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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

Prediction: CIN 22, SD 23 (Line: SD by 3)

Players Updated: Mohamed Sanu

Players to Watch: Mohamed Sanu, Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews

The 6-5 Bengals are on a three game winning streak and are 3-2 in road games. The Chargers are 4-7 and have lost their last three games including a 2-3 home record. This is a real toss-up sort of game since the Chargers are overdue for a win and the Bengals are probably not as good as their record suggests.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 13-44 10 NYG 31-13
2 CLE 34-27 11 @KC 28-6
3 @WAS 38-31 12 OAK 34-10
4 @JAC 27-10 13 @SD -----
5 MIA 13-17 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE 24-34 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT 17-24 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN 23-31 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 270,2
RB Cedric Peerman 40 1-10
WR A.J. Green 7-110,1
WR Marvin Jones 3-40
WR Mohamed Sanu
TE Jermaine Gresham 5-40,1
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bengals are three games in back of the Ravens and highly unlikely to catch them with only five games left to play. But there is still a shot at a wildcard since there are only three winning records in the AFC after the divisional leaders. The remaining schedule is pretty brutal though and the Bengals have only beaten one team with a winning record. This will be the only road trip out west for the Bengals this season.

Andy Dalton's had a very good sophomore season with 23 passing touchdowns but his yardage has scaled back in recent weeks. He hasn't topped 300 yards in five games and while he threw nine touchdowns over the last three games, none contained more than 230 passing yards. That mostly reflects how well games have been going for the Bengals and that the rushing effort has recently been much better.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis comes off a season best 129 yards on 19 runs against the Raiders and he rolled up 100 yards on the Chiefs in the previous game. But he rarely went over 60 yards in other games and scored only three times over the first nine games. Three of his five scores came in road games. Notable too is that Cedric Peerman is becoming a bigger factor in the backfield with eight carries in each of the last two games. He gained 61 yards in Kansas City and then 75 yards against the Raiders. Peerman is running with speed and moves that BGE simply does not have. These final games of the year is an audition of sorts to see if Peerman can ever become more than just a back-up in Cincy. Chances are that BGE won't take the same primary role in 2013.

A.J. Green gained 111 yards on three catches last week but failed to score for the first time all year. The Raiders loaded up to deny him a touchdown and in the process gave up two scores to Mohamed Sanu who only caught five passes for 29 yards. That makes three straight games with a score for Sanu who still has yet to break 50 yards in any game.

The Bengals defense has really shined in recent weeks though mostly against weak opponents. The Chargers are only average on defense but play better when at home. They've allowed only two rushing touchdowns in San Diego and no runner has topped 100 rushing yards against them including Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice and Chris Johnson. Look for Dalton to need to do more to keep this game competitive.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 10 24 3 15 18 17
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 17 15 22 5 2 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN TEN 0000025010 ***
Not to slap a "caretaker" or "game manager" label on Dalton, but he's produced two wins while throwing a total of two TDs and ranking 22nd among QBs in pass attempts. The Titans haven't allowed much in the way of passing success themselves, so keep a lid on fantasy expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN TEN 8015600000 ***
A week after allowing 173 combo yards (167 rushing) to DeMarco Murray the Titans face Bernard, who has games of 110 and 169 yards from scrimmage this season. About the only concern is that Jeremy Hill swipes a touchdown, but that would be quibbling.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN TEN 6011100000 ***
Being the junior partner in a backfield committee isn't all bad--especially when you still get 15 carries of your own, and you face a defense that just served up 220 rushing yards the week before. Getting goal line looks doesn't hurt, either.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN TEN 005801000 ****
Early word is Green is expected to play on his bum toe this week; if he's well enough to play, he's well enough to be in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN TEN 004500000 ***
Sanu did a serviceable impression of AJ Green last week when Cincy's WR1 went down with a toe injury. And seeing as the Titans seem comfortable allowing stats to whomever is handling a team's WR1 duties at the time (Dez Bryant, obviously, last week but Donnie Avery 7-84 in Dwayne Bowe's absence Week 1), if Green can't go Sanu should again prove worthy of fantasy attention.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Tate, CIN TEN 003400000 ***
The Titans haven't surrendered much of anything to secondary targets thus far this season, nor have the Bengals thrown to them. Plan accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN TEN 003300000 ***
Despite the absence of the injured Tyler Eifert Gresham remains more of a blocker than a fantasy threat. No reason to reach here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN TEN 2233 ***
The Bengals have given Nugent ample opportunity this season; no kicker has more field goal attempts. He'll need to connect at a better than 25% rate--his percentage last week--to turn those opportunities into fantasy help.

