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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9
2010
TB at ATL MIA at BAL *NYG at SEA PIT at CIN
*NO at CAR NE at CLE KC at OAK DEN, JAC
CHI at BUF *SD at HOU *IND at PHI SF, STL
*Updated *NYJ at DET *ARI at MIN *DAL at GB TEN, WAS

Prediction: SD 24, HOU 27

Update: Owen Daniels aggravated his old hamstring injury on Monday and has not practiced so far. I am removing him from the projections. Andre Johnson was held out on Wednesday to rest but returned on Thursday and is still expected to play. Antonio Gates has a plantar fascia injury and has not practiced and is not a lock to play. He will likely be a game time decision and I am lowering projections from his risk alone. At best he will be limited though Gates is near legendary for playing with pain. This time may be different with a more serious injury. Both Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee remain out of practice and not expected to play. The Chargers just signed Kelley Washington but it is too soon to expect him to contribute.

Update #2: Gates is listed as doubtful and says he will only "try to play". For the first time, he is not a safe start.

The Chargers ended their three game losing streak when the Titans visited last week but the problem is that they are 0-4 away from San Diego. The Texans are on a short week after the Colts played "back at ya" on Monday night and they only own a 2-2 mark at home. But that 0-4 on the road is glaring for the Chargers who remain banged up on offense. With any luck, this will turn into a shootout.

San Diego Chargers (3-5)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC L 14-21 10 Bye -
2 JAC W 38-13 11 DEN --
3 @SEA L 20-27 12 @IND --
4 ARI W 41-10 13 OAK --
5 @OAK L 27-35 14 KC --
6 @STL L 17-20 15 SF --
7 NE L 20-23 16 @CIN --
8 TEN W 33-25 17 @DEN --
9 @HOU -- - - -
Chargers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN DIEGO at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 260,2
RB Darren Sproles 10 30 -
RB Mike Tolbert 30,1 10 -
RB Ryan Mathews 40 10 -
TE Antonio Gates - 50 -
WR Patrick Crayton - 100,1 -
WR Seyi Ajirotutu - 50,1 -
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chargers win over the Titans was much needed and even then they still allowed 25 points. The Chargers have yet to allow less than 20 points in a road game and the wide receivers are still ailing. With a bye waiting in week ten, the Chargers have a shot at being 4-5 but are already three games behind the Chiefs with no end in sight of this season long bad mojo.

QUARTERBACK: Yeah, the Chargers have been disappointing but not Philip Rivers who has passed for a league high 2,649 yards and his 15 touchdowns trails only Drew Brees. Rivers passed for less than two scores only twice and has thrown for over 300 yards five times already.

Now he faces a Texans defense that has allowed multiple passing scores in all but one game (when McNabb threw for 426 yards). 250 yards and two scores is the least quarterbacks have been doing and now the most productive quarterback shows up? What's not to love here? Of the four visitors to Houston, all but one had three passing touchdowns.

RUNNING BACKS: The Chargers tried featuring Ryan Mathews last week and while he had one score, he only gained 43 yards on 15 carries while Mike Tolbert was given new life as a runner and gained 63 yards on 11 runs with his obligatory score. Tolbert has scored in each of the last five games and has seven touchdowns on the season. Don't forget Darren Sproles who is still the third down back and had his first touchdown just last week - on a catch of course.

This is a three-headed monster again since Mathews has yet to really show why he was so highly drafted.

I will project for all three but of course that is a crap shoot since the total output gets cut in three. The Texans are solid against the run with only six scores allowed and only once gave up over 100 yards to a runner. All these running backs are very marginal fantasy plays.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Malcolm Floyd is still out with his bad hamstring as is Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis is on IR because of his ribs. Patrick Crayton has filled in as the #1 wideout and while he has been good at yardage, he still has yet to score as a Charger. Seyi Ajirotutu was called up to be the #2 when Davis was ruled out and had 48 yards on three catches but this unit desperately needs Floyd back. The bye in week ten should really help to get players healthy again.

The Texans have a bad secondary and one that the Chargers should exploit. Expect at least one score for this unit but it could go anywhere. I will credit Crayton who is due as the #1 wideout and this will be the best spot you could start him all year. Ajirotutu is too risky to rely on much but this should be the one time Crayton gets to shine.

