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
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 Charlie Whitehurst, TEN @IND 0000021012 *
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN @IND 00000000 *
Locker disappointed the last time he had a favorable matchup, and Indy isn't necessarily a favorable matchup; their numbers have been padded by Peyton Manning, Nick Foles and garbage-time Blake Bortles. You're bound to find better fantasy help elsewhere.
Update: Locker was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday and only worked on a limited basis Friday. Officially he's questionable, but fantasy owners can rule him out prior to any pregame deactivation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @IND 3001100000 ***
To the surprise of no one, Sankey was far more productive than Shonn Greene when given similar touches last week. However, best wait until the Titans' backfield roles are more clearly delineated and the matchup is more favorable before trusting the Bishop with a starting fantasy gig.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @IND 300000000 ***
Montee Ball and LeSean McCoy were rendered ordinary by the Colts' run D; no reason to think Greene will fare better.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @IND 003500000 ***
You can't bank on the wildly inconsistent Hunter for... well, anything at this juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @IND 004500000 ***
Wright's a volume guy, but even high volume targets haven't been the key to fantasy success against Indy: four receivers each targeted double-digit times have amassed just 20 catches, 207 yards and two TDs. It's better than not being frequently targeted, but it's no guarantee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @IND 006400000 **
Highly targeted, and Indy has struggled to defend talented tight ends like Julius Thomas and Zach Ertz. Keep tabs on Walker's injury status; if he's healthy, he's a viable fantasy option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @IND 2211 ****
Succop has five total points the past two games; you can do better elsewhere.

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 JAC 0000027030 ***
Gotta love ol' Bolo Tie against a defense that's allowed at least 250 and 2 in every game thus far. The last time he was at home he sliced up the Seahawks for 284 and 3; solving the Jags should be mere child's play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD JAC 7014200000 ***
With every other Bolts back injured, Brown inherits the bulk of the touches against a Jacksonville defense that's giving up 184 combo yards and two TDs a game to opposing backs. Nice timing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD JAC 005701000 ***
Plenty of receivers have had their way with the Jacksonville secondary; the question is, will it be Allen's turn or does that just mean he'll keep ceding stats to Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal? Allen's too talented to be off to the lousy start he's having, so bet heavily on the former.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD JAC 005600000 ***
It would be easy to say you're chasing Royal's two TDs from last week, but the Jags just let four different Colts wideouts score and/or top 50 yards against them last week so... go ahead, chase.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD JAC 003400000 ***
Seven different receivers have scored and/or topped 50 yards against the Jags, including four last week alone. Floyd has been outperforming Keenan Allen, though Allen has been drawing some pretty elite coverage. This week Floyd likely regresses to WR2, though there's still fantasy value to be had here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD JAC 006802000 ***
One week after lighting up the Seahawks Gates was usurped by Ladarius Green. The split is problematic, but it's an extremely favorable matchup with a Jaguars defense that's allowed four TE TDs already this year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD JAC 2234 ***
With the Jags giving up almost 40 points per game, Novak should have plenty of opportunity to swing the leg this week.

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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