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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2010
IND at TEN *NE at CHI *TB at WAS *KC at SD
*CIN at PIT *CLE at BUF *SEA at SF DEN at ARI
ATL at CAR *NYG at MIN STL at NO PHI at DAL
*Updated GB at DET OAK at JAC MIA at NYJ *BAL at HOU

Prediction: GB 27, DET 13

This is a rematch of week four when the Packers beat the visiting Lions 28-26. The Packers are 8-4 and one game behind the Bears in the NFC North. They are just 3-3 in road games while the Lions are 2-4 in home games.

Green Bay Packers (8-4)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PHI W 27-20 10 Bye -
2 BUF W 34-7 11 @MIN W 31-3
3 @CHI L 17-20 12 @ATL L 17-20
4 DET W 28-26 13 SF W 34-16
5 @WAS L 13-16 14 @DET --
6 MIA L 20-23 15 @NE --
7 MIN W 28-24 16 NYG --
8 @NYJ W 9-0 17 CHI --
9 DAL W 45-7 - - -
Packers Report | Statistics | Roster
GREEN BAY at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers - - 310,2
RB Brandon Jackson 20 40 -
RB James Starks 60,1 - -
WR Greg Jennings - 120,1 -
WR Jordy Nelson - 20 -
WR Donald Driver - 60,1 -
WR James Jones - 40 -
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Packers are not going to have an easy time reaching the playoffs with a schedule that concludes against the Patriots, Giants and Bears. That final game hosting Chicago could be for the division title and possibly even a do-or-die scenario where the loser sits at home in January. But with the specter of a running game once again, the offense is looking up. Even Donald Driver is healthy and contributing again.

QUARTERBACK: Aaron Rodgers only passed for 181 yards against the Lions in week four but scored three times in that game. Rodgers already has 23 passing scores and four rushing touchdowns along with eight games over 290 yards. The Lions secondary has not improved and has lost players since that game. Half of the games have featured multiple scores by the opposing quarterback and perhaps the most 1:1 example in Detroit was Tom Brady passing for 341 yards and four scores there two weeks ago.

Expect your very healthy game as always.

RUNNING BACKS: The fantasy world was all abuzz since we finally saw what James Starks looks like and what the 24-year old could do. Starks is a bigger back at 6'2" and 220 pounds who was a standout at Buffalo (college) but who missed his senior season with a shoulder injury and was injured again during training camp and put on the PUP list. Think Danario Alexander only with better knees.

Starks had his first carries in almost two years when he ran 18 times for 73 yards against the visiting 49ers. Starks has the size to be an every down back for the Packers but before anyone prepares a spot for his bust between Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor, the ongoing plan is to use literally all four backs. For the most part, it will be a three man rotation with Brandon Jackson, Starks and Dimitri Nance as the short yardage bull. It would be unwise to overuse Starks after two years of no playing and a history of durability issues.

But that makes projecting for the Packers even more difficult. I will assume Nance remains mostly a bit player and that Starks takes most of the first and second down work with Brandon Jackson filling in more as a third down guy but even that is speculation as the Packers will tinker and tune the backfield as they go.

The Lions allow scores and yards to running backs so there should be some fantasy points but how it is divided up is still mostly a guess.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Donald Driver has his first decent game since week five when he caught four passes for 73 yards and one score while claiming he had been slowed this season by a quadricep injury and not because he is 36-years old. Driver's previous touchdown was back in week four when he had 89 yards on three receptions against the Lions. Greg Jennings also scored in that game though he only had two catches for 25 yards in part because of Jermichael Finley who also scored in that game.

The Lions will be without RCB Alphonso Smith because of his shoulder and that would help Jennings who has been on a fantasy point spree for almost two months now. The improvement in Driver's stats came straight from James Jones last week and that should be the case again. Both starting wideouts are no worse than good plays and likely a big game for at least Jennings.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 2 31 3 22 15 2
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 26 29 20 9 6 18
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) GB 24 -2 17 -13 -9 16


Detroit Lions (2-10)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI L 14-19 10 @BUF L 12-14
2 PHI L 32-35 11 @DAL L 19-35
3 @MIN L 10-24 12 NE L 24-45
4 @GB L 26-28 13 CHI L 20-24
5 STL W 44-6 14 GB --
6 @NYG L 20-28 15 @TB --
7 Bye - 16 @MIA --
8 WAS W 37-25 17 MIN --
9 NYJ L 20-23 - - -
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Stanton - - 210,1
RB Jahvid Best 30 20 -
RB Maurice Morris 20 30 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 50 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 60,1 -
WR Nate Burleson - 40 -
PK Dave Rayner 2 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Lions have just about perfected all the ways you can lose a game and yet they never quit. They often come tantalizingly close and then something happens at the end that goes against them. There is always hope that week 17 will see a dispirited Vikings team show up but otherwise the Lions are looking at one very nice draft pick in April.

QUARTERBACK: Drew Stanton still mans the ship with a small chance that Matthew Stafford shows up before the end of the season. Stanton had a reasonably good effort against the Bears when he passed for 178 yards and one score with no turnovers and he even ran in a score himself. This is a different team than the one in week four that saw Shaun Hill pass for 331 yards and two scores in Green Bay. This is more like Lions-Lite.

The Packers never allow more than one passing score in a road game so expect Stanton to be fortunate to get that much.

RUNNING BACKS: Just when you shift your mind from Jahvid Best to Maurice Morris, Best suddenly has 65 rush yards on nine carries and a catch for 32 yards. That was his second best game of the year and on the heels of only having 17 yards against the Cowboys. Morris is still getting ten carries per game and doing little with them. Back in week four against the Packers, Best rushed for 50 yards and had 34 yards on five catches but that was before the turf toes went chronic.

This will be a good game to see if Best really is going to do anything more this year or not. The Packers bring a top five defense against running backs that has allowed only four scores all year long. Expect moderation from Morris and Best for now that is below fantasy relevance.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The value of Nate Burleson has taken a heavy hit with Stanton as the starter but at least Calvin Johnson has still scored in each of the last four games and had a least decent yardage even if it comes on one lucky long pass at the end of the game. Johnson has only failed to score in one of the last nine games and has 12 touchdowns on the season including six receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers in week four.

Lower all those stats this time but still always start Johnson.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew had one of his biggest games of his career in week four when he turned in eight catches for 91 yards in Green Bay and his yardage has been healthy even with Stanton under center. Pettigrew had more pass targets than even Johnson last week - he's still a decent start for some yards but he hasn't scored since week nine and never with Stanton.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 8 24 16 9 22 9
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 7 4 4 23 15 5
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) DET -1 -20 -12 14 -7 -4

WEEK 14
2010
IND at TEN NE at CHI TB at WAS KC at SD
CIN at PIT CLE at BUF SEA at SF DEN at ARI
ATL at CAR NYG at MIN STL at NO PHI at DAL
  GB at DET OAK at JAC MIA at NYJ BAL at HOU
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