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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT* OAK at TEN* GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB* CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU* CIN at NE* SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
*UPDATED DET at CHI DEN at JAC* ARI at STL* SD at KC

Prediction: OAK 14, TEN 27

Update: Michael Bush practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday but then was held out on Thursday. HC Tom Cable said that Bush would remain a game-time decision on Sunday so even if he practices on Friday it is not a guarantee he will play. Holding him out on Friday would almost certainly be a sign he would not play and regardless - this is a tough matchup anyway and expectations should remain very low for the Raiders rushing attack in Tennessee.

The Raiders come off a 5-11 season that left them out of the basement of the AFC West thanks to Kansas City. There is not one small change to their roster that may pay huge dividends - dumping Jamarcus Russell. The Titans opened 2009 with a horrible losing streak but ended at 8-8 thanks to Vince Young suddenly taking over and winning. The Raiders are hardly a road team so look for the Titans to take this one but there could be more fireworks than expected since both defenses were weak last season.

Oakland Raiders (0-0)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN -- 10 Bye -
2 STL -- 11 @PIT --
3 @ARI -- 12 MIA --
4 HOU -- 13 @SD --
5 SD -- 14 @JAC --
6 @SF -- 15 DEN --
7 @DEN -- 16 IND --
8 SEA -- 17 @KC --
9 KC -- - - -
Raiders Report | Statistics | Roster
OAKLAND at TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20 - 240,2
RB Darren McFadden 20 30 -
RB Michael Bush 40 10 -
TE Zach Miller - 80,1 -
WR Louis Murphy - 40,1 -
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - 50 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 XP - -
Pregame Notes: Finally admitting that Jamarcus Russell was a bust could really make a major difference. It served no one when the quarterback could only throw deep and to no one in particular. There will be plenty to prove from this team that ranked near the bottom in every offensive category last season but at least the boat is pointing in the right direction for the first time in three years.

QUARTERBACKS: Jason Campbell ushers in all new optimism for an offense that was completely hamstrung with bad quarterback play the last few years. Campbell is no savior but he may look like it if only in comparison to Russell. He has never played with high quality wideouts and that continues in Oakland but he has been successful with tight ends and Zach Miller stands to benefit. Campbell gets to open against what was one of the very worst secondaries last year. The Titans improved later and particularly at home though so don't expect any monster game here. Then again - even an average one will look like a monster to the Raider Nation by now.

RUNNING BACKS: Michael Bush was set to start the year but fractured his thumb. He has not been ruled out for week one and may play with a small brace on it but his best games are down the road when he is healthy. Bush already had two efforts top 100 rushing yards last year and now has been given the reins as the primary back. Darren McFadden is yet another first round bust and he'll likely take a heavier load in the initial weeks if Bush has problems with his thumb. But McFadden is rarely worthy of a fantasy start and had just 602 total yards and one score last year. He rushed for more than 30 yards in only four games.

The TItans at home will be tougher to run on and Bush is banged up. Avoid both these running backs for now.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Raiders only completed a total of 99 passes to wideouts last year for an NFL record-low. That will improve this year and to be realistic - we do not know what the wideouts are truly like in Oakland since they have not had an actual quarterback in years. Louis Murphy will be the primary wide receiver target and Darrius Heyward-Bey hopes that he can step up and avoid being the third straight first round bust by the Raiders. Heyward-Bey had a few nice moments in the preseason but overall, this was among the worst of all units last year and until they are observed with a non-Russell quarterback, the jury will be out on what to expect.

TIGHT ENDS: Zach Miller already had 66 catches for 805 yards and three scores last year. Now with Campbell coming in, the optimism continues to grow. Campbell had been instrumental if seeing Chris Cooley become a top receiver in Washington. Miller should be a must start each week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 30 29 32 17 26 29
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 31 22 32 25 20 4


Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 OAK -- 10 @MIA --
2 PIT -- 11 WAS --
3 @NYG -- 12 @HOU --
4 DEN -- 13 JAC --
5 @DAL -- 14 IND --
6 @JAC -- 15 HOU --
7 PHI -- 16 @KC --
8 @SD -- 17 @IND --
9 Bye - - - -
Titans Report | Statistics | Roster
TENNESSEE vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Vince Young - - 180,1
RB Chris Johnson 140,2 30 -
TE Bo Scaife - 30 -
WR Justin Gage - 40 -
WR Nate Washington - 40,1 -
WR Kenny Britt - 20 -
PK Rob Bironas 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Titans had a rebirth last year when they opened 0-6 and management demanded that Vince Young get another shot. Good call since the team went 8-2 the rest of the way and also had Chris Johnson turning in the sixth 2000 rushing yard season in NFL history. Defensive problems were the main reason why the Titans struggled last year and the run game is why they succeeded. Johnson probably won't get 358 carries again so the rest of the team is going to have to do more.

QUARTERBACKS: Vince Young assumed the starter role in week eight and the Titans did win most their remaining games. But as always, Young got it done in a variety of ways and not all of them involved many fantasy points. He could be as good as 387 pass yards and as low as just 89. He continues to run at a lesser pace though and that strips him of the consistency needed for fantasy starts. Young gets it done, but pegging how each week is tough.

The Raiders feature a decent secondary including shut down corner Nnamdi Asomugha so Young won't have a big game here.

RUNNING BACKS: Chris Johnson comes off a season with 358 carries for 2006 yards and 16 touchdowns plus 50 catches for 503 yards. 2009 was the year to be holding Johnson on your fantasy team. He's back and the team is saying the obligatory things about not over-using him but he remains the focus of the offense and rightfully so.

Javon Ringer is the only other back on the roster currently and he too looked sharp in preseason games thanks to that Tennessee O-line. He could be involved along the lines of what Lendale White did in 2008 but until that is evident, this remains the Extravaganza de Chris Johnson.

Somewhat notable here is that the Raiders ranked dead last against running backs last year. And they are on the road. This week you will continue to hate the guy who lucked into the #1 pick in your draft.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The same crew is trotted out with Kenny Britt (42-701, 3 TDs) as the lead wideout from last year and Nate Washington (47-569, 6 TDs) offering the possession role. Britt has not had a good preseason and lost his starting job to Justin Gage. He may win it back eventually but in the final analysis - it won't have much fantasy impact either way. This second go around from Young has seen him use his wideouts more than before but they still rank well below average in stats.

TIGHT ENDS: Perhaps the biggest surprise of Young's return was that he no longer relied heavily on one tight end. Bo Scaife lost almost all value in 2009 when he only managed 45 catches for 440 yards and one score. This team is all about Chris Johnson now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 23 6 24 25 11 16
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 9 32 12 5 29 24

WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT OAK at TEN GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU CIN at NE SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
  DET at CHI DEN at JAC ARI at STL SD at KC
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