FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Follow Follow @Dorey_TheHuddle
 

Predictions Summary »  Player Rankings (Projections) »  myHuddle Projections by Team »  Projections Summary by Team »

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

Prediction: SD 30, NO 27 (Line: NO by 3.5)

Players to Watch: Ryan Mathews

Players Updated: Lance Moore

The 3-1 Chargers are atop the AFC West by a full game and head east to play the 0-4 Saints who are perfecting how to lose by one touchdown or less. The Saints at home used to be a force to reckon with but the Skins and Chiefs already won there. The problem for the Saints is that the Chargers have only lost when faced with a top defense and there is no defense in New Orleans. This is a coin toss game since the Charger have only beaten teams that combine for a 3-9 record. The Saints are going to get over the hump at some point. If not, they'll be 0-5 on bye next week. This is the late game on Sunday.

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 37-20 13 CIN -----
5 @NO ----- 14 @PIT -----
6 DEN ----- 15 CAR -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE ----- 17 OAK -----
9 KC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD @ NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 230,1
RB Donald Brown 50
RB Ryan Mathews 80,1 3-30
RB Danny Woodhead 20 5-30,1
WR Malcom Floyd 6-90,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-60
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chargers have played well above expectations for a team that has almost no wide receivers and even Antonio Gates is in a slump so bad that a fair question is if he will ever again resume his once productive ways. The Chargers have one decent running back who they have now openly refused to use just to teach him a lesson about not fumbling. And somehow, this is a 3-1 team getting the job done in all games other than against the Falcons who may be the best team in the league.

Philip Rivers throws more passes to his running backs (43%) than he does to the wide receivers (35%). He only has one game with more than 235 passing yards and has thrown six touchdowns against four interceptions. Half of Rivers scores went to Dante Rosario in one game. The Chargers have been getting the job done but it has not been pretty and it has not been with long passes. Compared to previous seasons, this offense is fortunate that the defense has been as good.

Ryan Mathews was limited to only for carries until the fourth quarter last week in a punitive measure because he had fumbled. In his place Jackie Battle scored twice even though he only gained 39 yards on 15 carries. Mathews finally got the call in the fourth quarter and ran ten times for 60 yards. Jamaal Charles fumbled twice on Sunday for the Chiefs and yet had 21 touches, 115 yards and two scores. Mathews fumbled once in week three and almost gets completely benched in week four.The Chargers won so no harm but the offense is already sputtering and then sits their best weapon for losing one fumble this year.

Antonio Gates has yet to score and has a season best of 59 yards just last week. He only had three passes even thrown his way. Gates is still a big part of the offense only because the offense is pretty small.

Eddie Royal scored last week but that was on only three catches for 16 yards and that was a season high. Robert Meachem now has two games without a catch and even Malcom Floyd was held to just 23 yards last week. This is a receiving corps that needs help and is getting none.

What is most relevant this week is that the Saints are the worst ranked defense against running backs. They are bad against the pass as well but horrible against the run. The last visitor to New Orleans was Jamaal Charles with 233 rush yards. This is where the Chargers are going to win or lose this game. Not by getting into a shootout with Drew Brees in New Orleans.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 24 5 32 15 5 12
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 31 31 29 2 31 21

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD SEA 0000020012 ***
The stat bears repeating: only once in the past 17 games has a quarterback facing the Seahawks been worthy of a fantasy start (top 12 fantasy score that week). And in three of their past four games they've faced the upper crust of QBs--Peyton, Rodgers, Brees--and given up an average of just over 14 fantasy points per contest. You wanna throw Rivers up against that wall, you're on your own.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, SD SEA 4004300000 ***
Mathews remains the kingpin of San Diego's three-headed backfield committee, but with fantasy points at a premium against an elite defense just a share isn't enough to warrant a fantasy start.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD SEA 2005300000 ***
Woodhead was a fantasy no-show in the season opener, and it's tough to see him getting off the shneid against Seattle here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD SEA 003301000 **
In Week 1 the Packers offered up their WR3 as a sacrifice to Richard Sherman. The Chargers won't necessarily do the same, but do you really want to put your fantasy faith in a third receiver against a shutdown D? Really?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD SEA 004500000 ***
Allen was shut down by Patrick Peterson last week; now he'll spend at least part of his Sunday battling Richard Sherman. Color us dispositive with regards to his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD SEA 003300000 ***
On the bright side, he won't spend the entire day in Richard Sherman's shadow. If that's enough for you to reward him with a fantasy start... well, then you're a braver man than I.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD SEA 007700000 ****
Gates turned back the clock in Week 1 with a game reminiscent of his glory days. He'll have a decent shot at a follow up if for no other reason than he's likely to duck Richard Sherman. If you must back a horse in the San Diego passing game, Gates is probably your guy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, SD SEA 002300000 ***
Green remains the padawan to Antonio Gates' Jedi; in this matchup with the Death Star of defenses, there isn't enough in the way of fantasy stats to feed two mouths so the junior partner is an even less likely fantasy helper.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD SEA 3311 ***
With points hard to come by, you can cross your fingers and hope San Diego gets close enough for some field goals... or look elsewhere for your fantasy kicker this week.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL -----
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD ----- 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB ----- 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN ----- 17 CAR -----
9 PHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 300,3
RB Mark Ingram 20
RB Pierre Thomas 20 2-20
WR Marques Colston 4-60
WR Robert Meachem 2-30
TE Jimmy Graham 7-100,1
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: On the plus side, the home game should get to cheer on Drew Brees who will break the all-time record with 48 straight games with a touchdown pass. He is currently tied with Johnny Unitas. There is hope that they could be cheering on a win as well but they thought as much when the Redskins and Chiefs were visiting. Problem with the Saints is that they are not only consistently not quite good enough, they may start to believe it and in that have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Brees has been very good even if almost nothing else has been. He has thrown for over 300 yards three times and thrown for three scores in all but one week. Brees is trying to keep the team together but a loss here sends the team 0-5 to their bye week. That can almost work against them if they press too hard and make mistakes.

