FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
WR Michael Crabtree 6-70,1
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 @BAL 0000025011 ***
Baltimore rates as the fifth strongest defense of fantasy quarterbacks, actually giving up fewer touchdowns than passes intercepted. Carr could be in for a sluggish fantasy day, but he must be started by owners without a clearer path to more points.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @BAL 5011100000 **
Seven teams have been harder on RBs than Baltimore. Murray has lost touches to Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington each week. Keep him in your lineup, but he'll need to score to exceed flex expectations.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK @BAL 006801000 ***
Crabtree was greatly undervalued on draft day in most leagues, and he emerged as a strong fantasy weapon with all of the attention paid to Amari Cooper. Baltimore has given up four scores in three games to wideouts, so there's hope for another quality game from the former 49er.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Amari Cooper, OAK @BAL 005700000 ***
Baltimore's defense as allowed four touchdowns to receivers but only 35 catches for 367 yards to rank among the 10 hardest matchups. Cooper can't buy a touchdown over his past 10 games, so keep him in PPR lineups and hope for the best. He's now a fringe play in standard scoring.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Seth Roberts, OAK @BAL 002300000 ***
Roberts could sneak into the end zone again if Cooper and Crabtree are blanketed, but banking on it is difficult against the seventh best defense of receivers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Clive Walford, OAK @BAL 003300000 ***
Baltimore hasn't allowed a touchdown to the position yet on the only 10 receptions snared by tight ends. Walford has upside and can exploit single LB and safety coverage better than most. Play him only if you must.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @BAL 1122 ***
Baltimore has been the strongest team against kickers, giving up only one field goal and five extra points.

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
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 Trevor Siemian, DEN @TB 0000026020 ***
The kid has it after all ... Week 3 was Siemian's coming-out party. Tampa Bay gives him a chance to prove it wasn't a fluke. This is the ninth best matchup, statistically speaking, and the Bucs have only one interception through three contests. Siemian is a viable starting play in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN @TB 7013200000 ***
Rumble, rumble. The Broncos get to ground and pound the Bucs into submission, or at least try. Tampa is the seventh lamest defense of the position, permitting three touchdowns and 27.7 PPR points per game to RBs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @TB 0071001000 ***
Thomas draws the seventh easiest matchup for receivers -- one that has given up the most touchdowns of any team. He is a lineup lock in all formats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @TB 006801000 ***
There isn't a team that has given up more touchdowns to wideouts than Tampa, and last week showed Broncos QB Trevor Siemian is ready for this league. Sanders is a must-play, as usual.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jeff Heuerman, DEN @TB 003300000 ***
After missing Week 3, Virgil Green is day to day. Heuerman is the next man up. Avoid him in fantasy leagues against Tampa Bay's stingy tight end defense. The Bucs haven't allowed 100 total yards or a score on the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @TB 3333 ***
Tampa has allowed nine of 10 XPAs and all seven of the field goal kicks against them, "good" for a ranking of the seventh softest matchup for kickers.

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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