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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CAR
Monday
NO
SD
*updated
SF

Prediction: DET 10, CHI 31

Update: Brandon Lloyd is close to returning and had limited practice all this week but will be a gametime decision and wouldn't likely have much playing time even if he can go. It is worth noting if he can get on the field since he had nice chemistry to Orton before he injured his knee and could step up in the second half of the season but I am not including him in the projections. Interesting free agent grab though. Marty Booker was also limited on Monday but had full practices the rest of the week and should play without any problems.

The Bears already beat the Lions 34-7 in Detroit this season and are not likely to take them too lightly. The Lions have a very realistic shot at the fabled 0-16 season and while eventually some team cannot mail it in and loses, it won't be the Bears in Chicago.

Detroit Lions (0-7)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 21-34 -3 41
2 GB 25-48 +3 45
3 @SF 13-31 +4 46
4 BYE - - -
5 CHI 7-34 +3.5 44.5
6 @MIN 10-12 +13.5 47
7 @HOU 21-28 +9 48
8 WAS 17-25 +8 43.5
9 @CHI - +13 43
10 JAX - - -
11 @CAR - - -
12 TB - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 MIN - - -
15 @IND - - -
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Dan Orlovsky     220,1
RB Kevin Smith 30 30  
RB Rudi Johnson 20 10  
TE Michael Gaines   30  
WR Mike Furrey   50  
WR Calvin Johnson   70,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   20  
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: On the plus side, the Lions have been big underdogs in their last three games and yet lost all of them only by a touchdown or so. That is something in a season devoid of any other positives. So far the Lions have lost their quarterback, cannot decide on which running back to use and traded away one of only two decent receivers that they had. And to think most teams wait for the following year to start a rebuilding project.

Quarterback: Dan Orlovsky may not be the complete disaster some envisioned since he has thrown for over 200 yards in the last two games and had a touchdown in each of his three starts. He has not lost a fumble or tossed an interception in those games and he has only been sacked nine times which, for a Detroit quarterback, is actually pretty good. Jon Kitna hit the ground 15 times in his four games. While some want to see Drew Stanton, HC Rod Marinelli has already said that Orlovsky is the guy barring an injury this year. So yeah, you still could see Stanton eventually.

Orlovsky only managed to throw for 97 yards and Kitna had 74 yards in the previous meeting with the Bears.

Running Backs: There is no rhyme of reason as to the workload of Kevin Smith and Rudi Johnson other than every week the primary runner seems to change. It has gone on for five weeks now - the most carries always goes to the other guy. The only remotely predictable aspect is that in tougher games - such as this week - Smith is more likely to get passes than Johnson is. Smith is also slightly more likely to score a rushing touchdown but with only four on the year that doesn't really add up to any guarantee.

Smith and Johnson combined for only 54 rushing yards back in week five against the visiting Bears.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson has now scored in each of his last three games entirely thanks to trash time scores and he has surprisingly maintained his fantasy value even without Roy Williams there to draw attention. In true Lions fashion, they cannot decide who the #2 receiver is here since the first week had Mike Furrey with six catches for 89 yards and Shaun McDonald had none. So naturally the next week McDonald gets five catches for 68 yards and Furrey has no receptions on his five passes.

It is just a sign that you need to stay away from all but Calvin Johnson who apparently is the weekly recipient of the opponents "pity touchdown". Johnson only managed two catches for 16 yards against the Bears this year. Roy Williams led the team with seven receptions for 96 yards before being traded.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears only allowed 54 rushing yards in Detroit so expecting anything more in Chicago is wildly optimistic. Look for Smith to have marginal fantasy value only because of his role as a receiver.

