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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: DEN 34, OAK 20 (Line:DEN by 10)

Players to Watch: Darren McFadden, Knowshon Moreno

This is the Thursday night game and should be a fun one. These teams already met once in Denver in week four when the Broncos crushed the Raiders 37-6. This should have all the fun of the Broncos passing game plus Darren McFadden is due back this week.

Denver Broncos
Homefield: Invesco Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 PIT 31-19 10 @CAR 36-14
2 @ATL 21-27 11 SD 30-23
3 HOU 25-31 12 @KC 17-9
4 OAK 37-6 13 TB 31-23
5 @NE 21-31 14 @OAK -----
6 @SD 35-24 15 @BAL -----
7 BYE ----- 16 CLE -----
8 NO 34-14 17 KC -----
9 @CIN 31-23 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 300,3
RB Ronnie Hillman 30 2-10
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-30
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-100,1
WR Wes Welker 8-100,1
TE Jacob Tamme 6-60,1

Pregame Notes: These matchups are even more fun this year with plenty of fantasy points generated - at least by the Broncos. The 9-3 Broncos have already won their division since San Diego is in second place at 4-8. But the Broncos are tied with the Patriots and Ravens for the #2 seed and already lost in New England. That makes staying in the race very important and key that next week is the meeting with the Ravens in Baltimore for what may be all the "take a week off in January" marbles. Two final home games against the Browns and Chiefs should just be formalities like kicking the extra point after you already scored the game winning touchdown.

Peyton Manning already scorched the Raiders for 338 yards and three scores in week four which set him off on a four game record streak of 300+ yards and three touchdowns. No reason to expect less in a road game where the Raiders might actually be marginally more competitive.

One difference this time around is that Willis McGahee is no longer here to gain another 112 yards and a score on 19 runs plus six catches for 23 more yards. Ronnie Hillman was allowed five runs for 29 yards against the Buccaneers last week but Knowshon Moreno now has back-to-back games with 20 carries and four receptions in each. If the game goes really well, really early it may allow more reps for Hillman or even Lance Ball but the only bankable running back this week remains Knowshon Moreno.

Jacob Tamme popped up last week with a season best nine catches for 89 yards but he's been much less productive in every other game and only accounted for 38 yards on five catches in the last meeting with the Raiders. Joel Dreessen actually caught a score in that game though as always his yardage remained low.

Brandon Stokley was a surprise scratch last week because of his hip but is expected to play on Thursday.

Another change this time around concerns Eric Decker who turned in seven receptions for 79 yards and one score versus the Raiders which set him off on a five game scoring streak. But Decker has been little used in the last four games with only one producing more than 25 yards. He went from a constant scorer to being almost entirely ignored the last month as his load has been spread to right ends and running backs. Demaryius Thomas is currently on a three game scoring streak and hauled in five passes for 103 yards in the last meeting with the Raiders.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 7 18 2 6 15 3
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 13 16 17 10 10 31

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Peyton Manning, DEN SD 0000030030 *****
Manning has never not thrown for multiple touchdowns or 300-plus yards against the Chargers. Never. And in five of 11 lifetime meetings he's done both. Same could be said for this season, as he's averaging 300-plus and three TDs. Even with no NFL record dangling in front of him, Manning should put up his usual big numbers this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN SD 6003200000 ****
Hillman has been more than okay filling in for the injured Montee Ball. This week's edge comes in the passing game, as the Chargers have already given up five RB receiving scores and Hillman has nine targets in his two starts. No reason to bail on him here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN SD 0071201000 ****
The Chargers have given up just one big game to wideouts... but the Broncos are a different animal, and Thomas is at the head of that pack. He's scored in three of four career meetings with the Bolts, including a 108 and 3 outing last November. No Brandon Flowers certainly doesn't help San Diego's hopes of slowing the Denver passing game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN SD 005800000 ***
The trickle-down effect of San Diego losing a starting corner helps Sanders' prospects as well. With a whole bunch of Peyton Manning productivity to spread around, Sanders should see his share of the fantasy love.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN SD 005600000 ****
Signs of life from Welker last week, and as long as Peyton Manning is throwing him the ball there's no reason to shy away from him as a fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN SD 003401000 ***
Thomas failed to score for the first time last week, and the Bolts aren't an easy matchup for the position. That said, he's far too involved in the Denver offense to be benched simply for a bump in the road difficult matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN SD 3333 ****
The risk with McManus is that he counts by ones instead of threes. Consider the Chargers enablers, as they've allowed only one multiple field goal game since Week 1.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD 14-22 10 @BAL 20-55
2 @MIA 13-35 11 NO 17-38
3 PIT 34-31 12 @CIN 10-34
4 @DEN 6-37 13 CLE 17-20
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 DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 280,2
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
RB Darren McFadden 60 5-30
WR James Jones 2-20,1
WR Denarius Moore 3-40
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Not really going that well by the bay. The Raiders are on a five game losing streak with a defense that has yielded over 30 points in seven games this year including a 55 point love-fest in Baltimore. The offense has declined to where they can no longer score more than 20 points which is pretty problematic when the defense is handing out touchdowns like they were pamphlets on the Vegas Strip.

