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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: CIN 20, DET 27 (Line: DET by 3)

Players of Interest: Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria

UPDATE: Bell was limited in practices because of his ribs and is likely even less effective or used this week. Calvin Johnson went through limited practices this week and is expected to play.

The 4-2 Bengals are atop the AFC North and are on a two game winning streak thanks to an overtime win in Buffalo for their first road victory. The 4-2 Lions are tied with the Bears for the NFC North title and are 2-0 in home games.

1 @CHI 21-24 10 @BAL -
2 PIT 20-10 11 CLE -
3 GB 34-30 12 BYE WEEK
4 @CLE 6-17 13 @SD -
5 NE 13-6 14 IND -
6 @BUF 27-24 15 @PIT -
7 @DET - 16 MIN -
8 NYJ - 17 BAL -
9 @MIA - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 10 260,2
RB Giovani Bernard 30 6-60,1
WR A.J. Green 5-60,1
WR Marvin Jones 2-30
WR Mohamed Sanu 4-40
TE Tyler Eifert 3-40
TE Jermaine Gresham 2-20
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals are inconsistent but somehow managed to beat the Patriots and yet not the Browns and nearly lost to the Bills. Three of the next four weeks are on the road and that's a challenge that the Bengals have struggled with this year. A week 12 bye means resting up before the final push but if they cannot cure their road problems it won't matter.

QUARTERBACKS: Andy Dalton ended a two game scoreless slide with three touchdowns against the Bills but that is indicative of the problem. He's been much less successful passing when the opponent can contain A.J. Green. It is that simple because the offense is still not diverse enough. And he's been far too inconsistent for a fantasy start unless the situation serves up a bad secondary.

RUNNING BACKS: BenJarvus Green-Ellis is serving as the primary back but he never catches anything and so far topped out at 86 yards in a game (BUF). He remains the goal line back and scored three times but not in either of the most recent two road venues. Giovani Bernard is improving though more as a receiver than a rusher. He came up big in Buffalo with 100 total yards and a score but more importantly is getting six receptions in every away game. His workload is slowly increasing.

WIDE RECEIVERS: So goes A.J. Green, so goes the Bengals. He comes off a 103 yard effort with a score in Buffalo but was limited to under 65 yards in the four previous games. Mohamed Sanu provides a handful of meaningless catches each week and Marvin Jones shows up with a score in two games while underperforming in all others. This unit isn't providing Dalton with a viable alternative to Johnson but then again that's on Dalton as well.

TIGHT ENDS: The introduction of the dual tight end has not gone nearly so well since Tyler Eifert remains quiet unless at home and Jermaine Gresham is declining as Eifert matters more. But neither scored this year and are not reliable for more than 40 yards or so.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Dalton faces a defense that only allowed seven passing scores in six weeks though the yardage topped 290 on three occasions. If Dalton can score even twice it will be a success here. The Lions are average against the run but have faced several good runners and the Bengals are going to split the backfield anyway. Dalton makes for a moderate play this week with a risk of a barely average game. Green is a must start and Bernard is gaining momentum at least as a receiver. Green-Ellis is never more than a marginal play with the need of a touchdown to be relevant.

WHAT TO WATCH: The only real development on the offense is with the rookie Bernard. He is gaining more workload and providing a dual threat to a team that needs more than just A.J. Green. This will be a nice test to see how matchup dependent his success still is.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 21 14 14 12 26 19
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 12 23 23 17 28 5

 

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 31-17 15 BAL -
7 CIN - 16 NYG -
8 DAL - 17 @MIN -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 270,2
RB Joique Bell 20 3-20
RB Reggie Bush 70 5-60,1
WR Calvin Johnson 5-60
WR Golden Tate 5-50
TE Brandon Pettigrew 4-40
PK Alex Henery 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions come off a solid win in Cleveland even with Calvin Johnson mostly a decoy. Two home games round out the first half of the season and then a bye week to heal up. The schedule takes a sharp turn in the second half where the matchups become tougher and only a looming home meeting with the Buccaneers appears as a certain win. Hidden in the rise in the standings is a defense that is playing better than recent seasons.

QUARTERBACKS: Matt Stafford finds the endzone every week and only once settled for just one touchdown. He's thrown for 12 scores but remained below 265 yards for the last three weeks. Stafford comes off a four touchdown effort in Cleveland and is finding a new red-zone friend in 6-7 tight end Joseph Fauria.

RUNNING BACKS: Joique Bell was knocked out of the Browns win by a rib injury but there were no breaks and he is considered day-to-day. I'll project for him as active but limited and update as warranted. Bell's provided at least four receptions in every full game played and offers at least minor flex value in reception point leagues.

Reggie Bush is running strong and still adding in as a receiver so that most games end up with 100+ total yards. He's scored twice as a receiver and once as a runner with monster games in both of the previous home games. Bush has been good on the road but devastating when at home.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Calvin Johnson played injured last week and only caught three of his eight passes for 25 yards. The Lions will be evasive about his status and he'll likely be a game time decision because of his sprained knee. I'll assume he is better this week but not yet 100% and adjust when information dictates.

Patrick Edwards was held without a catch and released this week. Ryan Broyles was held to no catches as well and remains a non-factor every week. But at least Kris Durham showed some life and comes off a career best 83 yards on eight catches. Durham was a college teammate of Stafford at Georgia but the third-year player has been ineffective in his stints in Seattle and now in Detroit until now. He worth owning just to see if they can finally find a suitable #2 across from Johnson but Durham is on his second season with the Lions. It is not like he is new to the team.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Scheffler remains out and may be placed in injured reserve. Brandon Pettigrew is a minor player in the passing scheme with between 40 and 50 yards in recent games but never scores. However, the 6-7 undrafted rookie from UCLA in Joseph Fauria just scored three times in Cleveland and that gives him a team high five touchdowns on just seven receptions for 66 yards over three games played. He's wildly risky to consider since he may have zero catches. But apparently he is as good as three touchdowns in just one game. That's what we need. Tight-End-by-Committee. Specialists according to the yard line.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bengals on the road allowed two passing scores to all three opponents and right at 250 yards for each. The rushing defense is very good and limited all backs regardless of venue but Lions will throw to the running backs with wild abandon if it works. Consider Stafford and Bush as solid plays this week and Johnson a risk that you have to take. Durham and Fauria are hot currently but will be a risk to assume they continue every week as productive.

WHAT TO WATCH: Kris Durham could be a great addition if he can maintain a decent role and help diversify the offense more. Fauria is worth noting too but he's also the only five touchdown tight end that just makes you uneasy to acquire. With his role solely as a red-zone target, it seems ripe for a "where'd you go" goose egg if you relied on him.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 8 3 20 10 16 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 13 9 13 13 10 16

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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