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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 15 SD at DEN (THU) CIN at PIT NE at MIA SEA at NYG
ARI at TEN GB at DAL NO at STL SF at TB
BUF at JAC HOU at IND NYJ at CAR WAS at ATL
*UPDATED CHI at CLE KC at OAK PHI at MIN BAL at DET (MON)

Prediction: SD 20, DEN 41 (Line: DEN by 10.5)

This is the Thursday night game. The 11-2 Broncos have already clinched a playoff spot and currently are one game in the lead for the #1 seed which will keep them playing for all 17 weeks providing the Patriots do not lose. The Broncos are 7-0 at home and the 6-7 Chargers are just 3-4 on the road. This is a replay of week 10 when the Broncos won 28-20 in San Diego.

1 HOU 28-31 10 DEN 20-28
2 @PHI 33-30 11 @MIA 16-20
3 @TEN 17-20 12 @KC 41-38
4 DAL 30-21 13 CIN 10-17
5 @OAK 17-27 14 NYG 37-14
6 IND 19-9 15 @DEN -
7 @JAC 24-6 16 OAK -
8 BYE WEEK 17 KC -
9 @WAS 24-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD @ DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kellen Clemens 180,1
QB Philip Rivers 230,1
RB Donald Brown 40,1 2-20
RB Ryan Mathews 50,1 2-10
RB Danny Woodhead 20 4-40
WR Keenan Allen 5-60
WR Eddie Royal 3-40
TE Antonio Gates 4-50
TE Ladarius Green 3-40,1
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chargers wind down with a three game stretch against the AFC West but at 6-7 there isn't anything to win realistically. They are one game behind the Ravens and Dolphins for the final wildcard but are likely to lose this week. The final week 17 hosting the Chiefs will almost certainly be when the Chiefs have nothing to win and would tank the game so there is a glimmer of hope but it requires a lot of losing by other teams.

QUARTERBACKS: Philip Rivers still passes a touchdown every week and even comes off a healthy three scores on the Giants. He already threw for 27 touchdowns against only nine interceptions which already exceeds expectations on the season. River threw for only 218 yards and one score in the previous meeting with the Broncos. That was his worst game of the year.

RUNNING BACKS: Danny Woodhead never gets more than around ten touches per game and rarely breaks around 50 yards per game but he already scored eight times this year - six as a receiver - and makes for a moderate flex play in a reception point league. Woodhead ran for 27 yards and caught four passes for 17 yards and a score in the last meeting with the Broncos. Ryan Mathews ran for 59 yards and one score in that game but has been good for over 90 total yards in every game since the matchup with the Broncos.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Keenan Allen enjoyed his first two-touchdown game last week when he caught three passes for 59 yards versus the Giants but sprained his shoulder. He was able to return to that game though and is not expected to be bothered by it this week. Allen now has five touchdowns on the season and five efforts over 100 receiving yards. He was held to only 41 yards on four catches by the Broncos last time as one of his worst showings on the season. Eddie Royal was back last week but he and Vincent Brown are of little consequence.

TIGHT ENDS: Everyone's new favorite tight end Ladarius Green only went out on five pass plays and never had a catch in the win over the Giants. Green scored in each of the two previous games and is a part of the game plan but still has only once caught more than three passes in a game. Antonio Gates just chugs along with around four catches for 50 yards per week and almost never scores anymore. Gates caught four passes for 62 yards in the previous game with the Broncos while Green only brought in one reception for 25 yards.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: No real changes from week ten other than this will be played in Denver on Thursday night when it should be cold but clear. Rivers surprised with such a poor showing in the last meeting when he's been so good otherwise and the Broncos so bad otherwise. Allen is an obvious start here but even Rivers is risk since they couldn't accomplish much in the home game. Denver has been good at keeping opponent scores lower in home games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 7 5 19 2 7 32
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 28 23 18 30 15 18

 

1 BAL 49-27 10 @SD 28-20
2 @NYG 41-23 11 KC 27-17
3 OAK 37-21 12 @NE 31-34
4 PHI 52-20 13 @KC 35-28
5 @DAL 51-48 14 TEN 51-28
6 JAC 35-19 15 SD -
7 @IND 33-39 16 @HOU -
8 WAS 45-21 17 @OAK -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 300,3
RB Montee Ball 60,1
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-50,1
WR Demaryius Thomas 7-110,1
TE Julius Thomas 4-50,1

Pregame Notes: This will be the final home game until the playoffs and yet it should be the tougher of the three remaining games. The only worry going into the final three weeks is that the Broncos could get a sizable lead and start swapping out players though likely never in the case of Peyton Manning. The Broncos need to continue to win and that should keep them sharp but they are suffering from that late season malaise that lets great teams play flat until the second half when they turn it all on again and win games.

Matt Prater also set the all-time record with a 64-yard field goal in the win over the Titans. His 77% success rate with 50+ yard field goals is the highest for any NFL kicker ever.

QUARTERBACKS: Peyton Manning passed for 330 yards and four scores in the last meeting but he tends to do less when at home because the defense is better at holding opponents to a lower score. He still should be a lock for his standard 300 yard, three touchdown game here.

RUNNING BACKS: In that previous meeting, Knowshon Moreno ran for 65 yards and added eight catches for 49 yards against the Chargers and that was a season high for catches. Monte Ball only ran five times for 20 yards though and he's become a bigger part of the backfield now. In an effort to keep Moreno fresh, the duo are splitting carries in half lately and Ball has even been the more likely call at the goal line. That decreases Moreno's totals to some degree but makes Ball a consideration as a flex play now. Ball scored four times this year and topped 70 rush yards in each of the last two games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Wes Welker was concussed again last week and that will keep him out of this game and potentially even more since it is his second in just the last month. Welker only caught three passes for 21 yards in San Diego though and Demaryius Thomas was the star with a season best three touchdowns on his seven catches for 108 yards. Eric Decker only managed three receptions for 52 yards in that game. The absence of Welker should boost Decker's workload this week.

TIGHT ENDS: Julius Thomas is back to health now after nursing a sore knee. He's scored in all but two games this year and turned in one of his best when he gained 96 yards on three catches and scored in San Diego.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The only difference this time is that Welker is out and the running game is being split up more now. Plus being at home should make it an easier win and at least potentially lower scoring. No reason to shy away from any of the regular starters in this one plus the Denver defense should be a decent play here as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 3 1 3 5 8
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 25 14 28 14 12 8

WEEK 15 SD at DEN (THU) CIN at PIT NE at MIA SEA at NYG
ARI at TEN GB at DAL NO at STL SF at TB
BUF at JAC HOU at IND NYJ at CAR WAS at ATL
*UPDATED CHI at CLE KC at OAK PHI at MIN BAL at DET (MON)


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