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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
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
Grass
  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 Marshawn Lynch 90,1 2-10
WR Michael Crabtree 6-70,1
TE Jared Cook 6-60
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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 13 8 23 11 20 31
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 26 11 24 28 15 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK NE 0000031021 ***
Since the early-season woes of this pass defense, the Patriots have turned things around to be respectable against the position. All told, this is the 11th-best defense since Week 5, giving up 255 aerial yards and 1.3 TDs per contest.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Marshawn Lynch, OAK NE 600000000 ***
Beast Mode-lite has no fantasy efficacy without crossing the stripe, and the Patriots have done a masterful job of preventing such of late. Only one time in the last 84 carries has a rushing touchdown been scored vs. New England.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jalen Richard, OAK NE 1005400000 ***
One time a running back has scored in the last four games against the Patriots, and none of the 18 receptions against went the distance. Keep Richard in reserve, unless you're feeling lucky.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAndre Washington, OAK NE 2001100000 ***
Washington faces a brutal matchup and is part of a three-pronged attack. The Patriots have given up just one TD in the last 102 offensive touches.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK NE 005801000 ***
New England usually keys on stopping one player from the opposing offense and then allows everything to fall into place. Is it Crabtree this week, or will they look to eliminate Amari Cooper? It's probably Crabtree, since Coop does a good job most weeks of removing himself via drops. Either way, Crabs is the safer play and has a sliver of upside against the fifth-softest defense of his position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Amari Cooper, OAK NE 003400000 ***
This defense has done well at limiting touchdowns to wideouts, relatively speaking, based on how many catches it allows. Since Week 5, wideouts have averaged the fifth-highest volume of per-game snares while going to the end zone once every 13.8 hauls, or once per game. Cooper is impressively underachieving.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jared Cook, OAK NE 006601000 ***
No team has yielded fewer fantasy points in PPR than the Patriots against this position. Cook takes on a defense allowing 3.8 catches for 23.5 yards and a TD every 15 snags.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Giorgio Tavecchio, OAK NE 2222 ***
No team has been stronger against kickers than the Patriots since Week 4, and most of that is because the position has made a paltry 4-for-10 from distance.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Jamaal Charles 80 6-50
WR Demaryius Thomas 4-80,1

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.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 18 19 7 16 25 12
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 27 26 23 23 22 3

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Brock Osweiler, DEN CIN 0000023011 ***
There's nothing great about the matchup. The best rating is this is the 15th-easiest team to score a TD against via the pass. Every other notable metric ranks below average.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN CIN 5001100000 ***
A three-way backfield has robbed Anderson of much of his upside for fantasy purposes. The Bengals have been a good source for points via rushing yards and receiving yards, though that is where the fun ends.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Devontae Booker, DEN CIN 2003200000 ***
Cincinnati has yielded the fifth-most yardage a week, but only two of 127 carries has gone the distance in the last four games. Despite the good matchup, Booker should be avoided.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jamaal Charles, DEN CIN 300000000 ***
There is no viable reason to play Charles, regardless of the matchup. This one just happens to be good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN CIN 004601000 ***
Thomas scored last week to salvage an otherwise pedestrian effort. The Bengals are a tougher opponent, giving up only 10.5 catches for 130.5 yards to an entire team's worth of wideouts per week. Just three of the last 42 catches have scored.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN CIN 006600000 ***
Sanders put on a clinic in Week 10 and erased any lingering questions about his health. The Bengals, though, provide a stiff test for the veteran. Only three of the last 42 catches over four games have scored. The matchup ranks 21st and 23rd for catches and yardage, respectively, allowed per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Bennie Fowler III, DEN CIN 002300000 ***
Fowler is too erratic to trust in fantasy and also has a tough matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN CIN 4411 ***
Cincy has given up averages of 3.25 field goals and 2.25 extra points attempted. All kicks but one FGA have been good. No team is even close in the field goals allowed column. This is the best matchup in fantasy.

WEEK 4
2012
CLE at BAL (THU) *MIN at DET *OAK at DEN *TEN at HOU
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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