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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: DET 14, SDC 31

Update: Antonio Gates has missed both days of practice this week because of his sore hip and bruised back but HC Norv Turner said he expected to play this week. Recall that Gates suffered the injury during the game last week and after leaving the field, later returned and caught the touchdown that sent the game into overtime. Philip Rivers has been practicing on a limited basis with his sprained knee and may end up as a game time decision. If that happens, Billy Volek will play.

Like Gates, Rivers was injured last week, left the game and then returned. One overriding factor to consider here is that the Chargers should win this game fairly handily if only by the play of Tomlinson. If the Chargers get a lead, they may opt to pull either Gates or Rivers from the game to rest them for the more important home game against the Broncos next week. So using Rivers or Gates this week could carry some hidden risks. Check the inactives to be sure though both appear likely to play. This will be a late afternoon game as well which will limit your options. Hard to believe anyone is in a position to bench Gates but Rivers is a a risky play this week unless you have no other options. Again - their playing time and involvement could be impacted not only by health but by game situation.

The Lions almost clipped the Cowboys last week but instead merely ended with their fifth consecutive loss. They are only 2-4 on the road this year and head to San Diego where the Chargers are 5-1 and looking to wrap up the AFC West title.

Detroit Lions (6-7)
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 36-21 +1 39
2 MIN 20-17 -3 42.5
3 @PHI 21-56 +6.5 44.5
4 CHI 37-27 +2.5 46
5 @WAS 3-34 +4 44.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TB 23-16 -1.5 43
8 @CHI 16-7 +5 44
9 DEN 44-7 -3 45.5
10 @ARI 21-31 +1 45
11 NYG 10-16 +2.5 49.5
12 GB 26-37 +3.5 48
13 @MIN 10-42 +3.5 44.5
14 DAL 27-28 +10.5 38
15 @SD   +10.5 45.5
16 KC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @GB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DET at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     240,2
RB Kevin Jones 40 20  
TE Sean McHugh   30  
WR Mike Furrey   50,1  
WR Calvin Johnson   50  
WR Shaun McDonald   80,1  
PK Jason Hanson   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Lions are now playing out a season that began with great promise and a 6-2 start but that has disintegrated with every week until the Cowboys showed up and like the Ravens facing the Patriots the week before, the Lions showed new life only to let the game slip away yet again. Roy Williams is gone and the rushing game may be back, but then again, the only constant with the Lions is inconsistency. A home stand against the Chiefs in week 16 offers hope of one more win but a winning record is not in the cards for the Lions this year.

Quarterback: After starting the year with eight scores in the first four weeks, Jon Kitna only had seven touchdowns over the last nine games and comes off a scoreless effort against the Cowboys. His yardage still tends to be solid around 250 most weeks but his scoring has been limited to just one or none for the last month. Losing Roy Williams is not going to help that trend. Nor will Calvin Johnson's slow starting rookie year.

Running Backs: Perhaps the best example of the inconsistency of the Lions is Kevin Jones who comes off an impressive 23 carry game against the Cowboys that gained 92 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. The previous week in Minnesota he had three carries for one yard. Against the Packers, 20 carries for 93 yards and a score but then the previous week was 25 yards on 11 runs against the Giants. It's like he does well when he should not and disappears randomly from other games.

Wide Receivers: The first week without Roy Williams saw Calvin Johnson only total five catches for 51 yards and Mike Furrey get promoted to starting again but only producing two catches for 15 yards. The star, of sorts, was Shaun McDonald from the slot with eight catches for 96 yards and none of these wideouts scored. Johnson is not stepping up and Furrey needs that strong presence on the other side like last year when defenses left him alone to have a great year. McDonald is merely the last guy not covered by a cornerback.

Tight Ends: Sean McHugh comes off a season high three catches for 60 yards but that is usually what he has each month, not every game.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions catch a break since Shawne Merriman won't play this week because of a sprained knee but the Chargers at home have only allowed one rushing score over six games played and the Lions are hardly a top running team. Look for Jones to go hide under his rock again this week... unless he pulls another surprise but on the road the Lions are rarely formidable in any aspect, let alone the rushing game.

