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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 @NE 0000031030 ***
Think Bill Belichick has Peyton's number? Think again; Manning has multiple TD tosses in five straight regular-season meetings with the Patriots dating back to the 2008 season. He's topped 300 yards in three of those five as well. This iteration of the New England defense has surrendered multiple scoring strikes in four of five; this iteration of Peyton has at least three TDs in four straight and six of seven. Fantasy owners needn't concern themselves with the war; Peyton consistently wins this battle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN @NE 9003201000 ***
Focus too much on Peyton Manning and Hillman will get ya; he's racked up triple-digit combo yardage in all three starts since Montee Ball went down. The Patriots have allowed three 100-yard rushers in the past four games as well as a couple of 50-plus yard receiving games to backs; if they devote too much game plan to Manning, Hillman's fantasy prospects climb from good to very good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN @NE 201000000 **
Thompson looks to be taking over as the goal line complement to Ronnie Hillman--and a a Patriots D that's allowed five RB TDs in the past four games might be susceptible to a goal line back.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN @NE 0061001000 ***
The Patriots have to hope adding Darrelle Revis to the roster slows Thomas, because nothing else they've tried to date has; in four career meetings he's averaging almost seven catches for almost 110 yards, though he's scored just once in the four games. He brings a four-game streak of 100-yard efforts into this tilt, and you have to like his chances of exiting with at least a fantasy helper if not a fifth straight above the century mark.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @NE 004500000 ***
Not only have the Patriots allowed multiple WRs to score in two of their last four games, they never had an answer for Sanders when he played for Pittsburgh; in three games he racked up 16-209-1. With four TDs in the past two games he's beyond his scoring slump, and odds are he won't see Darrelle Revis so the run of success should continue.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Wes Welker, DEN @NE 004400000 ***
Welker has never caught a TD pass against his former mates--not as a Dolphin before joining the Patriots, nor in his lone meeting with them as a Bronco. He's also slid down the passing game pecking order in Denver, to the point that he's a reach of a fantasy play even in a six-team bye week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Julius Thomas, DEN @NE 004601000 ****
After a scorching start Thomas has been kept in check the past two weeks. Don't expect that to continue against a New England defense that's allowed three 90-yard games to TEs and three TE TDs in the past five games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Brandon McManus, DEN @NE 1144 *****
Kicking behind a Peyton Manning offense has its advantages: four or more PATs in all but one game this year. It also has its disadvantages: only one game with multiple field goal attempts. You'll get solid, but spectacular doesn't appear to be in the offing.

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 @SEA 0000017012 ****
Carr's had a couple of decent fantasy efforts during his rookie campaign; asking him to go to Seattle and pull one off... well, that's a bit too aggressive.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @SEA 4004200000 ***
McFadden is unlikely to dent the Seahawks on the ground, but he could salvage fantasy value via the air against a Seattle defense that's allowing almost 50 RB receiving yards per game over the past month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK @SEA 40130000 ***
MJD's last two game have seen him carry the ball nine times for 14 yards. Ugh.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @SEA 005600000 **
Holmes will get his targets; the key will be holding on to them. Not enough upside here to warrant a start against a secondary that could very well throttle the life out of Oakland's passing game without blinking an eye.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @SEA 003400000 ***
The Seahawks haven't allowed a WR TD since Week 5 or a WR TD at home since the season opener. Oakland's cast of characters doesn't feel like the group that's going to crack that code.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kenbrell Thompkins, OAK @SEA 002300000 ***
If you were wondering where Kenbrell Thompkins ended up... well, here he is. He saw eight targets last week, but given this matchup with Seattle's secondary that number--as well as what Thompkins can do with those catches--is likely to dwindle.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @SEA 003201000 *
Maybe the Raiders' best hope for fantasy value this week comes in the form of Rivera, who posted 7-83 on nine targets last week. He'll have a chance to exploit the lone fantasy weakness in this defense, an inability to defend tight ends. Seattle has surrendered eight TE TDs already this season; if Oakland is to get one, Rivera's probably the best bet.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @SEA 1111 ***
Seabass has yet to hit double-digit points, and Seattle seems like an unlikely venue for him to reach that milestone.

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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