Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: DEN 24, SD 20 (Line: SD by 2.5)

Players Updated: Demaryius Thomas

Players to Watch: Ryan Mathews, Robert Meachem

The 2-3 Broncos have lost three of their last four games and both of the road trips so far. The 3-2 Chargers are at home only for the third time and are 1-1 in San Diego thanks to the Atlanta loss. The Chargers won 29-24 in Denver last year but later lost 13-16 when the Broncos were the visitors. This will be an interesting game that should contain decent fantasy points for each team.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC -----
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB -----
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD ----- 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO ----- 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Justin Forsett 20
WR Jordan Norwood
WR Demaryius Thomas 7-100,1

Pregame Notes: The Broncos are 2-3 but in fairness they opened with a brutal schedule and two of their losses came within one touchdown. This is clearly a better team with Peyton Manning as the quarterback and an offense that has always posted at least 21 points no matter how tough the opposing defense is. Manning is on a three game streak of 330+ yard games with two or three scores in each. He has thrown an interception in just one game so far. Manning is even showing decent arm strength on deeper throws to Demaryius Thomas.

Willis McGahee has been very productive other than in the Houston game. He has rushed for more than 100 yards twice. Better yet, he has been used as a receiver for five or six receptions in the last two games which ensures at least some fantasy value every week. McGahee ran for 125 yards against the visiting Chargers last year and 117 yards in San Diego. With a solid passing game under Manning, McGahee is enjoying one of his best years.

Joel Dreessen has never had more than 36 yards in a game this year but has scored in each of the last three. That's tough to rely on even for a bye week filler but pulling the hat trick with Peyton Manning as pitcher is an encouraging development. Jacob Tamme still gets more catches and yardage but so far has not scored since the season opener. Manning has thrown a score to a tight end in all but one game so far.

Eric Decker is sold enough in most games and has scored the last two weeks but tends to remain below 60 yards most of the time. Demaryius Thomas has become a true #1 and an elite wideout who has gained over 100 yards in three of five games and scored twice. His problem is that he has fumbled in each of the last three games but his talent is far beyond any other receiver here and down the field he is a deep threat with over 20 yards per catch in three different matchups. Brandon Stokley comes into play only against teams with two good corners.

Manning should light it up again against this secondary since the last three opponents have and that includes Matt Cassel. The rushing with McGahee may have a tougher time this year than in 2011 since no one has ran for more than 88 yards on them and that was Jamaal Charles playing in Kansas City but at least McGahee is catching passes as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 6 14 6 5 22 20
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 23 20 25 12 2 13

QB Trevor Siemian, DEN OAK 0000015010 *
Siemian apparently will start, but he may cede snaps to rookie Paxton Lynch. Just play it smart and avoid both of them.
QB Paxton Lynch, DEN OAK 20000010010 *
Lynch appears in line to see snaps in the meaningless finale for Denver. Counting on him in fantasy is asking for punishment, even though Oakland has been susceptible to giving up QB points of late.
RB Justin Forsett, DEN OAK 3003300000 ***
Oakland is the fourth strongest defense against PPR backs, and that is about the only way Forsett can find fantasy value at this stage of his career.
RB Devontae Booker, DEN OAK 4002200000 *
Booker was at his best last week in some time, which isn't saying much. There is no justifiable reason to consider him a strong play this week, but he could be an OK flier in cavernous formats given all of the RBs injured or sitting.
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN OAK 005701000 *
Thomas managed only five catches for 56 yards the last time out, and Oakland has a shot at the No. 1 seed if New England loses. The Raiders have given up only 8.8 receptions (3rd fewest) per game to the position in the last five weeks.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN OAK 004600000 *
It sounds like Gary Kubiak is going to play musical quarterbacks this week. The Raiders are sound against receivers, and Sanders was limited to a 5-47-0 line on 11 targets in Week 9.
TE Jeff Heuerman, DEN OAK 003300000 *
The matchup is neutral, and Denver doesn't utilize the position enough to give us any confidence to recommend Heuerman.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN OAK 2222 **
No team has given up fewer field goal attempts per game than Oakland, which has resulted in allowing the lowest total of fantasy points since Week 11. Only three field goals have been granted by the Raiders in those five games.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  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 24-31 14 @PIT -----
6 DEN ----- 15 CAR -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE ----- 17 OAK -----
9 KC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 260,1
RB Dexter McCluster
RB Danny Woodhead 10 4-20
WR Stevie Johnson 4-50
TE Antonio Gates 3-50

Pregame Notes: The Chargers fell in New Orleans but still put up a good game. This week will be the toughest matchup of the year other than the big loss to Atlanta since the Broncos have pushed through a far tougher schedule. Consider too that the Chargers lost 3-27 when the Falcons visited and yet the Broncos barely lost 21-27 at Atlanta.

