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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: DEN 31, KC 13 (Line:: DEN by 10.5)

Players to Watch: Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball

Here is the first of two free wins for the 7-3 Broncos. The 1-9 Chiefs are on a seven game losing streak and have not scored more than one touchdown in any of the last six games. The Chiefs will certainly win another game. It just may not be this year.

Denver won 17-10 in Kansas City last year.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR 36-14
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD 30-23
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 @ KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 300,3
RB Ronnie Hillman 60 2-20
WR Emmanuel Sanders 5-60
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-90,1
WR Wes Welker 6-70,1
PK Connor Barth 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Make no mistake - the Broncos know how to score points. They've been above 30 points for the last five games and while the jury is still out on if they van beat a top defense, we may not know that until the playoffs other than the week 15 game in Baltimore. No doubt the Broncos will be favored in all other games - likely by a big margin - and roll up some major points along the way.

Peyton Manning is playing as well as he ever has. He is on pace to crest 4700 passing yards and 38 touchdowns. He's thrown for three scores in six of the last seven games and averaging 298 yards per game. That's probably more than even Tim Tebow would have done had he remained.

The big question this week is who will be the running back? Willis McGahee tore his MCL and fractured his leg and will miss 6-8 weeks which probably means he might be of use if the Broncos reach the Superbowl. His loss is a big hole to fill and they will employ a committee to get the job done. Ronnie Hillman will be the primary and the receiving back while Lance Ball will handle any heavy lifting in the short yardage and between the tackles. Once McGahee left last week, Hillman ran 12 times for 43 yards and caught two passes. Hillman clearly is the better runner but at 5-9 and 190 lbs. he's not an every down answer.

In other news, Knowshon Moreno has been promoted and now takes care of filling the Coke machine out by the elevators. Actually there are some reports that he be involved as well which only makes a bad situation worse.

Joel Dreessen was on a nice run earlier in the season but now has declined to just 30 yards or so per game and scored just once in the last six weeks.

With three passing scores to distribute every week, the wideouts are all fantasy relevant here. Eric Decker remains light on yardage in most weeks but already scored eight times this year and in six of the last seven games. Demaryius Thomas only scored five times but he's turned in five games with more than 100 yards and is on a pace for almost 1500 receiving yards. Even Brandon Stokley has five touchdowns though he almost never gains more than 50 yards in any game.

This week you just have to hope they keep the work ethic and continue the 30 point games since they know they can beat the Chiefs. Even the Chiefs know the Broncos can beat them. I like a defensive score in this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 6 17 2 6 12 2
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 21 23 8 6 28 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN @CIN 0000025020 ***
Cincy's been solid against the pass all season; Peyton's been ordinary the past couple of weeks. Dial back expectations, though you needn't go so far as to bench Manning here.
Update: Peyton has been limited in practice by the same thigh injury that sent him into the locker room early last week. No indication he'll miss the Monday night game, but if you have a roster spot you may want to stash Brock Osweiler... just in case.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @CIN 10014301000 ***
The Broncos are going to run Anderson plenty--109 carries over the past four games, resulting in 478 yards and four rushing scores. The Bengals couldn't contain similarly heavy-loaded backs like Stevan Ridley (27-113-1), Terrance West (26-94-1) or Le'Veon Bell (26-185-2), so expect Anderson to work back towards his 100-yard days after a couple weeks under that milestone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @CIN 0071001000 ***
Cincy's secondary has been among the best this year at shutting down opposing wide receivers. That said, the last time they say a tandem even close to the talent level of Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders they gave up matching 100-yard games to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. No worries about Demaryius making his appointed rounds this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @CIN 004600000 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup, and Sanders has taken a back seat to Demaryius Thomas the past couple of weeks against tougher defenses. But the pattern set by the Steelers, with both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant topping 100 yards, seems to be the closest fit to what Denver brings to the table this week. Consider Sanders just a half-step behind Thomas at the top end of the Denver passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @CIN 003400000 ***
Thomas had one catch in his return to action last week. Now he'll face a Cincy D that was beaten by Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen earlier in the year but held Jimmy Graham in check and has allowed only one TE TD in the past two months. He's still a threat, but if you've found a quality backup plan during his absence you'll want to give serious consideration to employing it for at least one more week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, DEN @CIN 2233 ***
Peyton Manning's struggles are to Barth's benefit, as he's booted five field goals in two of the past three games; prior to that Denver had just two multi-field goal games all year. Cincy's surrendered multiple treys in three straight, so Barth's fun times three should continue this week.

