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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Predictions Summary »  Player Rankings (Projections) »  myHuddle Projections by Team »  Projections Summary by Team »

WEEK 4 SF at STL (THU) CIN at CLE NYG at KC SEA at HOU
PIT at MIN (London) IND at JAC PHI at DEN WAS at OAK
CHI at DET NE at ATL BAL at BUF MIA at NO (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at TB DAL at SD NYJ at TEN On Bye: CAR, GB

Prediction: CHI 31, DET 27 (Line: DET by 3)

Players of Interest: Reggie Bush, Joique Bell

The Bears swept the Lions in 2012. They won 13-7 at home and later 26-24 in Detroit during the season finale. The Bears remain unbeaten thanks in no small part to a defense that once again excels at takeaways and scoring touchdowns. Chicago allows an average of 24 points per game and that was with two home stand s and a trip to the bumbling Steelers. The Lions have actually played better defense and are at home for the second time this season.

The Lions have only won this matchup only once in the last ten meetings.

1 CIN 24-21 10 DET -
2 MIN 31-30 11 BAL -
3 @PIT 40-23 12 @STL -
4 @DET - 13 @MIN -
5 NO - 14 DAL -
6 NYG - 15 @CLE -
7 @WAS - 16 @PHI -
8 BYE WEEK 17 GB -
9 @GB - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 250,2
RB Matt Forte 70,1 6-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 5-40
WR Brandon Marshall 7-100,1
WR Josh Morgan 3-40
TE Martellus Bennett 4-50,1
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears remain perfect and while they squeaked past the Bengals and Vikings, they come off a dominating win over the Steelers where the defense controlled the game and scored two touchdowns. While the passing game took an expected hit in Pittsburgh, the rushing effort also stepped up. This game is no gimmee but it is winnable and then the Bears host the Saints. The schedule could help the Bears reach their week eight bye undefeated but this week has to fall first.

QUARTERBACKS: Jay Cutler remains solid in the new offense with at least one score in every game. At home in the first two weeks, he threw multiple touchdowns and healthy yardage. On the road this week, he gets a bigger challenge against a team that held him to 257 yards and one score in Detroit last year. Week three saw Cutler finally connect with Alshon Jeffrey and that's needed to be an every week event to keep the offense more balanced.

RUNNING BACKS: HC Marc Trestman has opted to make MIchael Bush the goal line back from now on and he responded by punching in a score in Pittsburgh. While that may detract from what Matt Forte can do, it shouldn't impact his value too much. Forte ran in a score last week and almost had two. Between his role as a runner and a receiver, the worst he has done is 91 total yards and he adds at least four receptions every time he plays.

Forte ran for 103 yards and one score in Detroit last season. He added two catches for 21 yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon Marshall ended his two game streak of 100 yard games when he played in Pittsburgh where he caught five passes for 52 yards. Heavily covered, Marshall shared the same number of targets with Alshon Jeffrey who had a season best seven catches for 51 yards. Earl Bennett scored but still has never topped 25 yards in any game. Marshall will always be the big dog here but it is encouraging to see Jeffrey and Bennett both more including in the passing game plan.

Earl Bennett rang up 109 yards and a score in Detroit last season while Brandon Marshall only caught four passes for 76 yards.

TIGHT ENDS: After scoring three times over the first two weeks, Martellus Bennett spent most of last Sunday blocking and only caught two passes for 10 yards. His three touchdowns still lead the team and he is sure to bounce back in Detroit.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is a well established divisional rivalry so past stats are less predictive. The Lions have been great against the pass but facing the Vikings, Cardinals and Redskins is not exactly the toughest of schedules. The Bears bring in the best passing attack they will have yet faced and Robert Griffin III did throw for 326 yards on them even if he never scored. Where the Lions get hurt more is against the run and they have already given up six touchdowns to opposing running backs. Going in, there is no reason to shy away from the normal fantasy starts of Cutler, Marshall, Forte and Bennett.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jay Cutler has been efficient this year and scored in each game. But his lone road trek only produced 159 yards and one score. Cutler needs to show up better in this familiar road game and will enjoy the support of a successful rushing effort.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 18 8 18 15 18 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 7 31 13 14 26 9