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 23-30
3 ATL 3-27 12 BAL 13-16
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 vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 240,2
RB Donald Brown 30 3-20
RB Ryan Mathews 60 3-20
RB Danny Woodhead 10 3-20
WR Malcom Floyd 4-60,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-50,1
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chargers are better than their record, at least at home where they nearly beat the Ravens last week and clobbered the Chiefs in the previous home venue. This team is not going to the playoffs and has to be a lock for a coaching overhaul in the offseason at the very least. That may play a role in future road efforts but at home the Chargers are still trying to bring it and will be at least competitive in this game.

Philip Rivers usually throws two scores in every game but his 18 touchdowns go against 14 interceptions and four lost fumbles. His yardage tends to be moderate and rises only when faced with a very weak secondary. Rivers has topped 260 passing yards only once in the last six games.

Ryan Mathews is the primary back but that only means around 17 or so carries per game and maybe three or four catches. Mathews scored only once all year and that week five touchdown was the only running back score in the last seven games. Ronnie Brown plays third downs for a few catches and carries but this is a Norv Turner offense that amazingly devoid of a decent backfield. They won't run Mathews more than about 18 times per game ever though he is clearly the best player for the job. Brown may pass block well but has no burst and no way to tack on any yards after he catches the ball.

The downward spiral of Antonio Gates continues with a season low two receptions for 13 yards last week. Unless the Chargers are facing a seriously weak secondary, Gates has just been little more than a blocker. He and Malcom Floyd are the only receivers of any consistent note each week. Floyd scored three times over the last four games and usually ends up right around 60 yards in most games. With Gates in such a decline, the two starting wideouts have to provide almost all the receiving production that doesn't end up with the running backs.

The Bengals secondary has been very good and ranks top ten in most categories. They've only allowed 13 passing scores in ten games and only once allowed over 300 passing yards. Their weakness is much more against the run but the Chargers have only a mediocre offense for rushing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 19 13 26 11 20 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 24 5 23 19 20

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @BUF 0000026021 ***
Rivers should get plenty of chances against a defense that's allowed 49 pass attempts each of the two previous games. After tossing multiple scores against the Seahawks, strafing the Bills should be easier pickings for Rivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD @BUF 4013100000 ***
No reason to get overly excited for Brown as he steps into Ryan Mathews' shoes for a month or so; the Bills have yet to allow a RB TD this year and even Matt Forte couldn't top 82 rushing yards against them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD @BUF 2003200000 ***
The Bills seem especially vulnerable to pass-catching backs--only five teams have allowed more RB receptions, only four more RB receiving yards thus far this season--and with Ryan Mathews out it's a great opportunity for Woodhead to step up and do what he does. It's worth noting that the last two times Woodhead faced Buffalo as a Patriot he scored receiving touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @BUF 005601000 ***
Allen has faced some pretty doggone good corners already this season, and Buffalo's underrated secondary is no slouch themselves. That said, they've allowed both WR1s they've faced to find the end zone so this is a great opportunity for Allen to kick-start his fantasy season.
Update: Allen practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and is officially listed as questionable, adding another layer of risk to Allen's fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @BUF 004500000 ***
No secondary wideout has scored against the Bills this season and only Alshon Jeffery has topped 50 yards. Floyd is no Jeffery, and after being held catchless by the Seahawks last week there's no reason for an uptick in optimism here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @BUF 005400000 ***
Buffalo's secondary has been solid thus far this season; no reason to mine the depths of San Diego's wide receivers for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @BUF 006601000 ****
Only one team has allowed more TE receptions thus far this season than the Bills, and only three tight ends have more grabs than Gates. Even if Ladarius Green rejoins the fray after being catchless last week there's more than enough opportunity for Gates to extend his throwback run a little bit longer.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @BUF 1133 ***
Novak has yet to miss this season, and with Rivers-to-Gates humming along he should continue to see enough opportunities to be a fantasy factor.

WEEK 13
2012
NO at ATL (THU) *CLE at OAK *MIN at GB *SEA at CHI
*ARI at NYJ HOU at TEN NE at MIA *SF at STL
CAR at KC *IND at DET *PHI at DAL TB at DEN
*UPDATED *CIN at SD *JAC at BUF *PIT at BAL NYG at WAS (MON)

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