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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WILDCARDS
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Saturday
Sunday
   
   

Prediction: IND 31, SD 20

Update: Neither Antonio Gates nor LaDainian Tomlinson practiced this week and both are questionable to play against the Colts. Tomlinson is all but certain to play despite his groin injury but there is a question as to whether Gates will be able to play with his high ankle sprain. I am leaving the projections alone but Gates is a risk and Tomlinson won't be 100% healthy.

The Colts cruise into the playoffs as the team no one wants to host. They are 12-4 on the year and would have won the division were it not for the torrid start of the season by the Titans. The Colts are 6-2 on the road and have merely won their last nine games. The Chargers backed into the playoffs thanks to a collapse of the Broncos who could not win one of their last three games. The Chargers are only 8-8 on the season and 5-3 at home. This is also a chance for the Colts to thank the Chargers for beating them in Indy during the Divisional Round last year.

The Colts won 23-20 in San Diego back in week 12.

Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN 18-15 -2 43.5
3 JAX 21-23 -5.5 42
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU 31-27 -3 47.5
6 BAL 31-3 -4.5 39
7 @GB 14-34 -1 47
8 @TEN 21-31 +4 42
9 NE 18-15 -5.5 45
10 @PIT 24-20 +3.5 38.5
11 HOU 33-27 -9 50
12 @SD 23-20 +3 49.5
13 @CLE 10-6 -4.5 45
14 CIN 35-3 -14 42.5
15 DET 31-21 -17 45
16 @JAX 31-24 -6 44
17 TEN 23-0 +3 38
18 @SD   -1 51
IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     310,3
RB Joseph Addai 60,1 20  
TE Dallas Clark   70,1  
WR Marvin Harrison   40  
WR Reggie Wayne   110,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   60,1  
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Colts are pulling a reverse on their normal tactics. They usually win all their games, get bored and wait for the end of the season and then get beat in the playoffs. Now they struggled early in the year, got injuries but then ripped off a win in their last nine games and are getting all their players healthy again. Granted - no home games this year but perhaps that is a page of the NY Giants playbook they are using from last year. If the Colts can put it all together, they could be this year's version of the Giants. Easily.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning only had 95 yards last week but that was to get him to 4002 yards for the year and he ended up with 31 touchdowns just like last year. Manning has a higher number of interceptions this year with 14 but he hasn't thrown any in the last four games and only three over the last nine weeks. It was a slower start to the year that has turned back into normal Manning gold.

Manning passed for 255 yards and two scores earlier in San Diego.

Running Backs: It has been a painfully quiet year for Joseph Addai who battled injuries and only scored seven times all season. He only rushed for more than 100 yards once and overall was one of the worst first round picks in fantasy drafts last August. But he is healthy now and ready to finally show up when the season is over.

Dominic Rhodes will still figure in regardless but likely much less with Addai back. He'll scale back to around 6 or 8 carries if he follows what has happened in the past. Rhodes has never had a good game while Addai is playing.

In week seven, Rhodes rushed for 73 yards on 20 carries and scored twice in San Diego.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne ends the regular season with 1145 yards which only ranks 10th best in the league after being a top player in past seasons. He's actually picked up the pace in recent weeks but overall he's been a major disappointment against expectations. In his favor, his best three games came @JAC, @PIT and BAL. When the Colts needed him most - he was there.

Marvin Harrison has been the opposite. The easier the defense the better chance he matters. His best games were CIN, HOU and surprisingly BAL. But always at home. He has yet to score away from Indianapolis or have more than 44 receiving yards.

Anthony Gonzalez injured his hip last week but is expected back this week. He's been a marginal producer in most games.

Wayne only had two catches for 34 yards in the previous Chargers game while Harrison had 44 yards on six catches and Gonzalez turned in six receptions for 95 yards and one score in that game.

Tight Ends: After a largely quiet if not disappointing season, Dallas Clark has come back to life in the last month with three scores and two games over 100 yards. Clark only gained 30 yards on six receptions in San Diego this season.

Match Against the Defense: This is where this game gets interesting. The Chargers are decent against the run though mostly because most teams just pass against them. The Colts already ran in two scores last time so look for at least one this week with moderate to good yards by Addai depending on how healthy he actually is.

