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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

Prediction: OAK 13, CAR 27 (Line: CAR by 8.5)

Players Updated: Torrey Smith, Ahmad Bradshaw

Players to Watch: DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith

This is a meaningless game in the sense of the playoffs and the 4-10 Raiders are only 1-5 on the road thanks to playing the Chiefs in Kansas City. The 5-9 Panthers have won their last two games and this will be their final home game.

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 13-26
6 @ATL 20-23 15 KC 15-0
7 JAC 26-23 16 @CAR -----
8 @KC 26-16 17 @SD -----
9 TB 32-42 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 260,2
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
RB Darren McFadden 60 3-30
WR James Jones 2-30,1
WR Denarius Moore 4-50
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Another bad season for the Raiders and the first year for Dennis Allen looked pretty much like any other for a decade or more. The offense was saddled with a poor rushing effort and that was before Darren McFadden missed his traditional four games. The last five games have seen the Raiders unable to score more than 17 points in any game and now with two road games left to play, it's reasonable to assume a less than stellar effort in these final two weeks.

Terrelle Pryor was finally given a series last week and he only threw one incompletion. But he looms as a problem to Carson Palmer who doesn't have a lot of series he can give away and still retain much fantasy value. Palmer was on a two touchdown streak in six of the last seven until last week when the Raiders just ran and kicked fields goals against the Chiefs. Problem too is that Palmer he his worst efforts come in away games as well.

The Raiders ran the ball 43 times last week but that won't happen again. Darren McFadden gained 110 rushing yards but needed 30 carries against the visiting Chiefs to get there. He added four catches as well while a healthy Mike Goodson finally had some playing time and ran 13 times for 89 yards. It was McFadden's final home game and two of this three 100+ yard rushing games were against the Chiefs.

Brandon Myers has disappeared these last two weeks after his monster 130 yard game against the Browns but he's back on the road this week where he has never scored a touchdown or had more than moderate yardage.

Jon Criner injured his hip last week but none of the receivers here have any real fantasy value anymore. Darrius Heyward-Bey came off his best game of the year - 5-82 and a touchdown - and then had no catches last week. Denarius Moore hasn't gained more than 46 yards in the last five games. Rod Streater has been the most productive wideout for the last three weeks but has only two scores all year.

This is likely to be a bad week. The Raiders season is already over. They are coming off a rare home win and have only two road games left to play knowing they can only beat the Chiefs if they leave Oakland.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 13 17 16 12 13 32
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 8 26 7 23 27 15

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Derek Carr, OAK HOU 0000019001 ***
Carr was efficient if not effusive in his NFL debut, pairing pedestrian yardage with a couple touchdown tosses. The Texans bent but didn't break against RG3 in their opener, and a confluence of those trends here suggests keeping Carr on the fantasy sidelines for a bit more seasoning.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK HOU 6011100000 **
In Oakland's 2013 meeting with the Texans Rashad Jennings went off for 150 yards and a TD while McFadden--shockingly--sat out with an injury. The shoe may be on the other foot this time around, with Maurice Jones-Drew nursing a hand issue and McFadden the possible beneficiary. Stay tuned; we could have a Run DMC sighting!
Update: With MJD likely to miss this tilt, McFadden would move to the fore of the Oakland backfield. Enjoy.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK HOU 400000000 **
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK HOU 00000000 **
MJD is no stranger to the Texans; in fact, he took them for 144 combo yards and a TD in the front end of last season's JAX/HOU series, then followed up with 123 yards from scrimmage in the rematch. He appears to be the lead dog in Oakland's current backfield committee, though after hand surgery on Monday his status for Sunday is uncertain. If he goes he's an adequate fantasy play, but Darren McFadden looms.
Update: MJD is expected to miss the Raiders' Week 2 matchup with Houston following a hand procedure--but not on a broken bone, according to Jones-Drew. Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese will pick up the slack in MJD's absence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK HOU 003300000 ***
The Raiders' big offseason signing did find the end zone last week, though three targets seems a bit light for the guy they brought in to be their WR1. Until we see more from Derek Carr there's not much to like fantasy-wise about the Oakland passing game, at least in a bankable fantasy sense.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Denarius Moore, OAK HOU 003200000 ***
Moore is still on the Raiders roster, and he did score in last season's meeting with the Texans. But at this juncture he's taking a back seat to both James Jones and Denarius Moore, and Derek Carr has yet to demonstrate he can feed multiple fantasy mouths.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK HOU 003300000 ***
Rivera had the best game of his career the last time he faced the Texans; in fact, his 5-54-1 may have single-handedly been responsible for the regime change in Houston. Rivera has a total of 18 catches for 188 yards and two TDs in the seven games since dismantling the Texans, including 3-31 in his first game with Derek Carr, so he's not exactly a bankable fantasy commodity.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK HOU 3311 ***
You gotta love SeaBass. You don't gotta start SeaBass on your fantasy team, however.

