FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: SD 24, OAK 27 (Line: SD by 1.5)

Players Updated: Ryan Mathews, Denarius Moore, Rod Streater

Players to watch: Ryan Mathews, All SD receivers

This is the late Monday night game and this is a replay of when the Raiders won 24-17 when they visited the Chargers last year but then lost 26-38 in Oakland in the finale that helped determine the divisional winner. This game is one of the "throw out the record book" kind of match-up. Six of the last ten meetings went to the visiting team. Oakland has won only once at home in the last five years. This is a coin toss game.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @OAK ----- 10 @TB -----
2 TEN ----- 11 @DEN -----
3 ATL ----- 12 BAL -----
4 @KC ----- 13 CIN -----
5 @NO ----- 14 @PIT -----
6 DEN ----- 15 CAR -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ -----
8 @CLE ----- 17 OAK -----
9 KC ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Chargers lost out to the Broncos thanks to tiebreakers for the AFC West crown last year. Granted, both teams were 8-8 and there were no winning records in the division. The Raiders also finished 8-8 and lost the division when the Chargers won the final game of the season. Not that these teams need any more incentive to screw beat the other team.

Philip RIvers had a decent enough season in 2011 when he threw for a second best career mark of 4624 yards and 27 touchdowns but he went from ten or 12 interceptions per year to throwing 20 last year. What has fantasy fans the most concerned is that Vincent Jackson left for Tampa Bay and he was replaced by Robert Meachem who has not made the transition from being just another wideout for Brees to being the #1 guy in San Diego. He still looks like just another wideout so far. Malcolm Floyd has never been more than a mediocre talent that produces around 700 yards per season but he's the best wideout so far.

Add in Antonio Gates turning 32 and his durability being questioned and no one believes that Rivers can be bigger than the talent drain around him. Gates has missed nine games over the last two years and claims to be healthy now much like he said last year before missing three more games and turning in one of his worst seasons since he was a rookie that no one knew they should use.

Add in Ryan Mathews who has been an electrifying runner but he also has injury issues. He has missed six games over his first two years and now that he has been named the new workhorse back for the Chargers, he immediately broke his clavicle. He has not been cleared for practice as of this writing despite his contention he would play in week one. No need to project for him unless something happens late week and that is no longer expected. The Chargers brought in Ronnie Brown as a backup but he's over-the-hill and was released from Philly for being too slow. Brown will take the start this week with some help from Curtis Brinkley. Mike Tolbert left for the Panthers, so there is really no proven backup behind a back that has so far been an injury waiting to happen.

This will be a challenging season for the Chargers who matchup against the AFC Central defenses along the way. Should Gates again miss games, there are valid questions about how Rivers can possibly to enough to win each week. If Mathews is also injured for any length of time, this could be a long year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 10 3 16 5 11 25
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 30 23 28 12 16 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @MIA 0000025020 ****
Rivers has multiple TD tosses in seven straight, not just the "last couple" that busted against Miami's D this week. Plenty of Rivers to like here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @MIA 6014401000 ***
Oliver's carries and yards have gone south the past couple of weeks as their opposition toughened. Miami's closer to that end of the spectrum, though don't be surprised if Oliver can recoup some of his value as a receiver against a Dolphins D that has given up three RB receiving scores and a couple of 60-yard receiving games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @MIA 005700000 ****
Allen has shown signs of exiting his sophomore slump; at minimum he remains heavily targeted, a good thing here as four of the past five WRs who have seen 10 targets in a game against the Dolphins have found the end zone.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @MIA 004500000 ***
Floyd is a consistently targeted second fiddle; over the past few games that's been enough to land him in the nd zone a couple times, but only once all season have the Dolphins allowed multiple receivers to score in the same game so this week Floyd's more of an afterthought.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @MIA 005601000 ****
Gates has scored in four straight, and while the Dolphins aren't quite that fantasy-friendly to the position they have allowed four TE TDs on the year so no need to run scared.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @MIA 2133 ****
The Bolts consistently give Novak opportunities for PATs, but field goals have been tougher to come by of late. This is still a good offense and Novak a quality kicker, but he's merely an okay fantasy option here.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD ----- 10 @BAL -----
2 @MIA ----- 11 NO -----
3 PIT ----- 12 @CIN -----
4 @DEN ----- 13 CLE -----
5 BYE ----- 14 DEN -----
6 @ATL ----- 15 KC -----
7 JAC ----- 16 @CAR -----
8 @KC ----- 17 @SD -----
9 TB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Raiders open their first season with no Big Al calling down to the sidelines. Last year was a bitter pill getting knocked out of the playoffs by these Chargers. The Raiders brought in Carson Palmer in week seven and the results were good - 2753 yards and 13 touchdowns over ten games. Compared to Jason Campbell, it was astronomic. The Raiders paid big money to finally have a real quarterback who could erase the Jamarcus Russell era.

