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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA

Prediction: IND 27, SD 23 (Line: IND by 1)

Players of Interest: T.Y. Hilton, Vincent Brown, Keenan Allen

Update: Ryan Mathews has not passed all concussion tests yet but may be cleared as early as Saturday.

This Monday night football game should be a great one to watch because The Colts have been surprisingly good and the Chargers wavering between great and mediocre with few signs which one is going to show up. The Colts get a slight nod here with the better defense... what? What did I just say? The times they are a'changing and apparently very quickly at that.

1 OAK 21-17 10 STL -
2 MIA 20-24 11 @TEN -
3 @SF 27-7 12 @ARI -
4 @JAC 37-3 13 TEN -
5 SEA 34-28 14 @CIN -
6 @SD - 15 HOU -
7 DEN - 16 @KC -
8 BYE WEEK 17 JAC -
9 @HOU - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 20,1 230,2
RB Trent Richardson 60 1-10
WR T.Y. Hilton 3-50,1
WR Hakeem Nicks 5-50
WR Reggie Wayne 5-70,1
TE Coby Fleener 3-20
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Colts are on a three game winning streak and that includes wins over the 49ers and Seahawks. The remaining schedule has a few tough spots but mostly below average matchups that can help propel the Colts to a division title. A win this week would help a lot since the Broncos show up in week seven and then a bye week hits before heading down to Houston for the first meaningful divisional matchup. The most impressive part of the Colts hot start is that they are winning games with total efforts and no one player is producing a monster game.

QUARTERBACKS: Andrew Luck is playing as well as he needs to in order to win. That has meant mostly moderate passing games with never more than two passing touchdowns. He did score twice as a runner and continues to have an impact near the goal line as more than just a passer. Impressive too is that he's faced a few very good defenses along the way and yet has just two interceptions against this seven passing scores. In most games, Luck doesn't even throw 30 passes.

RUNNING BACKS: Ahmad Bradshaw has been lost for the <insert year> season after opting for neck surgery so that next year you can decide how long before the foot AND neck issues prevent him from playing. At the age of 27, his best days are behind him and may be completely behind him. Trent Richardson only ran for 56 yards on 18 carries against the Seahawks and was spelled by Donald Brown who stole the 3-yard touchdown. Richardson did score in the first two games as a Colt and both were in road venues. The Colts rarely ever throw to their backs and that has really limited the production of Richardson who caught 51 passes as a rookie in Cleveland. Whatever he gets is coming as a rusher, not as a receiver.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The buzz last week was all about T.Y. Hilton who faced one of the top secondaries in the NFL and left with 140 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. Those came on 79-yard and 29-yard catches but the fact remains he not only did it, he did it twice. His 79-yarder came when he got behind Richard Sherman and the 29-yarder came at the expense of Brandon Browner. Not many receivers can claim to ever beat either let alone both in the same game. Those were his first scores of the year and his two previous games - both on the road - saw him with minimal yardage and catches. Hilton's game was great and maybe it was a big coming out party. Or maybe it was one miscommunication when Sherman released him to the safety. This week starts to answer that.

Reggie Wayne was held to 65 yards on six catches as the primary concern of the Seahawks. He's been far more consistent with 60 yards or so each week and two scores on the year. Darrius Heyward-Bey remains as little more than blocker and was blanked last Sunday.

TIGHT ENDS: The only time a tight end - and it has to be Coby Fleener now that Dwayne Allen is gone - has mattered was against a really soft defense. Considering that most of Fleener's games end up with fewer than 20 yards, he's not worth a fantasy consideration.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chargers employ a bend-don't-break approach since they've allowed two or more touchdowns to every opposing quarterback and that includes Jake Locker who threw for 299 yards on them. The problem for the Chargers is that they are one of the worst teams against quarterbacks and wide receivers and this plays into the hands of the Colts rather well. The Charger have yet to allow any running back to score on them and have been top five against the position. Since Richardson doesn't catch much, safe to assume a moderate game here at best. Luck, Wayne and even Hilton are must starts this week.

