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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: SD 17, DEN 34 (Line: DEN by 7.5)

Players Updated: Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle

Players to Watch: Danario Alexander, Ryan Matthews, Eric Decker, Willis McGahee

The 4-5 Chargers have a chance to close the two game deficit they have with the 6-3 Broncos but the Bolts only sport a 2-3 road record while the Broncos are 3-1 at home and on a four game winning streak that started when the beat the Chargers 35-24 in San Diego during week six. This was the game where the Chargers led 24-0 at the half and then turned in one of the greatest choke jobs seen in recent history. Probably not a great thing this one is in Denver.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @OAK 22-14 10 @TB 24-34
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 @ DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 250,2
RB Donald Brown 40 1-10
RB Ronnie Brown 30 3-20
RB Ryan Mathews
RB Danny Woodhead 10 4-30
WR Malcom Floyd 5-60
TE Antonio Gates 5-60,1
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The season not got any better than halftime in week six when the Chargers led the Broncos 24-0 and had a 3-2 record coming into the game. 35 unanswered points later and everything crumbled. The Chargers lost their last three road games and now Norv Turner is publicly expressing his confidence in Philip RIvers because he has to...

The Chargers are coming off the easier part of their schedule with only a 4-5 record and Norv Turner looks like a likely member of the NFL coaching purge at the end of the year. Philip Rivers has been mostly decent in fantasy terms but less so in the NFL where his 12 interceptions have often proved to be game killers. He's thrown for 15 touchdowns but was held to two scores and just 241 yards in the first meeting with the Broncos. That's not likely to get much better on the road in Denver.

Ryan Mathews was used more in recent weeks starting back with that first game against the Broncos when he ran for 74 yards on 22 carries. He's still used inconsistently but is gaining around 70 total yards per week. The Chargers as a team only have four rushing touchdowns and the one by Mathews came back in week five. Ronnie Brown is still used enough to have a negative impact on what Mathews does. By now, the only play here is to use Mathews knowing he'll only get you about 70 yards or so. Even Ronnie Brown has seen fewer receptions lately eliminating whatever marginal fantasy value he offered in reception point leagues.

One bright spot is Antonio Gates who scored twice in the Denver game and two more times in the last three weeks. He's topped 60 yards in a game just once but at least he has scored with some regularity in the last month. He was just about given up for dead prior to the first meeting with the Broncos.

The only other notable change here is that Danario Alexander replaced mega-bust Robert Meachem and comes off the best game by any Chargers receiver when he caught five passes for 134 yards and one score in Tampa Bay. Malcom Floyd also scored last week but he's apparently stuck at 50 to 60 yards per week and even caught five passes for 60 yards in the last meeting with the Broncos.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 20 5 30 10 12 10
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 16 14 5 31 7 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @DEN 0000025021 ****
Shooting it out with Peyton Manning hasn't proven to be lucrative, and it's been quite some time since Rivers had a monster game against the Broncos. That said, Rivers has multiple touchdowns in six straight and has played himself into every-week starter status regardless of opponent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @DEN 6014300000 ***
Oliver came back to Earth a bit last week with 78 combo yards and no touchdown. The Broncos aren't a particularly favorable matchup, so if you've been riding Oliver's hot streak be prepared for some more disappointment this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @DEN 004501000 **
Much like last year, Royal flashed and is now fading. He has no track record to speak of against his former squad, and his catches have declined three straight weeks. Don't bank on him being a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @DEN 004500000 ***
Floyd's the slow and steady winning the race; that he's had at least 50 yards in each of his last four against the Broncos underscores that philosophy. Philip Rivers isn't afraid to throw at him, and good things can happen when you're getting targeted.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @DEN 004400000 ****
Allen scored twice on two catches the last time these teams got together. That two matches the number of WR TDs the Broncos allowed last week, but it's infinitely more than the zero Allen has scored thus far in his sophomore slump of a season. We'll call the shot: he gets one here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @DEN 006601000 ****
Gates has spaced out his big games against the Broncos--like, 2012 and 2007 spaced out. Denver has had a soft spot for tight ends this year so don't dismiss Gates altogether, but history isn't on his side.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @DEN 1133 ***
Novak's a solid, consistent option but don't set expectations too high: you don't keep up with Peyton Manning by kicking field goals, and Novak has multiple treys in just one of his last three outings.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR 36-14
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 35-24 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 310,3
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-30
WR Demaryius Thomas 4-60,1
WR Wes Welker 6-80

