FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: SD 20, KC 23 (Line: SD by 1)

Players to Watch: Jamaal Charles

Players Updated: Peyton Hillis, Dwayne Bowe, Nate Kaeding

The Chargers lost 20-23 in Kansas City last year. Both meetings were three point wins by the home team in games full of field goals. While the Bolts won seven of the last nine meetings, they lost the last two played in Kansas City. These divisional rivals almost always have lower scoring, very close match-ups.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @OAK 22-14 10 @TB -----
2 TEN 38-10 11 @DEN -----
3 ATL 3-27 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 @ KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 240,2
RB Danny Woodhead 20 2-20
WR Malcom Floyd 5-80,1
WR Stevie Johnson 4-60,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-60

Pregame Notes: The Chargers come off their first loss of the year thanks to the visiting Falcons showing up with a much better defense than the Raiders or Titans. That resulted in a bad game by Rivers with only 173 passing yards and no scores. The offense is not passing well and sorely misses having a younger, healthier version of Antonio Gates and anyone who can remotely replace Vincent Jackson. Take away three touchdowns to Dante Rosario against the TItans and Rivers has really struggled to do much. On the road this week may not be any improvement.

Antonio Gates returned last week but only came up with three catches for 22 yards on seven targets but claims his ribs are not an issue. This offense still has no real passing outlets other than Malcom Floyd being miscast as a #1 receiver thanks to Robert Meachem being such a flop. If the rumors were true that Wes Welker is on the trading block, this is where he should go. The Chargers passing game has never looked this bad.

Ryan Mathews returned from his broken clavicle and ran for 44 yards on ten carries but was limited solely because the Falcons were so far ahead that rushing was not in the plans. Notable here was that Ronnie Brown was inactive this week and thus may have played his last down for his last NFL team. Jackie Battle had three runs and Curtis Brinkley took another. This will be Mathews gig from now on and he will not be spelled much. That should be more evident this week and again in New Orleans the following weekend.

This game will revolve around how well Mathews runs and if Floyd and Gates-lite is enough to win. Even against the Chiefs that may not be enough.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 26 9 30 12 11 29
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 29 22 19 18 19 30

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @DEN 0000024001 ***
Rivers' quest for the passing title takes a hit against the league's top pass defense. The Broncos limited him to 202 yards in the earlier meeting, and he hasn't thrown for 300 yards against Denver since January of 2011. Don't expect much here with the Broncos still playing for playoff positioning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD @DEN 1005600000 ***
Game script suggests plenty of throwing, and the Broncos' pass rush suggests plenty of checkdowns to Woodhead. That's the extend of the upside in San Diego's backfield this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, SD @DEN 003500000 *
The Steelers have allowed two receivers to score or top 60 yards in three straight so you have to believe there's at least one fantasy helper here. And Benjamin is the best bet among Cleveland's thinning receiving corps.

Update: Benjamin was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury. You may need to check his status pre-game if you're planning to use him in your Week 17 fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @DEN 004400000 ***
Inman proved to be Philip Rivers' go-to guy last week, and the Broncos have been much more lenient of late in giving up five WR TDs over the past three games. But seeing as how Chargers wideouts combined for four catches and 60 yards against Denver just a month ago, expectations should be limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Javontee Herndon, SD @DEN 005300000 ***
Herndon's top NFL outing is 5-47, and he's still looking for his first pro TD. Unlikely to come against a top pass defense on a team going nowhere... at least until the offseason.

Update: Herndon is listed as questionable with a chest injury, but after limited practice sessions early in the week he was available for the full session on Friday so he should be good to go this weekend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @DEN 003300000 ***
Banged up, facing an elite pass defense, with nothing to play for... tough to get excited about Floyd's fantasy prospects here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @DEN 006500000 ***
The Broncos haven't given up a TE TD in a month, with Gates' 6-50 the top TE game against them in that span. He's topped five catches and 50 yards each of the past three meetings with Denver, with three TDs in those three games, so there's at least a little upside to him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD @DEN 1100 ***
Three points in home game
vs. DEN; even altitude
won't be enough help

