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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

Projections by Team
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WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT *TB at SF
*GB at MIN *BUF at CIN *CLE at JAC *IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL *SEA at NO NYG at PHI
*UPDATED *ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL *DEN at SD

Prediction: DEN 20, SD 27

Update: Legedu Naanee has been limited in practice but still hopes to play on Monday. He won't be a safe start in the best case. Malcom Floyd has been at full practices and will play as expected. Antonio Gates has not practiced and is not a lock to play this week so I am lowering his projections. He'll likely end up as a game time decision. Ryan Mathews has missed practice and will be questionable to play on Monday. I am lowering his projections because of the risk.

Update #2 - Gates remains doubtful to play on Monday and will be no better than a game time decision and would not be nearly healthy even if he does play. Ryan Mathews is no more likely to play either and will be a game time decision that you should stay away from since Tolbert should get most all of the work. Floyd was limited on Friday when his hamstring was sore but he has two more days to heal up. He's another Charger who won't be completely safe to start this week with this setback.

The Broncos reversed their four game losing steak in a big way with the win over the Chiefs but they still own a 1-3 road record. The Chargers are only 4-5 and yet just one game out of first in the AFC West and have gone 3-1 at home. The Broncos built some momentum last week but the Chargers are finally getting healthy and come off their bye. This is the Monday night game.

These teams traded road wins in 2009. The Broncos won 34-23 in San Diego and later the Chargers won 32-3 in Denver.

Denver Broncos (3-6)
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @JAC L 17-24 10 KC W 49-29
2 SEA W 31-14 11 @SD --
3 IND L 13-27 12 STL --
4 @TEN W 26-20 13 @KC --
5 @BAL L 17-31 14 @ARI --
6 NYJ L 20-24 15 @OAK --
7 OAK L 14-59 16 HOU --
8 @SF L 16-24 17 SD --
9 Bye - - - -
Broncos Report | Statistics | Roster
DENVER at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton - - 250,2
RB Knowshon Moreno 60 20,1 -
WR Jabbar Gaffney - 50 -
WR Eddie Royal - 50 -
WR Brandon Lloyd - 90,1 -
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The offensive explosion against the Chiefs was everything that the previous four games were not. That win stopped the losing streak and keeps the Broncos at least theoretically in the division race. The remaining schedule is not that bad though this starts four road trips over the next five weeks but the Broncos are going to need to reproduce what they had in week ten for the first time - a rushing attack.

QUARTERBACK: Kyle Orton led the ambush of the Chiefs with a season best four touchdown passes with his 296 yards. He also was not sacked for the first time this season. But Orton has been a great fantasy play every week anyway with 16 scores on the year and seven games at or over 300 pass yards. Up until last week, the lack of a rush attack forced Orton to pass 30+ times each week but there's hardly any concern about him even if Knowshon Moreno continues to run well.

Tim Tebow has rushed in a score in each of his last three games played and even passed for his first NFL score last week during the pasting of Chiefs. But Tebow is only a factor as a goal line runner and his only pass of the year came in a game that had been already decided.

Orton passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego last season.

This should be one of the most challenging games for Orton against a secondary that has only allowed eight touchdowns this year and kept most opponents below 200 passing yards. Considering these teams know each other well makes it a little less likely to follow any script so look for Orton to most likely have at least a bit depressed statistical game on the road in San Diego. I am awarding him a receiving score and he has a touchdown via a pass in two of the last three games but the confidence level is lower on that.

RUNNING BACKS: For the first time this year, Knowshon Moreno had a big game when he rushed for 106 yards on 22 carries and added a score and 50 yards on three receptions versus the Chiefs but that was about twice what he had done in any other game. He has a total of five touchdowns on the season but only one in a road game along with no more than 60 rush yards away from Denver. Moreno is taking a full rushing load now but playing in San Diego is much less likely to see any big game this week.

The Bronco runners combined for only 90 yards on 28 carries in San Diego last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Brandon Lloyd remains unstoppable and comes off a two-touchdown effort against the Chiefs. He only has six scores on the season but has topped 90 yards in six of his nine games and more importantly for this week, he has never failed to have at least 115 yards in any road game this year. Jabar Gaffney just scored for the first time since week one but he remains good for around 50 yards each week with rarely much more. This offense is mostly predicated on passing to Lloyd.

No wideout had more than 49 yards in San Diego last season though Brandon Stokley scored once.

