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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

Prediction: NO 31, OAK 23 (Line: NO by 4.5)

Players Updated: Darren Sproles, Brandon Myers, Darrius Heyward-Bey, David Ausberry

Players to Watch: David Ausberry

The Saints are only 4-5 but won their last two games including taking down the mighty Falcons last week. They're 4-1 in their last five games and their defense may be playing slightly better. The Raiders are 3-6 and have a two game losing streak going. The Raiders allowed a combined 97 points over just their last two games. Start your Saints.

New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 WAS 32-40 10 ATL 31-27
2 @CAR 27-35 11 @OAK -----
3 KC 24-27 12 SF -----
4 @GB 27-28 13 @ATL -----
5 SD 31-24 14 @NYG -----
6 BYE ----- 15 TB -----
7 @TB 35-28 16 @DAL -----
8 @DEN 14-34 17 CAR -----
9 PHI 28-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NO @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees 320,3
RB Travaris Cadet
RB Mark Ingram 20
RB Pierre Thomas 30
WR Marques Colston 6-90,1
TE Jimmy Graham 6-90,1
TE Benjamin Watson 2-20
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The playoffs are still a pipe dream but at least the Saints are getting back on track and should scratch out at least a few more wins that could reach .500 with some luck. The defense continues to be Louisiana's gift to fantasy football and helps ensure that at least Drew Brees has a big game. Trips to Atlanta and Dallas and facing the 49ers may knock down the scoring, but otherwise it should be a nice run of fantasy points the rest of the year.

Brees still has yet to score less than twice in every game and his 25 passing touchdowns are tied with Aaron Rodgers though Brees also leads the league with 2,847 passing yards. The only thing that can get in the way is a better rushing effort which has picked up in the last two weeks with home games.

WIth Darren Sproles out, Mark Ingram gets more work though he doesn't do all that much more with it. He has not scored since week two and comes off a season high 16 runs for 67 yards versus the Falcons. Ingram only caught three passes all year. Chris Ivory scored in each of the last two games and is averaging 7.1 yards per carry on his 17 runs. This will always be a committee backfield though and with that comes risk to rely on any individual player. Just ask Pierre Thomas who was demoted to only five carries for ten yards last week. The only consistent and reliable player where is Sproles as a receiver and he's out.

Jimmy Graham is certainly back to health and offering his owners a major benefit. Last week was a season best seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns on the Falcons and he's scored in each of the last three weeks. Lately he is a lock for six to eight receptions for 60+ yards and a score.

Instead of a committee of wide receivers, the Saints are very settled on Marques Colston as the primary who scored seven times in the last six weeks though his last two home games were with fewer than 50 yards in each. When the Saints run better, if comes mostly out of the wideouts share of the passing since Graham will always be the first target for Brees.. Lance Moore remains the #2 and while he is solid with 60+ yards in most games, he has no touchdowns in the past five games.

The Raiders are very weak against running backs and that once again should help the Saints win but they are also below average against the pass and Brees should still get his standard 300-3.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 1 6 7 4 27 23
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 26 31 16 24 31 18

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Drew Brees, NO @TB 0000030021 ***
Lovie Smith's defense has been significantly better since giving up 372 and 2 to Brees earlier this year. In fact, they've held six of the past seven quarterbacks they've faced to just one TD toss--good quarterbacks, too, including Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton and RG3. Brees hasn't exactly been tearing it up like usual anyway; he's thrown single scoring strikes in three straight and four of five against NFC South foes, so keep a lid on expectations here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO @TB 7012100000 ***
Whether they're using him up before letting him hit free agency or they've just decided to give him the ball, the Saints are loading up Ingram with carries--30 the past two weeks, versus eight for the rest of the New Orleans backfield. Like earlier in the year when all the other Saints RBs were injured, Ingram has responded--not necessarily with big yardage, but with touchdowns in each of those two games. He missed the earlier date with Tampa Bay while Khiry Robinson rushed for 89 yards and a TD and Pierre Thomas chipped in 112 combo yards and a couple scores. Look for Ingram to consolidate the rushing numbers and provide one more fantasy helper in a Saints uniform.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO @TB 005701000 ***
The Bucs have surrendered four 100-yard WR games the past three weeks, and while Colston isn't a pure WR1 he's the closest thing the Saints have and thus the most likely to take advantage here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO @TB 0051000000 ***
Brandon Cooks paced the Saints with 11 targets the last time they faced Tampa Bay. Stills has ascended to Cooks' role as WR2 in New Orleans; with Drew Brees struggling it isn't a guaranteed fantasy producer, but after watching the Bucs give up four 100-yard games and three WR TDs over the past three weeks it definitely gets Stills on the fantasy radar.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO @TB 005701000 **
The Bucs have been stout against tight ends, giving up just one TE TD in the past 11 games and just one game north of 61 yards in that span as well. That stretch included a disappointing 2-36 by Graham in which he was only the third-most productive Saints tight end. He's been a bigger factor of late and you can't sit him, but you can start him with a bit of trepidation.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO @TB 1133 ***
Graham hasn't had multiple field goals in more than a month, but here come the Bucs to the rescue: they've allowed eight in the last three games and served up three to Graham earlier this year.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD 14-22 10 @BAL 20-55
2 @MIA 13-35 11 NO -----
3 PIT 34-31 12 @CIN -----
4 @DEN 6-37 13 CLE -----
5 BYE ----- 14 DEN -----
6 @ATL 20-23 15 KC -----
7 JAC 26-23 16 @CAR -----
8 @KC 26-16 17 @SD -----
9 TB 32-42 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK vs NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 240,2
RB Marcel Reece 60 7-60,1
WR James Jones 3-40,1
WR Denarius Moore 6-80,1
WR Rod Streater 2-30
TE David Ausberry
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 2 XP
PK Justin Medlock 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Raiders have not merely hit hard times. They've lost their last two games and been crushed in both by good teams but not great ones. The offense cannot hope to keep up with what a decent offense can get out of playing them. The remaining schedule is not that bad with only the Denver game against a team with an actual winning record.

