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 @BUF 0000026021 ***
Rivers should get plenty of chances against a defense that's allowed 49 pass attempts each of the two previous games. After tossing multiple scores against the Seahawks, strafing the Bills should be easier pickings for Rivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD @BUF 4013100000 ***
No reason to get overly excited for Brown as he steps into Ryan Mathews' shoes for a month or so; the Bills have yet to allow a RB TD this year and even Matt Forte couldn't top 82 rushing yards against them.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Danny Woodhead, SD @BUF 2003200000 ***
The Bills seem especially vulnerable to pass-catching backs--only five teams have allowed more RB receptions, only four more RB receiving yards thus far this season--and with Ryan Mathews out it's a great opportunity for Woodhead to step up and do what he does. It's worth noting that the last two times Woodhead faced Buffalo as a Patriot he scored receiving touchdowns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @BUF 005601000 ***
Allen has faced some pretty doggone good corners already this season, and Buffalo's underrated secondary is no slouch themselves. That said, they've allowed both WR1s they've faced to find the end zone so this is a great opportunity for Allen to kick-start his fantasy season.
Update: Allen practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and is officially listed as questionable, adding another layer of risk to Allen's fantasy prospects this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @BUF 004500000 ***
No secondary wideout has scored against the Bills this season and only Alshon Jeffery has topped 50 yards. Floyd is no Jeffery, and after being held catchless by the Seahawks last week there's no reason for an uptick in optimism here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @BUF 005400000 ***
Buffalo's secondary has been solid thus far this season; no reason to mine the depths of San Diego's wide receivers for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @BUF 006601000 ****
Only one team has allowed more TE receptions thus far this season than the Bills, and only three tight ends have more grabs than Gates. Even if Ladarius Green rejoins the fray after being catchless last week there's more than enough opportunity for Gates to extend his throwback run a little bit longer.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @BUF 1133 ***
Novak has yet to miss this season, and with Rivers-to-Gates humming along he should continue to see enough opportunities to be a fantasy factor.

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 @NE 0000020013 ***
Carr has been meh through his first two games, and aside from garbage time there's no reason to expect him to outperform Matt Cassel (202 & 1) or Ryan Tannehill (178 & 2) against the Patriots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @NE 4003200000 ***
McFadden's best bet, assuming he gets the snaps because Maurice Jones-Drew and his bum hand can't go, is some sort of receiving score; the Pats have allowed RB receiving TDs in back-to-back contests. Otherwise, nothing compelling about McFadden's ground potential against the Pats this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @NE 005501000 ***
Jones has scored in each of his games as a Raider, but all that means is Darrelle Revis will be acutely aware of where Jones is at all times. Nothing says you have to start a Raider this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Denarius Moore, OAK @NE 003400000 ***
Moore is clinging to the fringe of fantasy relevancy as he battles Andre Holmes and Rod Streater for looks in Oakland's unproductive passing game. If you're using him here you're playing the "not being covered by Revis" card. Good luck with that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @NE 003300000 ***
Rivera has posted matching 31-yard performances thus far, so if 31 yards gets you bonus points in your fantasy league... he's your guy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @NE 1111 ***
No kicker has fewer fantasy points; 30 have more. You can do better.

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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