Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: OAK 27, DEN 34 (Line: DEN by 6.5)

Players to Watch: Bronco RB's

Players Updated: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darren McFadden, Brandon Myers, Willis McGahee,
Rod Streater, Derek Hagan

This is always one of the oddest match-ups in the NFL. Since 2008, the road team has won seven of the last eight meetings with 2010 the exception when the Raiders swept the Broncos. The plus side to these is that this tends to be a high scoring shootout. Three of the last four have produced over 60 total points. Peyton Manning will try to be the first Denver quarterback to win at home since 2007 when Jay Cutler beat Josh McCown.

The Raiders won 23-20 in Denver but lost 38-24 in Oakland last year.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD 14-22 10 @BAL -----
2 @MIA 13-35 11 NO -----
3 PIT 34-31 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 Marcel Reece 4-20
WR Michael Crabtree 6-70,1
WR Rod Streater 2-30
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Raiders followed the lead of the NFL when they were 0-2 with no sign of much offense and then beat the Steelers and both the run and pass worked better than ever despite clearly facing their toughest defense. It was just one of the many unexplainable endings to week three. The Raiders head to their bye week after this so a win reaches .500 instead of a 1-3 record. History says they win this but they'll have to play more like week three and a lot less like the first two games.

Carson Palmer passed for a season low 209 yards versus the Steelers but threw three touchdowns. The lack of yardage is troubling after throwing for around 300 yards in the initial games but he only scored once in each. This week should be a better view of what to expect with a road game against a secondary that gives up points.

Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered one of those horrible hits where he laid motionless for ten minutes but in the end it was just a concussion and he was released in short order from the hospital. Early speculation has him not playing this wee at the least. It was a savage under-the-chin sort of hit that really rocked his head. Denarius Moore ended with a touchdown though he still has not had a monster game yet as he did a few times in 2011. Rod Streater and Derek Hagen are little more than dressing and rarely contribute more than a couple of catches. Streater did score in week one when he replaced Moore and should see more action if Heyward-Bey is out.

Brandon Myers also received a concussion last week and has been a great outlet for Palmer. Myers has gained at least 55 yards every week though the one touchdown thrown to a tight end this year ended up with Richard Gordon on his only catch. Meyers and Heyward-Bey both may miss this week though Meyers seemed much less severe.

After two very forgettable weeks, Darren McFadden finally broke long runs and ended with 113 yards on 18 carries and one score on the Steelers. He had only gained 54 yards on 26 runs in the first two weeks so this game should help determine if week three was a fluke or that he is finally getting into gear. McFadden ran for 150 yards in Denver last year.

The game takes a different slant this year with the Broncos defense better and Payton Manning at the helm. As in all years, you can throw out past stats and trends and just watch whatever is going to happen. The good thing is that it almost always has a lot of points. Missing Heyward-Bey and maybe Myers is going to hurt though.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 13 8 23 11 20 31
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 26 11 24 28 15 18

QB Derek Carr, OAK @TEN 0000026021 ***
Let's consider Carr's 169 and zero last week in Detroit an aberration; prior to that he'd posted three straight 300-yard games and four straight multiple touchdown outings. Tennessee isn't an overly favorable matchup but they shouldn't prevent Carr from getting back in the fantasy saddle this week.
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @TEN 6002100000 ***
RB TDs have been hard to come by against the Titans, but Murray should still get his yardage against a defense that's allowed five of the last six feature backs they've faced to amass at least 80 yards from scrimmage.
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK @TEN 006601000 ***
Maybe Crabtree is Oakland's WR1; maybe he's Amari Cooper's wingman. Either way he should get his against a Titans secondary that's allowed most WR1s to get theirs but quality WR2s--Donte Moncrief, Nate Washington, Willie Snead--to score or top 90 yards.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK @TEN 005700000 ***
For all intents and purposes consider Cooper the Raiders' WR1--in which case he'll follow in the footsteps of Allen Robinson (5-113), Brandin Cooks (4-73-1), DeAndre Hopkins (8-94-1), Julio Jones (9-92-1)... you get the picture. WR1s get it done against Tennessee, and Cooper is next man up.
WR Seth Roberts, OAK @TEN 003500000 ***
Roberts flashes from time to time, but the Titans haven't allowed three WRs to score in a game this year and only once have three topped 50 yards so his upside is limited.
TE Clive Walford, OAK @TEN 002301000 **
The Titans have allowed four TE TDs in the past three games; Walford has scored in two of the past three. Wouldn't be a stretch to see the rookie get into the end zone again this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @TEN 1122 ***
Should be business as usual for Seabass; unfortunately for Seabass and his fantasy owners, business as usual tops out in the high single digits.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR -----
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD -----
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC -----
4 OAK ----- 13 TB -----
5 @NE ----- 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD ----- 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO ----- 17 KC -----
9 @CIN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 280,3
QB Christian Ponder 20 240,2
WR Demaryius Thomas 4-80,1
TE Owen Daniels 7-70,1
TE Vernon Davis 5-70,1

Pregame Notes: So far the Manning difference has led to a 1-2 opening but in fairness starting out against the Steelers, Falcons and Texans is hardly all giggles and skipping to the endzone. The Broncos scored at least 21 points each week and finally faces a defense that may not be among the elite in the league. This is Manning's first foray into one of the great rivalries in the league.

