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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
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 4 XP

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 @OAK 0000033030 ****
Manning already has the touchdown record, and he'll probably stick around in this one just long enough to throw for 266 yards and break the yardage record as well. The Broncos still need to win to lock down home field advantage, so they can't sit Manning right away, but there's a very good chance he finishes this one in a baseball cap.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Montee Ball, DEN @OAK 300000000 ***
Ball's been lightening the load for Knowshon Moreno, and that plan should continue here with maybe the rookie seeing an uptick while Denver gets the veteran some well-deserved rest. Seeing as Oakland has served up 796 combo yards and 11 RB TDs the past month, there's more than enough to go around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @OAK 0051001000 ***
Everybody got fed the last time these squads met--Thomas 94 yards, Eric Decker 133 & 1, Wes Welker 84 & 1--and there's no reason to expect much difference this time around.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @OAK 003300000 *
Sanders has scored in four of the last five and is a solid option when Joe Haden has blanket coverage on Antonio Brown. UPDATE: Good news for Sanders, as he is listed as questionable but practiced in full on Friday.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @OAK 004401000 ***
However you break it down, Thomas is a good play. He scored against the Raiders in the earlier meeting, he's scored in three of four (and six of eight, and nine of 12), he's scored in every road game, he caught Peyton Manning's record-setting touchdown pass... however you break it down.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Prater, DEN @OAK 1144 ***
Should be points a plenty for Prater, who hit for a baker's dozen in the earlier meeting with Oakland and has the second-most kicker points in the league 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 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 Greg Little 3-40
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 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 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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