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 MIA 0000021011 ***
Carr hasn't done much to warrant fantasy attention, and while Miami gave up three TD tosses to Alex Smith last week they aren't the type of defense to do Carr any favors. Look elsewhere for fantasy help this week.
RB Darren McFadden, OAK MIA 4012200000 ****
Gutted by Knile Davis and scored upon twice by Joe McKnight, it's clear the Miami defense can be had on the ground. Should Maurice Jones-Drew miss another game with his hand injury, McFadden would have the primary opportunity to take advantage. For the moment that makes him at least worthy of fantasy consideration, pending the updated injury report later this week.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK MIA 300000000 ***
Update: Jones-Drew claims to be part Wolverine and returned to practice this week. He's listed as probable and will at minimum bite into Darren McFadden's productivity.
WR James Jones, OAK MIA 005601000 ***
Jones appears to be the most reliable contributor in Oakland's passing game, but that's a little like being the tallest jockey at the Derby. It's not an overly favorable matchup, so no need to go out of your way to start Jones here.
WR Andre Holmes, OAK MIA 003400000 ***
Holmes has talent and potential; he also had just two targets last week and can't be banked on for fantasy productivity.
WR Denarius Moore, OAK MIA 003200000 ***
Moore was the most targeted Raider a week ago and may be the biggest beneficiary of Rod Streater's busted foot. However, he's still a hugh fantasy risk at this juncture.
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK MIA 003300000 ***
The Dolphins have allowed two TE TDs already this season; if Rivera was anything more than a bit player in the Raiders' passing game, such an opportunity would make him fantasy relevant. Unfortunately, he's not... so it isn't.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK MIA 2122 ****
Seabass finally got on the board last week with his first field goals of the year. Because the Oakland offense is so inconsistent, however, he's not a reliable fantasy option.

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 @MIN 0000026020 ***
Ryan has thrown three TDs in each of his first two home games, and he should have similar success against the Vikings. Despite stats that suggest they're stout against the pass, teams aren't forced to throw against Minnesota because they threaten no one offensively; also, facing the Rams' Hill/Davis combo and Tom Brady working with a big lead kept the numbers down as well.
RB Steven Jackson, ATL @MIN 501000000 **
Jackson will get the short-yardage shot(s); just don't look for him to be a great help in yardage leagues.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL @MIN 3002100000 ***
Rodgers heads up a three-headed committee that offers a change of pace to Steven Jackson. There's no reliable fantasy option amongst the three unless and until one emerges as the go-to S-Jax alternative.
WR Julio Jones, ATL @MIN 007901000 ***
What's not to like about Jones' productivity thus far this year? No reason for it to come to an abrupt end here; while the Vikings have yet to allow a 100-yard receiver this season, they haven't faced much in the way of quality wideouts--and the best they've seen (Julian Edelman, Marques Colston) have scored.
WR Roddy White, ATL @MIN 004700000 ***
If he's healthy he's usable here, but best wait until the Falcons clear him to return to action.
Update: After practicing on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday White practiced fully on Friday and is listed as probable. No reason to keep him on your fantasy bench.
WR Eric Weems, ATL @MIN 004500000 ***
With Roddy White and Harry Douglas both nursing injuries Weems is the alternative to Julio Jones. There's no compelling reason to play him here, especially with Devin Hester swiping occasional snaps as well.
Update: White is back but Douglas questionable; there should be snaps for Weems, just not enough to make him fantasy relevant.
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL @MIN 002200000 ***
The Vikings historically struggle against tight ends, and with Chad Greenway a possible scratch there's even more reason to think that will be the case. Toilolo isn't a compelling fantasy option in and of himself, but if bye week issues have you scrambling it's a favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL @MIN 2233 ***
Should be plenty of points on the Atlanta side of the ledger, which is usually good news for kickers.

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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