Orlovsky goes against a secondary that has been only average but the Lions can only dream of being an average offense. CB Nate Vasher is expected to return this week and that would mean that McDonald would have a bad game and that Furrey could flip flop back to having minor fantasy value. You have to play Johnson regardless of the matchup because the Lions will spend all day throwing to him and at some point the defense will slip up or just not care.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 18 29 16 27 30 31
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 16 14 28 13 24 15


Chicago Bears (4-3)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR 17-20 +3 37
3 TB 24-27 -3 35.5
4 PHI 24-20 +3 45
5 @DET 34-7 -3.5 44.5
6 @ATL 20-22 -2.5 43.5
7 MIN 48-41 -3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 DET - -13 43
10 TEN - - -
11 @GB - - -
12 @STL - - -
13 @MIN - - -
14 JAX - - -
15 NO - - -
16 GB - - -
17 @HOU - - -
CHI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     230,2
RB Matt Forte 80,2 20  
TE Greg Olsen   40,1  
WR Marty Booker   50  
WR Rashied Davis   60,1  
WR Devin Hester   30  
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bears have an excellent chance of a win this week and will need it since the second half of the season is much tougher. The Bears passing defense has been worse this year thanks to key injuries that the bye week should have helped to heal but regardless the passing game with Orton has taken a very nice direction and made everyone forget about Rex Grossman. Orton has taken every snap this year and is doing more and more with them as the season progresses.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton comes off his bye week ready to resume his career season. He started out with around 150 yards and no scores in the first two games but since then has been very effective and productive. He only has one game in the previous five weeks that failed to score at least two touchdowns. He has passed for over 280 yards in each of the last three games. Orton hasn't made a star of any single receiver but has managed to get the job done using all possible receivers.

Orton passed for 334 yards and two scores in Detroit this year.

Running Backs: Matt Forte remains the clear primary back in this offense even though he has hardly been effective. Over the last four weeks, he has never had more than 76 rushing yards in any game. In that time, he has run 74 times and only gained 211 yards - a YPC of just 2.9. That's worse than what Cedric Benson was doing. His saving grace is that he has scored in each of the last three games and had a role as a receiver that has averaged around four catches for 30 yards per game. His fantasy value remains solid thanks to touchdowns and receptions but Orton's passing numbers reflect that Forte has not been much of a weapon rushing the ball.

Forte only gained 36 yards on 15 carries in Detroit but had one rushing score and 25 yards on four receptions for a second touchdown.

Wide Receivers:Brandon Lloyd remains out with an undetermined return from his knee injury but this unit has played better than they have in many years. Devin Hester left the previous game with a quad injury but I will assume can play this week until he is ruled out. Hester already has two scores on the year and as many as six catches in a game. Marty Booker also has two touchdowns and has been as good as 79 yards in a week. Rashied Davis has been an occasional contributor and that exemplifies the problem with this group.

Each player has managed to have at least one or two decent games and a few scores but there is no consistency from week to week as to which one will be the best fantasy option. The running backs and tight ends figure into the pass equation as well so there is no reliable fantasy player here despite the nearly 300 passing yards per week lately.

Rashied Davis gained a team high 97 yards on six catches in Detroit this season while Hester had 66 yards and one score on five receptions.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark has not disappeared but is less a fantasy option with never a score in any game and rarely more than two catches per week. Greg Olsen has caught a couple of touchdowns so far and usually has around 40 yards in most games. He's been a great bye week filler but not quite good enough to be a starter in most leagues.

Olsen turned in 87 yards on three catches in Detroit this year.

Match Against the Defense: You have to wonder when the Lions come to town if offensive huddles have players doing rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to score next. The Bears can win this game either way but the run with Forte should be a given and make up for a bad showing back in Detroit.. Forte is not going to have a monster yardage game anywhere but he should end up with at least one score here and very possibly two. He scored twice in Detroit already.

Orton had his best game of the year in Detroit three weeks ago and while he should be solid and a great start, he won't need to throw for another 330 yards to win this game. Then again, he may want to anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 11 15 20 6 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 32 26 32 29 25 30

The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CAR
Monday
NO
SD
SF
Other Features
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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