FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: SD 10, NYJ 20 (Line: NYJ by 1.5)

Players to Watch: Greg McElroy, Danario Alexander

The 5-9 Chargers are only 3-4 on the road and trying to get out of the year without losing any more players. The 6-7 Jets are changing quarterbacks this week. It is finally Tebow Time McElroy Time! Man this game is going to be hard to watch.

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 7-31
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE 6-7 17 OAK -----
9 KC 31-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD @ NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 230,1
WR Stevie Johnson 6-80,1
TE Jeff Cumberland 4-40,1
TE Antonio Gates 4-40

Pregame Notes: The seasons seems to ending as if someone on the Chargers staff said "well it cannot get any worse." Because it can and did. Now Ryan Mathews will have started and ended his season with two different broken collarbones. The player who would be a workhorse ended up more of a petting zoo pony destined to become dog food. The Chargers also placed Malcom Floyd on injured reserve with an ankle injury that would take more than two weeks to heal.

Philip Rivers comes off a season worst 121 yards last week with two lost fumbles. That brings him up to 15 interceptions and seven fumbles on the year. To his credit he has been able to remain above 200 yards in almost all the other games but a team that was to start out with Vincent Brown and Malcom Floyd is ending with Danario Alexander and... and... is Robert Meachem even in the NFL anymore? Fortunately he is still guaranteed $5 million next year. He'll show up. Sort of.

The running game now will be handled by some committee of Curtis Brinkley and Jackie Battle which is every bit as bad as it sounds. The problem too is that while Danario Alexander has been a standout on a team with really no others, but by now he is so much the last man standing that defenses will key on him and not worry too much about whatever else the Chargers line up. Alexander has been great since week nine and yet had no catches on three passes just last week. Facing the Jets secondary this week probably means the free agent acquisition gravy train is about over. He has potential and upside though and that counts on a team that really does not have any others that can step up.

Antonio Gates is done and just punching the clock. For the last five weeks, he has never gained more than 49 yards in any game and scored only once.

Hard to imagine how the Chargers, on the road, can make a game of this. Even against the Jets.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 23 21 26 14 21 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NYJ 5 27 2 13 12 28

  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

New York Jets
Homefield: Meadowlands Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 BUF 48-28 10 @SEA 7-28
2 @PIT 10-27 11 @STL 27-13
3 @MIA 23-20 12 NE 19-49
4 SF 0-34 13 ARI 7-6
5 HOU 17-23 14 @JAC 17-10
6 IND 35-9 15 @TEN 10-14
7 @NE 26-29 16 SD -----
8 MIA 9-30 17 @BUF -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Matt Forte 70 5-40
RB Bilal Powell 60,1 5-30
WR Eric Decker 4-50
WR Brandon Marshall 7-80,1
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: There is no shame in fighting the good fight and coming up short knowing you did all you could to win the game. There is no shame in falling short against a quality opponent and losing more on the unnatural bounces of an oblong ball in an even match. However, there is plenty of shame in losing to the Titans and completing only 13 of 28 for 131 yards and one score with four interceptions and a lost fumble. It finally proved enough to send Mark Sanchez to the bench where he has to remain ever on at least in New York. Now instead of appeasing the media-driven world and maybe making the preseason trade make sense, the Jets have opted to go to Greg McElroy Jr. as the starting quarterback.

This has angered the Tebow who will be very sternly and yet politely asking for a trade in the offseason since that whole "you're up when Sanchez is down" thing was apparently not really accurate. It would have been great to see Tebow win the game in a big way - a possibility with the Chargers coming to town - and yet perhaps that is why they did not.

Braylon Edwards signed his free agent contract last week and immediately ran down to the field where he caught three passes for 47 yards. He now starts over Chaz Schilens and across from Jeremy Kerley who has since lost any value he might have had. This game should be mostly about the run anyway and the Chargers injury-ravaged offense is likely to give away such good field position that even the Jets can make them into short scoring drives.

There is no play here other than Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. Greene has rushed far better when at home and Powell is the better scorer with four touchdowns over the last five weeks.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 30 20 29 19 31 17
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 22 16 24 7 7 23

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, NYJ @BUF 6013200000 *
Forte scored in the earlier meeting with Detroit, amusing 89 yards on 27 touches; he also ceded a score to Jeremy Langford. Of late it's been Ka'Deem Carey stealing the scores while Langford swipes touches, despite Forte being more productive than either. A back injury could relegate the free agent-to-be to the back burner once again, so keep an eye on the injury report.

Update: Forte is listed as questionable after participating only on a limited basis in practice this week. Do the Bears use him without regard for the future since he's a free agent this offseason? Does Forte shut himself down so he's not damaged goods on the open market? Lots of variables here making Forte a risky fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ @BUF 005801000 ***
Marshall has scored in seven of his last eight, including a touchdown in the earlier meeting with the Bills. Since that matchup the Bills have given up 9-117 to Amendola, 9-160-1 to Maclin, 5-88-1 to Hopkins, and 6-153-1 to DJax. In other words, all systems go once again for Marshall.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, NYJ @BUF 007601000 ***
The league's ultimate wingman scored in the earlier meeting with Buffalo, has scored in three straight, has scored or topped 100 yards in five straight, and should once again be the best sideman since Oliver Hardy teamed with Stan Laurel against a Buffalo defense that's allowed multiple receivers to score or top 60 yards--often both--in 11 of 15 games this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ @BUF 003500000 ***
With Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker taking big bites there often isn't enough left over for the likes of Enunwa--especially with Kenbrell Thompkins battling for a share as well. It's not as if the Bills are a shutdown secondary, but it's tough to trust tertiary guys to deliver the fantasy goods.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Randy Bullock, NYJ @BUF 1133 ***
The Sex Pistols sang
"Never mind the Bullocks", but
doesn't apply here

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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