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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 MIA 0000030030 ***
Forget last week's aberration in St. Louis; Manning is money at home, with at least three TD tosses in every game and an average of 318 yards per home contest. The Dolphins haven't allowed so much as a 300 yard game this year, but it's Manning so anything's possible.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB C.J. Anderson, DEN MIA 7006600000 ***
Looks like Anderson will be the lead dog in Denver this week, against a Miami defense that hasn't let a back go for 50 yards against them in a month. Expect him to pick up a little fantasy help in the passing game, which combined with his share of the run game makes a tidy little fantasy package.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN MIA 0081101000 ***
With or without Emmanuel Sanders, whether or not Brent Grimes plays him man-up the entire game, Thomas is an every-week fantasy starter.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN MIA 004601000 **
If Sanders is cleared from his concussion he belongs in your fantasy lineup, but that's a decision we won't know until later in the week.
Update: Sanders did not practice until Friday, at which point he got in a full session. The official injury report lists him as probable, so the expectation is he'll return from his concussion and play this week. And if he's playing, he belongs in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN MIA 005500000 ***
Welker could see some extra looks with Emmanuel Sanders out with a concussion, but it's going to take no Sanders in the lineup for Welker to warrant fantasy attention.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Caldwell, DEN MIA 004500000 ***
The Broncos have options if Emmanuel Sanders can't go, with Caldwell being one of them. He'd warrant fantasy attention if Sanders is ruled out; otherwise he's just going to remain a fantasy afterthought.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN MIA 003200000 *
It isn't a great matchup, but if Thomas recovers from his ankle injury in time to play he's an every-week fantasy starter. No Thomas, no need to reach for his backups.
Update: Thomas did not practice all week, and his official "questionable" designation seems optimistic. You should have a Plan B at the ready.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN MIA 2133 ***
Tacking on points for Peyton Manning's offense hasn't been as productive as you might think--just one double-digit points game in the past six and only two all year. So keep your expectations in check with McManus and you'll be just fine.

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 KC 0000019011 ***
It's not a particularly favorable matchup for Carr, nor has he been particularly forthcoming with fantasy help this year. You should have better options at your disposal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK KC 4004200000 ***
It's been a month since McFadden saw the end zone, and a Chiefs D that has yet to surrender a single RB TD isn't exactly opening the door for him.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK KC 30140000 ***
It's sad, really, what's become of MJD as his career limps towards its finish. He has 28 yards to show for his last 18 carries. Ugh.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK KC 004500000 ***
There may be situations yet this year where Holmes is a viable fantasy option, and his future is bright. But this week, given the lack of consistent targets and formidable matchup, there's no reason to go this route.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK KC 005500000 ***
Nothing to like about this matchup or Jones' situation in Oakland. Look for fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK KC 005401000 **
Rivera has been Oakland's most reliable pass-catcher of late, and the Chiefs have served up eight TE TDs already this season. If you're forced to start a Raider, he's your best bet.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK KC 1011 ***
SeaBass hasn't hit double-digits this year; a date with a KC defense that's given up more than 20 points once in the past two months doesn't feel like his jumping-off point.

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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