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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU* CIN at CAR* SD at SEA*
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC* IND at DEN*
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL* NYJ at MIA
*updated CLE at BAL* PIT at TB* OAK at ARI* GB at CHI

Prediction: DET 17, MIN 23

Two teams still searching for their first win and yet oddly it is the Vikings who have struggled to post any points while the Lions have lost two very close games including a high scoring affair last week. But the Lions go back on the road and the Vikings passed "desperate" last week. No arguing that these teams are closer in talent than they have been in years but that still should not be quite enough to see the Lions pull the upset.

The Vikings swept the Lions in 2009, winning 27-13 in Detroit and later 27-10 at home.

Detroit Lions (0-2)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI L 14-19 10 @BUF --
2 PHI L 32-35 11 @DAL --
3 @MIN -- 12 NE --
4 @GB -- 13 CHI --
5 STL -- 14 GB --
6 @NYG -- 15 @TB --
7 Bye - 16 @MIA --
8 WAS -- 17 MIN --
9 NYJ -- - - -
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Shaun Hill - - 220,1
RB Jahvid Best 90,1 40 -
TE Tony Scheffler - 40 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 30,1 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 80 -
WR Bryant Johnson - 30 -
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Two heart breaking losses that could have been wins later and the Lions are mostly shrugging it off as the price of being the Lions. Matthew Stafford remains out with a bad shoulder but Shaun Hill has played very well in relief even if the Lions remain winless. Jahvid Best is nothing short of spectacular and that gives this offense a dimension it has missed for many years. Now if they could only get a win.

QUARTERBACK: HC Jim Schwartz won't say much but the expectation is that Matthew Stafford misses at least this week if not more with his shoulder injury. But Shaun Hill has been a more than adequate replacement with 335 yards and two scores against the visiting Eagles last week. That's going to be hard to replicate on the road though and Stafford passed for only 224 yards and one touchdown in Minnesota last year.

The Vikings have only allowed one passing score per opponent so far and marginal pass yards including against the Saints (237 yards). Expect a far lesser performance from Hill this week.

RUNNING BACKS: For a guy with durability issues and a frame that is too small for the NFL, Jahvid Best is roaring to life as an NFL back and comes off a league best week of 78 yards on 17 rushes with two more touchdowns and added nine catches for 154 yards and a third score last week. That totals five touchdowns for the rookie in only his first two weeks. He has the burst for short yardage gains and is at his best in open space. This is one pick that the Lions got very right.

The Lions only rushed for 65 yards on 18 carries in Minnesota last year.

Don't write off Best since the Vikings have allowed opponents to rush for over 100 yards each week and Pierre Thomas scored.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Nate Burleson left the game early last week with a sprained ankle but he has only been good for one catch per game anyway. I will assume he remains out until he can practice and the speculation is that he has a high ankle sprain which would linger for a while. Calvin Johnson scored a touchdown against the Eagles but it came late in the game and he still tops out at 50 yards per week. Hill is not connecting well with the wideouts even though Johnson is getting upwards of a dozen targets per game.

Johnson caught eight passes for 84 yards against the Vikings. He had five receptions for 51 yards and one score in the home meeting. The Vikings will naturally be focusing on him and should limit him at least as a scorer.

TIGHT ENDS: After Tony Scheffler posted six catches for 43 yards in the opener, the Eagles schemed to take him out and they were successful. Only the Lions have two tight ends and Brandon Pettigrew came up with seven receptions for 108 yards. Both tight ends can receive and with the problems that Hill has had connecting with the wideouts, both players should continue to matter each week.

Pettigrew had four catches for 40 yards in Minnesota last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 19 1 29 10 27 6
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 5 15 17 2 2 28


Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NO L 9-14 10 @CHI --
2 MIA L 10-14 11 GB --
3 DET -- 12 @WAS --
4 Bye - 13 BUF --
5 @NYJ -- 14 NYG --
6 DAL -- 15 CHI --
7 @GB -- 16 @PHI --
8 @NE -- 17 @DET --
9 ARI -- - - -
Vikings Report | Statistics | Roster
MINNESOTA vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre - - 240,1
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 40 -
TE Vishante Shiancoe - 70,1 -
WR Bernard Berrian - 30 -
WR Greg Lewis - 30 -
WR Percy Harvin   40  
PK Ryan Longwell 3FG 2 XPS -

Pregame Notes: The Vikings are reeling from two straight losses and an ever-growing list of players who are injured. The slow start of Brett Favre has not accelerated and even taking the reins off of Adrian Peterson is no longer enough to garner a home win. The Vikes need this game desperately and that is exactly how they have been playing - desperate.

QUARTERBACK: Hate to bring it up but what if Brett Favre not only is not the solution, but what if he is the problem? After an inauspicious start in New Orleans, Favre only managed to throw for 225 yards and three interceptions against the visiting Dolphins and he lost a fumble as well. In a game with a low score, those sort of mistakes are killers. Now Percy Harvin is injured and Favre is using an ever shrinking group of receivers.

Favre passed for 155 yards and two scores when the Lions visited last year. He will beat the yardage but not necessarily the scores. The Lions are averaging 325 passing yards per opponent but Favre is running short of receivers.

RUNNING BACKS: They finally took the chains off of Adrian Peterson last week and he responded by gaining 145 yards on 28 rushes with a score plus 41 more yards as a receiver with five receptions. He was all that did work last week but even his 186 total yards could not compensate for what Favre's errors caused. At home, Peterson is at his best and he faces a defense that just allowed LeSean McCoy 120 rush yards and three scores.

Peterson gained 92 yards on 15 carries and scored once against the visiting Lions last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Sidney Rice remains on the PUP until a week eight return from his hip surgery and now Percy Harvin has strained his hip as well. An MRI has not discovered any structural problems to Harvin's hip and he should be back no later than next week and potentially for this game. Without Harvin there, Favre is left with a motley bunch of receivers that has not produced more than two catches in any game or scored. I will assume that Harvin is out but none of the remaining receivers are reliable or that talented.

Rice dominated the game when these teams met in Minnesota last year. He had 201 yards on seven receptions. Even though it is the Lions showing up, there are no wideouts here that merit a fantasy start. There is just no reliability and consistency in the bunch.

TIGHT ENDS: Vishante Shiancoe has been the lead receiver in both games and comes off a six catch, 86 yard effort and 76 yards in New Orleans. No doubt Favre will need to rely on him even more this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 13 31 4 29 28
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 30 32 25 9 16 16

WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU CIN at CAR SD at SEA
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC IND at DEN
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL NYJ at MIA
  CLE at BAL PIT at TB OAK at ARI GB at CHI
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