The biggest hole in the Saints offense has clearly been the absence of a strong running game. The running backs have only combined for one rushing touchdown back in week two and aside from facing the Panthers once, the offense has been unable to establish any run at all. Darren Sproles has propped up his value with receptions but even he has been well short of 2011's pace. This forces Brees to rely on the pass almost exclusively to the benefit of all Brees owners. But Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas have almost no reliable fantasy value.

Jimmy Graham remains the only receiver with both production and consistency. His three touchdowns lead the team.

The wideouts have always been a collection of players that have good and bad games but that has shrunk this season. With Robert Meachem gone and Devery Henderson been a flop, almost all work ends up with Marques Colston and Lance Moore. Joseph Morgan had a 80-yard catch and run for a score last week but that was only his second career catch. It would help the offense if someone else would step up and offer another target but it just has not happened yet. Colston had been stuck around 50 yards per game until last week when he ended with 153 yards on nine catches in Green Bay. Lance Moore bounces all over from week to week.

The incoming Chargers are good against the run and not allowed anyone to gain more than 92 rush yards. The Saints are going to split up the workload anyway so don't look for any reliable starts from Ingram or Thomas. Sproles gets to play against his old team which will be much more meaningful than Meachem going against the Saints. Sproles at home is always a start anyway.

This game will have success passing but where it will be won or lost is with any turnovers and of course if the Saints defense can actually slow down the Chargers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 3 4 13 4 21 26
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 12 21 11 21 1 11

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @CLE 0000033020 ***
Joe Haden can't be everywhere, as evidenced by Ben Roethlisberger's 365 yards against the Browns last weekend. Brees is familiar with that neighborhood, topping that number five times last year, and he should at least be in the vicinity this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @CLE 601000000 ***
The goal line back against a defense that allowed two RB rushing scores--including one to a goal line back--last week; seems like another solid opportunity for Ingram to carve out fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO @CLE 3005400000 ***
The pass-catching back against a Cleveland defense that surrendered the second-most RB receiving yards in Week 1--to a Steelers team not exactly known for throwing to its backs, no less. Yep, Thomas's role in the New Orleans offense should once again yield fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO @CLE 300000000 ***
At this juncture Robinson feels like the most volatile member of the New Orleans backfield triumvirate, with a role less clearly defined than that of either Mark Ingram or Pierre Thomas. As such he's the riskiest fantasy play as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO @CLE 006901000 ***
Plenty to like about Cooks' 7-77-1 NFL debut last week. With Joe Haden likely on Marques Colston or maybe even Jimmy Graham, that leaves Cooks with fellow rookie Justin Gilbert or maybe Buster Skrine. The ROY campaign continues...
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @CLE 005700000 ***
Colston is technically the Saints' WR1, but that's no guarantee he'll draw full-time Joe Haden this week--plus, we saw last week via Antonio Brown that Haden isn't necessarily a death sentence for fantasy stats. Brees is slinging, Cleveland has corner concerns everywhere Haden isn't, and Colston has something to prove after fumbling away last week's game; it adds up to a solid fantasy start this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @CLE 006801000 ***
All that's missing now is the dunks. No reason to think the Browns have a solution other NFL defenses don't.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @CLE 2233 ****
It's good to be back tacking on points for an offensive juggernaut like the Saints, especially against a Browns' defense that's allowed multiple field goal attempts in three straight games and seven of the last eight.

WEEK 5
2012
ARI at STL (THU) CHI at JAC MIA at CIN *TEN at MIN
ATL at WAS *CLE at NYG PHI at PIT *HOU at NYJ (MON)
BAL at KC *DEN at NE *SD at NO Bye:
*Updated BUF at SF GB at IND SEA at CAR DAL, DET, OAK, TB

a d v e r t i s e m e n t