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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 @DEN 0000023022 ***
Carr threw for 192 and 2 in the earlier meeting with Denver. He's had multiple TDs in two of his last three games but the yardage has been substandard and facing a Broncos team looking to lock down a first-round bye won't help his prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @DEN 6002200000 ***
The Raiders hadn't gotten around to using Murray the last time they faced Denver; he saw just two of the teams 13 rushing attempts. Now he's the 20-plus carry lead dog, and all four 20-carry backs have all either scored or topped 100 yards against the Broncos. So we're sayin' there's a chance.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @DEN 3001100000 ***
Wouldn't it be fitting if McFadden got hurt in his Raiders' swan song? One more trip through the training room, getting nostalgic with the whirlpool, all while watching Latavius Murray highlights on the TV.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @DEN 006401000 **
Jones has scored in back-to-back games, though his catches dwindled from eight to one last week. At that rate his prospects for this week don't look particularly good.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @DEN 003300000 ***
No Raiders receiver topped 30 yards the last time they faced the Broncos, and only two have topped 60 in Denver's last seven. Holmes might be the most frequently targeted Raider, but the ceiling is pretty low for his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @DEN 006501000 ****
Rivera might be the best (only?) fantasy play to emerge from the Oakland passing game this weekend. He scored in the previous meeting with Denver (part of a 6-64-1 showing), has 15-153-1 the past three games, and faces a Broncos defense that's given up TE TDs in back-to-back games and seven of their nine TE scores in the second half of the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @DEN 1122 ***
SeaBass goes 14 games without a fantasy helper, then drops 14 on an unsuspecting Buffalo defense. The Broncos aren't likely to be as friendly; they held Janikowski to something closer to his usual, five points in the earlier meeting, and are a good bet to do so again.

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 @KC 0000024022 **
Rivers has multiple touchdowns in five straight meetings with the Chiefs, as well as multiple scores and/or 300-plus passing yards in six straight visits to Kansas City. The Chiefs haven't seen a ton of great quarterbacks, but they did hold Ben Roethlisberger to 220 and 1 last week and Peyton Manning to 179 and 2 a month ago, so it won't be easy. But history--and San Diego's lack of a running game--suggest Rivers can still get it done.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @KC 4002100000 ***
With no Ryan Mathews the Chargers' backfield has become a committee affair; at least Oliver's touches suggest he's the committee chair. However, that role hasn't amounted to much in the way of fantasy production for any of the committee members, and a date with a Chiefs defense that's allowed only four RB TDs all year isn't going to help matters.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Donald Brown, SD @KC 2003200000 ***
Brown wasn't even the best Brown on his own team last week, as retread Ronnie Brown was more effective. There's no fantasy value to be found here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Dontrelle Inman, SD @KC 005600000 **
Let's face it, if your season boils down to Dontrelle Inman doing something for you in Week 17 you need to take a step back and re-evaluate things.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @KC 003400000 ***
Floyd and Eddie Royal are tag-team replacing Keenan Allen as the Chargers' WR1, both doing enough to remain on the fantasy radar even in what looks to be a pretty tough matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @KC 003400000 ***
No Keenan Allen? No problem, as Royal and Malcom Floyd stepped up their respective games. The Chiefs haven't given up many big games to opposing wideouts, but that doesn't mean Royal can't carve out a fantasy helper here--something along the lines of the 7-72-1 Antonio Brown took KC for last week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @KC 007702000 ***
Gates (and short-yardage TE John Phillips) scored against the Chiefs in the earlier meeting, but that's to be expected: in 19 career games against KC Gates has found the end zone 15 times. He's also scored in each of his last two games, and with Keenan Allen out--and a playoff spot on the line--he's Philip Rivers' go-to guy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @KC 2222 ***
Novak's eight points in the earlier meeting with KC are indicative of his season, as he's hit double-digits just once in the past three months. But that eight is also indicative of what the Chiefs have been giving up to opposing kickers, so it's one of those high floor/low ceiling opportunities.

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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