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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 5
2011
*ARI at MIN *NO at CAR *SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC *NYJ at NE *SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU *TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
*UPDATED KC at IND PHI at BUF *TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

Prediction: CHI 13, DET 27

Players to Watch: Titus Young

Ah, here is a good game where normally we would never expect. But the 2-2 Bears hit the road where they have yet to win and face the surprising 4-0 Lions. The Packers are also 4-0 so a loss here for the Bears spells trouble for any hope of a divisional bid or even a playoff run. The Lions are now winning the games they once always lost even if it requires astounding comebacks.

The Bears swept the Lions last year, winning 19-14 in the home opener and later 24-20 in Chicago.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 30-12 10 DET -
2 @NO 13-30 11 SD -
3 GB 17-27 12 @OAK -
4 CAR 34-29 13 KC -
5 @DET - 14 @DEN -
6 MIN - 15 SEA -
7 @TB - 16 @GB -
8 Bye - 17 @MIN -
9 @PHI -      
Bears Report | Statistics | Roster
CHICAGO at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler - - 260,1
RB Matt Forte 50 70 -
WR Roy Williams - 30 -
WR Devin Hester - 30 -
WR Johnny Knox - 60 -
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Bears have opened to a fairly murderous schedule and both wins came at home. Now playing in Detroit doesn't look like the cakewalk that it once was either. The Bears defense has been unusually generous but has played good teams. Even getting the Panthers on their schedule was not an easy win. The schedule does not improve until after week 12 and by then - it probably will not matter.

QUARTERBACK: The Bears elected to go to a run heavy attack last week and beat the Panthers with a whole lot of Matt Forte. But that left normally reliable Jay Cutler with a horrible 102 yard game with no scores. In three previous outings, he always scored at least once and twice topped 300 yards. Is this the start to a trend? Doubtful if only because the Bears won't be able to get away with it in most games.

Cutler passed for 234 yards and one score in Detroit last season.

The Lions secondary had been outstanding against weak passing teams like KC, TB and MIN but the Cowboys tore up the secondary for 331 yards and three scores in Dallas. Back in Detroit, Cutler has not been successful anyway and these Lions are much better this year. The only hope in fantasy terms is that the Lions get a big lead and force the Bears to throw 40+ times.

RUNNING BACKS: Maybe Matt Forte wanted to hurry up the process on getting a new contract. The least paid starting running back ($600k) made a case for a big payday when he turned 25 carries into a career best 205 yards and one score against the Panthers. Forte has been only mediocre in rushing totals prior to last Sunday but always made it up as a receiver with 80+ yards every week catching passes. It was a nice move and it helped win the game but Forte never had more than 16 carries before the Panthers game this season. On the road to Detroit, he'll be back to catching more than running.

Marion Barber finally was on the field for the first time this year and all he did was run five times for 17 yards and steal a touchdown from Forte who did not really need it anyway. However - most weeks it will hurt to see Barber hawking scores.

Forte gained 64 yards on 13 carries and scored once in Detroit last season. Chester Taylor also scored a rushing touchdown as well.

The Lions have only allowed one rushing score and that was to Adrian Peterson. No runner has gained more than 78 yards on them so expect Forte to return to a reception heavy diet. Don't expect the touchdown this season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This remains a mish-mash collection of mediocrity. The only touchdowns scored were by the replacement slot receiver Dane Sanzenbacher but he never had more than 33 yards in a game and comes off a one catch effort against the Panthers. Devin Hester disappears completely in road games so far and is never worth more than around 60 yards anyway. Johnny Knox is still starting for Roy Williams and his never healing groin injury. Knox is the most consistent of the bunch but that only means no fewer than 48 yards and no more than 84. This is the oddest group of receivers ever to play in a Mike Martz offense and that includes when he was in San Francisco. There is no one stepping up.

No wideout had more than 34 yards in Detroit last season other than Bennett who turned in 104 yards on seven catches. Bennett is still out and the Lions secondary is at least average. That means no receiver in this group is worthy of a fantasy start.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value though Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth both have one touchdown on the season. Not bad for only five passes total ever thrown to the position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 9 26 24 11 6
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 11 5 11 21 24 6


Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI -
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR -
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB -
4 @DAL 34-30 13 @NO -
5 CHI - 14 MIN -
6 SF - 15 @OAK -
7 ATL - 16 SD -
8 @DEN - 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 310,3
RB

Jahvid Best

40 50 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 70,1 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 100,2 -
WR Titus Young - 60 -
WR Nate Burleson - 30 -
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Remarkable. The Lions are 4-0 despite falling behind 20 points or more in the last two games. Whether it was the comeback or just standing by while their opponent collapses doesn't matter - a win is a win. And the Lions are tied with the Packers for the lead in the NFC North. Consider too that the Lions are 4-0 after opening with three out of four games on the road. Now it will be three straight in Detroit and then a trip to Denver. It is possible, and I am not drinking on drugs, that the Lions could go on their bye at 8-0.

QUARTERBACK: What a season so far. Matthew Stafford has merely thrown for 11 touchdowns and never less than two per game. He has averaged 304 yards per game and never has more than one interception per game if that. It has been a "good year" so far.

Drew Stanton threw for 178 yards and a score on the visiting Bears last year. He also ran in a touchdown as well.

This year is all different. The Bears defense has allowed three scores to both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. No quarterback has thrown for less than 270 yards on the Bears and their average per game is 315 pass yards allowed. Good week to start Stafford.

RUNNING BACKS: How great is this? The Lions rarely bother with rushing more than 20 times in a game if that. It is all about the pass and Jahvid Best has gained more as a receiver (205) than as a rusher (190). There is no reason to expect that the Lions are going to turn into a run-heavy offense anytime soon and Best has fantasy value only because of his receptions.

Best gained 65 yards on nine carries and added one catch for 32 yards on the Bears last season. The Bears rush defense has been pretty stout in never allowing a rushing touchdown to a running back. The Lions won't much bother with it anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Hard to imagine that Calvin Johnson is a secret weapon. Harder still to fathom that everyone sees him coming and yet no one has stopped him. Johnson has set an NFL record for catching two touchdowns in each of the first four games of a season. His yardage varies but mostly ends up around 90 yards or so. Two scores - a lock so far.

Nate Burleson has taken a step backwards after opening the year with two decent yardage games. Titus Young is getting better though and is now a factor every week for at least 40 or 50 yards. But they all pale compared to Megatron. Young could end up supplanting Burleson at some point if his production remains so low.

Johnson caught three passes for 66 yards and one touchdown on the Bears last year. The Bears secondary just faced Steve Smith and allowed him 181 yards. Consider Johnson a safe start. Extremely safe so far.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Scheffler has been quiet for the last few weeks but Brandon Pettigrew has been second only to Megatron in passes and yardage. He turned in a career best 11 receptions for 112 yards in Minnesota and then 64 yards on six catches in Dallas.

Pettigrew only gained 36 yards on five catches when the Bears visited in 2010. But the 2011 Bears have already allowed four touchdowns to the position and never less than 70 yards to the position every week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 17 3 8 2 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 29 18 14 32 29 22

WEEK 5
2011
ARI at MIN NO at CAR SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC NYJ at NE SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
  KC at IND PHI at BUF TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

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