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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF, CLE
Monday
NYJ, OAK
STL, MIN
* updated

Prediction: SD 24, NYG 27

Late Update: Bradshaw, Manningham and Boss were all limited on Friday but expected to play though none will be 100% healthy this week. Gates had a full practice on Friday and should be fine this week.

Early Update: Ahmad Bradshaw has been held out of practice but is expected to play same as last week. Mario Manningham has been limited in practice because of his shoulder but is expected to suit up and be outplayed by Hakeem Nicks. Kevin Boss has also been limited but will play. Antonio Gates has been limited to rest his foot but it is not expected to be any issue and he will play.

The Chargers have won two in a row and are now two games behind the Broncos in the AFC West with a 2-1 road record. The Giants are on a three game losing streak but are 2-1 at home and have slipped a half game behind the Eagles and Cowboys in the NFC East. The Chargers will be hard pressed to catch up with the Broncos but the Giants still have plenty of chances to win the division. But they must stop the sudden slide here at midseason.

San Diego Chargers (4-3)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 24-20 -9.5 43
2 BAL 26-31 -5 40.5
3 MIA 23-13 -6 42
4 @PIT 28-38 +6.5 43
5 BYE - - -
6 DEN 23-34 -3.5 44
7 @KC 37-7 -5.5 44
8 OAK 24-16 -16 41.5
9 @NYG - +4 47.5
10 PHI - - -
11 @DEN - - -
12 KC - - -
13 @CLE - - -
14 @DAL - - -
15 CIN - - -
16 @TEN - - -
17 WAS - - -
SD at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     250,2
RB Ladainian Tomlinson 50,1    
RB Darren Sproles 30 20  
TE Antonio Gates   60,1  
WR Malcolm Floyd   50  
WR Vincent Jackson   70  
WR Legedu Naanee   30,1  
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Two solid wins in a row but against the Chiefs and Raiders were hardly unexpected. Aside from the win over the visiting Dolphins, the Chargers still have not won outside of the AFC West and already have their two free wins via the Raiders. The schedule is going to become very rough for the next three weeks in what will be the defining of the season. Road trips to the Giants and Broncos sandwich hosting the Eagles and so far the Chargers have not indicated they are up to the challenge.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers gets a chance to continue his odd trend of scoring three times in each road game and yet never more than once in every home game. He's thrown for right around 250 yards in each of the away games and thrown only one interception in the last five games. He now heads to New York where the Giants secondary has never allowed more than one passing score or 230 passing yards in New York though road trips have been far more accommodating. Splitting the difference is reasonable here with a couple of scores.

Running Backs: LaDainian Tomlinson scored twice last week which gives his three touchdowns on the season - all against the Raiders. He only gained 56 yards on 18 carries and was not used as a receiver for the first time this season. Darren Sproles was a bit more productive gaining 38 yards on five runs but even he only had one catch. The rushing attack remains below average and so far the running backs have scored only once outside of the division.

The Giants have been very solid against runners though they have allowed ten rushing touchdowns this year. Look for moderate yardage at best here but a decent chance for one rushing score by Tomlinson.

Wide Receivers: The Chargers released Chris Chambers who was affected by divorce and had not been a factor this year. Malcolm Floyd now becomes the starting flanker and Legedu Naanee moves into the slot. It has only marginal impact on the team or fantasy value because Vincent Jackson remains the only truly productive wideout on the team. He caught fifth touchdown of the year last week and has four games topping 100 yards. This week should be interesting since his two worst games came on the road.