Kansas City Chiefs
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 24-40 10 @PIT 13-16
2 @BUF 17-35 11 CIN 6-28
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 13-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Jamaal Charles 70 2-10
RB Joe McKnight 10 2-10
WR Donnie Avery 4-60
WR Dwayne Bowe

Pregame Notes: The year could have gone better. Were it not for the three point win in New Orleans in week three, the Chiefs would probably be looking at an 0-fer season. Romeo Crennel's stint as a head coach seems to suggest that he is a defensive minded coach because the offense has varied between being bad to being just mannequins with red shirts on. The problem in fantasy terms is that not only has the Chiefs stripped themselves of all fantasy value other than Jamaal Charles, but they are encouraging other teams to just mail in their win and not rack up all the points and yards that are there for the taking.

The Chiefs have not named a starting quarterback largely because they have no one to choose from. Brady Quinn likely gets the start despite never scoring at all this year while Matt Cassel has worn out his welcome. The fact that Charles is able to accomplish anything as a runner is a miracle since no one respects the pass. The Chiefs only have six passing scores on the year and just one in the last seven weeks.

Charles still outs out the effort and even comes off the Bengals game where he gained 118 total yards. The question is how badly the defense wants to shut him down. His production has been wildly varying with as good as 288 total yards and as bad as ten total yards. He has the upside to turn in a decent game every week despite what is happening around him. Plus there is always the hope for trash time yardage.

Just to make matters worse, Dwayne Bowe injured his neck in the Bengals game and is not certain to play this week. He does not have a concussion but the Chiefs declined to be very specific what he has. He has not scored since week four anyway and rarely topped 60 yards in recent games. He is the only wideout of note for the team and when Brady plays, even that is no longer true. The only development in the passing game this year has been Tony Moeaki suddenly producing 50 + yards in the last three games.

The only real play here is Charles and even that is for moderate yardage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 31 1 32 29 20 26
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 14 14 6 30 3 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Alex Smith, KC @PIT 0000024021 ***
Smith has thrown multiple touchdown passes in three of his last four games and should be able to replicate that feat against a Steelers secondary that's served up multiple scoring strikes in eight straight. That's what passes for a big game for Smith.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC @PIT 9004401000 ***
Charles is battling head, ankle, and knee injuries so he's been ceding touches to Knile Davis. He's still a must-start, but the fact that Davis swiped two scores last week alone takes some of the luster off.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC @PIT 006900000 ***
It's been 17 games, 222 targets, 132 catches, 1,628 yards since a Chiefs wide receiver last scored a touchdown. That streak ends here, against a Steelers secondary that's allowed at least one WR TD in seven straight games, and Bowe is the most likely Chief to do it.
Update: Alas, just as opportunity knocks in Kanas City Bowe finds himself unable to answer. He's missed practice all week due to illness, and he's listed as questionable. There's simply not enough upside to offset that risk; seek fantasy assistance elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Albert Wilson, KC @PIT 004500000 ***
Wilson matched Dwayne Bowe's catches and yardage last week and recorded the second-most targets among KC wideouts as well. Memo to Wilson: if you're going to emulate someone, aim higher.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC @PIT 005601000 ***
More reliable targets, i.e. not sharing with Anthony Fasano, and this favorable matchup would make Kelce one of the top tight end plays of the week. Settle for solid and hope Fasano stays out of the mix.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC @PIT 2222 ***
Raise your hand if you remember all the way back to Week 8. That's the last time Santos had double-digit points, as well as the last time Pittsburgh gave up double-digit points to an opposing kicker. Two months of evidence suggests you should get your fantasy kicks elsewhere this week.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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