Kansas City Chiefs
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 24-40 10 @PIT -----
2 @BUF 17-35 11 CIN -----
3 @NO 27-24 12 DEN -----
4 SD ----- 13 CAR -----
5 BAL ----- 14 @CLE -----
6 @TB ----- 15 @OAK -----
7 BYE ----- 16 IND -----
8 OAK ----- 17 @DEN -----
9 @SD ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
KC vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 230,2
RB Jamaal Charles 80 6-50
WR Jeremy Maclin 4-60,1
WR Rod Streater 2-30
WR Mike Williams 5-70,1

Pregame Notes: The road trip to New Orleans was more than just good food and a 32 oz. Hurricane with a Krazy Straw. It was a win. The Chiefs were not very competitive against the Falcons or Bills but the lack of any defense by the Saints was just what the Chiefs needed. Matt Cassel faced what should have been a tasty match-up but only threw for 248 yards and no score because that was all he needed to do.

Peyton Hillis sprained his ankle in the game and was wearing a walking boot early in the week. That meant Charles was given an incredible 33 carries to gain 233 yards and one score with 55 more yards as a receiver. It was vintage Charles who admitted he had been thinking about his knee in previous weeks but just let it go.

Charles ran 91 yards untouched on his touchdown so if he has lost a step, it was one he can still live without. Charles monster game came after he only gained three yards on six runs in Buffalo and that's a pretty significant swing. Especially for several Charles owners who actually benched him last week. Long as Hillis is laid up, Charles should have a big role though probably not 33 more carries any time soon. Shaun Draughn fills in for Hillis but doesn't offer enough for fantasy merit.

The passing game still ignores the tight ends and Kevin Boss has been out with a concussion anyway. Tony Moeaki is only good for one or two small catches each week.

Dwayne Bowe still rang up seven catches for 79 yards versus the Saints while no other receiver had more than 36 yards. But he is getting no help from the other wideouts with Doug Baldwin stuck at three catches per week and Steve Breaston does well enough to catch even one. Dexter McCluster injured his elbow in the Saints win and may be an injury risk. He has yet to offer any significant production since opening the season with 82 yards against Atlanta.

The Chargers have been very good against the run and even on the road should impact Charles as a runner. But they have allowed a passing score every week and been especially good against wide receivers. That makes this a lower scoring game that probably turns on mistakes and turnovers more than big plays.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 17 1 27 25 5 28
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 15 21 7 27 2 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Alex Smith, KC OAK 0000019010 ***
Since Smith took the Raiders for three TDs (2 passing, 1 rushing) in Week 13, they've held Brock Osweiler, Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers to a combined two scores. Meanwhile, Smith hasn't topped 200 yards since Week 12 and his last 300 yard game is three months in the rear view mirror. Lots of reasons to look elsewhere for fantasy help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charcandrick West, KC OAK 7011100000 ***
West continues to get the majority of touches in KC's backfield, but it'll take a touchdown to have real fantasy value and that's a 50/50 proposition between West and the bulkier Spencer Ware. That leaves Charcandrick as a good not great play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Spencer Ware, KC OAK 500000000 ***
Ware has had success at the stripe before, and the Raiders have allowed RB TDs in three of the last four games. But his getting a quarter of KC's backfield touches makes it extremely difficult to bank on Ware for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Maclin, KC OAK 006801000 ***
The only Chiefs wideout who warrants fantasy attention, Maclin rolled up 9-95-2 in the earlier meeting with Oakland. The Raiders have consistently allowed WR1s to produce and Maclin has five TDs in his last five games, so a repeat performance is in order.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Albert Wilson, KC OAK 004300000 ***
Every couple of weeks Wilson usurps Jeremy Maclin for a touchdown; then he slinks back into the wallpaper for a couple nothing games. The Raiders haven't allowed multiple wideouts to score in a game this year, and the top wingman yardage games are 73 (more than a month ago by Golden Tate) and 89 (back in Week 2 by Kamar Aiken). Wilson isn't bringing anything to the fantasy table here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC OAK 005600000 ***
The Raiders were a soft mark for tight ends early on, but they haven't allowed a TE TD since Week 12 and blanked Kelce (2-42) a month ago. He's been a little more involved in the offense but thanks to Andy Reid's usage (or lack thereof) is still more potential than productive fantasy play.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC OAK 3322 ***
Raiders lead NFL
in kicker points given up,
so start your Santos!

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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