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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

Prediction: KC 17, SD 30 (Line: SD by 8)

Players to Watch: Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Ryan Mathews

Battle of the AFC West Hot seats. The 1-6 Chiefs seemingly get a little worse each week and the 3-4 Chargers just never get any better. The Chargers won 37-20 in Kansas City back in week four. Both head coaches may be gone in the offseason though Crennel could get extra time for being so new. Right now the saving grace for Norv Turner is that he also calls the plays so firing him in-season means needing a coach and an offensive coordinator. This will be the Thursday night game.

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 20-37 13 CAR -----
5 BAL 6-9 14 @CLE -----
6 @TB 10-38 15 @OAK -----
7 BYE ----- 16 IND -----
8 OAK 16-26 17 @DEN -----
9 @SD ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Jamaal Charles 60,1 3-20
WR Donnie Avery 3-40
WR Dwayne Bowe 5-80,1
TE Anthony Fasano 3-30

Pregame Notes: The offense has crumbled in Kansas City and taken down Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles along with it. The offense hasn't scored more than one touchdown in the last three games and the shift to Brady Quinn so far has proven that yes, things can always get a little worse. On the plus side, it is already certain that the Chiefs will be drafting at the top of the first round next April but then again the needs are so great it will just be another case of a great player getting his career ruined by landing on a terrible team (See "Blackmon first wideout drafted!").

Quinn left the Oakland loss with a concussion after completing only two passes for a net one yard and the previous week handed Bowe his worst game of the year. With a Thursday game, Quinn won't likely heal enough to let him back in to ruin this week's game. Matt Cassel should start and threw for 251 yards and two scores in the previous meeting with the Chargers back in week four.

Jamaal Charles was inexplicably dropped from the game plan last week when he was limited to only five carries for four yards. Peyton Hillis returned from his five game absence and was given four carries but HC Romeo Crennel was at a loss to explain why Charles was not used. Hillis was limited to around five carries in the games previous to his injury and was not a factor. This all smacks of how Charles was limited to six runs for three yards and Hillis was given 11 carries for 66 yards in Buffalo back in week two. The following week was when Charles ran 33 times for 233 yards and Hillis was only allowed three runs for 11 yards. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to Brian Daboll's offense when Charles has clearly been the superior back and only real option for the offense. That makes Charles a big risk each week thanks to his inconsistent usage. Charles ran for 88 yards and one score in the week four meeting with the Chargers.

Dexter McCluster recorded six catches in each of the last two games but he too varies wildly in use and too rarely creates fantasy relevant numbers to be considered for even a flex start.

Tony Moeaki comes off his best game of the year with 57 yards on four receptions but too often he ends with one or even no catches. The tight ends have only scored once all year and that was in the season opener.

The wideout stats are pathetic here and only getting worse. Dwayne Bowe is the only fantasy relevant receiver and even he wants to be traded. His best game of the year was when he posted seven receptions for 108 yards and one score versus the Bolts in week four.

Both Charles and Bowe enjoyed good games against the Chargers a month ago and are still worthy of a start but the inconsistency of the offense makes risk a constant companion here. There is nothing special about the Chargers defense but then again - nothing is special about the Chiefs offense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 26 3 32 27 16 24
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 19 17 24 7 1 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Chase Daniel, KC SD 0000018011 *
Update: Daniel will get the start in a must-win game due to Alex Smith's lacerated spleen. There's very little to like here from a fantasy perspective.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC SD 11023200000 ***
Charles has triple-digit combo yardage and at least one touchdown in five of his last seven meetings with the Chargers, including the one earlier this season. However, Charles hasn't carried the ball more than a dozen times since Week 12 so you run the risk of Andy Reid criminally underusing Charles yet again. However, Charles' high ceiling makes the risk worthwhile.
Update: Charles practiced on a limited basis all week and is listed as questionable, but with the Chiefs down to their second-string quarterback they'll need to lean even more heavily on Charles... assuming he can hold up to the workload.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC SD 004600000 **
Bowe scored each of the last two times the Chargers came to town, but it's been more than a year since a Chiefs' wideout found the end zone and there's little evidence Bowe will suddenly stumble upon it this week.
Update: Bowe missed a couple practices due to injury, plus he'll now be catching balls from Chase Daniels. As if his fantasy prospects could get any dimmer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Albert Wilson, KC SD 004500000 ***
Wilson has emerged to take his spin as the Chiefs' WR2, which is the fantasy equivalent of being the vice-president of Hair Club for Men. Only it probably has more benefits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC SD 004501000 **
The Chargers have given up just three TE TDs on the year, so they're far from an easy mark. Kelce racked up 33 yards in the earlier meeting with San Diego, which isn't all that impressive. And he's still sharing looks with Anthony Fasano, completing the hat trick of frustration that conspire to leave Kelce out of your fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC SD 1133 ***
Santos' two most productive games were a dozen last week and 11 the last time he faced the Chargers. With the Chiefs still playing for something, he's as good a bet as any for a solid kicker outing.

