Remember when the offense of the San Diego Chargers struck fear in opposing defenses? It was not that long ago when LaDainian Tomlinson scored 28 times in a season and Philip Rivers began receiving consideration as elite with a quarterback rating over 100 for three seasons in a row.
Trades, aging, injuries, and other factors can be blamed for many teams beginning to decline. However, the 2012 San Diego Chargers are not just a talented team declining, but rather in a complete funk. Over the years, the Chargers have proven to be slow out of the gate, but then electric in the second half. After a solid 3-1 start through Week 4, the Bolts lost four in a row including allowing the Denver Broncos to earn one of the biggest comeback victories in NFL history.
After regrouping for their bye during Week 7, San Diego managed only six points in a surprising loss on the road against the Cleveland Browns. San Diego has not scored a touchdown in six straight quarters! Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and Ryan Mathews have been nothing short of fantasy busts this season. With only one more touchdown than interception, Rivers is experiencing was one of his worst statistical seasons and ranks 26th among quarterbacks in most leagues. Yes, Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith and many other quarterbacks drafted late, or even left undrafted, have produced more for fantasy owners than Rivers.
Is your fantasy team discharged? Take a dive with me as we review several players that should perform at a high level in Week 9.
QB Michael Vick- Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles were the favorite to win the NFC East last season. After a disappointing finish for the "dream team," optimists expected a rebound this season. To no avail, the Eagles have lost four of their last five games. Fortunately for Philly, their struggling quarterback faces the New Orleans Saints in Week 9. The Saints have allowed an average of three touchdowns and over 300 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks over the last four games. They also rank near the bottom in creating turnovers, therefore, Vick should be safe this week. If you are uncertain about starting Vick, this may be the week to give him another shot.
Week 9 Forecast: 250 passing yards, 40 rushing yards, and 3 TDs
RB Rashad Jennings- After an impressive preseason, it appeared that Jennings would be in line to start for the Jags this season since Maurice Jones-Drew refused to report. Unfortunately for Jennings owners, he was relegated to backup, until MJD became sidelined recently. Jennings has totaled 100 yards over the last two games and battles Detroit this weekend who have allowed over 100 rushing yards to opposing backs four times already this season. Jacksonville's weather should not be affected by Hurricane Sandy, therefore, Jennings will be a safe play this weekend.
Week 9 Forecast: 110 total yards and 1 TD
TE Greg Olsen- With the Carolina Panthers' questionable passing attack this season, the numbers of Steve Smith and Greg Olsen have undoubtedly suffered. In fact, Olsen only managed 23 receiving yards last weekend against his former team, the Chicago Bears. Carolina travels to the Capital City to play the Redskins who have surrendered the second most points to opposing tight ends. Don't expect anything monstrous, but Olsen is a nice substitute in case your tight end is on bye this week.
Week 9 Forecast- 50 receiving yards and 1 TD
WR Steve Smith- Sorry Washington Redskins, your defense will be picked on again. Steve Smith has not been as prolific this season in comparison with last year, but through no fault of his own. However, he will have another breakout game against Washington's secondary, which has given up the most yards and catches to opposing wideouts. Smith was targeted sixteen times for seven catches and 118 yards against the generally stingy Chicago Bears' defense in Week 8. He posted 143 receiving yards last season against Washington, and may not be guarded by DeAngelo Hall due to suspension. Start Smith with confidence.
Week 9 Forecast- 110 receiving yards and 1 TD
DST Denver Broncos- The Broncos have been a relatively consistent defense thus far, which is no surprise considering their play in 2011. They have battled several powerful offenses already this season including New England, New Orleans, San Diego, Houston, and Atlanta. They face a less intimidating Cincinnati Bengals' attack this weekend, but seem much less threatening than their early season opponents. Grab Denver for a safe pick this week.
Week 9 Forecast- 12 points
Week 8 Results
QB Brandon Weeden
Week 8 Forecast: 250 passing yards and 2 TDs
Week 8 Results: 129 passing yards (bad pick)
RB Willis McGahe e
Week 8 Forecast: 110 total yards and 1 TD
Week 8 Results: 155 total yards and 1 TD (GREAT pick)
WR Jeremy Kerley
Week 8 Forecast: 100 receiving yards and 1 TD
Week 8 Results: 43 receiving yards (bad pick)
TE Owen Daniels (WOOPS...sorry guys, I made a mistake here as this is a Week 9 matchup)
Week 8 Forecast: 75 receiving yards and 1 TD
DST New York Giants
Week 8 Forecast: 12 points
Week 8 Results: 22 points (GREAT pick)
Good luck this week!