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

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 Landry Jones, PIT CLE 0000022011 *
Pittsburgh has nothing at stake this week, so expect Jones to get the nod. Keep far away from him in all formats, even against the Browns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eli Rogers, PIT CLE 006600000 ***
Rogers will start but without Antonio Brown opposite him and Ben Roethlisberger throwing the rock. This is an exhibition game for the playoff-bound Steelers. Rogers is a decent play in PPR.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cobi Hamilton, PIT CLE 002300000 ***
Hamilton will start but has mild upside without Ben Roethlisberger in the lineup. Even against Cleveland, consider him a long shot for production worthy of a starting lineup spot.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jesse James, PIT CLE 005601000 **
James could be thrown to early and often with Pittsburgh resting all of its main cast. The Browns have been among fantasy's best source of tight end points all season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Chris Boswell, PIT CLE 1133 ***
Cleveland is strong against fantasy kickers most weeks because of its inability to prevent touchdowns. This typically leads to few field goal tries. Pittsburgh has nothing to gain by playing its stars this week, which would impact the overall offensive effectiveness.

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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Marshawn Lynch 100,1 1-10
WR Michael Crabtree 6-70
TE Jared Cook 4-60,1
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 EJ Manuel, OAK @DEN 10000020010 ***
Manuel will start over Tyrod Taylor in what interim head coach Anthony Lynn called a "business decision." Only a trio of teams have yielded more points per game to quarterbacks in the past five weeks. For what its worth, Taylor lit up the Jets all the way back in Week 2, tossing three TD passes and topping out at 297 yards through the air.
  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 Cordarrelle Patterson, OAK @DEN 003300000 ***
Update: Patterson should have a larger role with Stefon Diggs unlikely to play. He is a fringe WR3 or flex in deep leagues.
  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 Jared Cook, OAK @DEN 005601000 ***
The Lions have given up 31 catches to tight ends in the last five games, but only one has scored. Detroit cannot guard everyone effectively. Cook wasn't a factor in the earlier meeting.
  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 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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