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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 4
2011
* ATL at SEA * DET at DAL * NO at JAC * SF at PHI
BUF at CIN * MIA at SD * NYG at ARI * TEN at CLE
CAR at CHI MIN at KC NYJ at BAL * WAS at STL
* UPDATED * DEN at GB * NE at OAK PIT at HOU * IND at TB (mon)

Prediction: MIA 13, SD 24

Players to Watch: None

Update: Both Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd have been limited in early practices but had a full day on Friday and are expected to start against an injury depleted Miami secondary. Ryan Mathews also practiced on Friday and is good to go. Daniel Thomas is listed as questionable but he missed all practices except for some limited work on Thursday. He is not expected to play and is removed from the projections. Lex Hilliard and Steve Slaton will help out and Reggie Bush will be the primary.

The Fins came within a point in Cleveland but remain 0-3 and head to San Diego where the Chargers come off a shockingly sloppy win over the Chiefs. Injuries have already started to make a showing for the Chargers but this week shouldn't matter.

Miami Dolphins
Homefield: Dolphins Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 24-38 10 WAS -
2 HOU 13-23 11 BUF -
3 @CLE 16-17 12 @DAL -
4 @SD - 13 OAK -
5 Bye - 14 PHI -
6 @NYJ - 15 @BUF -
7 DEN - 16 @NE -
8 @NYG - 17 NYJ -
9 @KC -      
Dolphins Report | Statistics | Roster
MIAMI at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Henne - - 240,1
RB Reggie Bush 40 30 -
RB Daniel Thomas 80 10 -
TE Anthony Fasano - 20 -
WR Brandon Marshall - 80,1 -
WR Brian Hartline - 40 -
WR Davone Bess - 50 -
PK Dan Carpenter 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Fins will drift into their week five bye at 0-4 and it will not be getting much better any time soon with three road games in their next four games and four of five counting this week. The defense has played well in those losses but the offense just cannot generate more than one touchdown in recent games. All those upcoming road trips are not likely to change that either. Dolphin players may be something to consider for trading in the second half of the season when their schedule is much kinder.

QUARTERBACK: After an encouraging opener with 416 yards and two scores on the Patriots, Chad Henne has settled down to one score per game around 200 yards or so. Always one interception per week as well. It's not the stuff of fantasy dreams but can fill in for a bye week.

The Chargers have played great defense when they did not face Tom Brady and that should keep Henne to his average self.

RUNNING BACKS: Reggie Bush said he was bothered by a groin injury last week and he only produced 24 yards on 11 carries and just one catch. That makes two straight weeks with only one reception and that robs him of the only fantasy value he could have. He is a nonfactor for the foreseeable future.

Daniel Thomas continues to impress with 95 yards on 23 runs and a touchdown scored on his three catches for 27 yards. Thomas not only is the primary rusher, he now is getting more receptions than Bush. Thomas is offering sold fantasy numbers each week though nothing spectacular.

The Chargers have been very good against running backs so far and the volume of carries for Thomas depends on how seriously the Charger take this game. Consider Thomas good for a moderate showing but a big game is not likely to happen here.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Browns were able to cover Brandon Marshall and left him with only four receptions for 43 yards but Marshall had been far more effective in his two home games this year and won't likely be covered as well this game. Brian Hartline took up the slack last week with 87 yards on four catches for he's far more likely to turn out 40 yards or so each week. Davone Bess remains a low end WR3 who rarely scores but usually posts 50 yards or more.

The Chargers secondary has been decent but that is facing the Vikings and Chiefs. Look for one touchdown here that should favor Marshall.

TIGHT ENDS: The Chargers have been bad against tight ends thanks to the Patriots but Anthony Fasano only has one catch in the last two games. This should be a good opportunity for him, but two weeks says he just will not be used enough to matter. He's a risky play and likely to produce minimal stats.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIA 8 17 10 25 18 32
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 14 4 10 31 10 28


San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN 24-17 10 OAK -
2 @NE 21-35 11 @CHI -
3 KC 20-17 12 DEN -
4 MIA - 13 @JAC -
5 @DEN - 14 BUF -
6 Bye - 15 BAL -
7 @NYJ - 16 @DET -
8 @KC - 17 @OAK -
9 GB -      
Chargers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN DIEGO vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 280,2
RB Ryan Mathews 90,1 40 -
RB Mike Tolbert 20 20 -
TE Randy McMichael - 20 -
WR Malcolm Floyd - 40 -
WR Vincent Jackson - 100,2 -
WR Patrick Crayton - 50 -
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: All things considered, the Chargers are not playing as well as expected. They only beat the visiting Vikings and Chiefs by a touchdown or less and were spanked in New England. There has been no real passing game outside of Vincent Jackson and the defense has just not met expectations. This week should be a win but then the Chargers embark on three straight road games with a bye sandwiched in. Antonio Gates is making noises like he may not be available for a while so the offense needs to start to diversify better.

QUARTERBACK: After two big 330+ yard games, Philip Rivers was a huge disappointment when he only posted 266 yards and no score on the visiting Chiefs. It looked very much like a "mail-in" game and it even featured a new characteristic for Rivers - he has thrown two interceptions in every game this year.

The Dolphins have never allowed fewer than two touchdowns to the opposing quarterback and that includes Colt McCoy. Figure on Rivers getting those scores and healthy yardage but not as big of a game as it seems should be. The Chargers are playing up or down to the level of their opponents and that is always hard to gauge.

RUNNING BACKS: As Mike Tolbert shrinks from fantasy relevance, Ryan Mathews is stepping up. He had 98 yards on 21 runs against the Chiefs and scored twice alone with four catches for 51 yards. Mathews is really starting to exert himself over Tolbert and he has been good for around 120 total yards in every game.

The Fins have been slightly better than average against running backs but are on the road and facing Mathews who is finally showing up. Mathews is a must play every week in this offense and at home even more so.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Vincent Jackson has the only scores by a wide receiver so far and has been the only wideout with any fantasy value. His ten catch, 172 yard effort against the Pats was great but the other two weeks have only combined for seven receptions for 94 yards. Patrick Crayton finally made it back last week but only accounted for 47 yards on five catches while Malcolm Floyd has been stuck with less than 60 yards in every game. This unit has been top notch in the past but so far this year has one game by Jackson to prevent it from being one of the statistical worst.

The Fins secondary has been bombed by wide outs and not just the Patriots. Even the Browns got two scores from their wide receivers on the Fins last Sunday. There is not enough to suggest that anyone besides Jackson is worth a fantasy start but he should post good stats here and likely score at least once and maybe twice.

TIGHT ENDS: It is what we all feared and what we tried to warn you about. Antonio Gates has an ongoing foot problem that caused him to miss last week and now may see him rest for another three to five games in the hopes he can finish the season healthy. Gates is back to being in significant pain each week and keeps tearing scar tissue in his foot.

Randy McMichael will take his place this week but he is not likely to be anything close to a 1:1 replacement for arguably the best tight end ever. McMichael is worth grabbing by the Gates owner to see what happens but not much by anyone else.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 14 2 21 20 27 30
Preventing Fantasy Points MIA 29 9 29 32 21 20

WEEK 4
2011
ATL at SEA DET at DAL NO at JAC SF at PHI
BUF at CIN MIA at SD NYG at ARI TEN at CLE
CAR at CHI MIN at KC NYJ at BAL WAS at STL
  DEN at GB NE at OAK PIT at HOU IND at TB (mon)

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