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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 Danario Alexander 4-60,1
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 @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.

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
TE Joel Dreessen 4-50
PK Connor Barth 2 FG 3 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 OAK 0000028020 ****
Manning's average outing against Oakland the past two seasons is 326 and 4--and he actually bettered those numbers with 340 and 5 in the earlier matchup this season. There may not be a reason for Manning to stick around for the full game to compile such numbers, but you can bet the Broncos want him back on track for the postseason so he'll get enough reps to fill your fantasy passion bucket.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN OAK 12023100000 ***
Anderson blew up the Raiders by land and air in the previous meeting, amassing 163 combo yards and a touchdown on just 17 touches. He may cede a few looks to Ronnie Hillman to get the former starter some game action before the postseason, but not before doing more than enough to help your fantasy squad.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN OAK 0081201000 ***
Thomas is averaging more than 100 yards per game in his last five meetings with the Raiders, including 11-108 earlier this year. He's only scored in one of those games, however, so he's no lock to help you in a TD-heavy league. That yardage, though, is more than enough of a performance-league cushion.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN OAK 005701000 ***
Sanders scored against Oakland in 2013 as a Steeler; he scored twice against them earlier this season as a Bronco. No reason to think he won't put up another fantasy helper here.
Update: Sanders was limited all week with a hip injury and is officially listed as questionable. He may make an early exit from this tilt should the Broncos take a commanding lead early on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN OAK 004500000 ***
Thomas' 6-63-2 kicked off a stretch in which the Raiders allowed six TE TDs in a seven-game span. Julius hasn't scored or topped 35 yards since, but the favorable matchup and a need to shake off rust before the postseason starts suggest he'll be at least a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, DEN OAK 1144 ***
Barth's at least good for six points; every kicker to face the Raiders has produced at least that number. And with Peyton Manning struggling, maybe he has another of those five field goal games, which he's done in half his outings as a Bronco.

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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