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 KC 0000026020 ****
Rivers has to love seeing red. He has multiple TDs in four straight against the Chiefs, as well as five of six in San Diego and 10 of 12 overall. And oh yeah he has multiple touchdown tosses in five straight this year with at least 256 yards in all five games--and at least 284 and three in each home game. Bolo ties all around!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD KC 8013200000 **
Two starts, two 100-yard rushing games and three TDs for Oliver. And now he gets a KC defense that's giving up an average of 120 rushing yards and 145 combo yards to opposing backs on the road, at a whopping 5.7 yards per carry. Don't sweat that the Chiefs haven't given up a running back TD this year; Oliver's yardage more than compensates.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD KC 005700000 *
Royal has been riding Philip Rivers' hot hand, Keenan Allen's sophomore slump, and a string of favorable matchups to fantasy relevancy. However, his rib injury and a tougher matchup likely conspire to relegate him to the fringe of the fantasy radar this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD KC 005600000 ***
Could the Chiefs be the cure for Allen's sophomore slump? Well, he did post 14 catches for 213 yards against them last year but he didn't find the end zone. Sounds like his upside for this year, and likely this game as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD KC 004500000 ***
Keenan Allen draws the attention, Eddie Royal steals the touchdowns, but Floyd has been getting the targets and doing some damage of his own. With Royal potentially limited by his rib issue Floyd might be the Bolts' best bet for a WR TD against a Chiefs' D that's given up touchdowns to secondary targets like Stevie Johnson and Brian Hartline.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 004501000 ****
The Chiefs visit San Diego at least once a year, and every time Gates has played a home game against the Chiefs since 2008 he's scored at least one touchdown. Granted, he's missed a couple meetings in there due to injury, but when you consider this year's iteration of the Chiefs has already allowed four TE TDs and Gates has three himself in his last two games there's no reason to expect that trend to come to a halt here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD KC 2233 ***
Lots to like here: Novak averaging 11 points per game at home, the Chefs giving up almost 10 per game to kickers on the road... isn't that enough?

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 ARI 0000022011 ***
Every QB to face the Cards has thrown for at least 238 yards this year; the last two have each topped 350, with multiple touchdowns. Carr comes off the biggest fantasy outing of his brief career, and with the Raiders likely playing from behind no reason he can't put up enough garbage time numbers to capitalize fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK ARI 5002100000 ****
The Cards haven't allowed an opposing back to top 65 yards this season, have given up only three RB TDs all year, and are holding foes to a less-than-impressive 3.1 yards per carry. More carries or no, tough to trust McFadden with a fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK ARI 300000000 *****
MJD is now playing second fiddle to Darren McFadden. In a less than favorable matchup with a defense allowing barely three yards per carry, no reason to reach for him for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK ARI 006701000 ***
The Cards have allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 100 yards in each of the past three games, so even if Jones is now running WR2 to Andre Holmes he's still a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK ARI 004500000 ***
Big targets and long-ball threats have had success against the Cards this season, and Holmes fits both of those descriptions. He's also the most targeted Raider and a solid bet to be a big-time fantasy helper for the third consecutive week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brice Butler, OAK ARI 003200000 ***
Butler showed well last week, but he remains a secondary option in the Oakland passing game and it's too early to ask Derek Carr to consistently feed that many mouths.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK ARI 002100000 ****
It's a favorable matchup for the position, as Arizona has allowed a TE TD or at least 80 yards to the position in four of five games this year. That said, it would take a leap of faith to start Rivera when the cumulative tight end production for the Raiders this season amounts to one good game for Jimmy Graham (119 yards, 1 TD). Upside, but plenty of risk as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK ARI 2211 ***
SeaBass has more games without a field goal (four) than actual field goals (three) this season. That should tell you more than enough.

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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