FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: DET 31, WAS 30 (Line: WAS by 1.5)

Players of Interest: Joique Bell, Robert Griffin III

Update: Leonard Hankerson injured his groin on Friday and is now questionable to play. I am lowering his projections.

Reggie Bush returned to practice on Friday and is expected to play. His knee has improved but it is not certain if he will take the full load or not against the Skins terrible rushing defense. He is added in the projections but Joique Bell should still retain some fantasy value this week.

The 1-1 Lions hit the road where the endings are normally not good to face the 0-2 Redskins who have delightfully forgotten to bring a defense with them this year. This is a coin flip game that should ignite into a shootout and both teams have bad defenses. Last touchdown scored likely wins the game.

1 MIN 34-24 10 @CHI -
2 @ARI 21-25 11 @PIT -
3 @WAS - 12 TB -
4 CHI - 13 GB -
5 @GB - 14 @PHI -
6 @CLE - 15 BAL -
7 CIN - 16 NYG -
8 DAL - 17 @MIN -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 340,3
RB Joique Bell 60,1 3-30
RB Reggie Bush 40 5-60
WR Ryan Broyles 3-30
WR Calvin Johnson 10-130,2
WR Kevin Ogletree 2-20
WR Golden Tate 3-40
TE Brandon Pettigrew 3-40

Pregame Notes: After a nice opening win over the Vikings, the Lions were just clipped by the Cardinals in Arizona. A notoriously bad road team, the Lions may only have a great shot at winning away from Detroit this week and then at Cleveland in week six. Reggie Bush is already banged up though and is no lock to play. The Lions usually wait three weeks before their annual drive to injure most players of significance so this is early.

QUARTERBACKS: Matthew Stafford starts the year on a strong note with games of 357 and 278 yards and two scores in each. He still only connects with Calvin Johnson downfield but Reggie Bush has proven to be a valuable outlet and deadly as a receiver again. But the team still struggles to find any other receiver that can help out so Stafford's numbers are usually limited by whatever Johnson can do along with Bush if he is healthy.

RUNNING BACKS: Reggie Bush banged his knee on a helmet last week and could not finish the game. There was no structural damage fortunately and he is expected to be questionable for this game. How he practices - or if he practices - will help determine his availability. He could be held out if only to get him healthy again for the following two weeks against the Bears and Packers.

Joique Bell would take the running back start if needed and he has two scores on the year already plus actually has more catches than Bush. Facing the #27 rushing defense this week means the starter is going to have a good game and may end up with a monster game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Cardinals were unable to contain Calvin Johnson which led to six catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns. That was markedly better than the 37 yards on four receptions in the season opener. Patrick Edwards was the other starter then and had three catches for 30 yards but injured his ankle and left last Sunday's game without a catch. Ryan Broyles has been a healthy scratch from games though his balky knee means he is never really that healthy. He should play this week along with Nate Burleson.

When a shoot-out happens, the wide receivers all see an increase in yards and catches but so far not touchdowns.

TIGHT ENDS: There is no real fantasy value here. Brandon Pettigrew only seems to get worse and currently has five catches for 38 yards on the season.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is where it gets good. The Redskins are just plain bad against all the positions but quarter back in particular which means Stafford is a great start this week. Their secondary has already allowed four touchdowns and three 100 yard performances by wide receivers. In just two games! How great is that? Megatron is a lock for a big game here and hopefully it will bleed over to the other receivers. None of them are consistent enough to merit a fantasy start though. And Joique Bell is a very nice start if Reggie Bush does not play. The Redskins have yet to allow the opposing primary back to gain under 132 yards and one score. Even if Bush plays, this is a week where Bell should be worth a fantasy start.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Joique Bell should turn in really nice yardage if Bush is out which could buy him more playing time later on. Ryan Broyles is likely to play this week but his stock has been falling.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 12 1 18 21 19 10
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 32 27 31 23 19 22

 

1 PHI 27-33 10 @MIN -
2 @GB 20-38 11 @PHI -
3 DET - 12 SF -
4 @OAK - 13 NYG -
5 BYE WEEK 14 KC -
6 @DAL - 15 @ATL -
7 CHI - 16 DAL -
8 @DEN - 17 @NYG -
9 SD - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 30 290,2
RB Alfred Morris 90,1
WR Pierre Garcon 7-100,1
WR Leonard Hankerson 3-40
WR DeSean Jackson 8-100,1
WR Andre Roberts 5-60,1
TE Jordan Reed 4-40

Pregame Notes: Two losses to start the season creates plenty of problems for the Redskins and while it may seem that they were competitive in Green Bay, almost everything happened only after they trailed 31-0 and the Packers were kicking back eating some brats and picking dirt out of their cleats. A loss here spells even more conjecture about what is wrong with the team in particular, what is wrong with RG3 who does not have the same magic as he did in 2012.

QUARTERBACKS: His yardage is healthy enough - both weeks posting over 320 pass yards and two or three touchdowns. But so much of that came in trash time. And the major difference is that Robert Griffin III totals only nine rush attempts for 25 yards. Throught the first two games last year he had already gained 124 yards and two scores as a runner. The receivers are not that good on this team. His rushing (815 yards, 7 TDs) is where his NFL and fantasy value really stemmed.

While the media peppers Mike Shanahan with 100 different questions that all basically ask "why aren't you running RG3?", he replies that falling behind in games has removed the zone read from the repertoire and that all is well. RG3 also insists he is fine. We'll find out more this week.

RUNNING BACKS: Falling behind early and deeply has meant that Alfred Morris' quest to prove 2012 was not a fluke has a very slow start. He has only ran 25 times for 152 yards in the two weeks and scored just once. His role as a receiver has also yet to take shape if for no other reason than the Skins end up in constant pass formation with Morris on the sidelines. It is not that he has lost any effectiveness. He is gaining over six yards per carry. He just misses the volume of work to matter. This would probably be a good time to buy low on Morris who is just waiting for the chance to run more than 13 times per week. He ended the 2012 season with seven straight games of over 20 carries each and scored eight times in those games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: For all the passing yards, no receiver has really benefited other than Pierre Garcon who currently has 15 catches for 207 yards and one score. Leonard Hankerson teased with a five catch, 80 yard season opener with two scores but then settled to a more normal 35 yards in Green Bay. Santana Moss continues to be good for 40 or 50 yards per week - never more, never less. One touchdown. It would be great if someone, anyone, would step up and help out Garcon but there is no consistency so far and no real reason to expect any since this is the same cast of mediocre wideouts from last year.

TIGHT ENDS: One positive development though small, is the emergence of Jordan Reed at tight end. Fred Davis has nearly faded from the box scores but the rookie Reed was a 3.23 pick this year out of Florida and is purely a receiving tight end at only 236 pounds and 6'2". His first game saw him with five catches for 38 yards and last weed he declined to only three grabs for 18 yards but scored a touchdown. He's worth keeping an eye on and holding in a dynasty league.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Here is a problem. The Lions have been good against the pass with only two scores allowed this year but one was Christian Ponder who never counts and then Carson Palmer without Larry Fitzgerald. There is no reason why Morris should not get a great chance to score this week and have at least marginally better stats as a runner. That provided the Lions do not take a very early and significant lead like the first two weeks. RG3 is a must start along with Morris and Garcon. The rest will see a decent game but none of them offer the consistency reliability to merit a fantasy start.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Robert Griffin III needs to find the 2012 version of himself because without that specter of running the ball, the offense becomes very ordinary and unable to blow games open. Or even catch up for that matter.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 8 26 3 13 31 13
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 6 30 6 7 27 1

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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