WHAT TO WATCH: Everyone will be watching Hilton to see if last week was just a fluke. It was really just a couple of great plays but that came against a great defense. A far better one than the defense he faces in San Diego.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 12 12 14 16 14 14
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 31 3 28 17 17 24

 

1 HOU 28-31 10 DEN -
2 @PHI 33-30 11 @MIA -
3 @TEN 17-20 12 @KC -
4 DAL 30-21 13 CIN -
5 @OAK 17-27 14 NYG -
6 IND - 15 @DEN -
7 @JAC - 16 OAK -
8 BYE WEEK 17 KC -
9 @WAS - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 320,2
RB Ryan Mathews
RB Danny Woodhead 30 7-50
WR Keenan Allen 5-70
WR Eddie Royal 3-40
TE Antonio Gates 6-70,1
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chargers return from their loss in Oakland and have their only home game until week 13 other than hosting the Broncos which no longer feels like a home game. The challenge this week is facing a defense that has been above average in every category - the Chargers have not beaten an opponent with a good defense yet. This is a Monday night game in San Diego which should help.

QUARTERBACKS: Apparently Philip Rivers only has two gears. In two games he remained below 200 passing yards. In three others, he threw for over 400 yards including 411 in the Oakland loss. He's enjoyed a very strong opening to the year with 13 touchdowns on the year and had just two interceptions until tossing three in Oakland. In fantasy terms, he has far exceeded expectations

RUNNING BACKS: Ryan Mathews left the game last week with a concussion and since no early word was given on his status I will assume he is out again and update as needed. Danny Woodhead has become a major component of the offense anyway and last week was held in even on short yardage and goal line plays. Woodhead only gained 13 yards on nine runs but caught a season high nine passes for 58 yards and one score. In a reception points league, he's becoming a must start every week.

His receiving yards are keeping the offense going much more than the mediocre rushing of Mathews. Ronnie Brown hangs on but offers no fantasy value even with Mathews potentially out.

WIDE RECEIVERS: When there are 400 yards to share, more than one player is going to have a big game. Vincent Brown finally stopped having sub-50 yard games when he totaled 117 yards on eight catches in Oakland. He has not scored since the season opener though. Keenan Allen is really starting to come on as the replacement for Malcom Floyd. He followed up his 80 yards on five catches in week four with six receptions for 115 yards and one score last week. Granted that was almost entirely in the fourth quarter but he has a growing role in the offense and gains more confidence from Rivers. Eddie Royal continues to turn in minimal games after posting five scores in the first two weeks.

TIGHT ENDS: Perhaps the biggest surprise in tight ends other than Jordan Cameron is how Antonio Gates has roared back from the dead. He's back to being the #1 receiver and while he scored just twice so far, he's been a rock solid fantasy play every week since the season opener including twice topping 100 yards. He does look slower, but he keeps ending up with the catch.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Colts have been outstanding against the pass but they have benefited from the schedule by only facing OAK, MIA, SF, JAC and SEA - none of them possessing 400 yard passers. Consider Rivers a nice play here and a Monday night game typically brings out the best in offenses anyway. The ranking by the defense against tight ends looks good but they never faced any decent tight end. The 49ers game had Vernon Davis injured. The rushing effort is likely to be marginal this week because the Chargers have problems running anyway. Consider Rivers, Gates, Woodhead all very nice plays this week. It is still early to expect Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown to shine against a secondary that's held all but one wideout to under 80 yards. They are risky plays but should produce at least moderate numbers.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Chargers need to limit their mistakes and hope that Rivers doesn't go throwing three interceptions again. The wideouts face tougher matchups but if they cannot have an impact that limits the Chargers to only Woodhead and Gates and that won't likely be enough.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 4 10 9 8 16 31
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 10 6 12 12 7 3

WEEK 6 NYG at CHI (THU) DET at CLE OAK at KC TEN at SEA
ARI at SF GB at BAL PIT at NYJ WAS at DAL
CAR at MIN JAC at DEN PHI at TB IND at SD (MON)
*UPDATED CIN at BUF NO at NE STL at HOU On Bye: ATL, MIA


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