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

Prediction: TEN 16, SD 24 (Line: SD by 4.5)

Players to watch: Chris Johnson, Ryan Mathews

Players Updated: Nate Washington, Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates, Kenny Britt, Jake Locker

The Titans come off a disappointing home loss to the Patriots which saw Chris Johnson flop worse than he had last season. The Chargers are on a short week after their Monday night win and may be getting their starting running back into the lineup this week. The Chargers are not that great this year, but they should be plenty good at home against a team with a struggling offense.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD ----- 11 BYE -----
3 DET ----- 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU ----- 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN ----- 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel 200,1
RB DeMarco Murray 60,1 3-20
WR Harry Douglas 2-30
WR Andre Johnson 5-60,1
WR Kendall Wright 5-70
TE Anthony Fasano 3-30
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Titans had a terrible start to their year - new starter Jake Locker was knocked from the game while trying to make a tackle on his interception. The rushing effort netted nine yards on 14 carries and the Titans could only manage one touchdown at home in a game where they trailed the entire time and had plenty of trash time to roll up at least more yardage if not points.

Locker passed for 229 yards and one score while losing a fumble and throwing an interception. He separated his non-throwing shoulder on the play but is expected to wear a brace and play in this game. He has no structural damage so he'll have to play with a sore shoulder. That means Matt Hasselbeck will be standing up on the sideline with his helmet always nearby.

Chris Johnson was reported by the coaches as showing a new commitment to playing and that he was going to make amends for a 2011 season that netted him $55 million and the hatred of every fantasy owner. Rushing for only four yards on 11 carries is hardly a good start though he added 47 yards on six catches to salvage some fantasy value. Johnson was bottled up on most runs and rarely reached the line of scrimmage untouched but he was never able to break any run. That's a scary reminder of last year for everyone who spent a first or second round pick on him. Still plenty of football to play but definitely got off on the wrong foot. Javon Ringer missed the game with an elbow infection that had him hospitalized.

Nate Washington scored last week though he had just two catches for 53 yards and suffered a bruised leg. He is expected back this week with no limitations. The rookie Kendall Wright only produced 37 yards on five catches against what was the worst secondary from last season. That too was a disappointment and little better than Damian Williams (5-33). Kenny Britt is slated to start practicing this week and then play at least a limited role on Sunday.

Bringing this show on the road may not improve much. The Chargers held Darren McFadden to just 32 yards on 15 carries and is now back at home where they play even better. McFadden turned in 13 catches for 86 yards which is where Johnson is more likely to rack up yardage. Locker will likely play and he may have Britt on some plays which will help. But relying on this stumbling offense for more than a score and moderate yardage is hard to justify. Last week should have been the softest defense in the first seven weeks and it was just a flop. Right now - there are no clearly good fantasy plays on this team.

Quentin Jammer has a broken hand and may not play this week - that would be good for Locker and the receivers.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 19 21 20 19 20 29
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 16 28 9 18 11 1

QB Marcus Mariota, TEN JAC 30000023020 ***
Mariota has topped 20 points in all but two games this year, and he is on a solid three-game run. Jacksonville has yielded just one 20-plus-point quarterback over the last four weeks, which was Andrew Luck. Both Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers accomplished such in the first two weeks of 2016. Mariota is a respectable play given the number of bye teams.
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN JAC 10012200000 ***
Murray draws what is actually a negative matchup on the ground with the Jags, but he is a dual threat, so the points should come through the air with ease. When facing Jacksonville, RBs have averaged only 76.3 rushing yards but seven receptions per contest over the past five weeks. Only two teams have allowed more catches, and one of every 29 touches has found paydirt.
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN JAC 004601000 **
Just three of the last 64 receptions (one every 21.3) has scored against Jacksonville by a wideout. Overall, this is a midrange matchup. Matthews has mild appeal given the increased number of bye teams.
WR Kendall Wright, TEN JAC 002301000 **
Wright is a gamble even with an easy matchup. Jacksonville has given up only three touchdowns to wideouts in its four games since Week 2.
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN JAC 003400000 ***
Sharpe has no fantasy luster at this point in time.
TE Delanie Walker, TEN JAC 005600000 ***
Walker is pretty well a must play each week but has a harsh matchup. The Jags have given up no scores on 17 catches in their last four games (third worst rating). He crushed it in two games, catching 16 balls and a score, versus Jacksonville in 2015.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN JAC 2233 ***
Jacksonville has been the most exploited matchup for kickers in its past four games, giving up 11.8 per in non-distance formats. Kickers have made every kick (13 FG, 8 XP). Succop is a fringe play.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @OAK 22-14 10 @TB -----
2 TEN ----- 11 @DEN -----
3 ATL ----- 12 BAL -----
4 @KC ----- 13 CIN -----
5 @NO ----- 14 @PIT -----
6 DEN ----- 15 CAR -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE ----- 17 OAK -----
9 KC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 260,2
RB Dexter McCluster 7-70
WR Stevie Johnson 6-80,1
TE Antonio Gates 6-70,1