TIGHT ENDS: Other than one odd game in St. Louis, Antonio Gates scored in every game this year and has nine touchdowns over just eight games. He comes off his third 100+ yard effort of the year and faces a team that allowed Zach Miller 122 yards and one score. As always - expect a nice game here from clearly the best tight end in the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 1 5 12 1 22 12
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 32 23 31 31 23 6
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) SD 31 18 19 30 1 -6


Houston Texans (4-3)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND W 34-24 10 @JAC --
2 @WAS W 30-27 11 @NYJ --
3 DAL L 13-27 12 TEN --
4 @OAK W 31-24 13 @PHI --
5 NYG L 10-34 14 BAL --
6 KC W 35-31 15 @TEN --
7 Bye - 16 @DEN --
8 @IND L 17-30 17 JAC --
9 SD --   - -
Texans Report | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub - - 200,1
RB Arian Foster 100,1 30 -
TE Owen Daniels - 50 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 70,1 -
WR Kevin Walter - 20 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 20 -
PK Neil Rackers 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Texans are on a short week coming off their Monday night loss and it was a tough loss too that saw all the gains of early season evaporate as the Colts jumped out to an early lead and prevented the rushing game from being a problem this time. That was two weeks in preparation considering the bye and now the schedule is about to get very challenging. This week is actually about as easy as it will be at least until the season ender hosting the Jaguars. If the Texans lose this one, it starts a downward spin that is going to be hard enough to avoid later.

I like a defensive score in this game. It is the Chargers!

QUARTERBACK: Matt Schaub has been prolific against soft defenses and then merely average when good secondaries show up. He comes off a one touchdown effort in Indianapolis with only 201 yards and he only managed 196 yards and no scores against the Giants three weeks ago. The Chargers have allowed every road opponent exactly one passing score and never more than 220 passing yards. Even at home, the Chargers have held opponents to 253 pass yards or less but then again the opponents have mostly been against poor passing teams.

Pencil in Schaub for just an average game since that is all the Chargers have allowed this year and Foster should supply the bulk of the offense anyway.

RUNNING BACKS: Derrick Ward still exists only to hawk scores from Arian Foster but Ward was a nonfactor in Indianapolis after having scored in three straight games. Foster only had 15 runs on Monday but he gained 102 yards and a score and since the Texans were behind and were forced to throw, Foster stepped up there as well. He ended with nine catches for 65 yards because the pass rush forced Schaub to look for a quick outlet so often.

The Chargers have been great against the run at home but on the road have been less formidable. Both Oakland and St. Louis had a runner go over 100 yards and score once in the most recent two road trips. Foster is an automatic start anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Andre' Johnson was visibly limping on his bad ankle during the Monday night game and even pulled himself out for a short time. But he also turned in his third 100 yard game of the year and scored for the third time. The Texans are getting precious little from their wideouts besides Johnson. Kevin Walter has been nearly invisible since week three and comes off his first game of the year with no catches. Jacoby Jones only managed two short catches against the Colts and has never gained more than 53 yards in any game. This offense is all about Johnson and I will assume that he can play with no major limitation from his ankle.

The Chargers have only allowed three scores to wide receivers but have faced mostly a below average group of them. And three wideouts had 100 yards and a score on them. Johnson is worth a start as always barring any setbacks from his ankle but no other receivers are fantasy relevant.

TIGHT ENDS: .Owen Daniels only had one catch on Monday but had been slowly improving in the other recent games. The Chargers are weaker against tight ends and have allowed five passing scores to the position but so far the Texans have not made Daniels a factor near the endzone. He actually dropped a pass that could have been a score last week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 14 1 13 16 11 32
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 1 5 2 28 18 32
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) HOU -13 4 -11 12 7 0

WEEK 9
2010
TB at ATL MIA at BAL NYG at SEA PIT at CIN
NO at CAR NE at CLE KC at OAK DEN, JAC
CHI at BUF SD at HOU IND at PHI SF, STL
  NYJ at DET ARI at MIN DAL at GB TEN, WAS
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