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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

Prediction: OAK 13, SD 23 (Line: SD by 4.5)

Players to Watch: Terrelle Pryor, Danario Alexander

Just another disappointing year in the AFC West. The 4-11 Raiders are only 1-6 on the road while the 6-9 Chargers sport a 2-5 home mark. This is a replay of the season opener when the Chargers won 22-14 in Oakland.

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 6-17
8 @KC 26-16 17 @SD -----
9 TB 32-42 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 250,2
RB Darren McFadden 50 3-20
WR James Jones 5-60,1
WR Denarius Moore 3-40
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: It is bad enough that the Raiders are ending a bad season with only four wins. But they did that without really producing any fantasy players of note. None. Carson Palmer was passable as a spot-fill guy if you did not lose points for interceptions. Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey both had the very occasional decent game but not enough to merit taking a risk on them. Worst of all, Darren McFadden not only had injury problems like always but when he had a bad game, it was monumentally "was he even there?" sort of bad.

Palmer is out this week again because of his cracked ribs and bruised lung. Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor are splitting first team reps and both will likely play in the finale. Pryor is the more interesting one since the Raiders gave up a third round pick to acquire him. For the last two weeks, they have toyed with the idea of trying out Pryor but only allowed him to throw just one pass last week. The change in quarterbacks makes this team even more devoid of fantasy relevance.

Palmer passed for 297 yards and one score in the first meeting with the Chargers. McFadden rushed for only 32 yards on 15 carries but added 13 catches for 86 yards in that game. He's never had more than four receptions in any other game though.

McFadden has been a huge disappointment this year with only three games over 70 yards and just three touchdowns. The switch by OC Gregg Knapp to a zone blocking scheme was exactly the opposite of what McFadden is good at. Instead of relying on his speed and open field ability, McFadden is trying to patiently wait for holes to open that are never there. It really has been a colossal waste of a year for McFadden with no signs that it is going to work any better next season. Basically, McFadden had big games against the Chiefs twice and then a freak showing in Pittsburgh. Otherwise - marginal at best and in no way proportionate to where he was drafted.

Brandon Myers seemed like a nice find in mid-season when he scored four times and was cranking out 50 yard efforts but he's really been silent for the last three weeks when he failed to gain more than 15 yards in any game. He opened the year with 65 yards on five catches versus the Chargers.

The passing game will be unreliable this week with changes in the starting quarterback likely. The season is ending with a whimper from a team that has not scored more than 17 points in the last six weeks.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 17 19 19 15 13 31
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 18 17 22 4 5 21

  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.

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @OAK 22-14 10 @TB 24-34
2 TEN 38-10 11 @DEN 23-30
3 ATL 3-27 12 BAL 13-16
4 @KC 37-20 13 CIN 13-20
5 @NO 24-31 14 @PIT 34-24
6 DEN 24-35 15 CAR 7-31
7 BYE ----- 16 @NYJ 27-17
8 @CLE 6-7 17 OAK -----
9 KC 31-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
SD vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers 220,2
RB Ronnie Brown 20 4-20
TE Antonio Gates 3-30,1
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Last week the Chargers beat up the Jets in New York. Before that they were waxed at home by the Panthers. Before that, they beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Before that, lost at home go the Bengals. There has been little rhyme or reason to what the Charger did this year other than it was below average in most cases. They know that this is their last game of the year and the last they'll be playing for Norv Turner there. The Chargers have lost most of their talent this year to injury and been inconsistent to the point of near randomness.

Philip Rivers started the year with 231 yards and one score in Oakland. He's scored at least once in all but three games and doubled on touchdown in over half of them. But his 24 touchdowns came along with 15 interceptions and seven lost fumbles and his yardage has been lower this year. In his last last five games, he topped 230 yards only once.

Losing Ryan Mathews didn't really change much since they did not use him much and he was not that effective when he did play. They went with Jackie Battle last week and he only gained 49 yards on 19 runs in New York. Ronnie Brown filled in with five runs for 31 yards as the third down back.

Antonio Gates scored in both of the most recent games but he's topped 50 yards only once in the last nine games and started the year with 43 yards on four catches versus the Raiders. He's become a shell of what he once was but intends on returning next year and claims he just as good as he ever was. Probably not. The worst part was that he's been healthy this whole year and it just did not matter.

Danario Alexander was blanked by the Panthers which signaled that his mini-run was over but then in New York against a good secondary, he scored for the sixth time this year and ended with 69 yards on three catches. Malcom Floyd is on injured reserve and Vincent Brown never made it back. But Alexander has been a surprisingly good addition and remained healthy for nine straight games now.

Hard to call this final game of Norv Turner since the Chargers actually play worse at home anyway. But with the Raiders showing up, that makes the offense that much better. Rivers and Alexander are the only starts here, and maybe Gates if you have no options and can live with his usual 40 yards and no scores.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 24 22 25 12 19 4
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 23 28 15 26 30 14

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Philip Rivers, SD @DEN 0000025021 ****
Shooting it out with Peyton Manning hasn't proven to be lucrative, and it's been quite some time since Rivers had a monster game against the Broncos. That said, Rivers has multiple touchdowns in six straight and has played himself into every-week starter status regardless of opponent.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @DEN 6014300000 ***
Oliver came back to Earth a bit last week with 78 combo yards and no touchdown. The Broncos aren't a particularly favorable matchup, so if you've been riding Oliver's hot streak be prepared for some more disappointment this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @DEN 004501000 **
Much like last year, Royal flashed and is now fading. He has no track record to speak of against his former squad, and his catches have declined three straight weeks. Don't bank on him being a fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @DEN 004500000 ***
Floyd's the slow and steady winning the race; that he's had at least 50 yards in each of his last four against the Broncos underscores that philosophy. Philip Rivers isn't afraid to throw at him, and good things can happen when you're getting targeted.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @DEN 004400000 ****
Allen scored twice on two catches the last time these teams got together. That two matches the number of WR TDs the Broncos allowed last week, but it's infinitely more than the zero Allen has scored thus far in his sophomore slump of a season. We'll call the shot: he gets one here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @DEN 006601000 ****
Gates has spaced out his big games against the Broncos--like, 2012 and 2007 spaced out. Denver has had a soft spot for tight ends this year so don't dismiss Gates altogether, but history isn't on his side.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @DEN 1133 ***
Novak's a solid, consistent option but don't set expectations too high: you don't keep up with Peyton Manning by kicking field goals, and Novak has multiple treys in just one of his last three outings.

WEEK 17
2012
ARI at SF CLE at PIT JAC at TEN OAK at SD
BAL at CIN DAL at WAS KC at DEN PHI at NYG
CAR at NO GB at MIN MIA at NE STL at SEA
  CHI at DET HOU at IND NYJ at BUF TB at ATL

 
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