FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)

Prediction: OAK 13, DEN 38 (Line: DEN by 14.5)

Players of Interest: Montee Ball

How great will this be? On Monday night no less? The Broncos have been incredible posting 40+ points each week and not really looking winded while doing so. The Raiders are 1-1 so far and did play surprisingly well in their loss to the Colts. But man - they will improve when they get back Champ Bailey and Von Miller. There is only one problem with the Broncos. No one looks this incredible early in the season and carries it through 21 games. At least so far...

The Broncos swept the Raiders last year, 37-6 at home and 26-13 in Oakland.

1 @IND 17-21 10 @NYG -
2 JAC 19-9 11 @HOU -
3 @DEN - 12 TEN -
4 WAS - 13 @DAL -
5 SD - 14 @NYJ -
6 @KC - 15 KC -
7 BYE WEEK 16 @SD -
8 PIT - 17 DEN -
9 PHI - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK @ DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 300,3
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 20 1-10
RB Darren McFadden 50 5-30
WR James Jones 6-70,1
WR Denarius Moore 4-50
TE Mychal Rivera 3-30,1
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Raiders are still point starved - a very bad thing when facing the Broncos - but at least they have finally had one big game from Darren McFadden. The promise of a potential passing success from week one only needed one game to vanish. Fortunately they hosted the Jaguars who are seemingly the worst team in the league currently and notched a win but the upcoming schedule is not so kind and apparently the Chargers and Chiefs are no longer content to be bad teams. The AFC West is no longer as fun.

QUARTERBACKS: Terrelle Pryor ran for 112 yards in the season opener and passed for 217 and one score but that did not last. While he still gained 50 yards on the ground versus the Jaguars, he only generated 126 yards in the air. Pryor is still raw and more than content to take off on a run rather than pass. And sadly that is still far better than letting Matt Flynn start.

RUNNING BACKS: Solid effort by Darren McFadden who racked up 129 yards on 19 carries versus the Jaguars and added four catches for 28 more yards. That was his best game since week three of 2011. But he also lost a fumble. His success was tied in part to playing at home against a very bad Jaguars team and the specter of Pryor running has changed the defense enough to get more running lanes for McFadden. It is not enough to win games mind you but in fantasy terms who cares? No one in the passing game has fantasy value and McFadden is clearly their best and maybe on only weapon anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Just devoid of any productive reliability. Rod Streater remains the best bet because he manages to end up with at least 40 yards per week. Denarius Moore had no catches versus the Jags. No one else has more than 12 yards in any game. And there is no reason to expect much in the way of improvement since Pryor will run before passing.

TIGHT ENDS: Mychal Rivera has 58 yards on five catches for the year but will take a seat once David Ausberry returns so that he can be the one with 25 yards per week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This might not go well. No one has gained more than 36 rushing yards on the Broncos who are at home on Monday night. The only place the Broncos have been weak - such as it is - would be against the pass which is the weakness of the Raiders. Whatever happens here is almost certain to be in trash time when they are already loading up the equipment boxes on the sidelines and the announcers are starting to resort to family secrets for the want of anything left to say.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: This team is going to live or die because of what Pryor does. And in the words of Clint Eastwood, "Dying ain't much of a living".

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 22 13 32 23 9 27
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 17 24 19 27 29 3

 

1 BAL 49-27 10 @SD -
2 @NYG 41-23 11 KC -
3 OAK - 12 @NE -
4 PHI - 13 @KC -
5 @DAL - 14 TEN -
6 JAC - 15 SD -
7 @IND - 16 @HOU -
8 WAS - 17 @OAK -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 350,3
RB Montee Ball 40 3-20
WR Emmanuel Sanders 6-70
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-110,1
WR Wes Welker 7-60,1
TE Julius Thomas 6-50,1
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 5 XP

Pregame Notes: After two games that included facing the reigning Super Bowl Champs and a trip to New York for a much hyped brother vs. brother matchup, no one has come within 18 points of the Broncos and now the Raiders show up? The biggest fear here is that the Broncos only do enough to secure a healthy win and then stop trying. But it is Monday night and Manning has to know that this one year might be the capstone to his legacy. We can only hope for a good old-fashioned rout and maybe just a little less taking the foot off the accelerator since it is a Monday night game.

QUARTERBACKS: All you have to know is that Peyton Manning now owns another record - no one has ever thrown for nine touchdowns in the first two games of any season ever. Oh yeah, he is averaging about 380 passing yards per game.

Manning passed for 338 yards and three scores when the Raiders visited in 2012.

RUNNING BACKS: No denying that Knowshon Moreno is running as well as he ever has. He busted up the Giants with 13 runs that covered 93 yards and scored twice. He is still sharing with Montee Ball but crushing him in the box score. Ball ran for only 16 yards on 12 carries last week which included a lost fumble near the Giants goal line. He may overtake Moreno at some point but it looks like everyone will be wearing their heavy coats before that has any chance of happening. If even 2013.

Ronnie Hillman is down to only one carry in a game and that only took two weeks.

The Broncos rushed for 153 yards and two touchdown on the visiting Raiders last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: So many mouths to feed. Manning uses all three wideouts plus the tight end with deadly results. Eric Decker was quiet in the opener but Manning made a point of trying to integrate him back in the game plan and threw a season high 13 targets to him for nine catches for 87 yards. Wes Welker still scored once but dropped to only three receptions for 39 yards. Demaryius Thomas also dropped to only 52 yards on five catches in New York after opening the year with 161 yards and two scores. That is one problem that now exists. There are too many weapons and someone has to take a back seat each week. And yet you can never bench any of the three ever because of their weekly potential.

Thomas had 103 yards on five catches when the Raiders visited last year. Decker had 79 yards and one score.

TIGHT ENDS: It will truly be a surprise if the only consistently good receiver ends up to be Julius Thomas who only had one career catch coming into 2013. Orange Julius is tied with Wes Welker with three touchdowns on the season. He's been a nice target for Manning in the red zone which will keep him worthwhile as a starter every week because this offense has plenty of scores to distribute so far.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Raiders have only faced the Colts and Jaguars so far so the parallels are hard to establish. There is no way you are going to ever bench a Broncos starter anyway much less when the Raiders are visiting on Monday night. Enjoy yourself watching this happen. The Raiders even just lost their strong safety last week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: This game seems destined for a big lead by the Broncos which means that Montee Ball may end up with a ton of carries in the fourth quarter. Be nice to see him do something more than fumble though by then the defense is loaded up against him knowing the Broncos are just running out the clock.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 11 2 4 7 3
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 21 1 14 17 3 8

WEEK 3 KC at PHI (THU) CHI at PIT HOU at BAL SD at TEN
BUF at NYJ GB at CIN NYG at CAR STL at DAL
ARI at NO CLE at MIN IND at SF TB at NE
*UPDATED ATL at MIA DET at WAS JAC at SEA OAK at DEN (MON)


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