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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA

Prediction: DET 16, CLE 20 (Line: DET by 2.5)

Players of Interest: Reggie Bush, Jordan Cameron

Update: Calvin Johnson is listed as doubtful and returned for limited work on Thursday and Friday. He is a game time decision again thought speculation is that he's more likely to play. He'd face off with Joe Haden if he does. That makes it possible that he would be more of a decoy though who else do the Lions really have anyway? Megatron is only a moderate start in the best of all situations and could once again be a big disappointment.

The Lions drop to 3-2 with their loss in Green Bay which gives them a 1-2 road record with their only win by one touchdown in Washington. The 3-2 Browns extend their winning streak to three games and return home where they are 2-1. This is a coin toss game and will be dramatically impacted by the availability of Calvin "now you see me, now you don't" Johnson.

1 MIN 34-24 10 @CHI -
2 @ARI 21-25 11 @PIT -
3 @WAS 27-20 12 TB -
4 CHI 40-32 13 GB -
5 @GB 9-22 14 @PHI -
6 @CLE - 15 BAL -
7 CIN - 16 NYG -
8 DAL - 17 @MIN -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 240
RB Joique Bell 30,1 4-30
RB Reggie Bush 40 4-30
WR Ryan Broyles 2-30
WR Calvin Johnson 4-50
WR Golden Tate 3-50
TE Brandon Pettigrew 5-40
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 5 XP

Pregame Notes: Not playing with Calvin Johnson for the first time since 2009 was a shocker since he had always suited up regardless of what practice time he had during the week. His absence really deflated the entire offensive effort in an important divisional game. The offense is predicated on Megatron and the coaching staff is not going to be above cloaking what his situation is again this week until right at game time. At least this is an early game on Sunday.

QUARTERBACKS: Matt Stafford predictably struggled without Calvin Johnson against the Packers. He passed fro 262 yards yards but only one touchdown. Stafford has yet to toss more than two in any game but has managed to throw at least one each week. His eight scores on the year are balanced by only three interceptions. Troublesome was that he was never sacked more than once in any game until last week when he was brought down five times. Johnson makes a very big impact in many ways.

RUNNING BACKS: The problem with Johnson being out was that the defense just shifted their attention to Reggie Bush who was held to only 44 yards on 13 runs and 25 more yards on four receptions. Also germane is that Bush has yet to look good in any road game. Joique Bell continues to be worth four or more catches per week but his rushing yardage plummets when Bush is in the lineup. This unit usually does about as much as receivers as they do runners.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Ends up that Kris Durham is not the equivalent of Calvin Johnson. Durham scored once but only caught three of his eight passes for 30 yards in the Packers loss. Ryan Broyles (2-27) and Patrick Edwards (2-16) are of almost no help and continue to limit the offense to Bush and Johnson for most needs.

HC Jim Schwartz said that Johnson injured his knee in week four and that he has a good shot at starting this week. There will be absolutely no reliable information before game time on purpose. But this is an early game so you can know. I will assume a limited Johnson can play and update as needed. Chances are really high he faces Joe Haden anyway.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew improved the last two weeks to post around 55 yards in each game though he still has not scored this year. Tony Scheffler has no consistency but often does just enough to erode what Pettigrew might have done alone. There is only marginal fantasy value here at best and the two scores were caught by Joseph Fauria who normally doesn't have any receptions.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Facing the Browns defense in Cleveland is no cakewalk. They have allowed only two passing scores this year and none in the last three games. No quarterback passed for more than 230 yards on them. This is not a good sign if Megatron cannot play. It's not good even if he does. Joe Haden has shut down all the top receivers that he has faced and the Lions simply do not have an adequate #2 wideout to rely on. The rushing defense has given up six scores but never more than 88 rushing yards. This looks to be a lower scoring game unless the Lions can really step in a road game.

