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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 MIN 0000031030 ***
The Vikings haven't given up much to opposing passing attacks thus far, but it's partly because they faced the Rams' backups and partly because the Patriots backed off when they rolled out to a big lead. Brees won't be as merciful.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Khiry Robinson, NO MIN 701000000 ****
With no Mark Ingram this week, Robinson should step into the bulk of the carries for the Saints' backfield. Though he may not get to the 25 carries Stevan Ridley had last week, something akin to the 101 and 1 Ridley dropped on the Vikings feels about right.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Pierre Thomas, NO MIN 3003200000 ***
Thomas could see an uptick in carries as well as his typical role in the passing game. Either alone would likely be enough to warrant starting against the Vikings; both makes Thomas an even better fantasy play.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marques Colston, NO MIN 006901000 ***
If you can look past the goose egg Colston laid last week, he projects to be a solid fantasy play against the Vikings--especially if cornerback Xavier Rhodes is still nursing a groin injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandin Cooks, NO MIN 2006701000 ***
Cooks' speed is bound to give the suddenly blitz-happy Vikings fits; as an added bonus he's been steadily targeted so there's little in the way of downside here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenny Stills, NO MIN 003300000 ***
Just about every Saint should be in play fantasy-wise this week; the issue with Stills is that he hasn't staked out a consistent role in New Orleans' passing game so there's plenty of risk involved as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jimmy Graham, NO MIN 0071001000 ***
The Vikings kept Rob Gronkowski out of the end zone last week--with a little (a lot of?) help from a limited snap count. Graham is unlikely to suffer the same fate, and Minnesota is equally as unlikely to be able to contain him.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shayne Graham, NO MIN 2244 ***
The Vikes have allowed multiple field goals in each game this season, and the Saints should give Graham plenty of opportunity to swing the leg this week. Even counting by ones he should be just fine fantasy-wise.

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
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 Derek Carr, OAK @NE 0000020013 ***
Carr has been meh through his first two games, and aside from garbage time there's no reason to expect him to outperform Matt Cassel (202 & 1) or Ryan Tannehill (178 & 2) against the Patriots.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @NE 4003200000 ***
McFadden's best bet, assuming he gets the snaps because Maurice Jones-Drew and his bum hand can't go, is some sort of receiving score; the Pats have allowed RB receiving TDs in back-to-back contests. Otherwise, nothing compelling about McFadden's ground potential against the Pats this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @NE 005501000 ***
Jones has scored in each of his games as a Raider, but all that means is Darrelle Revis will be acutely aware of where Jones is at all times. Nothing says you have to start a Raider this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Denarius Moore, OAK @NE 003400000 ***
Moore is clinging to the fringe of fantasy relevancy as he battles Andre Holmes and Rod Streater for looks in Oakland's unproductive passing game. If you're using him here you're playing the "not being covered by Revis" card. Good luck with that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @NE 003300000 ***
Rivera has posted matching 31-yard performances thus far, so if 31 yards gets you bonus points in your fantasy league... he's your guy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @NE 1111 ***
No kicker has fewer fantasy points; 30 have more. You can do better.

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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