Philip Rivers comes off a season high 354 yards and two scores in New Orleans (where everyone has a season high). He has thrown eight touchdowns over five weeks against five interceptions but that came against teams like OAK, TEN, KC and NO. Against the Falcons, Rivers only passed for 173 yards and no score. Unless Robert Meachem can prove his effort against his old team was more than a fluke, Rivers is trying to make-do with below average receivers.

Jackie Battle started the Saints game because HC Norv Turner has clearly lost his mind. Battle was shelved after his four runs covered a whopping ten yards. Ryan Mathews was only given 12 runs but gained 80 yards and one touchdown along with 59 yards on six receptions. Still - the Chargers preferred Ronnie Brown on obvious passing downs and the old man gained 47 yards on five catches he had no business taking away from Mathews. Turner has now said that Mathews will be more heavily used because after a few years he has just now learned whatever lesson there was to learn by watching inferior players hurt the Chargers chance to win (?). Turner said he expected Mathews would be one of the leading rushers in the NFL and yet would not elaborate on why that needed to wait until week six to start in earnest. At least this eliminates Battle from the projections.

Ryan has rushed for over 120 yards in all three career games against the Broncos. Why not give him a chance?

The Player Formerly Known as Antonio Gates has not scored this year. Has only one game with more than three catches of more than 43 yards. He is being heavily covered as he has always been only now he has lost the speed and any moves. Understand this much about Gates - he just went through the easiest part of his schedule.

Robert Meachem was able to score twice and gain 67 yards on three catches back in his old home stadium in New Orleans, but it's hardly the breakout two scores suggest. Meachem was only thrown four passes and his five game career with the Chargers now totals nine catches for 159 yards. That includes two games with no catches.

Malcom Floyd is the only player with any sense of consistent production but has not scored since the season opener and his two decent games came against the Saints and Titans - two of the worst secondaries in the NFL. This is a receiver crew that sorely misses having a real #1 threat like Vincent Jackson. Vincent Brown returns in a month but until he is back and healthy this is an offense that has to spread the ball around and throw to the running backs.

Playing at home will help this week but the Broncos have been solid against the pass even when facing Matt Ryan or Tom Brady. Ryan Mathews should be central to the offensive effort and the Broncos weakest point is against the run.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 21 3 29 19 8 15
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 18 18 17 18 12 14

QB Philip Rivers, SD KC 0000027021 ***
The Chiefs went through a stretch of being awful versus quarterbacks, but the ship as righted, and KC is a bottom-five opponent over the last five games. The Week 1 meeting saw Rivers go for 243-1-0 for 17.1 fantasy points at Arrowhead.
RB Melvin Gordon, SD KC 500000000 *
Gordon is a likely game-time decision but sits only three yards away from 1,000 on the year. San Diego may want to give him a few carries to get there. The Chiefs are a top-12 fantasy matchup in PPR and have allowed 109 rushing yards a contest to the position in the last five weeks.
WR Tyrell Williams, SD KC 004701000 ***
Williams caught two for 71 in the first meeting, and he has a much more reliable role this time around. The promising young wideout is a WR2 as the Chargers host the midrange KC defense of his position.
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD KC 005600000 ***
Inman was a non-factor in the Week 1 meeting, but he has a larger role these days. Consider him as WR3 or flex in PPR, but not without some risk involved. KC is a negative-leaning matchup.
WR Travis Benjamin, SD KC 003400000 ***
KC has given up only four WR touchdowns in the last five games, and they held Benjamin to 32 yards on seven grabs in their earlier meeting. He's a flier, at best, in deep setups.
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 006501000 ***
KC has blanked TEs on the last 20 catches from finding the end zone. Gates authored a 3-20-0 line in the last meeting with the Chiefs. Kansas City has suffered several linebacker injuries and are not at full strength.
TE Hunter Henry, SD KC 001200000 ***
Henry catches TD passes and does almost nothing else at this stage of his young career. KC doesn't allow TD passes (only two all season to TEs). Look elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD KC 1122 ***
This is a neutral matchup, but far more field goals come against this defense than touchdown-toppers. Lambo has modest upside in this one.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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