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
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Marcel Reece 10 4-20
WR Michael Crabtree 5-70
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 DEN 0000020011 ***
Carr has multiple TD tosses in every game this season, but a date with the top pass defense in the league makes him a tricky fantasy play at best. Keep those expectations in check.
RB Latavius Murray, OAK DEN 7013200000 ***
It's not an easy matchup by any stretch, but Murray will get the volume--both on the ground and in the air--and is a solid threat to score against a Denver defense that's allowed five RB TDs in the past three games as well as 80-plus rushing yards to backs getting more than 15 carries; that's a number Murray has reached each of the past three games.
WR Seth Roberts, OAK DEN 001101000 ***
Roberts failed to register a catch last week after scoring in each of the two previous outings. He's too lightly targeted to trust with a fantasy start, especially against the league's top pass defense.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK DEN 005600000 ***
Cooper's volume of targets, as well as his performance against upper-tier NFL CBs already this season, suggest you keep him in the lineup despite a tough matchup with shutdown corner Aqib Talib.
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK DEN 005600000 ***
Crabtree has been relevant two of the past three weeks but is a tough start against a Denver secondary that's allowed only one WR TD all season and no wideout to top 90 yards against them.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK DEN 2222 ***
This Oakland offense may finally give Seabass a chance to kick against the Broncos; he's had five or fewer points in five straight meetings and hasn't reached double-digit points against Denver since Week 1 of 2011. However, Denver's D has yet to allow a kicker to top eight points against them, so don't let your imagination run too wild.

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
WR Leonard Hankerson 5-60
WR Julio Jones 6-80,1
WR Roddy White 6-80,1
TE Tony Moeaki 1-10
TE Jacob Tamme 5-40,1
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 WAS 0000028030 ***
250-plus yards is a given, but the success of the ground game has cut into Matt's touchdown total. Facing a very good Washington run D should help shift some of the offensive emphasis back to Ryan--enough for him to be his usual quality fantasy play this week.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL WAS 6013200000 ***
Freeman very nearly scored more fantasy points last week than the Redskins have allowed to running backs this season. And while Washington hasn't exactly been shutting down studs they have been extremely difficult to run on. Freeman's punched his every-week starter card; just don't bank on another multiple touchdown effort.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL WAS 3002200000 *
Coleman may return from his rib injury this week, but he'll have to carve out a role after watching Davonte Freeman blow up in his absence. Best let him do that before trusting him with a fantasy lineup spot.
WR Julio Jones, ATL WAS 007901000 ***
Jones is a must-play regardless of foe, and the fact that Washington's secondary is fantasy favorable only contributes that much more to his prospects.
WR Leonard Hankerson, ATL WAS 006801000 ***
Hank wore the big-boy pants in Atlanta's receiver rotation last week, but it wasn't a fluke. He's been north of 75 yards and scored in two of the past three games and is poised to unleash the same on his former club. Worth noting the Redskins are allowing an average of 216 yards and 2 TDs to opposing wide receivers over the past fortnight, so even after Julio gets his there's enough for Hankerson to be a fantasy factor again.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL WAS 1144 ***
The only downer kicking for the red hot Atlanta offense is that Bryant is counting by ones instead of threes: 15 PATs already this season, but only two field goal attempts the past three weeks. And in the big picture, that's not much of a problem at all.

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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