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 24-31 14 @PIT -----
6 DEN 24-35 15 CAR -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE 6-7 17 OAK -----
9 KC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 230,2
RB Donald Brown 50 3-20
RB Ryan Mathews 100,1 4-20,1
WR Malcom Floyd 4-50,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-60
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The visiting Chiefs are just what the Chargers need since they are on a three game losing streak and the last team they beat was actually these Chiefs. The defense continues to be a problem though they did hold the Browns to only seven points in the rain and wind in Cleveland. The Bolts need this win because they won't be favored in a game again until probably week 15 when the Panthers show up. Norv Turner may not make it to 2013 since this team is teetering on a free fall with no help in sight.

Philip Rivers was on a three game stretch of two touchdowns each until the Cleveland game and he passed for 209 yards and two scores in Kansas City back in week four. Rivers is limited by a set of receivers that continually disappoint and with so many dropped passes it cannot be hung on Rivers. Sadly even Vincent Brown is not expected back for a while. His fractured ankle was expected to be healed up by week nine but he has yet to even run and is behind that schedule. Not that Brown can provide a savior to this situation but the passing game is devoid of any sort of play makers.

Antonio Gates suddenly produced six catches for 81 yards and two scores versus the Broncos in week six but then was back to just two receptions for 14 yards last week. He gained 59 yards on three catches in Kansas City but has three games that failed to produce more than 22 yards. Take away the one Broncos match-up and Gates has no touchdowns and yardage like most any blocking tight end.

Robert Meachem caught a beautiful 51-yard touchdown last wee... no wait. He dropped it. That's right, he was ten yards beyond any defender and could have skipped into the end zone but out right dropped the perfect pass and ended with zero catches last week. Meachem has been a bust of extreme dimensions so far and yet another albatross around the neck of the GM for bringing him in, paying him big bucks and pretending that he was anything more than a #3 wideout that needs Drew Brees around to produce even marginal stats. There is a sad statement - the Saints got Brees and eventually gave Meachem. And last week was not the first time that Meachem had no catches in a game. He did that in week four in Kansas City as well. Malcom Floyd only managed 23 yards there as well.

Eddie Royal remains out with a hamstring strain.

At home, Ryan Mathews should provide the bulk of the offense and rushed for 61 yards on 14 runs in the first meeting with the Chiefs. Jackie Battle was given 15 carries for 39 yards and a score along with four receptions for 42 yards and a second touchdown in the last meeting with the Chiefs in a game that right after Mathews lost a fumble against the Falcons and Norv Turner was in "teach him a lesson" mode. Battle has never done anything since and only had five runs over the last two games. This should be a big game for Mathews.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 23 6 31 9 12 17
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 23 26 21 9 29 32

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @KC 0000024022 **
Rivers has multiple touchdowns in five straight meetings with the Chiefs, as well as multiple scores and/or 300-plus passing yards in six straight visits to Kansas City. The Chiefs haven't seen a ton of great quarterbacks, but they did hold Ben Roethlisberger to 220 and 1 last week and Peyton Manning to 179 and 2 a month ago, so it won't be easy. But history--and San Diego's lack of a running game--suggest Rivers can still get it done.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @KC 4002100000 ***
With no Ryan Mathews the Chargers' backfield has become a committee affair; at least Oliver's touches suggest he's the committee chair. However, that role hasn't amounted to much in the way of fantasy production for any of the committee members, and a date with a Chiefs defense that's allowed only four RB TDs all year isn't going to help matters.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD @KC 2003200000 ***
Brown wasn't even the best Brown on his own team last week, as retread Ronnie Brown was more effective. There's no fantasy value to be found here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @KC 005600000 **
Let's face it, if your season boils down to Dontrelle Inman doing something for you in Week 17 you need to take a step back and re-evaluate things.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @KC 003400000 ***
Floyd and Eddie Royal are tag-team replacing Keenan Allen as the Chargers' WR1, both doing enough to remain on the fantasy radar even in what looks to be a pretty tough matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @KC 003400000 ***
No Keenan Allen? No problem, as Royal and Malcom Floyd stepped up their respective games. The Chiefs haven't given up many big games to opposing wideouts, but that doesn't mean Royal can't carve out a fantasy helper here--something along the lines of the 7-72-1 Antonio Brown took KC for last week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @KC 007702000 ***
Gates (and short-yardage TE John Phillips) scored against the Chiefs in the earlier meeting, but that's to be expected: in 19 career games against KC Gates has found the end zone 15 times. He's also scored in each of his last two games, and with Keenan Allen out--and a playoff spot on the line--he's Philip Rivers' go-to guy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @KC 2222 ***
Novak's eight points in the earlier meeting with KC are indicative of his season, as he's hit double-digits just once in the past three months. But that eight is also indicative of what the Chiefs have been giving up to opposing kickers, so it's one of those high floor/low ceiling opportunities.

WEEK 9
2012
KC at SD (THU) CAR at WAS *DET at JAC TB at OAK
*ARI at GB CHI at TEN *MIA at IND *PHI at NO (MON)
BAL at CLE *DAL at ATL MIN at SEA Bye:
*UPDATED *BUF at HOU DEN at CIN *PIT at NYG NE , NYJ, SF, STL

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