There are still questions about Manning's arm strength and perhaps a new slight flutter are on passes, but at least he has scored every week and twice each in the two home games despite facing the Steelers and Texans. Manning has not thrown an interception at home but is getting used to something new - sacks. While Manning was one of the least sacked quarterbacks every year while in Indianapolis, he has been taken down at least two or three times each week. Fortunately the Raiders have only managed three sacks overall on the season.

The big question here is if Willis McGahee can play. He left the game last week with a rib injury and while HC John Fox has been less than clear about his status, it is believed to involve cartilage which would make it rather painful. They have medication for that very thing but his status is still not certain. He needs to play here since McGahee ran for 163 yards and two scores in the one game he started against the Raiders last year. And the only other road game for the Raiders was when Reggie Bush scorched them for 197 yards and two scores. Chances are Lance Ball would be the primary if McGahee could not play though Knowshon Moreno would also figure in. In the fantasy world, we all want McGahee to play the entire game.

Jacob Tamme injured his groin last week but still came back to play. But he has been a lesser factor since that season opener and even Joel Dreessen scored the touchdown last week. Neither are safe starts,

Eric Decker has really come on as the "Welker" of the offense and had a career best eight catches for 136 yards against the Texans. He still has not scored but is taking a possession role over the middle while Brandon Stokley keeps the defense honest with deeper routes and Demaryius Thomas makes them pay with yards after catch. Thomas only had 34 yards against the Texans but was very effective in the first two weeks.

Another Raider game means anything can happen. But the rushing game should be very fruitful if only McGahee can play. if not, then a coin flip between Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno may decide the workload assignments. This game smacks of some high scoring for the home team.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 18 19 7 16 25 12
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 27 26 23 23 22 3

QB Brock Osweiler, DEN NE 20000024020 ***
The Patriots have held three of the last four QBs they've faced to one or zero touchdowns, and you have to believe Bill Belichick will throw myriad looks at Osweiler to get in his head. Brock posted a solid 250 and 2 in Chicago in his first NFL start; that feels like his ceiling against The Hoodie this week.
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN NE 7013100000 ***
The Broncos have run the ball 30-plus times in three of their last five games, with Hillman having the upper hand in carries in all three. Expect Denver to try to establish the run against New England; it's not impossible, but only two teams have managed to attempt 25 or more runs against New England. As the lead dog in Denver, Hillman has the best shot of turning those touches into fantasy help.
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN NE 3001100000 ***
Anderson remains the junior partner in Denver's backfield jobshare, and it's not a particularly good matchup in which to be an understudy.
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN NE 006701000 **
Thomas is a different player than Odell Beckham or Antonio Brown, but he's every bit the highly-targeted WR1 those two are. And as each of them carved out 100-plus yards and a score against the Patriots, it would stand to reason that Thomas will do the same this week.
WR Cody Latimer, DEN NE 004401000 *
Latimer appears poised to pick up the slack if Emmanuel Sanders remains sidelined. It's a favorable matchup with a secondary that's allowed multiple WRs to score or top 50 yards (or both) in five of the last six games and eight of 10 overall.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN NE 00000000 *
The Patriots have served up 50-plus yards or a TD to multiple receivers in five of the last six games and eight of 10 overall. So if Sanders is healthy enough to go, he has an opportunity to be a very productive fantasy wingman.
TE Vernon Davis, DEN NE 005600000 **
Davis has seen his targets increase as he becomes more acclimated to his new team, but he's still splitting said targets with Owen Daniels and there's just not enough to go around in a tough matchup for the position this week.
TE Owen Daniels, DEN NE 003400000 ***
The Patriots have given up only three TE TDs on the season, only one since their Week 4 bye, and only one tight end has topped 45 yards since Heath Miller's 84 in Week 1. With Daniels and Vernon Davis splitting targets, there's too little pie and too many mouths to feed for a fantasy feast.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN NE 3322 ***
Points have been tougher for the Denver offense to come by of late, but with Brock Osweiler settling in and scoring a necessity to keep up with the Patriots he should be fine this week--with the upside of Denver's D turning this into a kickerfest between McManus and Stephen Gostkowski.

CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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