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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DAL
Monday
MIA
SF
updated*
IND

Prediction: DET 13, GB 31

Late Update: Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson missed all practices this week but are listed as just questionable to play. Both are highly unlikely to play this week and should be considered out.

Early Update: Matt Stafford had limited work on Wednesday but then did not participate on Thursday and remains unlikely to play this week. While official word says nothing more than Calvin Johnson still having a thigh injury, he has not practiced this week and is not expected to play this week.

The Lions were surprisingly game against the Steelers last week even without Matt Stafford or even Calvin Johnson for most of the game but that all smacks of the Steelers finishing off a ho-hum game. The Packers come off their bye week with what should be a gift. The Packers, like everyone else, swept the Lions last season winning 48-25 in Detroit and ending the season with a 31-21 win in Green Bay.

Detroit Lions (1-4)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 24-45 +13.5 49
2 MIN 13-27 +10 47
3 WAS 19-14 +6.5 38
4 @CHI 24-48 +10.5 38.5
5 PIT 20-28 +10.5 44
6 @GB - +14 48
7 BYE - - -
8 STL - - -
9 @SEA - - -
10 @MIN - - -
11 CLE - - -
12 GB - - -
13 @CIN - - -
14 @BAL - - -
15 ARI - - -
16 @SF - - -
17 CHI - - -
DET at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper     230,1
RB Kevin Smith 40 30  
TE Brandon Pettigrew   30  
WR Derrick Williams   40  
WR Bryant Johnson   40,1  
WR Dennis Northcutt   60  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Lions did seem more competitive than expected last week but at home in a game that the Steelers would have won regardless it only made for more apparent drama. The challenge this week is not to win the game, but to be on the road and not lose by 21 or more points. There is no early word yet on the status of Matt Stafford or really Calvin Johnson and HC Jim Schwartz is in ho hurry to clear up the questions.

Quarterback: While there is a chance that Matt Stafford's knee will allow him to play this week I am going to assume he sits out and takes the bye next week to help get him healthy. Schwartz was adamant though that he would do whatever would help him win the game the most so Stafford will play if possible. We'll see how he practices this week.

Daunte Culpepper had a surprising 282 yards and one score last week but Culpepper had only passes for 97 yards and no score by halftime. He'll take the start this week if Stafford cannot play.

The Lions passed for 225 yards and two scores in Green Bay last year. They had 276 yards and two touchdowns in the home game as well.

The Packers secondary has been weaker this year and the last three games allowed a total of eight passing scores between Carson Palmer (185, 3 TD), Kyle Boller (164, 2 TD) and Brett Favre (271, 3 TD). Culpepper is not in that company of quarterbacks but should manage at least one passing score. Much depends on the health of Calvin Johnson.

Running Backs: This week may prove a trend wrong or right. Though counterintuitive, Kevin Smith has three touchdowns this year and they were split between the two road games. He had minimal yardage in both and yet scored unlike at home where he has been around 100 total yards each week and yet has never scored. A nice sign last week was Culpepper using Smith for three receptions and 42 yards.

Smith rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries against the visiting Packers last year.

The Packers rushing defense has been generally good this year and only one runner has scored against them - Adrian Peterson. But they have allowed two 100+ rushing games including one in Green Bay to Cedric Benson. It's a stretch to expect a big game from Smith but if Culpepper will continue to use him as a passing outlet he may produce some mediocre numbers this week.

Wide Receivers: The big question this week is how Calvin Johnson's knee is doing. He left the game in the first quarter last week and never returned. He was limping after the game but now HC Schwartz suggests that it is not a big deal and that Johnson may play this week. He's not likely to give a straight answer so expect practice reports to be the best indicator.

With Johnson out in week five, the other wideouts did not really step up other than Dennis Northcutt who scored once and had 70 yards on five receptions. Derrick Williams (2-37) and Bryant Johnson (3-27) were mostly nonfactors. I will assume that Johnson is going to miss this week until he practices and we have a better idea what to expect.

The Packers secondary has allowed six passing scores to wideouts though none over 91 yards so far. Short of Johnson playing, expect nothing more than average numbers from these wide receivers and one score that could go anywhere.