There has been no wideouts with a touchdown in New York though only the Cardinals qualify as a team with a decent pass attack there. The Saints lit the secondary up but no other team has. Look for a lesser game here by Jackson but he'll still carry enough value to warrant starting. The slot has produced two scores while starting wideouts have scored none outside the Saints matchup. I'll credit a score to Naanee based on that though it could end up with Jackson as usual.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates has remained marginally productive each week with never less than around 50 yards but he;s not score since week four or had more than 70 yards since then. This week should be better since tight ends are the weakness of the Giants who have allowed five different tight ends to score. Gates may be held to just decent numbers in yardage but has a very good shot at a touchdown this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 9 19 16 8 1 8
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 10 16 5 23 4 4


New York Giants (5-3)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 WAS 23-17 -6.5 37
2 @DAL 33-31 +3 43.5
3 @TB 24-0 -7 44
4 @KC 27-16 -9 42.5
5 OAK 44-7 -16.5 40.5
6 @NO 24-48 +3 47
7 ARI 17-24 -9 46.5
8 @PHI 17-40 +1 43
9 SD - -4 47.5
10 BYE - - -
11 ATL - - -
12 @DEN - - -
13 DAL - - -
14 PHI - - -
15 @WAS - - -
16 CAR - - -
17 @MIN - - -
NYG vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     220,2
RB Brandon Jacobs 70,1    
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 30 20  
TE Kevin Boss   30,1  
WR Steve Smith   70  
WR Hakeem Nicks   50,1  
WR Sinorice Moss   20  
PK Lawrence Tynes 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The recent three game slide has really redefined the Giants who once were 5-0 and appeared likely to challenge for the conference crown. Now the Giants are locked into a fight for the division that may only turn into a wild card run. The bye waits on the other side of this game and a win here would help the team enjoy their time off. A loss could be catastrophic though at least only three road games remain on the schedule and the next matchups against Dallas and Philly both happen in New York.

Quarterback: Eli Manning has been a big part of the recent losing streak with his string of multiple scores in games broken and now standing at three straight games with just one touchdown - all losses. He has also thrown six interceptions in those but only two through week five. Manning claims that his sprained right foot is not an issue but he's been markedly less accurate in recent games.

The Chargers rank well against the pass but have played some of the worst quarterbacks along the way - JaMarcus Russell twice already. With the Chargers on the road, Ben Roethlisberger had 333 yards and two scores to they are not really all that top ten. Just their schedule has been. Manning has not played well as of late though so look for moderate numbers here and no more than two passing scores.

Running Backs: Brandon Jacobs actually ran better than usual when he had 86 yards on 20 carries in Philadelphia but he still only has two scores on the season and has yet to break 100 rushing yards in a game. Ahmad Bradshaw had the score last week but only 21 yards on nine run. So far the easier the matchup, the more that Bradshaw is involved Bradshaw's lone score was when Jacobs brought the ball near the goal line and needed a breather.

Other than Rashard Mendenhall, no runner has posted more than 8o rush yards against the Chargers though seven rushing scores were allowed. The split ensures that there won't be a big yardage game by either but there should be a rushing touchdown that favors the bigger Jacobs slightly.

Wide Receivers: Mario Manningham has a possible separated shoulder and did not play in week eight. He injured in practice last week and was unable to get comfortable with it in pregame warmups. Barring later developments, I will assume that he is out this week as well as Domenik Hixon who had replaced Manningham last week but suffered a hip pointer and left the game.

Hakeem Nicks broke his four game streak of scoring but still had 50 yards on four catches, Nicks is the primary replacement for Manningham and leads all NFL rookie wideouts with four touchdowns on the season. Steve Smith has become just a possession receiver during this three game slide of Manning's but at least Smith has remained around 70 yards in most games.

The Chargers on the road are much weaker against the pass and most players ended up with good yardage. Only one wideout had a 100 yard game against them but the Giants are not passing that well lately. Look for moderate numbers here and a good chance for a score for Nicks.

Tight Ends: Kevin Boss has been relatively quiet this week and had an ankle injury that forced him to miss week five. He;s improved in recent games including having three catches for 70 yards and his first score on the year last week. But Boss tweaked his ankle in that game and may be a little gimpy this week. He is still expected to play and the Chargers are much weaker against tight ends than wideouts. If Boss can play, I like him to net a short score that could go to Travis Beckum or Darcy Johnson as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 10 21 4 26 2 17
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 7 27 2 21 25 14

The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF, CLE
Monday
NYJ, OAK
STL, MIN
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
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