Carson Palmer scored in every game this year except one - week four against these Broncos when he only managed 202 yards and no touchdowns. Palmer threw interceptions in every game besides the Denver tilt as well and now has 20 passing touchdowns against 13 interceptions and four lost fumbles.His yardage remains on the high side in most games but he's managed more than two scores only once all year. Bottom line - Denver smoked him last time. Worse than any other team.

Darren McFadden is expected to play this week. He's been out since getting injured in week nine and he almost played last Sunday but was held out to ensure he was ready for this week. He should be getting a heavy load as well since Marcel Reece and Mike Goodson are both limited in practices and not 100%. Then again, McFadden only managed 34 yards on 13 runs in the last meeting and added just one catch for four yards.

Notable too was that Jeremy Stewart was given nine carries last week to only seven for Marcel Reece as the Raiders liked his speed better and removed Reece from being the primary back and made him more the third down back with five receptions. With Goodson and McFadden back in the picture, Reece drops down the #4 on the depth charts.

Oddly enough, Brandon Myers has been very productive in recent weeks with four scores in the last five games and a season best 130 yards on 14 catches just last Sunday. His worst game of the year, of course, came in Denver where he only caught one pass for 22 yards.

Denarius Moore was benched last week because he was dropping passes but will start this week and likely spend most his time playing tickles with Champ Bailey. Moore accounted for 71 yards on four catches in the last meeting while Darrius Heyward-Bey never got a pass.

This is a big game for the Raiders from a rivalry sense and it would do wonders to win this game but the firepower is just not there and at 2-10 some players are already being accused of quitting on the team. Next week at home against the Chiefs is where the Raiders get their last hurrah, not here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 28 30 21 27 31 17
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 12 8 8 30 4 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK @CLE 0000020011 ***
Carr flashed a couple weeks back against the Chargers, but that was an island of competency in a season-long sea of no fantasy help whatsoever. Not that the Browns' secondary has been particularly good this season--quite the opposite--but you shouldn't bank on the rookie for help here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @CLE 5004200000 ****
Four of six feature backs to face the Browns have rushed for at least 80 yards and a touchdown; with enough touches McFadden could very well do the same. He's a sneaky fantasy play if you're desperate for running back help this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK @CLE 50000000 ***
MoJo's next fantasy-relevant moment as a Raider will be his first. Could happen in this favorable matchup, but right now it appears as if they're willing to ride Darren McFadden right up to his next injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @CLE 005501000 **
No need to fear Joe Haden anymore--or Buster Skreen, for that matter. Jones is the closest thing the Raiders have to a reliable contributor in the passing game, so he's the best bet to capitalize on this dramatically underachieving secondary.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @CLE 003500000 **
Holmes whetted appetites before dashing hopes with a couple of drops last week. It's a favorable matchup against an underachieving secondary, but it will be tough to trust Holmes with a fantasy lineup spot until he demonstrates some consistency.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brice Butler, OAK @CLE 002300000 ***
Butler might be becoming the Raiders new favorite "go deep" guy. Against a secondary that's struggled as much as the Browns have, there's fantasy value in that role this week. High risk, but there's definitely home run potential here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @CLE 002100000 ***
Jimmy Graham scored the only two TE TDs the Browns have allowed, but that's probably because Joe Haden was covering him. No need to extend that courtesy to Rivera, who is still looking for his first TD--or 35-yard game--of the year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @CLE 2211 ***
SeaBass's next double-digit game will be his first, and he's averaging an anemic four points per game. You have better options.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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