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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Dexter McCluster 7-70
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.

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

QB Marcus Mariota, TEN OAK 30000027021 ***
Oakland has held the last two quarterbacks they've faced to single touchdowns, while Mariota hasn't thrown a TD since Week 9 in New Orleans. However, he's running with more regularity and scored his first rushing TD as a pro last week, while Oakland let Matthew Stafford take a QB draw to the house. The upside of Mariota's rushing stats alone bump him up the fantasy charts.
RB Antonio Andrews, TEN OAK 800000000 ***
With David Cobb still in negative yardage as a pro this remains Andrews' gig. You would presume that means 15-plus carries, which he's consistently turned into positive yardage--230 at 4.6 yards per carry over the last three games in which he's seen that workload. Backs with more than 15 carries against Oakland have produce 63 & 2, 91, 170 & 2, and 203 & 1, so... volume, volume, volume.
WR Kendall Wright, TEN OAK 005601000 **
Wright is expected to return this week, and he'll likely slide right back into his gig as Marcus Mariota's favorite target. Against an Oakland defense that's allowed multiple receivers to score and/or top 50 yards in all five road games he doesn't even need to be the go-to guy; wingman duties will do just fine.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN OAK 003500000 ***
DGB has seen an uptick in targets but hasn't done much with them, and with Kendall Wright back in the mix Green-Beckham moves to the back burner--at which point his fantasy value hinges on his red zone work, and an Oakland D that's allowed only four WR TDs all year doesn't present a favorable matchup.
WR Harry Douglas, TEN OAK 002400000 ***
Douglas has done a serviceable Kendall Wright impersonation while Tennessee's WR1 has been sidelined with a knee injury. With Wright back at practice this week, Douglas returns to his usual role in the Titans' receiver rotation.
TE Delanie Walker, TEN OAK 007901000 ***
Last week was only the third in which a tight end didn't score against Oakland--and one of those was the bye week. Walker is coming off his third 10-target game of the season, targets he turned into 8-109. He's a solid bet to rack up plenty of yardage as Marcus Mariota's go-to guy, with the tangy zip of upside in the form of yet another TE TD against the Raiders.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN OAK 2222 ***
Succop has yet to reach double-digit points this season. The Raiders have given up at least 10 in three straight and six of nine this season--at least seven points in every contest, and multiple field goals in every game. Something's gotta give.

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 Donald Brown 60
WR Malcom Floyd 5-70,1
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 @JAC 0000027011 ***
Would you believe the worst fantasy performance in Jacksonville by a visiting quarterback was Cam Newton back in Week 1? Since then every visiting QB has topped 20 points, with three of the four throwing for at least 290 yards. Rivers' only road misstep came when he was pulled in a loss in Minnesota with 246 yards and just one TD; he's reached multiple touchdowns in the other three road trips and has 804 passing yards in just his last two away from home. He's down several receivers but that hasn't stopped him yet; no reason to think it does sow now.
RB Melvin Gordon, SD @JAC 4002100000 ***
Gordon is seeing the majority of the carries, but he's not doing enough with them to warrant fantasy consideration--plus he's still looking for that elusive first NFL touchdown.
RB Danny Woodhead, SD @JAC 1004300000 *
The Jags are a bottom-8 defense in RB receptions, yardage and TDs so this looks like another job for Woodhead, who has topped 60 receiving yards six times this season.
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @JAC 004401000 **
Inman looks to be the lead wingman, which against the Jags generally means fantasy relevancy as they've allowed multiple receivers to score and/or top 50 yards in eight of 10 this year.
WR Stevie Johnson, SD @JAC 007800000 ***
Johnson is the only receiver Philip Rivers knows by name, and his targets since Keenan Allen went down with an injury reflect it. Jacksonville has allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 50 yards in eight of 10 this year, so favorite or not Johnson is in line for a fantasy helper here.
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @JAC 003400000 *
Floyd returned to practice this week, playing through a torn labrum. He'd be a familiar target for Philip Rivers, but it remains to be seen how effective he can be given the injury. Look for fantasy help elsewhere.
WR Javontee Herndon, SD @JAC 002300000 **
Another guy you and Philip Rivers have never heard of, only Javontee is actually one of Rivers' targets. He out-targeted Dontrelle Inman last week but has yet to hit the 40-yard mark so he's too far down the pecking order to warrant fantasy attention. That said, just wait; another injury is sure to winnow the Chargers' receiving corps further, pushing Herndon onto the radar.
TE Antonio Gates, SD @JAC 004400000 *
Over the past two games the Jags have given up two TE TDs to the Ravens and 109 yards to Tennessee's Delanie Walker. Meanwhile Gates has topped 50 yards in every game since his return, seeing 43 targets in those four games. He'll get every opportunity to extend Jacksonville's run of futility against the position.
TE Ladarius Green, SD @JAC 002200000 **
Green was back at practice late last week, but he didn't play in Week 11 and he has yet to practice this week. Check back Friday for an update on his status.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD @JAC 2211 ***
There's a decent baseline here, as the Jags have given up at least seven points to every kicker who's visited Jacksonville. But that's also near Lambo's max, so don't get too excited.

* 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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