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

Prediction: DEN 31, OAK 20 (Line: DEN by 12.5)

This is a replay of week three when the Broncos won 37-21 in Denver. The Broncos are the #1 seed in the AFC but need to win here to ensure that the Patriots cannot overtake them by beating the Bills. Both games occur in the afternoon so neither team can know if their games are meaningless. If both the Pats and Broncos win this week, they get a first round bye anyway.

1 BAL 49-27 10 @SD 28-20
2 @NYG 41-23 11 KC 27-17
3 OAK 37-21 12 @NE 31-34
4 PHI 52-20 13 @KC 35-28
5 @DAL 51-48 14 TEN 51-28
6 JAC 35-19 15 SD 20-27
7 @IND 33-39 16 @HOU 37-13
8 WAS 45-21 17 @OAK -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 330,3
RB Montee Ball 30
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3-30
WR Demaryius Thomas 5-100,1
TE Julius Thomas 4-40,1

Pregame Notes: The bad news is that LB Von Miller tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season which puts a dent in a defense that already gives up plenty of points. The nicety is that it forces the Broncos to score even more to secure wins and that's all good in the world of fantasy football. What isn't is that Wes Welker is still not cleared from his concussion and since it was his second, he;s very likely to not play this week even if he does clear all the protocols.

Peyton Manning passed for 374 yards and three scores on the Raiders in week three and he just secured the NFL record with his 51st touchdown pass at the end of the win in Houston. Manning has never been about records so much but this week is an obvious chance - and likely his only chance - to further bury his season record for scoring. The fall from monster seasons like this typically is significant so players know they have to get it while they can. Ask Brett Favre, master of playing mainly for the record book.

Knowshon Moreno only ran for 39 yards on 12 carries against the Raiders while Montee Ball ended with 61 yards on 11 runs in that game. Moreno went on to score 12 times this year but only once topped 100 rushing yards. He's been less effective rushing later in the season while Monte Ball often takes a larger share of the work but that's been in part to save the wear on Moreno. And this game is no place to expect 25 carries by Moreno.

Julius Thomas caught three passes for 37 yards and a score in the first meeting with the Raiders and that's been roughly what he does every week. He's already scored 12 times but rarely has more than 50 yards in any game.

Demaryius Thomas caught ten passes for 94 yards in that week three game while Eric Decker accounted for eight receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. Welker is out this week but ended with seven catches for 84 yards and a score back then as well.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Thankfully the Broncos have to win this week in order to keep the #1 seed that makes the AFC come through Denver to reach the Super Bowl. The final game of the Raiders is going to be different than anything recent because they may be losing a coach and they are returning to Terrelle Pryor as the starter. There is no reason to sit Manning, Moreno, Decker, Thomas or Thomas. It is unlikely that there would be enough left over slop to merit starting Ball if only because this is a road game and the Raiders are not going to roll over for the Broncos.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 3 1 2 4 14
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 29 27 23 13 12 26

 

1 @IND 17-21 10 @NYG 20-24
2 JAC 19-9 11 @HOU 28-23
3 @DEN 21-37 12 TEN 19-23
4 WAS 14-24 13 @DAL 24-31
5 SD 27-17 14 @NYJ 27-37
6 @KC 7-24 15 KC 31-56
7 BYE WEEK 16 @SD 13-26
8 PIT 21-18 17 DEN -
9 PHI 20-49 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub 120
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 40 2-10
WR Vincent Brown 2-30
WR Andre Holmes 5-70,1
WR James Jones 4-70,1
TE Mychal Rivera 3-30
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: HC Dennis Allen is on the hot seat and losing the last five games is not making the case that he needs another season. He named Terrelle Pryor as the starter this week over Matt McGloin who was only 1-5 thanks to playing Houston once.This always dysfunctional team is headed into an offseason with even more question marks than usual. Chances are that there will be a new head coach, quarterback and running back next season and that's only if they want to sit on a wide receiver crew which ranked just 27th in total fantasy points generated.

Pryor started eight games but only passed for five touchdowns against 11 interceptions though he did run in two scores and usually provided 30 yards or more as a runner. In the first meeting with the Broncos, he passed for a season best 281 yards and one touchdown and had no turnovers that week. He also rushed for 36 yards on four runs. He has not started a game since week ten. That makes him a bit rusty for a final game against the best team in the NFL.

Darren McFadden has already worn out his welcome and though he scored once against the Chargers in week 16 he only ran four times for eight yards. Rashard Jennings remains the starter but will be a free agent and may not return in Oakland. McFadden is also expected to leave. Back in week three, McFadden scored once in Denver but only ran for nine yards on 12 carries.

Mychal Rivera is one player who will stick in 2014. The rookie caught four touchdowns and is slowly becoming a bigger factor in the game plan. He still has yet to turn in more than 54 yards in a game and usually remains around 30 yards.

Denarius Moore is yet another player fallen from favor but his best game of the year - by far - was when he caught six passes for 124 yards and one score in Denver. Rod Streater only ended with three receptions for 42 yards in that game. Andre Holmes has since replaced Moore and produced 60 yards or better in the last four weeks with a touchdown in his only home game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: A coach that may be gone and changing back to the failed quarterback almost sounds like a play for a better draft pick. The only reliable fantasy play for the Raiders is Jennings for moderate yardage and a chance for a touchdown but McFadden stole one recently and there is a dark shadow on this game so anything goes. Pryor likes to run and the Broncos are likely to get a lead and force the Raiders to pass. Streater and Holmes are desperation plays and have upside but hard to believe someone playing in the final week would have no better receivers to use.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 22 8 27 32 25 20
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 25 25 20 26 14 12

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


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