Pregame Notes: The Chargers scratched out a win in Oakland thanks in part to the Raiders losing their long snapper. Now with two home games to play this week may be as easy as it will get all year. Philip RIvers only managed to pass for 231 yards and one score though he had several very short fields to work with in the second half. Needing five field goals from Nate Kaeding is a sign that all is not right.

One huge gain this week should be the return of Ryan Matthews who was inactive in Oakland but expected to return from his broken clavicle this week and start. Even if he only plays a limited role it will help since Ronnie Brown (5-5) and Curtis Brinkley (10-12) almost never passed the line of scrimmage. Matthews is going to need to stay healthy this year because so far behind him there is almost no help at all. We'll assume Matthews has no setbacks and will start but may be limited. He'll be one to follow through practices this week.

The passing attack was pretty pedestrian against the Raiders with Antonio Gates turning his team high eight targets into just four catches for 43 yards. He left with a rib contusion but later returned and had a catch. Robert Meachem managed to get deep once but never scored and ended with just two receptions for 49 yards. His lack of chemistry with Rivers still exists though the one long catch was nice. Malcom Floyd scored the one touchdown and ended with a team best 66 yards on four catches. Overall - not a stellar night and it did not spawn much optimism for the future. Gates remains the lone true weapon and he was injured in his first game.

Mathews will be the key here against a Titans team that made Stevan Ridley look like a stud with his 125 yards and one score on just 21 carries. While they held Tom Brady to only 236 yards and two scores, that was all he needed to do for an easy win and he completed 23 of 31 passes with no turnovers. For projections, we'll only consider Matthews because Brinkley and Brown are just not relevant yet and may never be.

Bottom line here - this may be as good as it gets this year. Home game against a struggling offense.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 23 15 27 23 1 17
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 19 23 4 32 22 26

QB Philip Rivers, SD @DEN 0000021011 ***
The toughest matchup in fantasy awaits Rivers, who was unplayable just two weeks ago versus the Broncos. Expect much of the same this time around.
RB Melvin Gordon, SD @DEN 7014400000 ***
Gordan ran for 94 yards in Week 6 but did not score -- crazy, huh? -- in a home-field win against Denver. The Broncos have given up 24.7 PPR points per game to RBs since Week 2, which is a low-end plus matchup.
WR Tyrell Williams, SD @DEN 003400000 ***
Williams should be held in check facing Denver's staunch defense of wideouts. In its last five games, Denver has prevented receivers from scoring on 46 receptions. No team is even close to being as strong statistically in this time.
WR Travis Benjamin, SD @DEN 003200000 ***
No receiver has scored against Denver in the last five weeks. The Chargers may not top 200 yards passing again. Avoid Benjamin.
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @DEN 002200000 ***
Inman isn't involved consistently enough to deserve a lineup spot with a tough matchup like this one -- the worst in fantasy.
TE Antonio Gates, SD @DEN 003301000 ***
Hunter Henry is banged up, so this may be the Gates show. The Broncos have allowed 11.2 PPR points per game, which is an even rating. Gates' red zone skills make him a fringe play.
TE Hunter Henry, SD @DEN 00000000 *
A concussion has Hunter in the protocol and uncertain for Week 8.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD @DEN 2222 ***
Lambo is tied for the most fantasy points per game over the past five weeks, with 11.0. The Broncos represent the low end of plus matchups, and Lambo enjoyed a season-high 13.0 fantasy points when these teams met in Week 6.

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

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