Carson Palmer is taking this easier stretch of defenses and posting some gaudy passing stats at least in yardage. Over the last five weeks, all but the road game in Kansas CIty produced at least 298 passing yards and he has already thrown for over 350 yards in four different matchups. His 15 touchdowns are a bit low for so much yardage and he did turn the ball over 12 times so far. In fantasy terms, you're not getting more than one or two scores in most games and he'll throw one pick, but he's rock solid in high yardage even if much of it comes later in games.

Darren McFadden was hoped to be ready this week but he still looks likely to sit out another. He is a noted slow healer and doesn't play well injured anyway. Mike Goodson is also likely to miss this week which once again leaves Marcel Reese as the primary back. Reese rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries and added 56 more yards on seven receptions in Baltimore. That's certainly as good as what McFadden's been doing anyway. And this time he'll face one of the weakest defenses against running backs.

Brandon Myers continues to provide very consistent yardage every week though he's scored in only one game so far. Myers has gained between 44 and 62 yards in each of the last five games. He was concussed last week and that was his second of the year. He'll almost certainly miss this week which bumps the second-year tight end David Ausberry into a starting role against a weaker defense. The ex-USC Trojan only totaled nine career catches in his two seasons and has never had more than one or two passes in any game. Not much to go on other than he received some minor hype in the preseason. He's a 6-4, 258 pound wideout that was converted to tight end by the Raiders. He also ran a 4.48/40 at the NFL combine. He was drafted to be a receiver and gets at least a brief chance to show what he can do.

The increased passing stats have mostly benefited Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore. DHB scored in two of the last three games and usually ends with around 70 to 80 yards. Moore is the better scorer with touchdowns in five of the last seven games and higher yardage each week. Both receivers get to face off against the worst secondary in the NFL this week which should be a lock for at least their average and more likely one of their best games of the year. With no McFadden, it;s a lock that the Raiders are going to need to throw a lot of passes.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 9 9 16 9 7 29
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 32 29 32 23 25 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK @DEN 0000023022 ***
Carr threw for 192 and 2 in the earlier meeting with Denver. He's had multiple TDs in two of his last three games but the yardage has been substandard and facing a Broncos team looking to lock down a first-round bye won't help his prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @DEN 6002200000 ***
The Raiders hadn't gotten around to using Murray the last time they faced Denver; he saw just two of the teams 13 rushing attempts. Now he's the 20-plus carry lead dog, and all four 20-carry backs have all either scored or topped 100 yards against the Broncos. So we're sayin' there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @DEN 3001100000 ***
Wouldn't it be fitting if McFadden got hurt in his Raiders' swan song? One more trip through the training room, getting nostalgic with the whirlpool, all while watching Latavius Murray highlights on the TV.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @DEN 006401000 **
Jones has scored in back-to-back games, though his catches dwindled from eight to one last week. At that rate his prospects for this week don't look particularly good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @DEN 003300000 ***
No Raiders receiver topped 30 yards the last time they faced the Broncos, and only two have topped 60 in Denver's last seven. Holmes might be the most frequently targeted Raider, but the ceiling is pretty low for his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @DEN 006501000 ****
Rivera might be the best (only?) fantasy play to emerge from the Oakland passing game this weekend. He scored in the previous meeting with Denver (part of a 6-64-1 showing), has 15-153-1 the past three games, and faces a Broncos defense that's given up TE TDs in back-to-back games and seven of their nine TE scores in the second half of the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @DEN 1122 ***
SeaBass goes 14 games without a fantasy helper, then drops 14 on an unsuspecting Buffalo defense. The Broncos aren't likely to be as friendly; they held Janikowski to something closer to his usual, five points in the earlier meeting, and are a good bet to do so again.

WEEK 11
2012
MIA at BUF (THU) *CLE at DAL *NO at OAK TB at CAR
*ARI at ATL GB at DET NYJ at STL *CHI at SF (MON)
*BAL at PIT *IND at NE PHI at WAS Bye:
*UPDATED CIN at KC JAC at HOU *SD at DEN MIN, NYG, SEA, TEN

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