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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 5
2011
*ARI at MIN *NO at CAR *SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC *NYJ at NE *SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU *TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
*UPDATED KC at IND PHI at BUF *TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

Prediction: SD 27, DEN 20

Players to Watch: Vincent Brown

Update: Antonio Gates remains out with his never ending foot problems and while Vincent Jackson was held out of practices on Wednesday and Thursdays, he returned for a full day on Friday and is expected to play. He is also listed as probable on the injury report as well.

Always a contentious game that the Chargers have won the last three times and eight of the last ten. The Chargers are 3-1 atop the AFC West while the Broncos are only 1-3 with a two point win over the visiting Bengals to prevent being winless. The Chargers swept the Broncos in 2010, winning 35-14 at home and later 33-28 in the season finale. Here's an interesting fact - the Broncos have beat the spread only once in the last ten meetings with the Chargers who apparently enjoy beating them beyond expectations.

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 26-16 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 at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 300,2
RB Ryan Mathews 70,1 60 -
RB Mike Tolbert 10 50 -
WR Malcom Floyd - 40 -
WR Vincent Jackson - 90,1 -
WR Patrick Crayton - 30 -
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Chargers have opened the year with a ridiculously easy schedule. The only quality opponent was the Patriots who beat them by 14 points. The other were all home games against three teams that combine for a 1-11 record and only that because KC and MIN played each other. Heading into Denver is actually a but tougher than the rest since it is a road game but once again, the Chargers go against a 1-3 team. After the week six bye is when the real Chargers need to show up.

QUARTERBACK: Philip Rivers had a hot start to the season with two scores and over 330 yard sin the first two games but then let the rushing game beat the Chiefs and only end up with 266 yards and no scores. But against the weak Dolphins he was back with 307 yards and one score. He also had no interceptions in the Fins game after tossing two in each of the first three games. Rivers will probably be without Gates again which could depress passing stats some.

Rivers passed for 313 yards in Denver last year in the season finale with no scores.

The Broncos secondary has been torched with nine passing touchdowns already and the last three opponents all passed for over 330 yards. Champ Bailey has been out and may return this week but even if he does he will not be 100% over his hamstring and at 33 years of age is not the same player he once was anyway. No reason to bench Rivers any week much less this one.

RUNNING BACKS: Ryan Mathews continues to have a very good year and has totaled over 130 yards in each of the last three games while scoring three times. He has been good for over 50 yards as a receiver in every game as well. Mike Tolbert has taken a definite backseat but still trotted on to score a touchdown against the Dolphins. Mathews is having a breakout season even with the occasional interference by Tolbert. Mathews has been battling a sore foot but is still able to play and produce well.

Mathews rushed for 120 yards and three touchdowns in Denver last year.

The Broncos rushing defense is improved and so far not allowed a running back to rush in a score. In fact, since the opener no running back has gained more than 63 yards but mostly because the passing has just been easier and quicker. Mathews is a strong play this week and a good bet to break the opponent rushing touchdown drought in Denver if Tolbert doesn't get in the way again.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Considering all the yards that Rivers passes for every week, it is amazing that only Vincent Jackson matters as a wideout. Jackson scored three touchdowns so far with two efforts over 100 yards. That includes a monster 10 catch, 172 yard effort with two scores in the only other road game this year. Malcom Floyd and Patrick Crayton have contributed no scores and minor yardage. Vincent Brown is now playing and had his first NFL catches with 26 yards on two receptions against the Dolphins. Floyd is playing through a shoulder injury though which has limited him, Jackson has been playing with both leg and abdomen issues but is no worse than last week when he scored once on his three catches for 108 yards. Champ Bailey is no lock to play this week and would not be 100% healthy anyway so no reason to not play Jackson.

Keep a casual eye on the rookie Brown. He had his first game experience last Sunday and the 3.18 pick in the draft could bring some speed to the crew in the near future.

TIGHT ENDS: While Antonio Gates is making progress with his ever-injured foot, he's still likely to wait until after the bye. That means more disappointing numbers from Randy McMichael.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 11 2 17 26 15 27
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 30 7 31 3 23 26


Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 OAK 20-23 10 @KC -
2 CIN 24-22 11 NYJ -
3 @TEN 14-17 12 @SD -
4 @GB 23-49 13 @MIN -
5 SD - 14 CHI -
6 Bye - 15 NE -
7 @MIA - 16 @BUF -
8 DET - 17 KC -
9 @OAK -      
Broncos Report | Statistics | Roster
DENVER vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton - - 220,2
RB Willis McGahee 50 10 -
RB Knowshon Moreno 20 20 -
WR Eric Decker - 50,1 -
WR Brandon Lloyd - 70,1 -
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Tough times for the Broncos who were slapped around Green Bay big time last week and finally lost a game by a ton of points instead of the standard three. The bye awaits after this game but not much to be gained from the rest. Sadly the remaining schedule is one bad game after another so changes may take place if only to look like they are trying but nothing yet.

QUARTERBACK: This is the difference between fantasy football and real football. In fantasy, Kyle Orton has been solid with multiple touchdowns in each of the last three games and at least average yardage. Against the Packers, he had three scores and 273 yards. But in real terms, he is losing games and has thrown five interceptions in just the last two weeks. Every game is the call for Tim Tebow if only to give some excitement to the losses. That may eventually happen but not yet.

The Chargers have been great against the pass as long as Tom Brady does not show up. Figure on Orton needing to throw and passing for his typical average yardage or slightly better. The Broncos should score a couple of touchdowns and at least one will be by the pass if not both.

RUNNING BACKS: Knowshon Moreno made it back after missing two weeks but only was given two carries against the Packers. Willis McGahee has been the surprise with 103 yards on 15 carries in Green Bay and 101 yards against the Bengals in the most recent home game. Figure on a cool down for McGahee though since Moreno will take a growing amount of work and the incoming Chargers have only allowed two rushing scores and most running backs only gain 50 rush yards or less.

WIDE RECEIVERS: There have been some nice developments on this squad with Eric Decker really stepping up in his quest to make Brandon Lloyd not feel so all alone. Decker had a career best five catches for 113 yards and two scores in the last home game and just last Sunday in Green Bay turned in five catches for 56 yards and two more touchdowns. Lloyd had 136 yards and eight catches in that game as well for his first big showing of the year. The Broncos brain trust want to de-emphasize Lloyd who was the bulk of the offense last season. Decker is helping to give more balance. Matt Willis has one score but has done nearly nothing else.

Lloyd scored in both meetings with the Chargers last year and had around 75 yards in both.

The Chargers have been great against wideouts so far but facing MIN, KC and MIA makes that easier than most. This is still a place to start both Lloyd and Decker who will have to be used extensively to remain in the game.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 16 20 12 22 28 22
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 8 6 7 27 14 21

WEEK 5
2011
ARI at MIN NO at CAR SD at DEN CHI at DET (mon)
CIN at JAC NYJ at NE SEA at NYG BYE
GB at ATL OAK at HOU TB at SF BAL, CLE, DAL
  KC at IND PHI at BUF TEN at PIT MIA, STL, WAS

a d v e r t i s e m e n t