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
TE Antonio Gates 4-40
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 1 XP

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 @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.

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 Chris Johnson 60 3-20
RB Bilal Powell 60,1 5-30
WR Eric Decker 4-50
WR Jeremy Kerley 3-40
TE Jeff Cumberland 4-40,1
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
QB Geno Smith, NYJ CHI 40100020001 ***
Passing alone won't make Geno a viable fantasy helper, but he's had 17 attempts in two games and could use his ground game to be a sneaky start against a defense that let EJ Manual run one in and Colin Kaepernick run for 66 yards.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Ivory, NYJ CHI 5011100000 ***
Ivory has scored in both games thus far and is proving to be the more productive member of the Jets' backfield committee. Against a Bears defense that's already allowed four different backs to rush for at least 50 yards against them, he's an good fantasy start with a little bit of upside to boot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Chris Johnson, NYJ CHI 6004200000 ***
Johnson is getting the touches, and against a Chicago D that's allowed four backs to top 50 yards this year he should be able to turn those touches into at least fringe fantasy help. And of course any of those touches could be a home run.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eric Decker, NYJ CHI 005600000 *
Decker has been exactly what the Jets paid for, a reliable WR1. This matchup, while not overly favorable, should still allow him to generate his usual low-to-mid level fantasy contribution.
Update: Decker did not practice Thursday or Friday due to a bum hammy, and he's officially listed as questionable for this game. That's more risk than his upside warrants.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ CHI 005500000 ***
Kerley's 30-yards per game average isn't going to cut it fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jeff Cumberland, NYJ CHI 002200000 ***
The Jets' passing game doesn't produce enough for one fantasy helper at tight end, let alone the three players all battling for a share of the pie.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Folk, NYJ CHI 3322 ***
The Jets don't mind settling for field goals, which is good, but they don't score a ton of points in general, which is bad.

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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