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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 13
2011
PHI at SEA (thu) CIN at PIT * GB at NYG * OAK at MIA
* ATL at HOU DAL at ARI * IND at NE * STL at SF
BAL at CLE * DEN at MIN KC at CHI TEN at BUF
* Updated * CAR at TB * DET at NO NYJ at WAS SD at JAC (mon)

Prediction: DET 24, NO 34

Update: Kevin Smith is listed as questionable but is expected to play barring a setback to his ankle. He had limited practice on Thursday and Friday and should have a fairly good role in this game as a runner and a receiver.

The Saints remain at home after dismantling the Giants on Monday night and at 8-3 they remain one game up on the Falcons and have a perfect 5-0 home mark. The Lions dropped to 7-4 with their loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving but are 4-1 in road games. The Lions are too good for the Saints to overlook them and the Saints at home have yet to win by fewer than 11 points.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI 13-37
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR 49-35
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB 15-27
4 @DAL 34-30 13 @NO -
5 CHI 24-13 14 MIN -
6 SF 19-25 15 @OAK -
7 ATL 16-23 16 SD -
8 @DEN 45-10 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 310,3
RB Maurice Morris 20 10 -
RB Kevin Smith 50 30,1 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 30 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 90,1 -
WR Titus Young - 70,1 -
WR Nate Burleson - 50 -
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The league came down on Ndamukong Suh with a two game suspension for stomping on a Packer (literally) and while he will appealed the ruling, he is going to sit out this week and hope missing half of the Turkey Day game will count as the other. The Brees household held a small party in honor of the suspension. The Lions have a tough game here but could win out particularly if the Packers mail in week 17 as a meaningless game. 10-6 is almost certainly wildcard good this year.

QUARTERBACK: Matthew Stafford played with his bad finger against the Packers and while he completed 32 of 45, he threw three interceptions and only one touchdown along with his 276 yards. It was his worst fantasy game of the year but a very big divisional game that the Packers wanted to win. Stafford has scored in every game this year and had multiple scores in all but three games. Stafford tends to throw for more yards and scores on the road because shootouts often happen. Stafford will be without his glove this week as a sign his finger is better.

The Saints have allowed four 300+ yard passing efforts against them and over half of their opponents pass for two or three touchdowns. With Kevin Smith likely out this week, the Lions have to throw a lot and Stafford should end up with a healthy showing this week.

RUNNING BACKS: The Lions finally placed Jahvid Best on injured reserve and while Kevin Smith followed up his breakout debut by getting injured, all may not be lost. Smith was initially reported to have a high ankle sprain but more recent reports indicate the sprain may not be that bad and that he may return as early as this week. Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams offer no advantages so the status of Smith will be important. I will assume that he can play with only minor limitations and update later in the week as his status becomes clearer. Smith was held out of practices on Tuesday.

The Saints are not that great at stopping the run, it is just that no one has the luxury of just running since the game score usually gets out of hand in New Orleans. No reason to expect more than the marginal fare that Morris hands in every week. Morris had an uncharacteristic nine catches for 81 yards on the Packers but has been chugging along at one catch in all other games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: It was one of his worst games of the year when Calvin Johnson only caught four passes for 49 yards but he scored once on the Packers with 11 seconds left to play to salvage the day. Johnson is on a three game streak with fewer than 90 yards but has faced good defenses until the Packers matchup. Hopefully the lower game is not a product of Stafford playing with a bad finger or the lower stats may only be beginning. Nate Burleson has been better in recent games but still only had 39 yards against the Packers. Titus Young has been a marginal play at best though the last two road trips were also his best two games of year.

The Saints have met few truly good passers and when they did, the wideouts had success. For the Lions that means Calvin Johnson should have a score this week and solid to good yardage. Burleson shows up more at home and Young is better on the road so I'll place mark a score with the rookie.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew has really fallen off his early season pace. For the last five weeks he has never gained more than 38 yards in a game and scored just once. Tony Scheffler has even less yardage but scored for three weeks in a row prior to the Packers game. The third score could end up with Scheffler but he never has yardage and is not worthy projecting.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 9 4 5 9 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 21 25 19 12 22 9


New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL 26-23
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG 49-24
4 @JAC 23-10 13 DET -
5 @CAR 30-27 14 @TEN -
6 @TB 20-26 15 @MIN -
7 IND 62-7 16 ATL -
8 @STL 21-31 17 CAR -
9 TB 27-16 - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 300,3
RB Mark Ingram 40,1 - -
RB Pierre Thomas 50 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 40 40,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 80,1 -
WR Marques Colston - 60,1 -
WR Lance Moore - 40 -
WR Devery Henderson - 30 -
WR Robert Meachem - 30 -
PK John Kasay 2 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints looked like Championship contenders last week when they easily dispatched the Giants and there is no doubt that they will be favored in all games left on the schedule. At this point all the Saints can do is win out and hope the 49ers stumble so the #2 seed ends up in New Orleans. Plenty of football left to play but the Packers versus the Saints has to be a heavy favorite for the NFC Championship game.

QUARTERBACK: No need to over think here. Drew Brees comes off a monster drubbing of the Giants where he passed for 363 yards, threw four touchdowns and ran one in just because. Just assume Brees gets 300 yards and three scores every week because he pretty much does.

RUNNING BACKS: This is a true three-headed backfield which would be a hands-off nightmare were it not for each player delivering at least some if not a lot of fantasy value. Darren Sproles is always a better back at home but Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram share their workload with both usually turning in decent yards if not a score. Monday was the first home game where Sproles did not score though both Ingram and Thomas did.

The problem this week is that the Lions are better against the run and allowed only four rushing scores all year. Safe to expect one rushing touchdown but it is a coin flip which back is in there when it happens.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The four wide receivers here all have a role in the offense and alternate being the "front guy" for the week. Lance Moore went off with 54 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants win but he has only scored five times this year and all but two games had fewer than 60 yards. Devery Henderson just had 67 yards and that was more than his previous seven games combined. Robert Meachem scored in Atlanta with 69 yards but had no catches in the games before and after that. Marques Colston is the only wideout approaching any semblance of consistency but he has not scored since week seven.

There will be catches here but who and how many? It just varies wildly. I'll credit Colston because he is the only wideout you should be starting.

TIGHT ENDS: Jimmy Graham was crushed, folded and spindled by the Giants and yet still got up apparently no worse for the experience while I was throwing up in a waste can thinking that I just saw his career ended with two blown knees. No matter. Graham is a major component of the offense and the most consistent and productive receiver. He is always a must start. And apparently indestructible.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 4 2 9 2 1 23
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 8 8 10 7 31 25

WEEK 13
2011
PHI at SEA (thu) CIN at PIT GB at NYG OAK at MIA
ATL at HOU DAL at ARI IND at NE STL at SF
BAL at CLE DEN at MIN KC at CHI TEN at BUF
  CAR at TB DET at NO NYJ at WAS SD at JAC (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t