FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2012
* 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
Grass
  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 Jake Locker 10 240,1
RB Shonn Greene 60
RB Dexter McCluster 7-70
WR Nate Washington 3-40
WR Kendall Wright 5-70

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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 19 21 20 19 20 29
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 16 28 9 18 11 1

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN HOU 301000000 ***
It only took four months for Green to live up to the job share we were anticipating back in August. Greene saw almost as many carries as Chris Johnson and swiped his touchdown; he now owns three of Tennessee's last four RB rushing scores. Both teams are playing out the string, and if Greene is going to get a similar workload it's tough to bet against him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN HOU 0061001000 ****
Wright owns four of the last five double-digit target outings by Titans receivers, including 20 two weeks ago. He also turned 11 targets into 54 yards and a score when the Titans faced Houston in Week 2 and is without question Tennessee's top downfield target.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN HOU 003400000 ***
Washington is an occasional contributor as the Titans' secondary receiver, battling Justin Hunter for looks. Ultimately, it's not a gig that offers a ton of fantasy upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN HOU 002400000 ***
Assuming Hunter doesn't run afoul of team rules again, he'll get a chance to show his stuff as the deep threat/big play complement to Kendall Wright's steady possession receiver.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 003301000 ***
Walker scored in the earlier meeting with Houston back in Week 2. More recently he has 18 targets, 88 yards and a touchdown in the past two games. And with the Texans having given up three tight end touchdowns in the past four games, Walker makes a very good fantasy play this week.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  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 Donald Brown 60
RB Ryan Mathews 40 1-10
WR Malcom Floyd 5-70,1
WR Eddie Royal 2-20
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 23 15 27 23 1 17
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 19 23 4 32 22 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD KC 0000030020 *****
Rivers ripped KC for 392 & 3 in the earlier meeting. The Chiefs may be resting regulars, and by the time this one kicks off the Chargers may be out of the playoff mix as well. But as it stands now the Bolts still have a chip and a chair, which means Rivers will take his shots--and that's a good thing, fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kellen Clemens, SD KC 0000017002 ***
Clemens has just one game with multiple passing scores in his last five, and he hasn't topped 250 yards all season. Oh, and he's facing a Seattle defense that's allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other. This isn't going to end well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, SD KC 8013200000 ****
Mathews fell three feet shy of a third straight game with 100 yards and a touchdown, but clearly he's been hot of late. He scored in the earlier meeting with KC and should see ample opportunity to do so here as well--maybe even against backup defenders.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD KC 7012200000 ***
Trent Richardson saw more touches but Brown was more effective last week; same thing happened when the Jags and Colts met back in Week 4, and in all likelihood that's what's on tap this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD KC 2003400000 ***
Woodhead scored twice in the earlier meeting with KC, and while he isn't taking a bite out of Ryan Mathews' work in the ground game he's contributing plenty as a pass-catcher. He's a must-start in PPR formats and a solid play in just about every other format, especially if the Chiefs turn to backups early on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD KC 0061001000 ***
Allen has five touchdowns in his last three games and posted back-to-back 100-yard efforts prior to that--one of them in Kansas City. He'll be Philip Rivers' go-to guy once again, with the Chargers playing for something and the Chiefs quite possibly mailing it in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD KC 003300000 ***
Royal's 56 yard outing with a touchdown in Week 9 is the closest thing a San Diego secondary receiver has had to a fantasy helper since the team's Week 8 bye. You don't want to dig too deep into this matchup for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Brown, SD KC 002300000 ***
Brown has done almost nothing since a big 117 yard effort in Week 5. He's still full of potential... and potential still means "hasn't really done anything yet."
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, SD KC 002301000 ***
Green may have the Bolts' last two TE TDs, including one against the Chiefs earlier this year, but he's barely taking a bite out of Antonio Gates' targets and can't be banked on for fantasy productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 005400000 ***
Ladarius Green has the Chargers' last two TE TDs, including one against the Chiefs in the earlier meeting, but it's been Gates getting the targets of late. The Chiefs have given up a couple TE TDs over the past month, and if they're going to be mailing it in that bodes well for Gates.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD KC 2244 ***
The Chiefs weren't mailing it in back in Week 12 when Novak put up 11 points on them. He's reached double digits in four of six overall as well as four of six at home, and with the Chargers clinging to playoff hopes he'll get a chance to put up big numbers again.

WEEK 2
2012
* 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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