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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
WR A.J. Green 7-110,1
WR Brandon LaFell 4-60
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 A.J. McCarron, CIN BAL 0000027020 ***
The Ravens shut out Ben Roethlisberger last week; can they get up for another division rival, on the road this time? McCarron has single TDs and 200 yards or less in each of his two starts, so don't expect fireworks here even though the matchup appears favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN BAL 501000000 ***
While Hill struggled in the earlier meeting (21 yards on 12 carries), the Ravens' run D has softened since that Week 3 meeting. In five of their last six games Baltimore has faced a back who got at least 15 carries; four of those five backs have scored or topped 100 yards or both. Hill has 19 carries in each of AJ McCarron's two starts, so he'll get the volume; Baltimore's track record suggests that volume is enough for a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN BAL 4003400000 ***
Gio can still give you some PPR help--he has four catches in each of AJ McCarron's two starts--but he has a total of 94 yards on 30 touches in those two games. He's the backseat driver to Jeremy Hill, and while the matchup is favorable on paper it's not such that Gio can be a big fantasy helper alongside Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN BAL 0071101000 ***
Green blew up the Ravens for 10-227-2 earlier this season, and AJ McCarron knows where to find him so you can expect good things again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN BAL 004400000 ***
LaFell is hurt, just like most of the rest of the Patriots. However, unlike Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman his fantasy value isn't such that he's worth waiting for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN BAL 005501000 ***
Eifert has cleared concussion protocol, but he'll likely be eased back into the mix and is tough to trust with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN BAL 1144 ***
Always fun to use
Ted songs in Nugent write-up
Wang Dang Sweet... you know

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 Danny Woodhead 10 3-20
WR Malcom Floyd 4-60,1
WR Stevie Johnson 6-90,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-50,1

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 @DEN 0000024001 ***
Rivers' quest for the passing title takes a hit against the league's top pass defense. The Broncos limited him to 202 yards in the earlier meeting, and he hasn't thrown for 300 yards against Denver since January of 2011. Don't expect much here with the Broncos still playing for playoff positioning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD @DEN 1005600000 ***
Game script suggests plenty of throwing, and the Broncos' pass rush suggests plenty of checkdowns to Woodhead. That's the extend of the upside in San Diego's backfield this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, SD @DEN 003500000 *
The Steelers have allowed two receivers to score or top 60 yards in three straight so you have to believe there's at least one fantasy helper here. And Benjamin is the best bet among Cleveland's thinning receiving corps.

Update: Benjamin was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury. You may need to check his status pre-game if you're planning to use him in your Week 17 fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @DEN 004400000 ***
Inman proved to be Philip Rivers' go-to guy last week, and the Broncos have been much more lenient of late in giving up five WR TDs over the past three games. But seeing as how Chargers wideouts combined for four catches and 60 yards against Denver just a month ago, expectations should be limited.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Javontee Herndon, SD @DEN 005300000 ***
Herndon's top NFL outing is 5-47, and he's still looking for his first pro TD. Unlikely to come against a top pass defense on a team going nowhere... at least until the offseason.

Update: Herndon is listed as questionable with a chest injury, but after limited practice sessions early in the week he was available for the full session on Friday so he should be good to go this weekend.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @DEN 003300000 ***
Banged up, facing an elite pass defense, with nothing to play for... tough to get excited about Floyd's fantasy prospects here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @DEN 006500000 ***
The Broncos haven't given up a TE TD in a month, with Gates' 6-50 the top TE game against them in that span. He's topped five catches and 50 yards each of the past three meetings with Denver, with three TDs in those three games, so there's at least a little upside to him here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD @DEN 1100 ***
Three points in home game
vs. DEN; even altitude
won't be enough help

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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