FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: PIT 20, OAK 16 (Line: PIT by 4.5)

Players to Watch: Brandon Meyers

Player Updated: Heath Miller, Jonathan Dwyer, Sebastian Janikowski

The Steelers come off a solid win over the Jets for a 1-1 record while the Raiders remain 0-2 after being dismantled by the Dolphins. This should be a competitive game but the Raiders are not playing well enough to take advantage of the home venue.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC -----
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK ----- 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI ----- 14 SD -----
6 @TEN ----- 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN ----- 16 CIN -----
8 WAS ----- 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 260,2
WR Antonio Brown 7-100,1
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 4-50
WR Lance Moore 5-60
TE Heath Miller 4-30,1
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers had little trouble dispatching the Jets last week but his the road where they had problems in the season opener. This game will be a better measure since the Broncos were debuting new schemes and plays that were hard to prepare against. The Jets same struggles from the summer sunk their chances.

Ben Roethlisberger has been solid with two scores in either game and around 260 yards in each but that is a bit low side to expectations since the offense was supposed to be opened up more. Denver and the Jets have good secondaries so there is no real problem here other than he's still getting sacked about four times every week.

The rushing effort would be poor if all the rushing yards were totaled and given to just one person. For a franchise with some storied running backs in the past, watching Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer is almost painful. They have combined for only 116 yards on 44 carries over two games - a 2.6 yard per carry average. They don't even get more than about one catch per game. When Rashard Mendenhall returns, it will only be worse.

The only receivers of any note remain Antonio Brown who has 75 yards per game and has not scored. Mike Wallace has scored in both games with minimal yardage and then Heath Miller has scored in both games as well and has even less yardage. Assumedly this gets better as the offense comes together and Wallace missed most of the installation this summer. It's nice that Miller is scoring each week but he just has too little yardage to merit fantasy consideration.

The Chargers already won in Oakland with no running game at all and far lesser receivers. Troy Polamalu should be back this week as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 13 22 11 13 18 24
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 14 28 12 6 29 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT IND 0000024011 ***
While Indy hasn't allowed much to opposing quarterbacks, two of the three biggest games they've surrendered have come outside the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium. Big Ben is averaging 314 and 2 at home (vs. 253 and 1 on the road), so he's not an awful fantasy play this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT IND 8016500000 ***
Despite holding Giovani Bernard in check at home last week the Colts are still giving up about 130 combo yards per game to opposing backs. Bell is a one-man wrecking machine with triple-digit yards from scrimmage in every game this season. No reason to bet against him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT IND 005801000 ***
After some early season missteps the Colts have surrendered just one WR TD in the past month. But the rock-solid Brown doesn't need TDs to do his damage; he'll clean up in PPR and performance leagues and may even throw another score for good measure. He's an every-week starter regardless of format.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT IND 003500000 ***
Bryant made a splash in his NFL debut last week, but he has a tough matchup here against a defense that's allowed only one WR TD and one wideout to top 65 yards in the past month. Best wait a week to let the rookie get his feet wetter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT IND 003400000 ***
It's a reasonably favorable yardage matchup, as the Colts have allowed four tight ends to top 70 yards and gave up 10 catches to Jermaine Gresham last week. But Heath has only one game of fantasy renown this year and is difficult to trust for anything more than fair to middlin' stats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT IND 2222 ***
No in between for Suisham: four games of six or less, three games of 12 or more. The Colts tend to give up something closer to the "less" side of that spectrum, so plan accordingly.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD 14-22 10 @BAL -----
2 @MIA 13-35 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
OAK vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 230,2
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 80,1 2-10
RB Darren McFadden 40 5-40
WR James Jones 3-40
WR Denarius Moore 4-70,1
PK Sebastian Janikowski 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Raiders fall to 0-2 and the schedule gets worse for the next two weeks. The absence of any rushing game has crippled the offense and the passing is not good enough to keep the Raiders in games. Jacoby Ford has landed on injured reserve to leave the wide receivers thin and special teams lacking a good returner. The schedule does improve after the week five bye but it may be ugly getting there.

Carson Palmer has thrown just two touchdowns this year but has 670 passing yards thanks to throwing nearly 50 times each game. He's been hampered by drops and wide receiver corps that is not carrying their weight. This should be a strength and instead is the biggest liability. Darrius Heyward-Bey is attracting all the secondary attention and while Denarius Moore returned last week, he only caught three of his eight passes and looked rusty. This will get better but the offense is starting out slowly.

Worse yet is the almost inexplicable struggle of Darren McFadden who has been completely ineffective as a runner. After two weeks, he only has 54 yards on 26 carries. Defenses are keying on him and the offense has been unable to get him free. In Miami, McFadden was even taken out of the game as a receiver. So far McFadden does not have even one decent run. Not one.

Brandon Meyers has been far better than expected with games of 5-65 and 6-86. He is the leading receiver for the Raiders even though the wide receivers get more passes. One or two more games with good receptions and Meyers could be reliable at least for fantasy depth.

Problem this week is that the 0-2 Raiders are facing their best defense so far.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 14 8 26 11 22 31
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 10 2 15 11 2 22

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK @CLE 0000020011 ***
Carr flashed a couple weeks back against the Chargers, but that was an island of competency in a season-long sea of no fantasy help whatsoever. Not that the Browns' secondary has been particularly good this season--quite the opposite--but you shouldn't bank on the rookie for help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @CLE 5004200000 ****
Four of six feature backs to face the Browns have rushed for at least 80 yards and a touchdown; with enough touches McFadden could very well do the same. He's a sneaky fantasy play if you're desperate for running back help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK @CLE 50000000 ***
MoJo's next fantasy-relevant moment as a Raider will be his first. Could happen in this favorable matchup, but right now it appears as if they're willing to ride Darren McFadden right up to his next injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @CLE 005501000 **
No need to fear Joe Haden anymore--or Buster Skreen, for that matter. Jones is the closest thing the Raiders have to a reliable contributor in the passing game, so he's the best bet to capitalize on this dramatically underachieving secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @CLE 003500000 **
Holmes whetted appetites before dashing hopes with a couple of drops last week. It's a favorable matchup against an underachieving secondary, but it will be tough to trust Holmes with a fantasy lineup spot until he demonstrates some consistency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brice Butler, OAK @CLE 002300000 ***
Butler might be becoming the Raiders new favorite "go deep" guy. Against a secondary that's struggled as much as the Browns have, there's fantasy value in that role this week. High risk, but there's definitely home run potential here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @CLE 002100000 ***
Jimmy Graham scored the only two TE TDs the Browns have allowed, but that's probably because Joe Haden was covering him. No need to extend that courtesy to Rivera, who is still looking for his first TD--or 35-yard game--of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @CLE 2211 ***
SeaBass's next double-digit game will be his first, and he's averaging an anemic four points per game. You have better options.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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