The Chargers at home have only allowed two wideouts to score and both of those had over 100 yards (Mike Sims-Walker and Nate Washington). No other wideout has gained more than 60 yards in San Diego. That all fits neatly into what the Broncos tend to do anyway.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 2 25 1 32 24 29
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 2 10 2 29 22 31
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) DEN 0 -15 1 -3 -2 2


San Diego Chargers (4-5)
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 W 29-23 - - -
Chargers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN DIEGO vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 270,2
RB Mike Tolbert 60,1 20 -
RB Ryan Mathews 30 - -
TE Antonio Gates - 40 -
WR Patrick Crayton - 40 -
WR Malcom Floyd - 60 -
WR Seyi Ajirotutu - 60,1 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 30 -
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Chargers pulled themselves back into contention with two wins before the bye and could pull off a surprising comeback of sorts if they can beat the Broncos both times. With four winnable home games in the next five weeks, the Chargers could be 8-6 and looking at a potential wildcard bid before ending the season with two tougher away games. The bye came at a good time since almost the entire cast of Chargers receivers were injured.

QUARTERBACK: Philip Rivers comes off his bye ready to resume his most prolific season yet. He has already passed for 19 touchdowns and 2944 yards for an average game of 327 yards and more than two scores. He is on a pace to gain 5233 yards and 34 touchdowns. That's record setting if it happens and will almost certainly decline later in the year but then again - he was supposed to have a down season with no Vincent Jackson or a decent left tackle.

Rivers passed for 274 yards and one score against the visiting Broncos last year.

The Broncos have ranked only 27th against quarterbacks and that was after playing a very lackluster list of opponents like Jason Campbell, Mark Sanchez, Vince Young and Troy Smith. Against Peyton Manning the Broncos gave up 325 yards and three scores. Matt Cassel tagged them with 469 yards and four scores. Expect Philips to have a great game with what could be a newly healthy set of receivers.

RUNNING BACKS: Perhaps the biggest driver in the success of the passing attack lies here where no decent rusher resides. Ryan Mathews has been a near bust so far with rarely more than 50 yards per game and worse yet he cannot stay healthy. That has allowed Mike Tolbert to take a much bigger role and he has already scored seven touchdowns though his yardage is unreliably low almost every week. Darren Sproles plays the pass catcher to ensure that no back here has any consistently fantasy relevant stats.

Mathews is likely to be questionable again this week with his ankle sprain. I am counting him out until he practices and is likely to play.

The Chargers rushed for 72 yards on 19 carries versus the Broncos last year.

The Broncos have been been softer against running backs but mostly in scoring since they have allowed a total of 13 touchdowns to the position already this year. This game looks like another with moderate yardage but a great chance for Mike Tolbert to score his eighth rushing touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This group has performed well considering the constant injuries and shuffling of players. Patrick Crayton proved to be a good idea when the Charger traded for him and while he has yet to score, at least he has provided over 70 yards in three of the last four games. Seyi Ajirotutu was scraping the bottom of the depth chart and yet even he turned in a huge game against the Texans with 111 yards on four receptions and two scores.

Malcom Floyd returned to the practice field on Monday for some limited work and may be able to finally play this week. Vincent Jackson is not returning until week 12. Legedu Naanee is expected to return from his hamstring injury this week as well. This will be a potentially confusing week with the chance for a complete change to the starting wideouts that won't be clear until late week if then.

No wideout recorded more than 56 yards in either matchup with the Broncos last year.

Champ Bailey gave up 186 yards and two scores to Dwayne Bowe last week but that was a case of the prevent defense starting in the second quarter and Bowe tallying most his catches when the game was far out of reach. The Broncos secondary has been very good this year but again - they have not faced an opponent like the Chargers. Which player is in what position remains to be seen until we know for sure if both Naanee and Floyd can return. I will assume both are back and that Floyd gets the Bailey treatment.

TIGHT ENDS: Antonio Gates finally missed a game because of his sore toe but that gives it almost three weeks to improve before this game. Gates has been even more remarkable than usual this year, catching nine touchdowns in just eight games played and topping 90 yards in half of his games. Gates has been the best tight end by such a huge margin that the #2 guy doesn't really matter and always changes. This has been the year of Gates.

Gates is still not sure if he can play this week but as this is a Monday night game, he has one extra day to rest. I am going to tentatively expect that he can play at least a limited role and update later in the week as warranted. Gates has scored in every home game this year and will play if at all possible. But he may be a game time decision or have a problem on Monday when you cannot make a change so he remains a risk.

Gates caught five passes for 70 yards at home against the Broncos last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 3 5 12 1 23 19
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 27 30 21 24 14 18
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) SD 24 25 9 23 -9 -1

WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT TB at SF
GB at MIN BUF at CIN CLE at JAC IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL SEA at NO NYG at PHI
  ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL DEN at SD
 
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