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 Victor Cruz 6-70,1
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
RB Jordan Howard, CHI @MIN 8014300000 ***
Only David Johnson was more productive in an single game against the Vikings this year than Howard's 30.2-point effort in Week 8. He finished with 202 offensive yards on 30 touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI @MIN 002201000 ***
Thompson can do some nifty things with the ball, but trusting him is asking for trouble in fantasy circles. He's a risky deal in any format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI @MIN 006700000 ***
Meredith was a non-factor in Week 8's meeting, but he has come along nicely ever since. The attention paid to Alshon Jeffery gives him a lot of single looks that he has proven capable of beating. Minnesota is the eighth best matchup in PPR this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Victor Cruz, CHI @MIN 005500000 **
Cruz went for 70 yards on three catches in the Week 3 version of this game, but he has fallen off the radar until awakening with eight catches in Week 16. This one is too dicey to chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Daniel Brown, CHI @MIN 004300000 ***
Despite permitting two TE TDs in the last 18 catches, Minnesota remains a bottom-10 opponent for the position. Brown shouldn't be used in conventional formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dion Sims, CHI @MIN 003300000 ***
Just one of the last 23 receptions by tight ends against the Patriots has found the end zone. Sims doesn't deserve a shot in any conventional format.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @MIN 0022 ***
Minnesota has given up a high volume of field goal kicks all year and has limited extra points for the most part. Barth may not have to worry about the latter part anyway.

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 GB 10000031031 ***
The Packers have given up 23.5 fantasy points per game in the last five weeks, which is the sixth highest average. The Lions are in a must-win situation if the Redskins win earlier in the day, so Stafford will lay it all on the line. Their Week 3 meeting resulted in 385 yards, three TDs and a pick in Green Bay.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, DET GB 4002200000 ***
Despite a good matchup, Asiata remains unplayable. If he doesn't score, there is almost nothing redeeming about his production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Zach Zenner, DET GB 4001100000 ***
Zenner flashed several times in Week 16 but wasn't able to keep up the involvement when Detroit quickly fell into a big hole. Keep him away from lineups in what may be a similar situation against the Pack.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Dwayne Washington, DET GB 3001100000 ***
Green Bay has given up receptions and yardage to a notable degree, but touchdowns haven't been easy to come by. The Lions have no commitment to the ground game, anyway.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Golden Tate, DET GB 0061001000 ***
Tate was quiet in the Week 3 battle at Lambeau, registering only four catches for 40 yards. The Packers have given up 15.2 catches (5th most) and 193 yards (4th most) per game since Week 11, allowing a TD every 10.9 completions to receivers (14th worst).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones Jr., DET GB 004600000 ***
Jones went bonkers in the Week 3 matchup by posting six catches for 202 yards and two scores for a whopping 38.5 PPR points. He hasn't totaled 38.5 PPR points in his last six games combined.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Eric Ebron, DET GB 006801000 ***
The Packers have allowed a TD on the last 26 receptions faced by tight ends. Ebron hauled in five passes for 69 yards in Week 3 against Green Bay, and he was heavily involved last week as the Lions were forced into catch-up mode.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DET GB 1133 ***
Green Bay has permitted all seven field goal attempts to clear the uprights, while seven of nine point-afters were good in the last five games. This is a bottom-seven matchup for Week 17.

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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