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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

WEEK 16
2011
HOU at IND (thu) * JAC at TEN OAK at KC * STL at PIT
ARI at CIN MIA at NE * PHI at DAL TB at CAR
* CLE at BAL * MIN at WAS * SD at DET * CHI at GB
* UPDATED DEN at BUF * NYG at NYJ * SF at SEA * ATL at NO (mon)

Prediction: SD 20, DET 27

Update: Vincent Jackson was held out of practices on Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable on the injury report. The Chargers are still expressing optimism that he will play but it will be a risk to rely on him because his groin injury is clearly not healed yet. I am lowering his projections and be aware that he is no lock to play. He is in a late game so you may not be able to replace him if he does not play.

The Chargers are on a three game winning streak which followed their six game losing skid. The Chargers put together three straight 20+ point wins over the Jaguars, Bills and Ravens but are still only 2-4 in road games. The Chargers still have a theoretical shot at the division. The Lions are 9-5 and in the lead for a wildcard in the NFC but only sport a 4-3 home record.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN 24-17 10 OAK 17-24
2 @NE 21-35 11 @CHI 20-31
3 KC 20-17 12 DEN 13-16
4 MIA 26-16 13 @JAC 38-14
5 @DEN 29-24 14 BUF 37-10
6 Bye - 15 BAL 34-14
7 @NYJ 21-27 16 @DET -
8 @KC 20-23 17 @OAK -
9 GB 38-45      
Chargers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN DIEGO at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 280,2
RB Ryan Mathews 60 10 -
RB Mike Tolbert 20 30 -
TE Antonio Gates - 60,1 -
WR Vincent Brown - 50,1 -
WR Malcolm Floyd - 60 -
WR Vincent Jackson - 40 -
PK Nick Novak 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Big wins for three straight was welcomed to be sure but the Jaguars and Bills are no better than 5-9 on the season anyway and the Ravens win was great but they are not nearly the same team on the road as they are at home and it was the final home game. These next two weeks may be about Norv Turner's job more than the playoffs.

QUARTERBACK: Philip Rivers has scored in all but two games and topped 300 yards five times though not once since week eight. He's never really been that much better than the defense allowed most teams and his games with more than two touchdowns were all against weak secondaries and mostly at home.

The Lions have only allowed nine passing touchdowns in Detroit including just two for Aaron Rodgers. This is a big game for the Lions and their final home game so expect a moderate showing by Rivers and no more than two scores if that.

RUNNING BACKS: Ryan Mathews has been far better in the last four games but three were at home and the other in Jacksonville. Mike Tolbert has been good for a touchdown in about half of the games but the Lions at home have only allowed two touchdowns all year and those went to division leading teams that beat them (SF and GB). There should be decent yardage for Mathews is they use him as a receiver though in tougher away games he generally gives way to Tolbert more who stays in to block on most plays.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The good news is that the #1 wideout usually has a score and decent yardage against the Lions. The problem is who is that here? Vincent Jackson is so on again, off again that he's always a risk to flop in any given week. Then again. he has three monster games this year and two came in away venues. Malcolm Floyd has turned in around 100 yards in four of the last six that he played but when he has a down week, it is usually less than 30 yards. Vincent Brown scores the odd touchdown but is getting less play as the season concludes.

The Lions have been good against visiting wideouts and usually keeps all opposing wideouts below around 70 yards. Figure on Jackson being a must play from his potential and Floyd should be good for at least some yardage.

TIGHT ENDS: Antonio Gates comes off one of his worst games of the year when he only gained 31 yards on two catches against the Ravens but the Chargers won that one handily and he was not needed. Gates has been solid this year and shows up more in the tougher games when the defenses are taking away wide receivers more. He should figure into this game much more than last week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 10 3 14 9 7 25
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 22 9 20 7 30 21


Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI 13-37
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR 49-35
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB 15-27
4 @DAL 34-30 13 @NO 17-31
5 CHI 24-13 14 MIN 34-28
6 SF 19-25 15 @OAK 28-27
7 ATL 16-23 16 SD -
8 @DEN 45-10 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 270,3
RB Kevin Smith 60 20 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 50,1 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 80,2 -
WR Titus Young - 40 -
WR Nate Burleson - 50 -
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Lions have already ensured a winning season and that alone is a big success. Add in that Matt Stafford remained mostly healthy and that the Lions have a wildcard bid in their grasp and this team is definitely on the upswing. Losing Jahvid Best again was no help but retread Kevin Smith may stick with the team next year and figure in again when Best is injured for the third straight year. The Lions can hope that the Packers win this week so that they can rest players in the finale and give the Lions a chance for a win in Green Bay. Be like going to an amusement park after hours.

QUARTERBACK: Matthew Stafford was worth the wait. He currently has 4145 passing yards and 33 touchdowns with at least one score in every game. His 14 interceptions were a tad bit high but but seven came in just two games (CHI and GB). Stafford has turned in his biggest efforts in home games and the Chargers have not played many decent quarterbacks outside of Aaron Rodgers (247, 4 TD) and Tom Brady (423, 3 TD).

Have to like Stafford this week. The Chargers allowed Blaine Gabbert to throw for two scores. Blaine Gabbert.

RUNNING BACKS: Kevin Smith is still not 100% over his ankle injury and his last three games have produced minimal yardage. In Oakland he was able to run 15 times but only gained 43 yards and his role as a receiver was down to just one catch. The Chargers only about average against the run on the road but Smith has not flashed that form he had in his week 11 debut. He has to be considered a marginal starter unless he is able to participate in more full practices and upgrade from questionable this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Calvin Johnson was on a downswing for the last five games until Sunday when he went nuclear on the Raiders and scored twice on his nine catches for 214 yards. It was his first 100 yard game since week eight and his first two touchdown game since week four. It was all good last week with Titus Young (5-21, TD) and Nate Burleson (7-81, TD), But Young has been the more likely to score with four touchdowns over the last seven games. Oddly enough, Johnson was pretty quiet in the last three home games so this week will be interesting.

The Chargers have faced surprisingly few good passing teams so do not over value their ranking below. They have allowed 13 scores to the position this year and two players have managed multiple touchdowns on them. Young and Burleson are always nothing more than plays for moderate yardage at best and maybe a lucky touchdown. Johnson is a must start and should come up well here but again - it depends on whether he takes a step back or not. Much of his previous lower catches were more about Stafford not wanting to press his luck throwing into coverage so last week should give him more confidence.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew chugs along with only moderate yardage each week at best but he has scored twice in the last five games and usually posts around 30 or 40 yards in most outings. The Chargers have managed to avoid any decent tight ends other than from NE who totaled 148 yards and three scores on 11 catches against them. Rely mostly on the yardage but the touchdown is possible this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 16 4 6 10 2
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 16 11 11 14 13 22

WEEK 16
2011
HOU at IND (thu) JAC at TEN OAK at KC STL at PIT
ARI at CIN MIA at NE PHI at DAL TB at CAR
CLE at BAL MIN at WAS SD at DET CHI at GB
  DEN at BUF NYG at NYJ SF at SEA ATL at NO (mon)

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