Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: OAK 17, ATL 34 (Line: ATL by 9.5)

Players to Watch: Darren McFadden, Roddy White

The 1-3 Raiders come off their bye having somehow only beaten the Steelers. Their only two trips away from home produced at total losing score of 19-72 and then have never came closer than 22 points to their opponent.

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 6-37 13 CLE -----
5 BYE ----- 14 DEN -----
6 @ATL ----- 15 KC -----
7 JAC ----- 16 @CAR -----
8 @KC ----- 17 @SD -----
9 TB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK @ ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 190,2
RB Darren McFadden 100,1 6-40
RB Marcel Reece 10 4-20
WR James Jones 4-60,1
WR Denarius Moore 5-60,1
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The new offense and defense being installed in Oakland remains a work in progress though the results are disappointing no matter what qualifier or rationale is given. Carson Palmer's passing has been far more anemic than last season and aside from the fluke three touchdowns against the Steelers, he scored only twice over three games. His worst effort yet was in Denver two weeks back when he only passed for 202 yards and no touchdowns. Palmer was throwing well last year with tons of yards and some scores using the same cast of receivers. This year - just not working out nearly as well in OC Greg Knapp's new scheme.

Worse of all is that Darren McFadden has gone from an oft-injured and yet wildly productive back to just a healthy guy who does almost nothing every week. He racked up 113 yards and a score on the visiting Steelers but otherwise has never gained more than 34 rushing yards in any game. Even his role as a receiver has declined to just a single meaningless catch. It is not that Mike Goodson or Taiwan Jones are cutting into his action. Jones does not even have a touch this season.

McFadden is completely boxed in on almost every play. He joins a growing cast of disappointing running backs. At least last year you got five or six great games from him. Now he just muddles along and kills your weekly score. He has a chance this week against the only real weakness of the Falcons but if he flops yet again it will be hard to start him without heavy consideration each remaining week.

Darrius Heyward-Bey missed one game with a concussion but is expected back for this tilt. He only has one score on the year and no more than 43 yards in any game. Denarius Moore has been much more productive with around 50 to 60 yards when he plays but he too has just one score and with only four catches per week for maybe 60 yards, he is not doing anyone favors. The rest of the wide receivers are so much worse as to be just blockers.

Brandon Meyers seemed to be one of the few productive pieces of the offense when he opened the year with three games of around 60 yards or so but just when people relied on that happening, he only had one catch for 22 yards in the most recent game. And he still has never scored.

Overall - this offense has been lethargic and bumbling. Now they hit the road where they have been distinctly worse. Going to Atlanta is no time to be a bad road team.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 20 11 27 13 21 32
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 12 21 1 20 1 7

QB Derek Carr, OAK HOU 0000019001 ***
Carr was efficient if not effusive in his NFL debut, pairing pedestrian yardage with a couple touchdown tosses. The Texans bent but didn't break against RG3 in their opener, and a confluence of those trends here suggests keeping Carr on the fantasy sidelines for a bit more seasoning.
RB Darren McFadden, OAK HOU 6011100000 **
In Oakland's 2013 meeting with the Texans Rashad Jennings went off for 150 yards and a TD while McFadden--shockingly--sat out with an injury. The shoe may be on the other foot this time around, with Maurice Jones-Drew nursing a hand issue and McFadden the possible beneficiary. Stay tuned; we could have a Run DMC sighting!
Update: With MJD likely to miss this tilt, McFadden would move to the fore of the Oakland backfield. Enjoy.
RB Latavius Murray, OAK HOU 400000000 **
No writeup available
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK HOU 00000000 **
MJD is no stranger to the Texans; in fact, he took them for 144 combo yards and a TD in the front end of last season's JAX/HOU series, then followed up with 123 yards from scrimmage in the rematch. He appears to be the lead dog in Oakland's current backfield committee, though after hand surgery on Monday his status for Sunday is uncertain. If he goes he's an adequate fantasy play, but Darren McFadden looms.
Update: MJD is expected to miss the Raiders' Week 2 matchup with Houston following a hand procedure--but not on a broken bone, according to Jones-Drew. Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese will pick up the slack in MJD's absence.
WR James Jones, OAK HOU 003300000 ***
The Raiders' big offseason signing did find the end zone last week, though three targets seems a bit light for the guy they brought in to be their WR1. Until we see more from Derek Carr there's not much to like fantasy-wise about the Oakland passing game, at least in a bankable fantasy sense.
WR Denarius Moore, OAK HOU 003200000 ***
Moore is still on the Raiders roster, and he did score in last season's meeting with the Texans. But at this juncture he's taking a back seat to both James Jones and Denarius Moore, and Derek Carr has yet to demonstrate he can feed multiple fantasy mouths.
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK HOU 003300000 ***
Rivera had the best game of his career the last time he faced the Texans; in fact, his 5-54-1 may have single-handedly been responsible for the regime change in Houston. Rivera has a total of 18 catches for 188 yards and two TDs in the seven games since dismantling the Texans, including 3-31 in his first game with Derek Carr, so he's not exactly a bankable fantasy commodity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK HOU 3311 ***
You gotta love SeaBass. You don't gotta start SeaBass on your fantasy team, however.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO -----
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI -----
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB -----
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO -----
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK ----- 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI ----- 17 TB -----
9 DAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 300,3
RB Steven Jackson 60 4-20
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 40 4-30
WR Harry Douglas 2-20
WR Julio Jones 6-80,1
WR Roddy White 6-80,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons are one of only two unbeaten teams left and this home game should get them to the bye week intact. But three of the wins came by a touchdown or less and against the visiting Panthers it was just a two point win probably thanks to a late Cam Newton fumble. While NFL East opponents remain on the upcoming schedule, this is still one of the easiest slate of games in the league and one that actually looks easier once we have a better idea what teams are like this year. Anything short of home field advantage throughout the playoffs is going to be a disappointment and a bit of a surprise at this point.