Kitna faces a secondary that is probably average on a good day but at home should limit him to no more than than two scores. No visitor has managed more though most end up with 200+ passing yards which seems likely this week since the Chargers should get a lead and force the Lions to throw. The Chargers have been weak against the tight ends but that mostly reflects playing in the AFC West where most the top players reside. McHugh is rarely used and too unreliable to consider here. The cornerbacks are very good here and only one receiver has topped 100 yards in the last nine games against them (Reggie Wayne). Look for another game where McDonald gets the most work thanks to working the inside and going against safeties. He should manage one of the scores and the other could go anywhere but I'll give it to Furrey since Johnson should now be the primary concern for the secondary.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 14 24 3 31 9 5
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 9 22 9 28 3 12

 

San Diego Chargers (8-5)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 14-3 -5.5 42.5
2 @NE 14-38 +3 47
3 @GB 24-31 -5 43
4 KC 16-30 -13 38.5
5 @DEN 41-3 -1 43
6 OAK 28-14 -9.5 44
7 BYE - - -
8 HOU 35-10 -11 45
9 @MIN 17-35 -7 41
10 IND 23-21 +3.5 49
11 @JAC 17-24 +3 41
12 BAL 32-14 -9.5 38.5
13 @KC 24-10 -3.5 43
14 @TEN 23-17 -1 41
15 DET   -10.5 45.5
16 DEN 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 @OAK 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
SDC vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     200,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 130,2 30  
TE Antonio Gates   60,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   20  
WR Craig Davis   20  
WR Chris Chambers   70,1  
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chargers are back on the right track with a three game wining streak that included road games in TEN and KC and now two home games against the Lions and Broncos can make the week 17 game in Oakland meaningless. The defense has been improved as of late though the loss of LC Shawn Merriman is not a plus for at least this week. Now the Chargers are also hoping that Philip Rivers can play with an injured knee that may be a partially torn MCL. That could make the week 16 game against the Broncos more interesting.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers injured his knee in the game against the Titans but played the second half with what is feared to be a partially torn MCL. Rivers is hardly that mobile anyway and the injury may not keep him out. I will project for him to play this week and update based on what is later diagnosed and how he practices. This week is a great chance for some nice fantasy points and a needed win. Rivers has been on a roll scoring in each of the last four games though his completion percentage has waned in the road games.

Running Backs: After a slow start to the season, LaDainian Tomlinson is back to rewarding all the fantasy teams with the first pick in drafts last summer with two huge games on the road that he alone helped to win. He scored twice in each and totaled over 170 yards. Hopefully he can continue that but his blocking fullback Lorenzo Neal suffered a fractured fibula during the win Sunday and won't be around at least for the rest of the regular season and realistically it's optimistic to expect him back for the playoffs. . That may put a dent in Tomlinson's numbers though if any back can still deliver, it would be LT who leads the league with 12 rushing touchdowns and is tied with Addai for 14 overall scores.

Wide Receivers: Chris Chambers comes off a great four catch, 90 yard performance against the Titans and while he only has two scores on the year, both came in home games. Vincent Jackson and Buster Davis have all but disappeared but Chambers maintains at least decent fantasy value each week. With Gates around to command the most passes, Chambers does well enough with his 50 or so yards in most weeks.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates is tied with Dallas Clark with 9 scores on the year though amazingly he trails Witten, Gonzalez and Winslow in yardage - but only by around 60 yards or less. If Rivers ends up out, it would hurt Gates chances to wind up as the highest scoring fantasy tight end this year with so many others turning it on lately.

Match Against the Defense: Even if Rivers was to not play this week, Tomlinson alone should be able to win this game against the #31 defense against running backs. Look for a great game that will probably end up as a monster.

Rivers gets his easiest matchup of the year and says he plans on playing. If so, expect at least one score in this game against a very bad defense that has allowed four of the last five road opponents to score over 31 points and virtually any quarterback with a pulse to score twice via the pass.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 22 4 32 3 25 2
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 31 31 26 25 10 30

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

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