Pregame Notes: The Broncos are not only on a four game winning streak, they scored over 30 points in each of those games while never allowing any opponent to come within eight points of them. The win in San Diego was the turning point in the season when they went from 3-3 to being back in control of the AFC West. A win this week means a three game lead over the rest of the division plus first tie-breakers. This just in - the Broncos have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the entire NFL. The week 15 trip to Baltimore may be the only time they are not favored.

Peyton Manning is no less productive than he has ever been. He already passed for 21 touchdowns and has not thrown for under 290 yards in the last seven games. Manning threw for 309 yards and three scores in San Diego almost entirely in the second half. When Peyton Manning is having one of his best seasons ever, that says something. Something like the Broncos are going to the playoffs and even the Tebow Foundation agrees that Manning was a good acquisition.

The only current negative in the offense is that Willis McGahee has already lost four fumbles this year. His workload has not been scaled back yet but it is an obvious concern. Ronnie Hillman stole the short score last week but otherwise has very little role. McGahee ran for 56 yards on 17 carries and added 42 yards on four receptions in the San Diego meeting. The Charger rushing defense is decent and only allowed one runner to top 100 yards this year. Last week they held Doug Martin to only 68 yards on 19 runs and he never fumbles.

Joel Dreessen turned in a season-best 57 yards on six catches in the last Chargers tilt but he's not reliable for more than about 40 yards per week and he was blanked in the last home game.

All three starting wideouts scored in San Diego. Demaryius Thomas was held to only 37 yards on two catches but Brandon Stokley (4-48) and Eric Decker (6-98) both had one of their best games of the year. Thomas already has five games over 100 yards and was only thrown two passes in week six thanks mostly to Quentin Jammer making Manning look elsewhere. Thomas injured his right knee last week but came back into the game later on and still ended with nine catches for 135 yards in Carolina.

This is a big game because a win here means the Broncos can almost coast into the playoffs even with six games left to play. I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 7 18 2 8 17 2
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 13 17 19 5 1 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN SD 0000030030 *****
Manning has never not thrown for multiple touchdowns or 300-plus yards against the Chargers. Never. And in five of 11 lifetime meetings he's done both. Same could be said for this season, as he's averaging 300-plus and three TDs. Even with no NFL record dangling in front of him, Manning should put up his usual big numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN SD 6003200000 ****
Hillman has been more than okay filling in for the injured Montee Ball. This week's edge comes in the passing game, as the Chargers have already given up five RB receiving scores and Hillman has nine targets in his two starts. No reason to bail on him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN SD 0071201000 ****
The Chargers have given up just one big game to wideouts... but the Broncos are a different animal, and Thomas is at the head of that pack. He's scored in three of four career meetings with the Bolts, including a 108 and 3 outing last November. No Brandon Flowers certainly doesn't help San Diego's hopes of slowing the Denver passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN SD 005800000 ***
The trickle-down effect of San Diego losing a starting corner helps Sanders' prospects as well. With a whole bunch of Peyton Manning productivity to spread around, Sanders should see his share of the fantasy love.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN SD 005600000 ****
Signs of life from Welker last week, and as long as Peyton Manning is throwing him the ball there's no reason to shy away from him as a fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN SD 003401000 ***
Thomas failed to score for the first time last week, and the Bolts aren't an easy matchup for the position. That said, he's far too involved in the Denver offense to be benched simply for a bump in the road difficult matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN SD 3333 ****
The risk with McManus is that he counts by ones instead of threes. Consider the Chargers enablers, as they've allowed only one multiple field goal game since Week 1.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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