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Fantasy Player Projections

 
Denver Broncos
Qualcomm Stadium | Sunday, December 28 | 8:15 p.m. EST (NBC)
Pick: Chargers 34, Broncos 31
San Diego Chargers
Pos.PlayerProjection
QBJay Cutler
325 pass yards, 4 pass TD, 1 INT
Cutler had a big yardage game last week but continues to struggle to finish drives. He passed for 359 yards in the loss to the Bills but failed to throw a TD and has only one touchdown pass in his last two games. Fortunately for him, the Chargers offer nothing defensively, giving up 242.8 passing yards a game. Cutler lit them up for 350 yards and four TDs in Week 2 and it would be a shock if he didn't bounce back with a big game on Sunday. Start him with confidence.
RBTatum Bell
2 rec, 10 rec yards, 55 rush yards
Bell is the last man standing in the Denver backfield now that P.J. Pope and Selvin Young are out for the year, joining the crowded list of Bronco RBs on Injured Reserve. Bell has done little since rejoining the Broncos, rushing for only 63 yards combined the past two games. The Chargers give up 103.4 rushing yards a game but this matchup will almost certainly be dictated by Denver throwing the ball. So don't expect much from Bell on the ground. At best, he's a so-so flex play in larger leagues.
WRBrandon Marshall
12 rec, 135 yards, 2 TD
Marshall had a huge game against the Bills last week, catching 10 passes for 129 yards. That was the second time in three weeks Marshall had posted double figure receptions in a game and the third time he's done that this season. One of those times came in Week 2 against the Chargers when he tore them up to the tune of 18-166-1. San Diego's pass defense hasn't gotten any better since then so look for Marshall to go off in a big way. He could be this week's No. 1 scoring fantasy WR.
WREddie Royal
6 rec, 85 yards, 1 TD
Royal had another solid game last week, catching five passes for 57 yards and adding a 71-yard run against Buffalo. He has at least five receptions in each of his past four games and has topped 55 yards twice in that span. The Broncos will try to win this game through the air and Royal is a big part of their passing game so he's looking good as a WR3 again this week.
WRBrandon Stokley
3 rec, 25 yards
Stokley continues to play a complementary role in the Denver passing game. He caught three passes last week and has only nine receptions in the past four games. This is a great matchup but Stokley hasn't done enough this season to warrant starting consideration in any league.
TETony Scheffler
5 rec, 65 yards, 1 TD
Scheffler continues to be hit or miss in the passing game. One week after failing to catch a pass, he caught just two (though they went for 56 yards) against Buffalo. He's obviously very risky but this is a great week to start him since the Chargers have major problems against TEs. Scheffler put up 6-64-2 against them in Week 2 so he has the track record. He'll get it done this week so start him if you need him.
KMatt Prater
4 PATs, 1 FG
Prater's struggles continued last week as he missed a FG for the third straight game. On the plus side, he made three and finished with 11 points. Despite his recent struggles, he's very viable this week since this game should be a shootout. Start him if you need him.
Defense
1 sack, 1 INT
The Broncos remain one of the league's worst defenses. They give up 26.4 points per game and will not slow San Diego down on its home field this week. They offer no upside and are a poor fantasy option this week.
Pos.PlayerProjection
QBPhilip Rivers
275 pass yards, 2 pass TD, 1 INT
Rivers had his second straight mega game in Week 16, passing for 287 yards and four TDs in the win at Tampa Bay. He has thrown nine TDs in his last three games and faces a Denver pass defense that gives up 230.3 yards a game. Rivers owners will be smiling once again this week.
RBLaDainian Tomlinson
3 rec, 20 rec yards, 95 rush yards, 1 rush TD
LT was kept out of the end zone last week by Tampa Bay but rushed for 90 yards. In the process, he topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the eighth straight season. That it took him until Week 16 to do so speaks volumes about the year he's had. The good news this week is he gets to face a horrible Denver run defense that gives up 136.5 yards a game. LT hasn't played like the No. 1 fantasy pick too often this season but he will on Sunday.
RBDarren Sproles
3 rec, 25 rec yards, 35 rush yards, 1 rush TD
Sproles was active for the third straight game in the passing game last week. He caught three passes for 46 yards and a TD and now has 10 receptions in his last three games. It's hard to trust someone who gets so few touches a week but this is an outstanding matchup and this would be a great week for the Chargers to give Sproles 5-8 carries to use his speed against the sorry Denver defense. If you need to dig real deep for a RB3 in larger leagues, he has plenty of upside this week.
WRVincent Jackson
7 rec, 105 yards, 1 TD
Jackson's career year continued last week as he caught seven passes for 111 yards in the win over Tampa Bay. He has 18 receptions in his past three games with a pair of 100-yard performances in that span. He's looking great again this week against a poor Denver secondary in a game that will feature plenty of passing. Start him with extreme confidence.
WRChris Chambers
3 rec, 40 yards
Even with Malcolm Floyd out last week and Rivers having a huge game, Chambers couldn't get it done. He caught only two passes against the Bucs and has only five receptions in the past four games. This is a sweet matchup and Chambers has plenty of talent so he could deliver. But it's far too risky to entrust a starting spot to someone who simply isn't producing for the past several games. Keep him benched.
TEAntonio Gates
7 rec, 80 yards, 1 TD
Gates looked every bit his Pro Bowl self last week, catching a pair of TDs in the win over Tampa Bay. That gave him eight touchdown catches this season, the fifth straight year he has had at least eight TD grabs in a season. He caught four passes for 61 yards in the first meeting with the Broncos and will have no trouble making plays against them this week. As always, he's one of the few elite TEs in the game.
KNate Kaeding
4 PATs, 2 FGs
Kaeding drilled a pair of FGs last week, including a 57-yard effort, in the win over Tampa Bay. He has only six FGs in the past four games but this contest will feature plenty of scoring and plenty of offense so Kaeding is looking good if you need him.
Defense
1 sack, 1 INT
The Chargers continue to stink defensively. They give up 21.7 points per game and are awful against the pass - a major issue going against Jay Cutler and the Broncos. There's no reason to expect much defense to be played in this game so look elsewhere for a fantasy option this week.
 
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