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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 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 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.

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
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 4 XP

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 KC 0000030020 ***
Last year's home date with the Chiefs was Manning's only game in Denver where he failed to throw for multiple touchdowns; fantasy owners had to settle for 323 and 1. Against a Chiefs D that just gave up 266 and 2 to Jake Locker, we like his chances of correcting that wrong from a year ago.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Montee Ball, DEN KC 10013200000 ***
Ball scored twice in the front end of last season's series with the Chiefs, then rushed for 117 yards in the rematch--all while sharing 46 touches with Knowshon Moreno. Now that the gig is all Ball's, no reason to think his numbers will be anything other than fantasy stud-worthy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN KC 0061101000 ****
Thomas topped 100 yards in both ends of last season's series, though he failed to find the end zone in either contest. He and Peyton were a little out of sync in Week 1; expect the kinks to be worked out and Thomas to be his usual dominant fantasy self.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN KC 2004600000 ***
All three of Denver's wideouts topped 70 yards in the front end of last season's series with KC, and two reached triple digits in the rematch--with Eric Decker, the guy Sanders replaced, pulling an Abe Lincoln (four scores). While Julius Thomas may be taking a bigger bite, there's still more than enough productivity here for Sanders to be more than a little fantasy-relevant.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN KC 004701000 ****
Thomas scored in the front end of last season's KC series, then missed the rematch with an injury. After blowing up the Colts in the season opener he gets a Chiefs defense that let Delanie Walker find the end zone on them last week. Doesn't take much to figure out Thomas is a dynamite play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN KC 2144 ***
McManus keeps riding the Broncos' gravy train all the way to... well, at least through Matt Prater's four-game suspension.

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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