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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 14
2011
CLE at PIT (thu) * HOU at CIN NE at WAS PHI at MIA
ATL at CAR IND at BAL NO at TEN SF at ARI
BUF at SD KC at NYJ * NYG at DAL TB at JAC
* Update * CHI at DEN * MIN at DET * OAK at GB * STL at SEA (mon)

Prediction: CHI 6, DEN 24

Update: Willis McGahee is listed as question and missed practices but is still expected to play without limitation.

Players to Watch: Marion Barber, Kahlil Bell

The Bears lost their last two games and at 7-5 they are holding on to the dimming hopes for a wild card. But losing Jay Cutler and now Matt Forte has stripped the offense of weapons. The Bears are only 2-3 on the road anyway. The Broncos are also 7-5 but have won five straight while providing talk show fodder weekly thanks to Tim Tebow who is 6-1 as a starter.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL 30-12 10 DET 37-13
2 @NO 13-30 11 SD 31-20
3 GB 17-27 12 @OAK 20-25
4 CAR 34-29 13 KC 3-10
5 @DET 13-24 14 @DEN -
6 MIN 39-10 15 SEA -
7 @TB 24-18 16 @GB -
8 Bye - 17 @MIN -
9 @PHI 30-24      
Bears Report | Statistics | Roster
CHICAGO at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Caleb Hanie - - 190
RB Marion Barber 50 10 -
WR Roy Williams - 30 -
WR Devin Hester - 50 -
WR Earl Bennett - 30 -
WR Johnny Knox - 50 -
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG XP -
Pregame Notes: And it was going so well too. The Bears lost Jay Cutler three weeks ago and now will be without Matt Forte for somewhere between two games and training camp next year depending on who you ask. Bottom line - the Bears have three road games left and two are against division leaders Denver and Green Bay. Those two losses alone would likely be enough to miss out on a wild card and this team is just floundering offensively now after generating 30+ points in six of their games. Losing 3-10 to the visiting Chiefs sends a rather bad sign.

QUARTERBACK: The coaching staff are still standing behind Caleb Hanie who scored two touchdowsn and threw six interceptions over his two starts. The Chiefs lost all respect for the pass and just swamped Hanie every passing play and ended with seven sacks. The Broncos are likely to do the same and this is on the road without any discernible rushing attack. There are whispers about bringing in a quarterback like Donovan McNabb or Brett F-Word but what is the point really? Four weeks left for a complicated offense that has no running game. Must like getting hit.

Hanie is not an attractive start. Let's leave it there.

RUNNING BACKS: With Matt Forte sidelined with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, Marion Barber gets to take the primary load but he has never rushed more than 14 times in any game this year and last week was the 14 carries with only 44 yards gained on the visiting Chiefs. Barber is past his time as a primary back and is only suited for short yardage play. Kahlil Bell steps up to a bigger role but the third year back has never done more than add a body to practices. He's the only one here that is interesting since he has only had limited time to show if he cannot play well.

I'll project for Barber but it bears watching if only for the Matt Forte owner who is crying in his beer now. Oh yes, the Broncos are outstanding against running backs who have only run in one score all year on this defense. Barber is a marginal play at best.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This was a mess with Jay Cutler. Now that Hanie is under center, it has no fantasy value. Earl Bennett has only catch for five yards in each of the two starts for Hanie. Johnny Knox scored in week 12 and had 145 yards but then only managed 53 yards on five catches last week. The defenses are not scared of Hanie and are teeing off on him every play. That makes all of these wideouts too risky to consider.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 21 8 20 25 6 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 29 17 26 5 30 23


Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 OAK 20-23 10 @KC 17-10
2 CIN 24-22 11 NYJ 17-13
3 @TEN 14-17 12 @SD 16-13
4 @GB 23-49 13 @MIN 35-32
5 SD 24-29 14 CHI -
6 Bye - 15 NE -
7 @MIA 18-15 16 @BUF -
8 DET 10-45 17 KC -
9 @OAK 38-24      
Broncos Report | Statistics | Roster
DENVER vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tim Tebow 50,1 - 130,1
RB Willis McGahee 100,1 - -
WR Eric Decker - 60,1 -
WR Demaryius Thomas - 40 -
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Opening up the whatever works file means another week, another win for Tim Tebow who faced down a horrible secondary and threw pretty well on Sunday. The Broncos are atop the AFC West division along with the Raiders who traded wins with them this year. The remaining schedule features three home games and one trip to visiting the crumbling Bears. Nice chance that the Broncos end up 10-6 on the season or at least 9-7.

This week should see LB Von Miller return from thumb surgery to make the defense a major headache for the Bears.

QUARTERBACK: Hard to argue with a 6-1 starter for quarterback and Tim Tebow even turned in a big game as a passer when he completed 10 of 15 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns to win the Vikings tilt. Granted - one of the worst secondaries out there but Tebow was on the road and of course trailed late in the fourth quarter before opening his good book of magic. Tebow ran a personal best 22 times in San Diego but then a season low four times in Minnesota.

The Bears are reeling offensively and that impacts field position and game situation. The Bears have also been weaker in road games against the run with four scores allowed in their last four away venues and that was when they had an offense. Less passing this week from a reduced need but more rushing should be in order.

RUNNING BACKS: Willis McGahee is enjoying a hot streak with these last two games producing over 110 rush yards each and a score in Minnesota. He has been good for 20+ carries since Knowshon Moreno left and is a decent weekly start. He has not caught a pass since week four though and that does limit his fantasy appeal.

The Bears have been mostly good in allowing yardage but this should be a nice home game by McGahee with 20 to 25 carries and a score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Eddie Royal sustained a concussion last week and with all his other maladies is not reliable to play this week or post stats of any note if he did. Demaryius Thomas had his breakout game with 144 yards on four receptions and two scores in Minnesota with a third touchdown that barely missed. Going against the Vikings injury-depleted secondary made a big difference. Eric Decker has scored in four of the previous five starts by Tebow bit ended with only 25 yards on two catches. The minimal passing makes starting any receiver a huge risk since all three starting wideouts have at least one game with no catches in the last three weeks. The soft matchup in Minny allowed Thomas to shine but it came at the expense of Decker. Given that Thomas only had one other touchdown this season and never more than 37 yards in any other game, his big game is a blip more than a trend. But it should spawn optimism for next season with Decker and Thomas.

If there is a touchdown pass, it pretty much has to end up with either Decker or Thomas but the yardage is almost certain to be moderate and sadly it has to be one or the other because there is not enough for both. That makes it a coin flip that has to still favor Decker.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 12 17 27 28 27 8
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 19 10 13 31 26 18

WEEK 14
2011
CLE at PIT (thu) HOU at CIN NE at WAS PHI at MIA
ATL at CAR IND at BAL NO at TEN SF at ARI
BUF at SD KC at NYJ NYG at DAL TB at JAC
  CHI at DEN MIN at DET OAK at GB STL at SEA (mon)

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