Darren McFadden enters the season healthy, for now, and he looks to make his fifth season his first to contain all 16 games. McFadden has yet to play more than 13 games in any season and last year missed nine. He is 100% over the Lis Franc injury that ruined last season. He was very carefully used in camp and the preseason just to preserve his health. If he remains healthy, he is a force that cannot be contained and a huge boost to the offense. Michael Bush left for Chicago so the Raiders now will turn to some combination of Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones to fill in when the eventual injury happens.

Darius Heyward-Bey started the year on a hot streak and then was mysteriously benched for a few weeks as was not uncommon in the Al Davis era. But he was used again later once Carson Palmer was there and ended with two of the last three games having 130+ yards. A full offseason with Palmer and this is a promising season for the fourth-year player who only now has a real quarterback. Denarius Moore has been a sleeper to some this summer and he did have four games of note as a rookie. The problem is that the other 12 games were mostly only one or no catches. He needs to show far more consistency but at least has a quarterback to get the job done now. Moore has been nursing a bad hamstring this summer but may be able to play in the season opener. Jacoby Ford has always had injury problems and spent this summer hobbled from a sprained foot. His absence has allowed the undrafted rookie Rod Streater to get playing time in camp and show what he can do in a number of different positions. It appears likely that Ford will not be able to play so Streater should be the #3 or even #2 wideout if Moore also does not play.

Tight ends have fallen from favor in Oakland since Zach Miller left and Palmer showed up with the ability to actually use wide receivers. Brandon Meyers only turned in 16 catches in all of last season. Kevin Boss (28-368-3) left for the Chiefs but his production was outside of fantasy relevance anyway.

Raiders have an axe to grind here if they can and for now, McFadden is healthy and dangerous. The offense sputtered in August but the Raiders are always up for a tilt with the Chargers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 17 5 12 26 10 15
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 22 11 15 18 18 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK @SEA 0000017012 ****
Carr's had a couple of decent fantasy efforts during his rookie campaign; asking him to go to Seattle and pull one off... well, that's a bit too aggressive.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @SEA 4004200000 ***
McFadden is unlikely to dent the Seahawks on the ground, but he could salvage fantasy value via the air against a Seattle defense that's allowing almost 50 RB receiving yards per game over the past month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK @SEA 40130000 ***
MJD's last two game have seen him carry the ball nine times for 14 yards. Ugh.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @SEA 005600000 **
Holmes will get his targets; the key will be holding on to them. Not enough upside here to warrant a start against a secondary that could very well throttle the life out of Oakland's passing game without blinking an eye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @SEA 003400000 ***
The Seahawks haven't allowed a WR TD since Week 5 or a WR TD at home since the season opener. Oakland's cast of characters doesn't feel like the group that's going to crack that code.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenbrell Thompkins, OAK @SEA 002300000 ***
If you were wondering where Kenbrell Thompkins ended up... well, here he is. He saw eight targets last week, but given this matchup with Seattle's secondary that number--as well as what Thompkins can do with those catches--is likely to dwindle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @SEA 003201000 *
Maybe the Raiders' best hope for fantasy value this week comes in the form of Rivera, who posted 7-83 on nine targets last week. He'll have a chance to exploit the lone fantasy weakness in this defense, an inability to defend tight ends. Seattle has surrendered eight TE TDs already this season; if Oakland is to get one, Rivera's probably the best bet.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @SEA 1111 ***
Seabass has yet to hit double-digit points, and Seattle seems like an unlikely venue for him to reach that milestone.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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