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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

Prediction: SD 20, TB 34 (Line: TB by 3)

Players Updated : Robert Meachem

Players to Watch: Danario Alexander

The 4-4 Chargers finally got a win and hit the road where they are 2-2. The 4-4 Buccaneers are also 2-2 at home and these teams are fairly similar except the Bucs allow just one back to take all the action and also have two good wide receivers.

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 31-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 270,2
RB Donald Brown 20 3-20
RB Ronnie Brown 10 6-50
RB Ryan Mathews 60 2-10
RB Danny Woodhead 20 5-50
WR Malcom Floyd 6-70,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-50,1
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Nothing like beating up on the visiting Chiefs to end a three game losing streak (that started after the first Chiefs match-up). The Chargers just went 1-1 in the last two weeks despite playing probably their two easiest games of the year. The next five games could end up as a coach killer because the Chargers will not likely be favored and so far have only shown an ability to beat the Chiefs.

Philip Rivers is throwing for fewer yards this year with 233 yards on average and only once topping 300 passing yards. He's been good with two touchdowns in most games but has been blanked twice already. Most of what Rivers is using are running backs for receivers only not the ones that you want. Rivers has become nothing more than a decent bye week filler and even then you need to hit the right week.

Ryan Mathews had a very encouraging 2011 when he gained 1546 total yards and six touchdowns. Some of that came from catching three to six passes every game and getting 13 to 20 carries in most weeks. Last week with a golden opportunity versus the visiting Chiefs, he was only allowed 13 runs that gained 67 yards (5.2 YPC) and two short catches.

And yet, Ronnie Brown is getting five to seven receptions in recent weeks and is the #2 receiver for the team. He is also running the ball more and his six carries in week nine totaled 11 touches against 15 for Mathews. That's a running back who's been released from two other teams for being old, slow and of no value being used almost equally with Mathews who doesn't even receive what he was getting in 2011 before being promised a bigger load by HC Norv Turner. Not to mention Jackie Battle still taking a few runs as well. In a fantasy sense this has neutered Mathews and made him only a marginal running back play. With a 3-5 record, it doesn't even make NFL sense.

Antonio Gates scored in his second game this year when the Chiefs came to town but only ended with three receptions for 43 yards in what has become his irreversible decline. Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal were held out last week though both were close to playing. They are tentatively expected back this week though neither has made any impact to the Chargers. Seyi Ajirotutu is back on the team but only recorded one catch for 28 yards last week and Danario Alexander caught three passes that gained 61 yards and that buys him more playing time. The coaches were impressed with Alexander and he has now made it one full game without suffering his season-ending leg/knee/hamstring injury.

The problem here is that Gates is a big step down from the past years. Mathews is being so limited that his fantasy value is marginal even in a great match-up and now there are a number of mediocre receivers for Rivers to choose from making any individual even less attractive and harder to forecast.


RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 24 4 31 11 11 6
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 27 18 30 20 12 6

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD STL 0000025020 ****
Rivers is banged up and has back-to-back bad fantasy games to his credit; a date with a Rams defense that hasn't allowed multiple touchdown tosses in a month and shut down the high-flying Broncos last week doesn't seem like an opportunity for Philip to get back in the saddle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, SD STL 6001100000 ***
Mathews returned to action last week and didn't look bad against the Raiders... but it's the Raiders. The Rams offer a legitimate defensive challenge, which spells bad news for Mathews--especially if he's still sharing the workload with Branden Oliver.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD STL 3002100000 ***
Last week's touches were split almost 50/50 as Ryan Mathews returned from injury, yet neither back did much damage against a shaky Oakland run D. Now, facing a far more formidable Rams unit, expectations should be lowered even further.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD STL 008701000 ***
Allen still sees the bulk of the targets in San Diego, and the Rams have given up five 100-yard receivers in the past five games. But he's been so infuriatingly disappointing this season it's tough to bank on him for fantasy help, even with a favorable matchup staring him in the face.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD STL 004601000 **
Less targeted than Keenan Allen, Floyd somehow has been more consistently productive. However, a banged up Philip Rivers and a tough matchup make him a problematic fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD STL 003300000 ***
Royal's been dormant for about a month, which means another one of those "helps no one" two-TD games is just around the corner.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD STL 003400000 ***
It's been a month since the Rams allowed a TE TD, making this a difficult matchup at best for Gates. Since he's back to sharing snaps with Ladarius Green, you can probably find a better fantasy matchup elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD STL 2222 ****
The Rams haven't been a hotbed for kicker points, and Novak has been more good than great. Keep your expectations in check and you'll be fine.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CAR 16-10 10 SD -----
2 @NYG 34-41 11 @CAR -----
3 @DAL 10-16 12 ATL -----
4 WAS 22-24 13 @DEN -----
5 BYE ----- 14 PHI -----
6 KC 38-10 15 @NO -----
7 NO 28-35 16 STL -----
8 @MIN 36-17 17 @ATL -----
9 @OAK 42-32 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Doug Martin 110,1 3-30
WR Vincent Jackson 6-100,1
WR Louis Murphy 3-30
TE Brandon Myers 6-60

