FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

Prediction: CAR 20, SD 25 (Line: SD by 3 )

Players to Watch: Cam Newton, Ryan Mathews

The 4-9 Panthers come off their game of the year when they beat the Falcons but are only 2-4 in road games. The 5-8 Chargers are fresh from their own upset winning in Pittsburgh last week and are only 2-4 at home. Neither team is as good as they played last week but that makes this game more of a coin toss. This week will depend on how well the Chargers can run and how well the Panthers can pass.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB 21-27
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI 30-22
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC 21-27
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL 30-20
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD -----
7 DAL 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 60,1 230,1
RB Jonathan Stewart
RB DeAngelo Williams 40 1-10
WR Jason Avant 5-60
TE Greg Olsen 4-50,1
PK Graham Gano 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: You cannot say that Cam Newton is not earning his money lately. Once again he provided almost all the offense needed to win a game and after struggling in the first half of the season, he's come on well for the last three weeks and is ending the season on a higher note.

Newton's previous big games came at the expense of inferior teams but winning against the Falcons was impressive, trap game or not. He matches well with them since he posted two passing scores and a rushing touchdown in both meetings with the Falcons. He also comes off a season best 116 rush yards on nine runs and has done more to add the run back into his repertoire in recent weeks. Of course facing the Eagles and Chiefs hardly pitted him against elite teams. This week is back against a weaker team though it will be on the road. With only the Raiders and the Saints left on the schedule, Newton is bound to finish strongly.

Jonathan Stewart remains out with a high ankle sprain but DeAngelo Williams has been nothing special despite getting a heavier load. He comes off a season high 17 carries for 56 yards and scored on his two catches for 56 yards. But his 53-yard catch for a touchdown was an exception to the extreme. Williams only totaled 48 receiving yards in his entire season up until that one catch. Even at home against soft opponents, Williams has never rushed for more than 69 yards this year and ran in a score just once in the last nine games.

Brandon LaFell remains out with a chipped bone in his foot and turf toe though he should be back soon. Steve Smith posted seven catches for 109 yards versus Atlanta which makes it two consecutive games over the 100 yard mark. Louis Murphy fills in for LaFell but offers little. Greg Olsen scored against the Falcons which now makes two of his games with a touchdown going against the Falcons. He also scored last week in Kansas City but it was on his only catch in that game.

This should be another decent game for Newton against a defense that has not faced a running quarterback all year. This is less likely a big game for Smith since only one receiver broke 100 yards as a visitor and no wideout scored there in the last three games. Olsen is a better bet given that three of the last four visitors to San Diego scored via a pass to their primary tight end.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 6 29 22 10 32 12
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 18 14 18 7 3 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR @ATL 40100022010 ****
Newton threw for just 247 & 1 in the earlier meeting with Atlanta, but he mixed in a rushing score--a la E.J. Manuel, a la Colin Kaepernick last week. In fact, every quarterback but one that has faced the Falcons has recorded multiple touchdowns; why should a motivated Newton be any different?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR @ATL 601000000 ****
The Falcons have given up 98 and 97 yards to feature backs the past two weeks, that on the heels of four 100-yard games in the two months prior. Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 85 yards in the earlier meeting with Atlanta; with Williams now housing al those carries, he's a solid fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR @ATL 004501000 ****
Cotchery has scored a surprising amount of touchdowns, but he's most definitely the third wheel in this passing game and can't be banked on for fantasy production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR @ATL 007801000 *****
Only two teams have allowed more TE TDs than the Falcons. Olsen scored on them in the earlier matchup and is set up for another solid fantasy outing here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR @ATL 1133 ****
No team has given up more points to kickers than the Falcons. Graham tallied 10 in the earlier meeting, and with Carolina still in the postseason hunt he'll get plenty of opportunity to swing the leg here.

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 34-24
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 CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 230,1
RB Ryan Mathews 90,1 2-10
RB Danny Woodhead 10 5-30
WR Malcom Floyd 4-60,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-40
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The win in Pittsburgh ended a four game losing streak but that's not nearly enough to save Norv Turner's job the moment the offseason starts. Last week was an exception to just about everything the Chargers are about this year. With two home games against the Panthers and Raiders left to play, the winning is not over and the Chargers can find a little redemption in ending strongly before the team is torn apart and put back together in the spring.

Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns in Pittsburgh to add to the general twilight zone quality of the game but he only managed 200 passing yards and continues to struggle to find receivers besides Danario Alexander. Even with the big win, RIvers was only 21 of 41 in passing completions. The entire season, he has never been any better than the defense allows anyone to be until last week and even then it was more about key defenders being out for the Steelers.