Carolina Panthers
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 10-16 10 DEN 14-36
2 NO 35-27 11 TB 21-27
3 NYG 7-36 12 @PHI 30-22
4 @ATL 28-30 13 @KC 21-27
5 SEA 12-16 14 ATL 30-20
6 BYE ----- 15 @SD 31-7
7 DAL 14-19 16 OAK -----
8 @CHI 22-23 17 @NO -----
9 @WAS 21-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 70 230,2
RB Mike Tolbert 30,1 2-10
RB DeAngelo Williams 80 3-30
WR Jason Avant 4-50
TE Greg Olsen 5-50,1
PK Graham Gano 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: At 5-9 it has been a bad season by any measure but at least the Panthers can feel a sense of progress winning three of their last four (which included losing to the Chiefs if you can wrap your head around that one). Those wins all scored 30 points or more while the defense finally was good enough. The main progress of the season is that Cam Newton has been noticeably better in the last month even though the schedule was kind along the way.

Newton scored at least twice in each of the last four games and has been a fantasy godsend for owners in the playoffs with a three touchdown game against the Chiefs and Falcons recently. He settled down last week versus the Chargers mainly because they were running so well anyway.

With Jonathan Stewart out with a high ankle sprain, DeAngelo Williams has turned in back-to-back big games with a receiving score in each and over 100 total yards. He rushed for a season high 93 yards last 2week while Michael Tolbert ended up with the two short touchdowns - his first since week seven.

Greg Olsen did not score last week but has become a lock for around 50 yards every week with a decent chance for a touchdown. He and Steve Smith remain the only fantasy plays here and Smith in particular has seen an uptick in production in recent weeks with two efforts over 100 yards and two scores in that time.

Chances are good that the rushing effort will be plenty good enough to take this win against the #30 ranked defense against running backs. Hard to imagine that Newton won't try to score once with Smith though since this is the final home game. Newton owners may have struggled earlier in the season but he's ending on a very strong note.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 4 25 24 9 32 15
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 24 30 19 28 31 16

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Cam Newton, CAR DET 10000023021 ***
After tapping out in Week 1, Cam makes his 2014 debut against a Lions defense that just stymied Eli Manning. Okay, so that's not overly impressive. But they do have guys up front who won't be shy about hammering Cam's ribs so this may have to be an air show rather than a run fest. That's a matchup Cam can win as well, making him eminently startable here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR DET 6003200000 ***
It's a three-way job share against a defense that held the Giants to 55 RB rushing yards; none of that smacks of fantasy potential.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR DET 00000000 *
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, and in the land of Carolina backs Williams at present is getting the most carries. Doesn't mean he warrants a fantasy start, however.
Update: Williams did not practice all week due to a thigh injury. He's listed as questionable and doesn't offer enough upside in his role in Carolina to offset the risk of not playing here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR DET 005801000 ***
Hard to get a read on the Lions' secondary, as they were barely tested by the Giants in Week 1. But Benjamin has clearly vaulted to the top of the Panthers' receiver depth chart; now he needs to get on the same page with Cam Newton and magic is sure to ensue.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jerricho Cotchery, CAR DET 003400000 ***
You may not have noticed but the Panthers line up some other guys at wide receiver besides Kelvin Benjamin. Cam Newton hasn't noticed much beyond one go-to guy in the past, no reason to think that will change here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Greg Olsen, CAR DET 007801000 ****
The Lions made Larry Donnell look like a Pro Bowler last week; does that mean an actual talented tight end like Olsen will look like a Hall of Famer against them? Quite possibly, yes.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Graham Gano, CAR DET 3322 ***
The Giants couldn't get close enough to attempt a field goal last week against Detroit, but the Panthers shouldn't have a similar dilemma so go ahead and go with Gano.

WEEK 16
2012
ATL at DET (SAT) CLE at DEN NO at DAL *SF at SEA
BUF at MIA *IND at KC *NYG at BAL STL at TB
CHI at ARI MIN at HOU OAK at CAR *TEN at GB
*Updated CIN at PIT *NE at JAC SD at NYJ WAS at PHI

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