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 NO 0000030020 ***
Big Ben has come back to the pack after his two six-TD outings, with just one scoring strike in each of the past two. He's a good-not-great bet to get back in the multiple scoring strike swing against the Saints.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT NO 12013200000 ****
The past two games have seen fellow AFC North backs Jeremy Hill (152) and Justin Forsett (182) gouge the Saints; earlier in the year the Browns' rookie combo platter pounded them for 122. So Bell is an excellent bet to follow up last week's 204 with another healthy fantasy showing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT NO 0091101000 ***
Brown's a lock against a Saints D that's allowed 89 & 1 to three straight WR1s and TDs or 100 yards or both to six of seven WR1s and nine WRs overall in that span.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT NO 005701000 **
There's likely enough left over for Bryant to be fantasy relevant this week, though he's not quite as reliable an option as Antonio Brown.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT NO 004500000 ***
Wheaton is the third option in Pittsburgh's passing game, not nearly reliable enough to be trusted with a fantasy start at this juncture of the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT NO 003400000 ****
Only two tight ends have found the end zone against the Saints, and only one has topped 50 yards. That makes this an uphill fight for fantasy relevancy for Miller.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT NO 3333 ***
Suisham hasn't been a particularly consistent fantasy contributor--not surprising when you consider his offense scored 10 and 13 points two weeks on either side of a 51-point outburst. You can likely do better for fantasy purposes.

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 @STL 0000019012 ***
Carr has one real fantasy helper to his NFL credit; a second is not likely forthcoming against a St. Louis defense that's given up just four passing scores in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @STL 6003200000 **
If Murray is cleared from his concussion he's an intriguing play against a Rams' defense that's allowed five of its six RB TDs in the past five games and just let Ryan Mathews top the 100-yard mark. He was back at practice and is a significantly better option than other Raider backs, so expect him to go--and give you a fantasy boost.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @STL 3004300000 ***
At this point any carry the Raiders give to someone other than Latavius Murray is wasted--not to mention no fantasy help whatsoever.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @STL 007601000 ****
Jones is the veteran option to Andre Holmes, a guy who's essentially splitting the Raiders' WR targets. He's as good a fantasy option as Holmes, with maybe a tinge less upside, but both are still borderline bets at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @STL 004500000 **
A Rams secondary that's given up four 100-yard efforts in the past three games, and Holmes getting the bulk of the targets for the Raiders; he's the best fantasy option of a relatively bad situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @STL 004300000 ***
Rivera hasn't been nearly as much of a fantasy factor the past two weeks, and a date with a St. Louis defense that's allowed just one TE TD in the past 10 games isn't likely to change that course.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @STL 1122 ***
If you're into six or seven points in a game, you're in luck; after a slow start that's what SeaBass is averaging over the mast six games. If you're looking for upside, however, you'll want to look elsewhere.

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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