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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 0000029030 ****
Ah, home sweet dome. It's been almost three full seasons since the last time Brees didn't throw for either 300-plus yards or multiple touchdowns at home. In fact, he has multiple TDs in 23 of his last 24 at home and 300-plus yards in nine straight and 18 of 24 at home. With the Saints needing a win to make the postseason, expect Brees to be firing on all cylinders.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO TB 4004300000 ***
The Saints haven't scored a running back touchdown in five games, with Thomas and Mark Ingram taking turns being the primary ball-carrier. Expect a little more than the 75 yards three New Orleans backs combined for in the earlier meeting between these teams, but it will be so fractured that a legit fantasy helper is unlikely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Mark Ingram, NO TB 300000000 ***
The Saints haven't scored a running back touchdown in five games, with Ingram and Pierre Thomas taking turns being the primary ball-carrier. Expect a little more than the 75 yards three New Orleans backs combined for in the earlier meeting between these teams, but it will be so fractured that a legit fantasy helper is unlikely.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO TB 004500000 ***
Colston paced Saints receivers in the earlier meeting, but that was pre-Darrelle Revis. This time around Colston might find the going tougher against a healthy Revis, but he's been an inconsistent fantasy play anyway. Weigh the home uptick the Saints' offense gets with the possibility of Revis blanking Colston and he's pretty much right back where he started--a good play but hardly a sure thing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO TB 002400000 ***
Stills is the last non-Colston Saints wideout to score... and that was back in Week 10. This passing game runs through the tight end, with an assist from the running backs; even at home, where the Saints' numbers tend to climb, Stills is too far down the pecking order to be banked on for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO TB 0091102000 ***
The last time Graham saw the Bucs he went for 10-179-1--and that was on the road. If you only count his home games, Graham would still rank third among tight ends with nine touchdowns. So, yeah, he's a good play... again.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO TB 2233 ***
Graham tallied seven points in his Saints debut, more than half his team's points. Should be a significantly easier row to hoe this week--not to mention a home date in the SuperDome--so expect Graham to have ample opportunity to get his kicks this week.

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 Greg Little 3-40
WR Denarius Moore 6-80,1
TE David Ausberry
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 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 Matt Schaub, OAK DEN 0000012001 *
Schaub is one of only three quarterbacks to take the Titans for multiple touchdown tosses this season; he turned the trip as part of a 298 & 3 outing back in Week 2. That's also the second-most passing yardage allowed by the Titans this season. However, it's worth noting that Schaub's last multiple touchdown outing came back in Week 4, and that the Titans have allowed three passing scores in Tennessee all season. UPDATE: If Case Keenum's sore thumb won't allow him to go, Schaub will get the start. Whee!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK DEN 4002100000 ***
One more go-around for MJD against a defense he's traditionally killed--though with 23 yards on 13 carries in the earlier meeting, not so much this season. Indy has given up 90-plus combo yards to four straight feature backs, so there's a chance Jones-Drew goes out on top--or at least near it.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK DEN 004701000 ***
Jones has been solid since returning from his injury, but having Matt Flynn at quarterback rather than Aaron Rodgers has put a damper on his numbers. It's not a shutdown matchup, but a Flynn-led passing game means Jones is an okay play rather than part of a fantasy juggernaut.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK DEN 005701000 **
Holmes is emerging as a viable option in the Oakland passing game. Unfortunately, he's competing with Denarius Moore and Rod Streater for looks and the QB mantle just got passed to Terrelle Pryor, who's more of a runner than a thrower.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Little, OAK DEN 003200000 ***
Yes, the Browns have receivers other than Josh Gordon. No, they don't have any fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK DEN 003300000 ***
Rivera has scored in two of the last three and three of the last six, but the Raiders have a couple other tight ends swiping targets and the switch to Terrelle Pryor at quarterback could take a bite as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK DEN 2222 ***
Seabass has hit double-digits just once in the past 13 games, a stretch that kicked off with three points in Denver. No reason to bank on anything big from Janikowski here.

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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