Ryan Mathews comes off a season high 25 carries for 65 yards and finally had the sort of workload that the offense needs. For whatever reason, Norv Turner waited until the 13th game of the season and in the very worst of all spots to play but at least Mathews gutted out not having decent blocking and both did not fumble and remained healthy. Facing one of the worst defenses this week should be far more profitable assuming the Chargers don't suddenly decide they need to throw more or use Ronnie Brown instead. That's highly unlikely but given the history of this year just because something seems reasonable does not mean it will be followed. Brown's role has been shrinking in recent weeks and he's been given six or fewer touches for the last five games. He had just three last week and no longer warrants projecting.

Antonio Gates is done. He only managed three catches for 31 yards in Pittsburgh and has been without fantasy merit for the last four games now. He's no longer reliable for more than a few carries and mediocre yardage with no scores.

Danario Alexander continues to amaze. He comes off an 88-yard effort on seven catches with two touchdowns and has yet to turn in less than 74 yards in any of the last five games while scoring five times over that span. Compared to all other receivers for the Chargers, that's astronomic and exactly what River's had been missing all year. Vincent Brown is not going to play this year so Alexander is as good as it will ever get. And that's pretty good.

Michael Spurlock caught seven passes for 64 yards as the replacement slot receiver last week since Eddie Royal remains out but that was his first game of the year and is not the start of anything significant.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 22 17 27 16 21 6
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 11 27 5 21 32 17

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD KC 0000030020 *****
Rivers ripped KC for 392 & 3 in the earlier meeting. The Chiefs may be resting regulars, and by the time this one kicks off the Chargers may be out of the playoff mix as well. But as it stands now the Bolts still have a chip and a chair, which means Rivers will take his shots--and that's a good thing, fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kellen Clemens, SD KC 0000017002 ***
Clemens has just one game with multiple passing scores in his last five, and he hasn't topped 250 yards all season. Oh, and he's facing a Seattle defense that's allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other. This isn't going to end well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, SD KC 8013200000 ****
Mathews fell three feet shy of a third straight game with 100 yards and a touchdown, but clearly he's been hot of late. He scored in the earlier meeting with KC and should see ample opportunity to do so here as well--maybe even against backup defenders.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD KC 7012200000 ***
Trent Richardson saw more touches but Brown was more effective last week; same thing happened when the Jags and Colts met back in Week 4, and in all likelihood that's what's on tap this week as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD KC 2003400000 ***
Woodhead scored twice in the earlier meeting with KC, and while he isn't taking a bite out of Ryan Mathews' work in the ground game he's contributing plenty as a pass-catcher. He's a must-start in PPR formats and a solid play in just about every other format, especially if the Chiefs turn to backups early on.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD KC 0061001000 ***
Allen has five touchdowns in his last three games and posted back-to-back 100-yard efforts prior to that--one of them in Kansas City. He'll be Philip Rivers' go-to guy once again, with the Chargers playing for something and the Chiefs quite possibly mailing it in.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD KC 003300000 ***
Royal's 56 yard outing with a touchdown in Week 9 is the closest thing a San Diego secondary receiver has had to a fantasy helper since the team's Week 8 bye. You don't want to dig too deep into this matchup for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Vincent Brown, SD KC 002300000 ***
Brown has done almost nothing since a big 117 yard effort in Week 5. He's still full of potential... and potential still means "hasn't really done anything yet."
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Ladarius Green, SD KC 002301000 ***
Green may have the Bolts' last two TE TDs, including one against the Chiefs earlier this year, but he's barely taking a bite out of Antonio Gates' targets and can't be banked on for fantasy productivity.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 005400000 ***
Ladarius Green has the Chargers' last two TE TDs, including one against the Chiefs in the earlier meeting, but it's been Gates getting the targets of late. The Chiefs have given up a couple TE TDs over the past month, and if they're going to be mailing it in that bodes well for Gates.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD KC 2244 ***
The Chiefs weren't mailing it in back in Week 12 when Novak put up 11 points on them. He's reached double digits in four of six overall as well as four of six at home, and with the Chargers clinging to playoff hopes he'll get a chance to put up big numbers again.

WEEK 15
2012
CIN at PHI (THU) *GB at CHI *MIN at STL *SF at NE
CAR at SD IND at HOU *NYG at ATL TB at NO
DEN at BAL *JAC at MIA *PIT at DAL *WAS at CLE
*Updated *DET at ARI KC at OAK *SEA at BUF *NYJ at TEN (MON)

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