FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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 @STL 0000019012 ***
Carr has one real fantasy helper to his NFL credit; a second is not likely forthcoming against a St. Louis defense that's given up just four passing scores in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, OAK @STL 6003200000 **
If Murray is cleared from his concussion he's an intriguing play against a Rams' defense that's allowed five of its six RB TDs in the past five games and just let Ryan Mathews top the 100-yard mark. He was back at practice and is a significantly better option than other Raider backs, so expect him to go--and give you a fantasy boost.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Darren McFadden, OAK @STL 3004300000 ***
At this point any carry the Raiders give to someone other than Latavius Murray is wasted--not to mention no fantasy help whatsoever.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR James Jones, OAK @STL 007601000 ****
Jones is the veteran option to Andre Holmes, a guy who's essentially splitting the Raiders' WR targets. He's as good a fantasy option as Holmes, with maybe a tinge less upside, but both are still borderline bets at best.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Andre Holmes, OAK @STL 004500000 **
A Rams secondary that's given up four 100-yard efforts in the past three games, and Holmes getting the bulk of the targets for the Raiders; he's the best fantasy option of a relatively bad situation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Mychal Rivera, OAK @STL 004300000 ***
Rivera hasn't been nearly as much of a fantasy factor the past two weeks, and a date with a St. Louis defense that's allowed just one TE TD in the past 10 games isn't likely to change that course.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @STL 1122 ***
If you're into six or seven points in a game, you're in luck; after a slow start that's what SeaBass is averaging over the mast six games. If you're looking for upside, however, you'll want to look elsewhere.

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 @BAL 0000022012 ****
Rivers has fallen off the pace with just two passing scores in the past three games. A trip to Baltimore, where no visiting quarterback has thrown more than one TD and the average outing is 238 and 1, isn't likely to help Rivers right the ship.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ryan Mathews, SD @BAL 5002100000 ***
Mathews surprised last week with 105 & 1 in a tough matchup. He's unlikely to surprise again against a Baltimore defense that hasn't let an opposing back top 70 yards and has given up only five RB TDs all year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Branden Oliver, SD @BAL 3004200000 ****
Oliver's share of the workload continues to decline, which won't help his fantasy prospects.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Malcom Floyd, SD @BAL 004501000 **
Floyd has been running wingman to Keenan Allen, and while he's been more productive with his limited role it's not exactly a recipe for fantasy success. You'll be best served looking elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Keenan Allen, SD @BAL 007800000 ***
Nice to see Allen capitalize on his steady dose of targets with 104 and a touch last week. However, there won't be nearly the numbers to go around in Baltimore this week, so while Allen is still the Bolts' best bet for a fantasy helper at WR he's a fringe consideration here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Eddie Royal, SD @BAL 002300000 ***
Royal remains an inconsistent blip on the fantasy radar, one that doesn't project to offer much in a tough passing game matchup in Baltimore this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Antonio Gates, SD @BAL 003300000 ***
It's been a month since Gates produced a fantasy helper; worse, Ladarius Green is starting to horn in on his targets. You can find a better fantasy option elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Nick Novak, SD @BAL 2211 ****
The Ravens haven't allowed a double-digit points game to an opposing kicker since Week 1; worse, in home games since then they've allowed 6, 4, 1, and 1. Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

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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