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers not only have won three of their last four games, they scored at least 28 points in each and averaged 36 points per game. It was not against the best of defenses in the league but then again neither are the Chargers. There is no chance that the Bucs will overtake the Falcons for the division but they could end up in the wild card race with an offense that is really starting to click. Aside from a couple of losses to the Falcons, the Bucs should be very competitive in all remaining games.

This offense could not get on track in 2011 and now it has two big stories to tell. First is Josh Freeman who passed for 16 touchdowns in his first eight games and that was with 11 scores over just the last four weeks. He has not thrown an interception since week six and is enjoying a rushing game that all defenses have to respect. Freeman has made his move into the top ten for quarterbacks.

The other story is all about Doug Martin who shredded the Raiders for 251 rush yards and four touchdowns last Sunday. It was the tenth best single game rushing total in NFL history. Over the last three weeks, all Martin has done is score seven times and gain 608 total yards. In three weeks. Granted, NO, MIN and OAK are not necessarily the best defenses in the league but neither are the Chargers. Martin has really turned up his level of play a few notches from the start of the season.

The Buccaneers now have two legitimately good wide receivers. Vincent Jackson scored six times already and produced over 80 yards in half his games. He tends to either have a big game with a touchdown or he lays an egg with no real middle ground. If he scored a touchdown, he gained at least 66 yards and if he did not, then he never gained more than 47 yards in that game. Mike Williams has been equally as effective with five touchdowns and two efforts over 100 yards himself. Tiquan Underwood provides little as the #3 and tight ends play no role in this offense but it doesn't matter. Williams and Jackson are providing plenty of bang and now Martin is turning into an elite running back.

The Charger defense is only average and the Bucs are starting to really come together and become something special. This should be another fine effort by the main weapons of the Buccaneers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 13 5 13 28 12 12
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 14 19 21 6 1 24

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Josh McCown, TB @CHI 10000027021 ***
McCown has been fantasy relevant in both of his starts since replacing Mike Glennon, and now he gets a revenge game against the Bears. Why not?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Charles Sims, TB @CHI 4004200000 ***
Sims has done nothing of fantasy note in his two NFL games, and a change in that plan is unlikely in Chicago this week.
Update: Sims is listed as questionable after closing the week with a couple of limited practice sessions. Like he needs further dings to his fantasy prospectus.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bobby Rainey, TB @CHI 1002200000 ***
Rainey is playing understudy to Charles Sims, and neither has been particularly effective. It's not a favorable matchup, so no reason to reach for him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Evans, TB @CHI 0071101000 ***
Evans is smoking hot right now, with three straight 100-yard games and five touchdowns in that span. No reason to think Chicago has an answer the Redskins, Falcons, and Browns did not.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Jackson, TB @CHI 006900000 ***
The Packers are the only team to produce multiple productive fantasy receivers against Chicago, and Jackson has definitely fallen off to wingman duties in Tampa Bay. He's a fringe fantasy contributor at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB @CHI 004401000 ***
The Bears have surrendered eight TE TDs in just the past four games, and with Seferian-Jenkins taking over as the go-to tight end in Tampa he's definitely a fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Patrick Murray, TB @CHI 1122 ***
It's about as favorable a matchup as you'll find--the Bears have given up multiple field goals in five straight and eight of 10 on the year--but Murray has yet to tally a double-digit points game so even with the matchup he's a stretch of a fantasy start.

WEEK 10
2012
IND at JAC (THU) DEN at CAR *NYJ at SEA TEN at MIA
ATL at NO *DET at MIN OAK at BAL *KC at PIT (MON)
*BUF at NE *HOU at CHI *SD at TB Bye:
*UPDATED DAL at PHI NYG at CIN *STL at SF ARI, CLE, GB, WAS

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