FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK

Prediction: DEN 38, IND 27 (Line: DEN by 6)

There is a small chance that the announcers mention how Peyton Manning played in Indianapolis once upon a time. There is a chance that they never talk about anything else. How this is an early game while Monday night will be the Vikings at the Giants is surprising. The Broncos bring their perfect record to town and maybe Peyton was thinking about this week when he was playing the Jaguars. The 4-2 Colts were just nipped by the Patriots but are still a game up in the AFC South. This game really is Peyton vs. Peyton Jr. And the worst part of all is that not only will the announcers beat the whole Peyton/Andrew thing to death, but they both seem to be vastly talented and likable guys in different stages of their careers.

1 BAL 49-27 10 @SD -
2 @NYG 41-23 11 KC -
3 OAK 37-21 12 @NE -
4 PHI 52-20 13 @KC -
5 @DAL 51-48 14 TEN -
6 JAC 35-19 15 SD -
7 @IND - 16 @HOU -
8 WAS - 17 @OAK -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 330,4
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-50
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-80
WR Wes Welker 8-70,2
TE Julius Thomas 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: After the scoring frenzy of the first five weeks, the Broncos took a needed vacation and only scored 35 points on the Jaguars who were 26.5 point underdogs. This week will be plenty motivating as a road effort and of course the homecoming for Manning who may draw more applause than Andrew Luck. The fans may end up cheering on every play regardless who has the ball. A homestand versus the Redskins in week eight should be a gimmee and the week nine bye can be used to prepare for a tougher second half of the season.

QUARTERBACKS: Peyton Manning answered the question "what happens when the most prolific quarterback in history takes a week off?" He throws for only 295 yards and two scores. It was his first trip below 300 but only by five yards. He'll be on full alert this week and not out of revenge, but because he is Peyton Manning.

RUNNING BACKS: Knowshon Moreno still hasn't gained over 100 rushing yards but scored three times last week and has six touchdowns on the season. He is used more as the season progresses while Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball both assume even smaller roles. If Moreno is injured, it opens up a big door for Hillman and Ball. But until that happens, neither are worth a fantasy start.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No changes here to a three-headed beast. Wes Welker may not gain a lot of yardage but he is the only NFL player with a passing touchdown in every game this year. His eight touchdowns lead the league while Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas alternate between good and great games. At current rate, this will be the most productive trio of wideouts in the history of the NFL.

TIGHT ENDS: Not only are the Broncos wideouts ridiculously productive, but Julius Thomas ranks #2 in the NFL with seven receiving touchdowns. His yardage varies from 122 down to 22 (successive weeks no less) but he scored in all but one game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Colts have been great against the pass but have not faced many decent quarterbacks and certainly nothing like Peyton Manning. There's no reason to break it down - Manning, D. Thomas, Decker, Welker, Moreno and J. Thomas are must starts every week and no one has slowed them down other than the Jags making them look merely human when they mailed in the game last week.

WHAT TO WATCH: Apparently the Broncos quarterback has ties to the Indianapolis area. He may want to look good.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 4 1 6 2 13
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 8 4 12 4 14 2

 

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 9-19 15 HOU -
7 DEN - 16 @KC -
8 BYE WEEK 17 JAC -
9 @HOU - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 20 280,2
RB Trent Richardson 50,1 1-10
WR T.Y. Hilton 6-100,1 1
WR Hakeem Nicks 6-80
WR Reggie Wayne 6-70,1
TE Coby Fleener 3-30
PK Adam Vinatieri 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: This game won't be as epic as the announcers will make it sound but no doubt there is an impact from facing the one player who embodied the franchise for a decade. There is just a bye waiting next week and losing here will hurt but would not be a death knell by any means. The Colts played a few good defenses so far but no opponent had the firepower about to show up. This will be a big test for a defense that has been nothing short of surprising so far.

QUARTERBACKS: Andrew Luck comes off his first game of the year where he never scored a touchdown. His yardage is lower than 2012 but the defense prevented shootouts from happening unlike in his rookie season. Luck hasn't thrown more than two scores in any game and only totals seven passing touchdowns over six games played.

RUNNING BACKS: Trent Richardson still is not on track and while he gained four yards per carry for the second week in a row, he only ran 10 times in San Diego. His lack of receiving stats also diminish his potential value. Richardson is still learning the playbook and he did score twice this year for the Colts. But he's not been a difference maker or been able to take over any games. A lack of carries doesn't help.

WIDE RECEIVERS: T.Y. Hilton always looks more productive until you check the box score and see that he just had another 45 yard game. His only two performances of note were at home versus the Seahawks and Dolphins. Reggie Wayne is still the primary receiver with five or six catches per week but only scored twice this year and just once since the season opener. Darrius Heyward-Bey not only dropped a probable 60-yard touchdown against the Chargers, he's only totaled 136 yards on the year.

Luck doesn't throw nearly as much this year and that translate to a mediocre set of wideouts. Wayne is solid and never spectacular while Hilton is only rarely spectacular and mostly mediocre.

TIGHT ENDS: Coby Fleener is taking a great situation and doing nothing with it. He constantly drops passes and most efforts end up with under 20 yards. No consistency or production. No reason to consider for a fantasy start.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: As if the Broncos needed more help, LCB Champ Bailey came back last week and now OLB Von Miller has concluded his suspension. The Broncos gave up a lot to Tony Romo but only allowed five touchdowns over their first four games. They give up high yardage though if only from being far ahead and losing interest during the lengthy trash time in most games. They have been very accommodating to wide receivers in particular with seven touchdowns and six players exceeding 90 yards against them. The rush defense will improve with Miller but nine different running backs have scored a touchdown on the Broncos. This has the markings of a shootout or at least a "throw like mad to catch up". That makes Luck, Wayne and Hilton must starts and should even benefit Trent Richardson at least in the first half.

Bailey will trail Wayne at least on most plays and that should help Hilton to notch another nice home game.

WHAT TO WATCH: Andrew Luck enters his first game against a great offense and will have to shed his game manager-like passing stats if the Colts are to stay in the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 14 18 16 22 9 21
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 24 19 30 25 17 3

WEEK 7 SEA at ARI (THU) CIN at DET HOU at KC STL at CAR
BUF at MIA DAL at PHI SD at JAC TB at ATL
CHI at WAS DEN at IND SF at TEN MIN at NYG (MON)
*UPDATED BAL at PIT CLE at GB NE at NYJ On Bye: NO, OAK


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