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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: SD 13, PIT 27 (Line:PIT by 3)

Players to Watch: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown

The 4-8 Chargers are on a four game losing streak and are 2-4 on the road. The 7-5 Steelers just won in Baltimore and are 4-1 at home.

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 13-20
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 @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 230,1
RB Ronnie Hillman 30 2-10
RB Danny Woodhead 10 4-20
WR Stevie Johnson 6-80
TE Jeff Cumberland 5-50
TE Antonio Gates 3-40

Pregame Notes: The season continues to swirl down the drain certain to take Norv Turner with it and all associated coaches with it. There still remains a chance for wins over the visiting Panthers and Raiders but even they are hardly a lock because the Chargers finally belong to the pantheon known as "truly bad teams". And the later in the season you go with "tbt's", the harder it is to rely on anything.

Philip Rivers was on a mini-scoring spree against the likes of the Buccaneers and Chiefs but only threw one score over the last two home games. On the plus side, he only threw one interception and lost a fumble in that time. On the negative, only having two turnovers is his only positive. On the road against the #1 defense against quarterbacks and receivers is not likely to be much of a treat at all... except for Steeler defense owners.

The 31-year old Ronnie Brown is playing out his one-year contract and will be gone. He's on the field an amazing amount of time for a player who has never scored and rarely accounts for more than maybe 30 total yards as the third down back. Ryan Mathews comes off his worst showing of the entire year with only 26 yards on nine runs last week because HC Norv Turner has managed to misuse and destroy the confidence of a running back who gained over 1000 rushing yards and had 50 catches for 455 yards. It doesn't help matters when the offensive line is dealing with multiple injuries

Danario Alexander still represents the only positive in the passing game and comes off 102 yards on six catches in Cincinnati. He's dwarfed what any other receiver has accomplished in San Diego this year and become a must start prospect in the process. Unfortunately, he'll be facing the best pass defense in the league. The Steelers RCB Ike Taylor injured his ankle and will be out for a few weeks though and that should help.

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 PIT 1 4 1 10 13 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD TB 0000032031 ***
Rivers has a wonderful matchup, as Tampa has given up the ninth most fantasy points, on average, since Week 7. This defense has allowed two TD passes and 290.2 yards per outing. This, in part, translates to 25.9 fantasy points per contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Melvin Gordon, SD TB 7015400000 ***
Of the last 99 rushing attempts against the Bucs, zero have found the end zone. Gordon is due. The Matchup is negative for the most part, but Tampa Bay has allowed the 16th most offensive yards per game over the past five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD TB 007801000 ***
Inman stands to benefit the most from Travis Benjamin's knee injury and whatever may become of Tyrell Williams, as he is dealing with a shoulder injury of his own. Tampa Bay has allowed averages of 14 grabs (7th), 176 yards (8th) and a TD every 14 receptions (23rd) since Week 7.

Update: Williams (QUE, limited practice) is a game-time decision. Inman becomes a top target for Philip Rivers but also for the defense. He's a risky but worthy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyrell Williams, SD TB 004501000 *
Return Friday for a clearer picture of Williams' status. If he plays, there is some risk but a good deal of upside because of the matchup. Tampa Bay has allowed a touchdown per game to receivers over the last five weeks.

Update: Williams is questionable and was a limited participant Friday. Starting him is a huge risk in fantasy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, SD TB 003400000 ***
Still recovering from a PCL sprain, Benjamin won't be right for a few more weeks. Keep him on the bench in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD TB 004501000 ***
The Buccaneers have given up the seventh most yards and fantasy points per game to tight ends over the last five weeks. Gates disappeared last week, but this is a great matchup for him to contribute to gamers' lineups..
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Hunter Henry, SD TB 002300000 ***
It's a great matchup, but Henry isn't a sure thing in terms of involvement from a week-to-week basis. Play him if you must or disagree, as Tampa has given up the seventh most PPR points to tight ends since Week 7.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD TB 1144 ***
Lambo has a negative-leaning matchup with the Buccaneers, but that could be irrelevant if the surging Bucs struggle on the road all the way across the nation.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC 16-13
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL 10-13
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE 14-20
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL 23-20
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD -----
6 @TEN 23-26 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN 24-17 16 CIN -----
8 WAS 27-12 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG 24-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 250,2
RB DeAngelo Williams 50 2-10
WR Antonio Brown 4-50
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-50,1

Pregame Notes: Go figure. In just one week, Charlie Batch went from the guy that threw three interceptions and let the Browns beat the Steelers to taking down the Ravens in Baltimore and passing for 276 yards and a score in the process. Fortunately fate will not be tempted again since Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return this week from his shoulder/rib injury he suffered in the Kansas City game four weeks ago. He was apparently medically cleared to play last week but the team did not want to take a chance on him re-injuring himself. Throw Batch to the wolves and look what happened. Batch openly wept after the game mostly because he just justified why the Steelers had been paying him a salary for so many years.

Rashard Mendenhall doesn't even play any more. Johnathan Dwyer scored last week in Baltimore but that was his first all year and he only ran for 49 yards on 16 carries. He still splits with the healthy-again Isaac Redman who was given nine runs for 43 yards in that game. It isn't much of a rushing attack unless it faces a weak defense. Dwyer will prove to be more of a workhorse in an easier game which is likely to include this one.

Antonio Brown finally returned last week and caught five of his ten targets for 58 yards in Baltimore. He looked very healthy and no doubt will welcome back Roethlisberger this week. Heath Miller - maybe not so much. After all, he just turned in his season best 97 yards on five catches and one score with Batch. That was his first score since week eight.

There could be an emotional let down this week after a big win in Baltimore and now at home against a very weak Chargers team that should not be too much of a challenge. But the return of Roethlisberger and the specter of making the playoffs should be plenty to keep the team focused this week. The rest of the schedule should be pretty much downhill though the road trip to Dallas might be interesting. The final two weeks against the Browns and Bengals should be easy enough.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 15 20 20 7 13 29
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 17 15 22 5 2 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT NYG 0000027011 ***
The Giants have allowed the fourth fewest points per game on the 11th highest opportunity rating. On the plus side for Big Ben, quarterbacks have posted the highest yards per completion and ninth most yards per game versus the G-men since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT NYG 8018700000 ***
New York has allowed running backs to score at the fifth easiest rate on the through and eighth easiest overall, but the position has posted only 115 offensive yards a game in the last five weeks against the Giants.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT NYG 0071001000 ***
AB faces a tough task this week -- which probably means he scores only once instead of three times -- with the Giants owning fantasy's fourth most difficult matchup for receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eli Rogers, PIT NYG 004300000 ***
There isn't much upside in playing Rogers this week. The Giants have allowed the fourth fewest points per game to PPR receivers, and only two of the last 43 receptions face have gone the distance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, PIT NYG 004400000 ***
Green draws a Giants team that has allowed the most yards per game on the 11th highest yardage figure, but only one of the 21 catches went for a touchdown over the past five games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT NYG 2233 ***
The Giants have given up the fifth most FGAs per game and 25th most XPAs on average since Week 7, translating to the 10th highest fantasy points per game provided to the position.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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