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 0000027021 ***
The Chiefs went through a stretch of being awful versus quarterbacks, but the ship as righted, and KC is a bottom-five opponent over the last five games. The Week 1 meeting saw Rivers go for 243-1-0 for 17.1 fantasy points at Arrowhead.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Melvin Gordon, SD KC 500000000 *
Gordon is a likely game-time decision but sits only three yards away from 1,000 on the year. San Diego may want to give him a few carries to get there. The Chiefs are a top-12 fantasy matchup in PPR and have allowed 109 rushing yards a contest to the position in the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyrell Williams, SD KC 004701000 ***
Williams caught two for 71 in the first meeting, and he has a much more reliable role this time around. The promising young wideout is a WR2 as the Chargers host the midrange KC defense of his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD KC 005600000 ***
Inman was a non-factor in the Week 1 meeting, but he has a larger role these days. Consider him as WR3 or flex in PPR, but not without some risk involved. KC is a negative-leaning matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Travis Benjamin, SD KC 003400000 ***
KC has given up only four WR touchdowns in the last five games, and they held Benjamin to 32 yards on seven grabs in their earlier meeting. He's a flier, at best, in deep setups.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 006501000 ***
KC has blanked TEs on the last 20 catches from finding the end zone. Gates authored a 3-20-0 line in the last meeting with the Chiefs. Kansas City has suffered several linebacker injuries and are not at full strength.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Hunter Henry, SD KC 001200000 ***
Henry catches TD passes and does almost nothing else at this stage of his young career. KC doesn't allow TD passes (only two all season to TEs). Look elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Josh Lambo, SD KC 1122 ***
This is a neutral matchup, but far more field goals come against this defense than touchdown-toppers. Lambo has modest upside in this one.

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 Matt McGloin, OAK @DEN 0000015002 *
The tall task of replacing Derek Carr starts off with the worst possible matchup in fantasy this week. While McGloin may prove in time to be able to win games, he should not be relied on in fantasy this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @DEN 5002100000 *
Remember the last time these teams met? Murray does, and probably will the rest of his days. He scored three times. Denver really righted the ship against RBs after that game, and without Derek Carr, it is tough to expect Murray to come anywhere close to that level of output.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jalen Richard, OAK @DEN 3002100000 *
Richard posted 72 offensive yards in the last meeting and has seen a fair amount of work of late. The Raiders like to use him in passing situations, which naturally lends to more value in PPR. Denver enters the week as a bottom-seven matchup for PPR backs, however.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAndre Washington, OAK @DEN 3001100000 *
Washington may be tempting to play as a high-risk flier, but the matchup isn't worth it. Denver has regrouped against running backs and is the seventh worst opponent for the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Amari Cooper, OAK @DEN 003400000 *
Receivers have posted the worst figures in the NFL against Denver in yardage, receptions, touchdown efficiency, and fantasy points per game since Week 11. No Derek Carr. In Denver. It doesn't get much nastier than that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK @DEN 003300000 ***
Denver should not have any problem holding the Matt McGloin-led Raiders in check. This is overwhelmingly the worst matchup a receiver can find in Week 17.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Seth Roberts, OAK @DEN 002300000 ***
No Derek Carr, on the road, against fantasy's worst defensive matchup ... no thanks. Keep Roberts in reserve.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clive Walford, OAK @DEN 002200000 ***
Matt McGloin could rely on Walford some, but it isn't worth paying the price to find out. Denver has been solid versus tight ends more often than not this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @DEN 2100 ***
Jan-O gets the 11th best field goal matchup but 22nd best extra point opponent in Week 17. So much comes down to how well Matt McGloin can move the ball replacing Derek Carr.

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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