Johnson had nine catches for 102 yards and two scores versus the visiting Packers last year. He had 129 yards and two scores in Green Bay as well.

Tight Ends: Brandon Pettigrew chugs along with three or so catches per week and usually 30 to 40 yards though his best game was on the road to Chicago (4-64). He's a marginal player if you are looking for a replacement tight end this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 19 16 23 20 9 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    GB 26 6 26 23 8 22


Green Bay Packers (2-2)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 21-15 -4 46
2 CIN 24-31 -9 42
3 @STL 36-17 -6.5 41
4 @MIN 20-30 +3.5 46
5 BYE - - -
6 DET - -14 48
7 @CLE - - -
8 MIN - - -
9 @TB - - -
10 DAL - - -
11 SF - - -
12 @DET - - -
13 BAL - - -
14 @CHI - - -
15 @PIT - - -
16 SEA - - -
17 @ARI - - -
GB vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers     290,3
RB Ryan Grant 90,1 10  
TE Jermichael Finley   50,1  
WR Greg Jennings   100,1  
WR Donald Driver   100,1  
WR James Jones   20  
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The hope for a better season is teetering again in Green Bay where a win over the Bears was followed by a loss to the Bengals. Losing in Minnesota was not unexpected but already puts the Packers at a disadvantage in the division. The schedule is kinder this year though and while the Packers will have a huge challenge getting the division crown, the next few weeks should be wins and will help place the Packers in a better situation down the stretch.

Quarterback: While Aaron Rodgers started the season slowly he has been more productive each week and had 384 yards and two scores in Minnesota in week four. What is not helping is an offensive line that has already allowed 20 sacks. That sort of pace won't keep Rodgers healthy for the entire season. He has only thrown one interception this year and has finally been as productive lately as expected, but he needs more help from his blockers. The return of RT Mark Tauscher this week should help.

Rodgers passed for over 300 yards and three scores in both meetings with the Lions last year.

The Lions have never allowed less than two passing scores so look for a big effort here from Rodgers against a secondary that has allowed more than 275 yards in most of their matchups. Rogers is getting more productive each week and this game merely continues the trend.

Running Backs: Ryan Grant has been relatively solid as a fantasy back this year and has produced over 100 total yards or had a touchdown in every game but he has never had anything close to a "big" game yet. He is one of the few backs in the league who almost never shares carries but the Packers are not giving him more than around 15 runs in most games and Grant is rarely used as a receiver.

Brandon Jackson may see some playing time since his high ankle sprain is finally healed.

The Packers rushed for 212 yards and one score when the Lions visited last year.

The Lions have allowed six runners to score this year and two topped 100 rushing yards but that is a bit high for Grant who should score and have at least decent to good yardage. This is probably as good as it gets with Ryan Grant this year.

Wide Receivers: Greg Jennings has been a disappointment this year though he has had two decent games with over 100 yards so far. But he also has two games with either 31 yards or no catches at all. Rather feast or famine and even the good games have only produced one touchdown on the season. Donald Driver has fared slightly better with a score and 90+ yards in two games and 40 or 50 yards in the other two. Where some of the production of last season has gone has been over to the tight ends and the Packers had a slower start to the year as well.

Safe bet that Driver gets a catch this week. His next will make him the all-time leader in receptions for the Packers, besting Sterling Sharpe's 595 career catches.

Both Driver (6-111, 1 TD) and Jennings (5-101) enjoyed big games when the Lions visited last season.

The Lions secondary is there to make wide receivers look better. Do not hesitate to start Driver and Jennings this week. This too is as good as it will get.

Tight Ends: Jermichael Finley no doubt left all the waiver wires after week four when he had six catches for 128 yards and one touchdown but he was a preseason darling and likely the most common tight end sleeper this summer. He had a fine effort against the Vikings in Minnesota but for now that's just one game. Finley was having a very quiet season until week four. Donald Lee remains the primary blocking tight end who generally has 25 yards and never scores each week.

The Lions have given up six touchdowns to tight ends already. Consider Finley a safe play this week who should turn in a score and decent yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 3 21 9 12 8 6
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 31 26 27 30 23 26

The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DAL
Monday
MIA
SF
IND
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
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