 

1 MIN 34-24 10 @CHI -
2 @ARI 21-25 11 @PIT -
3 @WAS 27-20 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 vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 320,2
RB Joique Bell 30,1 5-40
RB Reggie Bush 50 6-60
WR Ryan Broyles 4-40
WR Calvin Johnson 9-150,2
WR Kevin Ogletree 2-20
WR Golden Tate 4-50
PK David Akers 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions return home after a road win in Washington but once again they are racked with injuries. Reggie Bush was held out last week as was Patrick Edwards. Nate Burleson has now broken his arm after crashing his car on the interstate because pizza boxes were shifting in the seat beside him. The schedule gets much tougher starting this week. The Lions may be 2-1 but their three opponents so far have a collective record of 1-8 and that lone win was against the Lions. The Bears and Packers are up next as a far better measuring stick.

QUARTERBACKS: Facing that easy schedule has paid off for Matt Stafford who threw two scores in every game and never fewer than 278 passing yards. Just when Stafford finally connected with Nate Burleson he's lost for the foreseeable future. The return of Reggie Bush will help and Joique Bell already collected 14 catches on the season as well.

Stafford passed for 272 yard and three touchdowns when the Bears visited in 2012.

RUNNING BACKS: Reggie Bush missed last week recuperating from banging his knee on a helmet in Arizona but he's expected to be 100% this week. He wanted to play and begged coaches to let him hit the field in Washington but the Lions wisely wanted him healthy for the next two weeks in particular. In his place, Joique Bell had a predictably good game against the horrible Redskins defense. He totaled 132 yards and scored once. His three touchdowns on the season ties with Calvin Johnson for the team lead.

Having Bush in the backfield presents a new look for the Bears to figure out. Since the only non-Megatron receiver of any note just crashed his SUV.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The loss of Nate Burleson only makes the receiver ranks even thinner. Patrick Edwards was the starter in the season opener but has since been out with an injured ankle. Burleson has a broken arm. Beyond Calvin Johnson, no other healthy wideout or tight end has gained more than 34 yards in a game so far. And that was against the weak teams of the Redskins and Vikings. It just doesn't get any better than that. It does get a whole lot worse starting now.

Ryan Broyles replaced Edwards last week in his season debut but only caught three passes for 34 yards against the Redskins. That's akin to negative yardage compared to any other team.

Johnson caught five passes for 72 yards against the visiting Bears.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew has declined to his eventual rock bottom - two targets and no catches last week. Joseph Fauria scored for the second time this year but has just 32 yards on the season. There is no fantasy value here thanks to Pettigrew's rapid descent into obscurity.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Lions catch a break with the Bears just losing DT Henry Melton to a torn ACL. That will impact both the pass rush and stopping the run. Charles Tillman injured his groin last week but may still play. The Bears were playing very tough against the run so Melton's absence will hurt but won't be fatal. The Bears have been more susceptible to the pass as evidenced by Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 406 yards and a two scores on them last week. The Bears have not faced a team that throws much to the receivers and with Burleson gone, Stafford will need to rely even more on his tailbacks as receivers. Playing at home the same normal starters apply this week - Stafford, Johnson, Bush and even Bell could get flex consideration in a reception points league.

Calvin Johnson should turn in a very nice game this week. The Bears already allowed both A.J. Green and Antonio Brown to end up with nine catches each for at least 160 yards and two touchdowns.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have to be successful to slow down the Bears and keep the Lion's offense on the field. Their role as pass catches is likely to be critical.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 7 2 7 21 19 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 18 3 25 24 24 21

WEEK 4 SF at STL (THU) CIN at CLE NYG at KC SEA at HOU
PIT at MIN (London) IND at JAC PHI at DEN WAS at OAK
CHI at DET NE at ATL BAL at BUF MIA at NO (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at TB DAL at SD NYJ at TEN On Bye: CAR, GB


 
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