WHAT TO WATCH: Reggie Bush has to show up in a road game no matter whether Johnson plays or not. With Haden likely to depress Johnson's stats, Bush has to be able to take up any slack and so far he has not been up to that task away from Detroit.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 10 1 16 19 15 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CLE 5 20 6 3 15 15

 

1 MIA 10-23 10 BYE WEEK
2 @BAL 6-14 11 @CIN -
3 @MIN 31-27 12 PIT -
4 CIN 17-6 13 JAC -
5 BUF 37-24 14 @NE -
6 DET - 15 CHI -
7 @GB - 16 @NYJ -
8 @KC - 17 @PIT -
9 BAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Ben Tate 50 1-10
WR Miles Austin 2-30
WR Josh Gordon 5-80
TE Jordan Cameron 6-80
PK Billy Cundiff 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Since trading away Trent Richardson to the Colts, all the Browns have done is win. The schedule may have helped but no denying that they are playing well on defense and then just good enough on offense. The loss of Brian Hoyer sets back the progress but Brandon Weeden was already the starter and can keep the offense moving. The schedule tightens up for the next month before the bye week and then gets no better aside from a week 13 gift when the Jags show up.

QUARTERBACKS: Brian Hoyer underwent an MRI to confirm that he suffered a torn right ACL and is done for the rest of the season. In his ever so short cameo this year he probably already won the week one job in 2014. Brandon Weeden resumes the starting spot but hasn't thrown more than one touchdown in a game this year. Weeden already knows he is obviously not considered the long-term solution in Cleveland for the new regime but he is effectively auditioning for something in 2014 elsewhere.

RUNNING BACKS: Chris Ogbonnaya left the Bills win with a concussion but is expected to be able to play this week. He assumes a much bigger role now that Trent Richardson is gone. Ogbonnaya only took five carries in the Bengals game but gained 27 yards and he added five receptions for 21 yards and a score. Willis McGahee has not caught a pass in his two games though he was thrown two passes last week. He scored the first rushing touchdown for the Browns when he gained 72 yards on 26 carries during the Bills game. So far McGahee only gained a total of 118 yards on 41 carries for a 2.9 yard per carry average. A tougher looming schedule is not likely to see McGahee's stats improve and this week is his third home game in a row. It gets much worse after this one.

Ogbonnaya started the week not practicing but is reported to have a good shot at clearing the concussion tests this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Josh Gordon is still playing well, gaining 86 yards on four catches and scoring once on the Bills but he's only played a partial game with Weeden so far. But Gordon was already showing promise last season playing exclusively with Weeden. Greg Little comes of a season high 71 yards on three catches versus the Bills but he was blanked the previous week and remained safely below 40 yards the first three weeks. Gordon is the only wideout of any fantasy note here and his value shouldn't be affected much with Hoyer out. The Browns are going to need to pass even more in future games and that spells good things for Gordon.

The rumors that Josh Gordon is getting traded still persist but are being shot down by the Browns.

TIGHT ENDS: It finally had to happen. Jordan Cameron only ended up with three catches for 36 yards in the win over the Bills and he was just thrown five passes as the defense clearly was dedicated to stopping him. That was his first flop though and he still has five scores and 33 catches after just five weeks.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Lions secondary only allowed one passer to throw more than one touchdown though every quarterback enjoys moderate to good yardage on this defense. This should also be a decent game for Willis McGahee against a defense that already permitted seven touchdowns to opposing running backs along with decent yardage. This week Weeden is only a marginal play likely to only post one score but Gordon, Cameron and even McGahee are worth consideration as a starter. The Lions have yet to give up a score to the tight end position but did allow 90 yards to Martellus Bennett and have not faced any one nearly as good as Cameron.

WHAT TO WATCH: Really need to see Cameron get back on track with a bad game last week when Weeden took over again. His success truly opens the offense up and prevents it from being nothing more than long throws to Gordon and short yardage from McGahee.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 24 28 25 4 21 8
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 13 27 20 6 30 8

WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA


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