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 @JAC 0000022010 ***
As luck would have it, Whitehurst was at the helm for the earlier meeting between these clubs, throwing for 233 yards and no touchdowns in a 16-14 Titans win. His receiving corps has been gutted by injury since then, which will make the task a bit more challenging. Don't look to him for fantasy help and you won't be disappointed.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @JAC 3011100000 **
Green handled the bulk of the carries last week against the Jets and gave us exactly what we've come to expect from him: a shade over three yards per carry. After missing the earlier meeting with Jacksonville, maybe the Jaguars won't be prepared for Green's deceptively slow running style. He'll likely get the goal line shots, so there's a chance he could salvage fantasy value--just not a great chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @JAC 3002100000 ***
Sanky saw the first extended duty of his NFL career back in Week 6 against the Jags, carrying 18 times for 61 yards. Now he's back to taking a back seat to Shonn Greene, which takes a significant bite out of his fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Nate Washington, TEN @JAC 004600000 ***
The Titans will likely be without 135 of the 158 WR yards they amassed back in the Week 6 meeting with Jacksonville, as Justin Hunter, Dexter McCluster, and Kendall Wright are all likely to miss this game due to injury. That leaves Washington, who has quietly remained in the thick of the Tennessee passing mix and now must move to the fore. It's not a dynamite matchup, but as the Titans have almost no one else at their disposal Washington should chalk up some decent stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @JAC 004501000 **
If he's healthy enough to play, Walker could easily be the top pass-catching option for the Titans. He had 57 yards in the previous meeting with Jacksonville and has 275 yards over the past three games. The Jags just allowed 99 yards and a touchdown to Baltimore tight ends; a healthy Walker could do that all by himself. Of course, with Walker officially listed as questionable you'll actually have to tune in to the pregame to learn if he's going to play or not.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @JAC 0022 ***
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. And in a battle of awful teams it might just be which team gets reasonably close enough to kick more field goals who wins. Succor produced 10 points in a 16-14 win in Jacksonville back in Week 6, and every AFC South kicker has tallied at least nine points against the Jags thus far this year. So if you're dumpster-diving for a kicker, Succop might just turn trash into treasure.

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 @SF 0000019011 ***
Rivers has stumbled of late, with multiple touchdown tosses in just one of his last six games. A matchup with the Niners will do him no favors; they've allowed multiple TD tosses just once in the past five games and thrice in the past three months.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD @SF 2005400000 ***
Brown saw some extended touches last week as well, but he remains behind Branden Oliver in the pecking order. And in a matchup with the 49ers, there won't be much in the way of table scraps.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @SF 3002200000 ***
With Ryan Mathews still hobbled Oliver looks to bed in line for the bulk of the carries. Unfortunately for him it's a lousy matchup; his best hope might be for a passing game contribution.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @SF 005600000 **
By virtue of being essentially the last man standing, Floyd becomes the Bolts' WR1. Hey, at least he's on the dance card.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @SF 003200000 ***
With Keenan Allen out everybody bumps up a spot in the pecking order. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly favorable matchup where said bumping up will have a profound fantasy affect.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @SF 006601000 **
Gates continues to keep Ladareus Green at bay, and in the process he managed to return to the end zone for the first time in almost two months. Facing a Niners defense that's giving up an average of 61 yards per game to the position over the past six weeks, Gates has another opportunity to be a fantasy helper.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @SF 2211 ***
The only two games in which San Francisco has allowed double-digit kicker points were both divisional contests. Novak isn't a consistent enough contributor to buck that trend, so keep a lid on expectations 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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