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 @KC 0000024012 ***
Carr made an ignominious Arrowhead debut last year; with that behind him, he can settle in and try to replicate the 283 and 2 he posted in a home date with KC last month. Hey, he threw two TDs in Denver so no reason to think he can't be at least marginally effective in KC.
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @KC 5001100000 ***
Murray has stepped back from the elite back status he was threatening to take on earlier this year. But he can still get it done as a scorer--like his TD last time out against KC or last week against the Chargers--or as a pass-catcher so his floor is reasonably high. The absence of Marcel Reece should open up more opportunities in the passing game as well.
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK @KC 005601000 ***
The Chiefs haven't allowed multiple wideouts to score in the same game since Week 3, so you'll have to pick your poison this week. Last time out against KC Crabtree scored as part of a 5-45 day, and that's his likely upside this time around as well.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK @KC 005700000 ***
Cooper racked up 4-69 in the earlier meeting with KC but ceded the touchdown to Michael Crabtree, and with the Chiefs still playing for playoff position things won't be any easier this time around. The rookie has more upside--see his 120 and 2 a couple weeks back--but is also more volatile, as indicated by the goose egg that preceded his 120 & 2. Still, nothing wrong with swinging for the fences in Week 17.
WR Seth Roberts, OAK @KC 004400000 ***
The Chiefs haven't allowed multiple WR fantasy helpers since the first month of the season; no reason to go three deep in the Oakland depth chart.
TE Clive Walford, OAK @KC 004500000 ***
Walford's 5-53 is the third-best yardage game given up by the Chiefs all year, but Lee Smith swiped his score--and that's the only TE TD KC has allowed in the past nine games. Not enough reward for the risk involved here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @KC 1111 ***
No team has allowed
fewer kicking points than Chiefs;
tough hop for SeaBass

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
QB Matt Schaub 190,2
WR Julio Jones 6-80,1
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 NO 0000030020 ***
Ten of the last 11 quarterbacks to face the Saints have thrown multiple touchdowns, with seven of them also topping 300 yards. So if you've been waiting for a quality fantasy effort from Ryan--because he hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns since Week 11--this may be your chance. Something along the lines of his 295 and 2 from the earlier meeting wouldn't surprise.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL NO 8016501000 ***
Freeman rolled up 156 yards from scrimmage and scored twice in the earlier meeting with New Orleans. He's regaining his touches and his productivity since coming back from injury, topping 90 combo yards in the three games he's received 20-plus touches and scoring in each of the last two. Over the past eight games the Saints are giving up 191 combo yards and a touchdown to opposing backs; slot Freeman for the lion's share of those numbers.
WR Julio Jones, ATL NO 0091201000 ***
The Saints haven't had an answer for any receiver of not this season, especially of late as they've surrendered 11 WR TDs in the past month. Julio was "limited" to 6-93 in the previous meeting; that feels like a baseline here.
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL NO 003200000 ***
While on the surface the matchup is attractive, the Saints haven't allowed a TE TD in a month; besides, Tamme has been too lightly used over the past month to warrant fantasy attention.

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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