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 @KC 0000017002 ***
254 and 3 against the Niners is nothing to sneeze at, but it's also Carr's first fantasy-relevant game in a month. And now he's off to KC to face a Chiefs defense that held him to 174 and 1 three weeks ago. You have better fantasy options at your disposal.
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @KC 6002100000 ***
The vaunted Chiefs run D has now allowed four straight 100-yard rushers, a streak extended by Murray's 112 and 2 on just four carries in Week 12. And it's not like CJ Anderson and Kerwynn Williams were household names coming into the season, either. Touchdowns are still hard to come by against KC, but it looks like Murray will get the touches necessary to carve out a performance league fantasy helper.
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @KC 004600000 ***
It's been two months since the Raiders had a wideout go for more than 70 yards. That, plus a dearth of passing scores, makes it difficult for any receiver to generate fantasy value here.
WR James Jones, OAK @KC 006500000 ***
Jones hasn't produced 50-plus receiving yards in a month and a half, and a date with a stout Chiefs secondary isn't likely to rectify the situation.
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @KC 005500000 ***
After a sluggish start the Chiefs have zoned in on shutting down tight ends, allowing only one TE TD in the past six weeks. Rivera is coming off a 7-109-1 outing, but after generating just one catch for eight yards in the earlier meeting with KC expectations should be lowered.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @KC 3300 ***
You can do better than the half-dozen points Seabass will give you.

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 PIT 0000030021 ***
Ryan's streak of multiple TDs in three straight is augmented by the Steelers having given up multiple passing scores in seven consecutive games. He's averaging 311 and 2 per home game, which is more than enough to help your fantasy squad.
RB Steven Jackson, ATL PIT 401000000 **
Jackson has surprisingly scored or topped 100 yards in three straight and five of the last six games. The Steelers aren't necessarily a shut-down run defense--in the past three weeks Mark Ingram racked up 122 yards and Bishop Sankey scored on them--but the upside is limited to something like 50 yards and a possible score.
WR Roddy White, ATL PIT 008901000 ***
White has scored or topped 95 yards in four straight games in which he's played. He looked healthy enough last week and may end up being Atlanta's WR1 if Julio Jones can't go. Being the top target against Pittsburgh has its advantages; the last two weeks AJ Green and Kenny Stills have posted 11-224-1 and 5-162-1, respectively. Even as a second banana White wouldn't be a bad fantasy play, as the Steelers have allowed multiple receivers to score and/or top 70 yards against them in four of the last seven games--and the dissenters certainly didn't have the one-two WR punch Atlanta does.
WR Harry Douglas, ATL PIT 006801000 ***
Only twice all year have three WRs from the same team offered fantasy assistance against the Steelers; that's also the only time tertiary targets have done anything against Pittsburgh. So Douglas moves up to fantasy option if Julio Jones can't go; otherwise, he's a fantasy afterthought.
WR Julio Jones, ATL PIT 004500000 *
After 21 catches, 448 yards and two TDs the past two weeks Jones may not go here due to the hip injury he suffered late in the Monday night loss. If he gets in any practice time this week he should be in your lineup, but it may be Sunday before the Falcons make the final call.
Update: No practice for Jones this week, so best-case scenario he's a game-time decision. If he's active you'll want to risk him because the upside is that good, but have a Plan B on speed dial.
TE Levine Toilolo, ATL PIT 003300000 ***
The Steelers have surrendered four TE TDs in the past four games, and not exactly to household names either (Amaro, Coffman, Watson, Gresham). They also blanked Jimmy Graham, so they can shut down the position if need be. Doubtful they focus on Toilolo to that extent, so consider him a desperation fantasy helper if you're stuck at the position.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL PIT 1133 ***
Bryant's been hot with three double-digit efforts in the past five games, but he's struggled against AFC North teams (11 points in three games) so he's hardly a sure thing this week.

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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