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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 ARI 0000022011 ***
Every QB to face the Cards has thrown for at least 238 yards this year; the last two have each topped 350, with multiple touchdowns. Carr comes off the biggest fantasy outing of his brief career, and with the Raiders likely playing from behind no reason he can't put up enough garbage time numbers to capitalize fantasy-wise.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK ARI 5002100000 ****
The Cards haven't allowed an opposing back to top 65 yards this season, have given up only three RB TDs all year, and are holding foes to a less-than-impressive 3.1 yards per carry. More carries or no, tough to trust McFadden with a fantasy start here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, OAK ARI 300000000 *****
MJD is now playing second fiddle to Darren McFadden. In a less than favorable matchup with a defense allowing barely three yards per carry, no reason to reach for him for fantasy help.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK ARI 006701000 ***
The Cards have allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 100 yards in each of the past three games, so even if Jones is now running WR2 to Andre Holmes he's still a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK ARI 004500000 ***
Big targets and long-ball threats have had success against the Cards this season, and Holmes fits both of those descriptions. He's also the most targeted Raider and a solid bet to be a big-time fantasy helper for the third consecutive week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brice Butler, OAK ARI 003200000 ***
Butler showed well last week, but he remains a secondary option in the Oakland passing game and it's too early to ask Derek Carr to consistently feed that many mouths.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK ARI 002100000 ****
It's a favorable matchup for the position, as Arizona has allowed a TE TD or at least 80 yards to the position in four of five games this year. That said, it would take a leap of faith to start Rivera when the cumulative tight end production for the Raiders this season amounts to one good game for Jimmy Graham (119 yards, 1 TD). Upside, but plenty of risk as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK ARI 2211 ***
SeaBass has more games without a field goal (four) than actual field goals (three) this season. That should tell you more than enough.

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 0000026020 ****
Rivers has to love seeing red. He has multiple TDs in four straight against the Chiefs, as well as five of six in San Diego and 10 of 12 overall. And oh yeah he has multiple touchdown tosses in five straight this year with at least 256 yards in all five games--and at least 284 and three in each home game. Bolo ties all around!
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD KC 8013200000 **
Two starts, two 100-yard rushing games and three TDs for Oliver. And now he gets a KC defense that's giving up an average of 120 rushing yards and 145 combo yards to opposing backs on the road, at a whopping 5.7 yards per carry. Don't sweat that the Chiefs haven't given up a running back TD this year; Oliver's yardage more than compensates.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD KC 005700000 *
Royal has been riding Philip Rivers' hot hand, Keenan Allen's sophomore slump, and a string of favorable matchups to fantasy relevancy. However, his rib injury and a tougher matchup likely conspire to relegate him to the fringe of the fantasy radar this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD KC 005600000 ***
Could the Chiefs be the cure for Allen's sophomore slump? Well, he did post 14 catches for 213 yards against them last year but he didn't find the end zone. Sounds like his upside for this year, and likely this game as well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD KC 004500000 ***
Keenan Allen draws the attention, Eddie Royal steals the touchdowns, but Floyd has been getting the targets and doing some damage of his own. With Royal potentially limited by his rib issue Floyd might be the Bolts' best bet for a WR TD against a Chiefs' D that's given up touchdowns to secondary targets like Stevie Johnson and Brian Hartline.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD KC 004501000 ****
The Chiefs visit San Diego at least once a year, and every time Gates has played a home game against the Chiefs since 2008 he's scored at least one touchdown. Granted, he's missed a couple meetings in there due to injury, but when you consider this year's iteration of the Chiefs has already allowed four TE TDs and Gates has three himself in his last two games there's no reason to expect that trend to come to a halt here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD KC 2233 ***
Lots to like here: Novak averaging 11 points per game at home, the Chefs giving up almost 10 per game to kickers on the road... isn't that enough?

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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