already rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries at home versus the Lions and added three catches for four yards. The Bears would have to rely on Kahlil Bell otherwise along with Armando Allen. Even a banged up Forte is better than those options.

Cutler passed for only 150 yards and one score in the previous meeting and was sacked the obligatory five times. Cutler has been good for a touchdown every week he played but his yardage has rarely topped 200 in recent weeks and he is not playing 100% healthy anyway.

Alshon Jeffrey is the clear #2 wideout here and yet that is still true despite the one catch he totaled over the last two weeks. Like Megatron on the other side of the field, Marshall is the beginning and end of the passing game and already stung the Lions for one touchdown on his six catches for 81 yards in week seven. He is currently on a three game scoring streak and has 11 touchdowns on the season along with seven 100+ yard games. He's already caught 113 passes for 1466 yards. This has been a remarkable year that has exceeded all expectations for Marshall even if his success comes literally at the expense of all other receivers.

This is a must win which means as heavy of a dose of Marshall and Forte as they can get away with. Outside of those two, there are no decent fantasy plays on this team.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 16 15 32 20 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 19 8 23 23 24 28

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brian Hoyer, CHI DET 0000026021 ***
There's a reasonable chance that Hoyer keeps the starting job. Check back Friday for Jay Cutler's status update. Until then, presume it's Hoyer's gig for Week 4. The Lions stink when it comes to slowing QBs, allowing 28.9 fantasy points per contest. Only Atlanta has been worse. That said, Hoyer is a fringe consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 00000000 *
Check back for a Friday update on Cutler's playing status.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI DET 7004400000 ***
It's Howard's time to shine -- or continue to, really. The matchup is difficult. Detroit hasn't given up a single touchdown, and they rank in the bottom half of fantasy points allowed. Play Howard with cautious optimism as a flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI DET 005701000 ***
Detroit has given up the third most touchdowns to receivers this year. Their best pass rusher, Ziggy Ansah, won't be 100 percent, assuming he even plays. Jeffery makes for a fine WR2 this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kevin White, CHI DET 004400000 ***
White shows signs of traction last week, and there's reason to like him as a PPR flex in Week 4. Detroit has given up 34 receptions, five of which went for touchdowns, for a midrange ranking against WRs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, CHI DET 002300000 ***
Royal belongs no where near fantasy lineups this week or most any.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI DET 006701000 ****
Miller is a must-start with Brian Hoyer at the helm. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Detroit is the second worst defense of the tight end position, paved by giving up five touchdowns in three games. Literally half of the league hasn't even allowed one TD to TEs.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI DET 2222 ***
Detroit ranks squarely in the middle of the NFL against fantasy kickers, allowing an average of 7.7 points per game. Game flow will matter a great deal in this one.

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 10-38
7 @CHI 7-13 16 ATL 18-31
8 SEA 28-24 17 CHI -----
9 @JAC 31-14 ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 320,1
WR Anquan Boldin 7-80
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 4-60,1
WR Golden Tate 4-40
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: it is fortunate that the season is winding down with Calvin Johnson setting an all-time NFL record because there would be little else worth noting. The offense has never taken off as it did in 2011 and once again suffered through not only rampant injuries but even had a receiver who somehow decided intentionally sabotaging plays was a good idea. The rushing game never saw Jahvid Best return but was able to squeeze an average year from Mikel Leshoure.

There are parts to build on for next year though Titus Young has played his last for the Lions if in the NFL at all. Nate Burleson was lost in week seven and Ryan Broyles was encouraging until he blew out his knee again. Broyles was a star in Oklahoma and should have been a lock for a nice NFL career but his knees apparently are going to stay in the way.

And yet through it all, Calvin Johnson has been amazing since the defenses all know exactly what is going to happen and yet they cannot stop him. Megatron has topped 100 yards in each of the last eight games and caught 10+ passes for the last four weeks. He gained 225 yards against the Falcons last week to break Jerry Rice's record. Now he only needs 108 yards yards to break 2,000 at home in front of all his fans in a season otherwise bleak and meaningless. And what is even better is that everyone has been happy for him and believes he deserves the accolades.

After seven straight losses and now facing a top 5 defense, the chance the Lions could pull off a trap win is hard to expect but outside of the Chicago area, this game will be watched just to see Johnson for the last time this year and likely securing what some thought could never be accomplished.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 8 12 6 7 6 28
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 4 3 11 3 3 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Matthew Stafford, DET @CHI 20000028020 ***
The matchup isn't ideal -- Chicago has given up just four touchdown passes -- but volume passing alone makes Stafford a playable option each week. This could begin the unraveling for Chicago's fantasy pass defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is now on IR. Stafford destroyed the Bears in 2015 (703 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT in two games).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET @CHI 7011100000 **
Washington has the size and speed to do damage, but patience and vision can be questionable attributes at times. He'll see the majority of the ground work for Detroit against Chicago's 12th weakest defense of fake backs. Take a chance on him as a weak RB2 or safer flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @CHI 2005300000 ***
PPR only ... Riddick is lousy at that whole "running" part of being a running back. He's a wide receiver in disguise. This week, Chicago presents a troubling matchup for his mold. RBs have caught only 11 balls for 49 yards through three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @CHI 0061001000 ***
Jones has been outright dominant this season. Fantasy owners have a prized weapon to keep in their lineups of all fashions. Chicago ranks 21st against fantasy receivers, but from the "not good for Jones" end. Chicago lost its top corner, which can't hurt Jones' cause. Temper your expectations after last week's blow-up performance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Anquan Boldin, DET @CHI 004301000 ***
The matchup suggests Boldin should be sat down, but Chicago lost its best defensive back and may have a tired defense if Detroit can play up to its offensive potential. Flex the veteran to cover a bye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @CHI 005500000 ***
Tate needs a big game, but the matchup is less than ideal. He posted 23 PPR points over two games vs. the Bears in 2015. It's clearly a different year. Tate is a fringe lineup play but an understandable one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @CHI 005500000 ***
The matchup is not ideal, although there is hope. The Bears have permitted only one touchdown on 13 grabs, which puts them on the lower end of a midrange matchup. Ebron is a top-10 fantasy tight end at this point.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @CHI 1133 ***
Five teams have been bigger pushovers against kickers than the Bears, a group that has allowed 9.7 fantasy points per game.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

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