FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF

Prediction: SD 24, WAS 27 (Line: PIK)

Players of Interest: Alfred Morris

The 4-3 Chargers are on a two game winning streak but are only 2-2 in road games. The 2-5 Redskins are only 1-2 at home. The Redskins gave up over 40 points in their last two games but the Chargers have to travel a long way for this game.

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 19-9 15 @DEN -
7 @JAC 24-6 16 OAK -
8 BYE WEEK 17 KC -
9 @WAS - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Kellen Clemens 10 180,1
QB Philip Rivers 280,2
RB Ryan Mathews 80,1
RB Danny Woodhead 30 6-40
WR Keenan Allen 7-100,1
WR Vincent Brown 4-40
WR Eddie Royal 3-20
TE Antonio Gates 7-70,1
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: While the Chargers have exceeded expectations this year, they have the misfortune to be in the toughest division in the NFL. At only 4-3 and all four games against the Broncos and Chiefs left to play, the playoffs are not going to be an option this year barring a miracle. Hosting the Broncos next week is likely distracting now as well.

QUARTERBACKS: Philip Rivers continues to throw a touchdown in every game but he's slowed down with just one score per game since week five and his yardage has declined as well. Still he has been solid with a good game and rarely turns the ball over. The last road game was an easy affair in Jacksonville that ended up with only 237 yards but this week in Washington is bound to be higher scoring.

RUNNING BACKS: The backfield has turned into a two-man crew in recent weeks and it has worked very well. Danny Woodhead offers only marginal help as a runner though he ran in a score in the last game. He's mostly been the receiving back with about five catches per week and three touchdowns as a receiver. The biggest change - however temporary it may be - is that Ryan Mathews comes off back-to-back 100 yard rushing efforts and even scored once in Jacksonville. His success is firstly responsible for the lower passing stats in the last couple of games. This is the first time that Rivers had a 100 yard rushing effort since the 2011 season. With an extensive history that says "this won't last", at least Mathews is finally showing up in some game. He has nearly no role as a receiver though and that limits his fantasy value.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Keenan Allen was quieter in the Jaguars win mainly because the Chargers did not need him. Allen still gained 67 yards on three catches after two straight games over 100 yards and a score. Eddie Royal popped up with a score in that last game but had no catches in the previous week and minimal use for the month before that. Vincent Brown has exactly one decent game all year and otherwise never gains more than 41 yards in any game. Allen is the main weapon here and the only one with any consistency.

TIGHT ENDS: The first month of the season suggested that Antonio Gates was getting back to form again and would shake off the problems of the last couple of years. He's been a nonfactor with a combined 59 yards over the last two games played.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Redskins secondary has been much ravaged this year but when playing at home has kept opponents down to only one or two passing touchdowns. The rushing defense is not better though with ten touchdowns allowed to opposing running backs already and three runners topping 90 yards against them. Consider Rivers, Gates, and Allen as good starts and Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are flex quality plays this week. The Redskins have already allowed six touchdowns to tight ends so figure on Gates being successful for once.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Chargers offense should shine here unless they are thinking about the Denver game next week. The road venue has also depressed the Charger stats in recent weeks.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 15 17 12 9 29 3
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 28 2 30 6 16 13

 

1 PHI 27-33 10 @MIN -
2 @GB 20-38 11 @PHI -
3 DET 20-27 12 SF -
4 @OAK 24-14 13 NYG -
5 BYE WEEK 14 KC -
6 @DAL 16-31 15 @ATL -
7 CHI 45--41 16 DAL -
8 @DEN 21-45 17 @NYG -
9 SD - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Robert Griffin III 30,1 270,2
RB Alfred Morris 70
WR Pierre Garcon 7-60
WR Leonard Hankerson 2-40
WR DeSean Jackson 7-100,1
TE Jordan Reed 7-80,1
PK Kai Forbath 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Redskins hung tough with the Broncos but forgot to return for the second half. The Robert Griffin injury scare is said to be much ado about nothing and the problem here all along has been more about the defense. Apparently they can only remain inspired for around 30 minutes of playing time. But the schedule is lighter for the next three weeks and the offense does look better, particularly rushing the ball.

QUARTERBACKS: Robert Griffin III was pulled from the Denver loss because of his knee but that was more about being careful in a game that was already over. No need to send him back in again and get him injured. Not after last year. Griffin was starting to run a lot more in games until the Denver loss. He gained 77 yards in Dallas and then 84 yards against the Bears as a rusher. Griffin's played inconsistently so far but seemed like he was starting to get back into the groove until Denver. This week is a great chance to show all is well and even better than before.

RUNNING BACKS: In a world controlled by Mike Shanahan, you come to expect the unexpected. Or at least don't count on reason always being used. Alfred Morris is running better and more often in recent weeks when he's topped 80 yards over the last three games and scored in two of them. Roy Helu showed up with three touchdowns against the Bears in the most recent home game but then only gained 25 yards and never scored in Denver. Morris remains consistent even if it is a notch below 2012 and his complete failure to be used as a receiver greatly limits his output. I won't project for Helu who may or may not be used extensively or not at all.

WIDE RECEIVERS: All combined there is production here but individually there is no consistency or reliability. Leonard Hankerson and Pierre Garcon are the starters and best bets but that means maybe 40 or 50 yards in most games. Hankerson just scored in Denver but it was his only catch in the game and his first touchdown since the season opener. Garcon typically gets a dozen or so passes but remained below 75 yards in all but one game. Garcon merits consideration only as a deep flex play from his moderate yardage every week.

TIGHT ENDS: For the second week in a row, Jordan Reed was the most targeted and productive receiver. In the most recent home game, he had his breakout performance with nine catches for 134 yards and a score. Last week it was eight receptions for 90 yards with about half coming late in the already decided game. Reed has leapfrogged everyone to become the best fantasy play on the team. That wasn't all that hard to do.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chargers have allowed good yardage and usually two scores to opposing quarterbacks in road games. But the rushing defense has been outstanding and still has not allowed any running back to score a touchdown. Morris is still a start this week but is likely to settle for just moderate yards and no score. Griffin, Reed and Garcon all have upside so long as Griffin is healthy.

The Chargers have not allowed a tight end to score since the season opener but have not played many decent tight ends anyway. Certainly not ones that are drawing ten or more targets per week.

WHAT TO WATCH: Alfred Morris was just getting on track and now face one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. That will show just how committed the Skins are to a balanced offense and if Morris' recent success was mainly the matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 6 4 15 6 9 31
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 31 29 28 15 15 27

WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF


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