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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 Lance Ball 30 2-20
RB Ronnie Hillman 60 2-20
WR Emmanuel Sanders 5-60
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-90,1
WR Wes Welker 6-70,1
TE Joel Dreessen 4-30
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 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.

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
WR Steve Breaston 2-40

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 Chase Daniel, KC SD 0000018011 *
Update: Daniel will get the start in a must-win game due to Alex Smith's lacerated spleen. There's very little to like here from a fantasy perspective.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, KC SD 11023200000 ***
Charles has triple-digit combo yardage and at least one touchdown in five of his last seven meetings with the Chargers, including the one earlier this season. However, Charles hasn't carried the ball more than a dozen times since Week 12 so you run the risk of Andy Reid criminally underusing Charles yet again. However, Charles' high ceiling makes the risk worthwhile.
Update: Charles practiced on a limited basis all week and is listed as questionable, but with the Chiefs down to their second-string quarterback they'll need to lean even more heavily on Charles... assuming he can hold up to the workload.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC SD 004600000 **
Bowe scored each of the last two times the Chargers came to town, but it's been more than a year since a Chiefs' wideout found the end zone and there's little evidence Bowe will suddenly stumble upon it this week.
Update: Bowe missed a couple practices due to injury, plus he'll now be catching balls from Chase Daniels. As if his fantasy prospects could get any dimmer.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Albert Wilson, KC SD 004500000 ***
Wilson has emerged to take his spin as the Chiefs' WR2, which is the fantasy equivalent of being the vice-president of Hair Club for Men. Only it probably has more benefits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Travis Kelce, KC SD 004501000 **
The Chargers have given up just three TE TDs on the year, so they're far from an easy mark. Kelce racked up 33 yards in the earlier meeting with San Diego, which isn't all that impressive. And he's still sharing looks with Anthony Fasano, completing the hat trick of frustration that conspire to leave Kelce out of your fantasy lineup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cairo Santos, KC SD 1133 ***
Santos' two most productive games were a dozen last week and 11 the last time he faced the Chargers. With the Chiefs still playing for something, he's as good a bet as any for a solid kicker outing.

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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