Matt Ryan has still thrown multiple touchdowns in every game and had healthy yardage as well. He's not had an off week yet and ranks near the top of all fantasy league scoring. Ryan scored 13 times through the air against only three interceptions. He rarely even hit in most games.

Michael Turner has enjoyed his season so far with a touchdown in each of the last four games but only one effort that netted him over 100 total yards. Turner should be fresh down the stretch thanks to only rushing the ball about 16 times per week. He's no fantasy god but offers valuable consistent production every week. Jacquizz Rodgers has been mostly a minimal contributor and is not busy enough to merit a fantasy start.

Tony Gonzalez is singing his swan song but it is drowning out everyone else. He's currently the top tight end in fantasy with four touchdowns and 39 catches for 388 yards. He is everything you thought you were getting when you grabbed Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham only you could have waited about five more rounds to net Gonzo.

Back at home means that Roddy White gets to score and have the big game. In two games in Atlanta, he has 16 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns. In three away games, he only had 15 receptions for 210 yards and no scores. He did this last year. Apparently it is a secret agreement with Julio Jones who does the exact opposite. Jones caught 21 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns but then only five receptions for 44 yards and no scores at home. Seriously - same thing last year. No need to explain it, just accept it as wonderfully consistent.

The Raiders present a defense weak enough in all areas that the fear is the Falcons let down and do not take the game nearly as serious as they should. They know they can win this. Even if they start in the fourth quarter, they can win this. Hopefully with only a bye the next week they take advantage of all the weaknesses of the Raiders defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 16 8 1 10 9
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 29 30 23 26 29 1

QB Matt Ryan, ATL @CIN 0000030021 ****
The Bengals allowed Joe Flacco to throw for 300 yards last week, while Ryan was throwing for 448. Also worth noting: Ryan has averaged 287 yards and two TDs over his last three seasons of games against the AFC, including 327 & 2 last year. So you have to like Matty Ice's chances of staying hot here.
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @CIN 4001100000 ****
Jackson is still slated for the bulk of the workload, but four different backs handled the ball for Atlanta last weekend and Jackson may have been the least impressive of the quartet. Don't expect much against a pretty good Cincy run D.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL @CIN 3001100000 ***
Rodgers used a nifty spin move to get into the end zone last week; had the Falcons seen more of that the previous few seasons they might not have felt the need to draft Devonta Freeman. Throw Rodgers in the blender with three other Atlanta backs, none of whom project to find much fantasy success in Cincy.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL @CIN 2002100000 ***
Eventually we'll be recommending Freeman as a fantasy starter and you'll be wondering what took so long. Right now, however, he's in a cluster behind Steven Jackson and even Jaquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith--both of whom managed to score last week. High risk and the reward just isn't there yet, especially against the Bengals.
WR Julio Jones, ATL @CIN 0061001000 ****
Outside of one long Steve Smith score the Bengals kept Baltimore's wideouts in check last week. Of course, Jones and Roddy White >>> Baltimore's Smiths and with Julio looking healthy he's an every-week starter regardless of foe.
WR Harry Douglas, ATL @CIN 002301000 **
Douglas and Devin Hester saw a somewhat surprising 13 targets in Week 1, and to their credit they parlayed those looks into 11 catches for 168 yards. Tough to bank on that production from the backup singers every week, however; wait for a more favorable matchup to work your way down the Falcons' receiver depth chart.
WR Roddy White, ATL @CIN 007800000 ***
White being the "other" receiver in Atlanta is like Duane Allman being the "other" guitar player in Derek and the Dominos. He also appears to be getting Tony Gonzalez's red zone looks, which only help his fantasy bottom line.
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL @CIN 005400000 ***
Don't look at what Dennis Pitta did to the Bengals last week and think Toilolo can replicate that productivity; Pitta saw almost a month's worth of Toilolo's targets in that game. And with Roddy White the more likely red zone recipient, Toilolo is a risky fantasy play at best.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @CIN 2222 ****
A 51-yarder to tie and a 52-yarder to win buys Bryant a lot of cache, both with the Falcons and with fantasy owners. With Atlanta's offense firing on all cylinders he belongs in a fantasy lineup on an every-week basis.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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