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 Matt Cassel 200,1
RB DeMarco Murray 60,1 3-20
WR Harry Douglas 2-30
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.

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
QB Matt Cassel, TEN HOU 0000020001 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeMarco Murray, TEN HOU 10013200000 ***
Murray will try to cap off a brilliant season with a bang against a Houston defense that is the statistically toughest in the last five weeks. The veteran back scored twice in the first matchup, and he's a sound play once again.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Derrick Henry, TEN HOU 301000000 ***
Houston has nothing on the line in this one, so Henry is a sensible place to look for flier points. There is risk involved, but it's Week 17 and time to chance it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Rishard Matthews, TEN HOU 005600000 *
Matthews was dynamite with Marcus Mariota, but now we have to take a leap of faith that he can get the job done with Matt Cassel for 60 minutes. The Texans provide the 12th best matchup of the week, and Matthews racked up 82 yards on only two catches in Week 4.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Sharpe doesn't contribute enough consistently to consider him as anything more that a wild gamble. Houston at least offers a borderline good matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN HOU 004400000 *
Houston is a strong defense of the position, and Walker will be catching balls from Matt Cassel. Walker caught only two of eight targets for 34 yards in the last meeting with Houston.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN HOU 2222 ***
Houston is a bottom-three matchup for the week, and Tennessee's offense really could struggle without Marcus Mariota. This one could go either way since Matt Cassel is usually at least decent.

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 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.

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 0000027021 ***
The Chiefs went through a stretch of being awful versus quarterbacks, but the ship as righted, and KC is a bottom-five opponent over the last five games. The Week 1 meeting saw Rivers go for 243-1-0 for 17.1 fantasy points at Arrowhead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Melvin Gordon, SD KC 500000000 *
Gordon is a likely game-time decision but sits only three yards away from 1,000 on the year. San Diego may want to give him a few carries to get there. The Chiefs are a top-12 fantasy matchup in PPR and have allowed 109 rushing yards a contest to the position in the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyrell Williams, SD KC 004701000 ***
Williams caught two for 71 in the first meeting, and he has a much more reliable role this time around. The promising young wideout is a WR2 as the Chargers host the midrange KC defense of his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD KC 005600000 ***
Inman was a non-factor in the Week 1 meeting, but he has a larger role these days. Consider him as WR3 or flex in PPR, but not without some risk involved. KC is a negative-leaning matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, SD KC 003400000 ***
KC has given up only four WR touchdowns in the last five games, and they held Benjamin to 32 yards on seven grabs in their earlier meeting. He's a flier, at best, in deep setups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 006501000 ***
KC has blanked TEs on the last 20 catches from finding the end zone. Gates authored a 3-20-0 line in the last meeting with the Chiefs. Kansas City has suffered several linebacker injuries and are not at full strength.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Hunter Henry, SD KC 001200000 ***
Henry catches TD passes and does almost nothing else at this stage of his young career. KC doesn't allow TD passes (only two all season to TEs). Look elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD KC 1122 ***
This is a neutral matchup, but far more field goals come against this defense than touchdown-toppers. Lambo has modest upside in this one.

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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