Manning faces the #30 defense against quarterbacks and already had 255 yards and two scores earlier this year. I like him to notch a 300 yard game and three scores here that have to include Dallas Clark going against the now #32 defense against tight ends. This is payback time for last year and a chance to show the Colts are starting to peak at the right time.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 7 22 10 5 23 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    SD 30 8 18 32 10 8


San Diego Chargers (8-8)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 24-26 -9 42
2 @DEN 38-39 -1.5 45.5
3 NYJ 48-29 -9 44
4 @OAK 28-18 -7 46
5 @MIA 10-17 -6.5 45.5
6 NE 30-10 -6 44.5
7 @BUF 14-23 -1 46.5
8 @NO 32-37 -3.5 47
9 BYE - - -
10 KC 20-19 -15 48
11 @PIT 10-11 +4 43
12 IND 20-23 -3 49.5
13 ATL 16-22 -5 49
14 OAK 34-7 -10 43
15 @KC 22-21 -5 46.5
16 @TB 41-24 +3.5 42.5
17 DEN 52-21 - -
18 IND   +1 51
SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     280,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 60 30  
TE Antonio Gates   30  
WR Vincent Jackson   90,1  
WR Malcolm Floyd   40,1  
WR Chris Chambers   60  
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Chargers hung on to win an improbable AFC West title but at 8-8 they enter the post season as the only team without a winning record. This is the same team that lost back-to-back home games against the Falcons and Colts. Take away the divisional games against the sad AFC West and the Chargers were only 3-7 on the season. Early injury losses on the defense were never compensated for and the offense rarely could keep up with what the defense was giving away. The Chargers played against teams now in the playoffs five times this year - and lost every time.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers ends the regular season with 4009 yards to rank 5th best in the league but his 34 passing scores remain tied with Drew Brees as the NFL's best mark this year. He had multiple passing scores in 12 different games and topped 300 yards five times.

Rivers passed for 288 yards and two scores against the visiting Colts this year.

Running Backs: This has been a vastly disappointing year for LaDainian Tomlinson owners. He has scored 11 rushing touchdowns though three came just last week against the Broncos and only three were against a non-AFC West team. He broke 100 rushing yards just twice and none since week eight. He still figures in as a receiver enough to make his about an average NFL back - and that is quite a fall from the top.

An MRI this week showed that Tomlinson has a strained groin but he is still expected to play. He really does not need another playoff game sitting on the bench.

Tomlinson gained 84 yards on 21 carries against the Colts in week 12 and added 30 yards on three receptions. He never scored. Of course.

Wide Receivers: This has been a big year for Vincent Jackson who ended the regular season with seven touchdowns and his first 1000 yard season (1098). Jackson has been a consistent factor in the passing game and has dislodged Chris Chambers as the primary wideout. Jackson caught two passes for 57 yards and one touchdown against the Colts this year. Chambers was held to six receptions for 61 yards.

Malcolm Floyd should return this week from his collapsed lung. I will update on Friday if warranted. He had 54 yards on two catches in the previous meeting with the Colts.

Tight Ends: Following the theme of disappointment, Antonio Gates finishes the regular season with only 704 yards to ranks 7th best in the league though his eight touchdowns are second only to Dallas Clark. But Gates has scored in only one of the last seven games and only once had more than 49 yards in that time.

Gates only had three catches for 28 yards against the visiting Colts this year.

Match Against the Defense: Tomlinson had marginal success in the previous game and now he has a sore groin. Look for moderate yards at best and likely no score. Chances are that Hester or even Darren Sproles would be more likely to score than Tomlinson.

Rivers passed for 255 yards and two scores the last time and that was the only time any team ever had more than one scores against the Colts. In fact, the Colts have only allowed a total of six passing touchdowns on the entire season. I like Rivers to air it out this week and get his yardage but just two scores will happen this week - if that.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 5 7 16 6 8 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    IND 2 25 2 7 23 5

The Huddle
WEEK 17
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
 
CAR at NO
DEN at SD
MIA at NYJ
SEA at ARZ
 
CHI at HOU
DET at GB
NE at BUF
STL at ATL
CLE at PIT
JAX at BAL
NYG at MIN
TEN at IND
DAL at PHI
KC at CIN
OAK at TB
WAS at SF
Other Features
Playoff Player Rankings
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Game Recaps
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