FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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 Mark Sanchez 170
WR Kendall Wright 2-30
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 Mike Glennon, CHI @TB 0000019012 *
The plus: There is an emotional lift for Glennon against his former employer. The minus: The former employer know his deficiencies better than anyone. Don't take the chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI @TB 4004300000 ***
Cohen exploded in his debut against Atlanta. The rookie is electric and will be a focal point in Chicago's passing game, particularly so since the Bears have lost their top two receivers. Tampa is a stiffer test, and this group gave up a modest 73 RB catches last year to Atlanta's 109.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @TB 6002100000 **
The Bucs should stack the box and force Howard to beat them. Chicago is in dire straits at wideout, so Tampa can sell out against the run. Howard is a shaky start.

Update: To complicate matters, Howard is a game-time decision for Week 2 after being limited in practice all week with a shoulder injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI @TB 002201000 **
Thompson could be among the deepest of sheer gambles in DFS this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, CHI @TB 003300000 ***
Likely the most recognizable name among what is left of Chicago's receiving corps, Wright is wrong for fantasy gamers. The Bucs had extra time to prep and shouldn't have any trouble containing Mike Glennon band of merry misfits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Josh Bellamy, CHI @TB 002300000 **
Bellamy does not belong on a roster at this time.

Update: Bellamy is listed as questionable and is a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, CHI @TB 00000000 *
Wheaton is mildly intriguing, but until gamers see any kind of chemistry with QB Mike Glennon, it's tough to take this chance, especially without a wonderful matchup.

Update: Wheaton is questionable and a game-time decision.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Zach Miller, CHI @TB 004300000 ***
The Bucs gave up only three TE TDs in 2016. This linebacking corps is as tough as they come, and Miller is only playable with the expectation of PPR volume in an offense lacking targets.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @TB 2211 ***
Revenge for the former Buc? The Bears are getting awfully thin in the playmaker department. It's probably safest to avoid him in all setups.

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 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 @NYG 0000025011 ***
Week 2 brings another tough matchup for Stafford. He overcame it in the second half of Week 1, but now he travels to what could be the best secondary in all of football. Stafford failed to account for a TD in Week 15's meeting in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET @NYG 4003200000 ***
Detroit tried pretty hard against Arizona to make Abdullah productive, but he was having none of it. Perhaps it was nerves or facing a stout run D. This week doesn't look much better. NYG rated as the four best defender of RBs last year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Theo Riddick, DET @NYG 1005400000 ***
NYG was one of three teams to prevent RBs from scoring a receiving TD in 2016. The defense allowed a healthy 83 receptions, though, so Riddick has mild appeal. He did not play in the Week 15 meeting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET @NYG 003501000 ***
Jones has really come alive in the red zone and has developed quite the relationship with his quarterback. New York was the seventh toughest defense of receivers last year when Jones caught three balls for 41 yards in Week 15 after he fell into a slump.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET @NYG 005600000 ***
Tate should draw considerable defensive attention from New York and is playable with lowered expectations. The Giants rated well against WRs last year. Tate still found room, though, to post a line of 8-122-0 in Week 15.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Golladay, DET @NYG 003400000 ***
Golladay will be frustrating to play, but there is some sizzle here. The upside is that he logged seven targets and only one was in the red zone, which is surprising based on how he was used in the preseason. He may struggle to find a groove against this elite pass defense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET @NYG 002200000 ***
Ebron's role wildly fluctuates and appears to have taken a back seat to rookie WR Kenny Golladay. For whatever it may be worth, probably just to DFSers, the Giants allowed 59 yards and a TD on seven catches by Dallas TEs last weekend.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET @NYG 3311 ***
New York gave up 13 fantasy points to kickers last week, and its defense matches well with slowing the Lions' vertical attack.

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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