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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN* CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR* PHI at DET* SEA at DEN* JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL* STL at OAK* NYG at IND*
*Updated MIA at MIN* KC at CLE* NE at NYJ NO at SF*

Prediction: STL 13, OAK 24

Update: Steven Jackson rested his knee on Wednesday but returned for some work on Thursday and is expected to play without limitation in Oakland. Laurent Robinson also was out but returned on Thursday because of his ankle but will play.

Here's a chance for two winless teams to even up at .500 maybe for the last time this season. The Rams only won one game last year though and while improved perhaps, they are not ready for a road win. The Raiders are still struggling as well but they are at least "Rams good".

I like a defensive score in this game.

St. Louis Rams (0-1)
Homefield: Edward Jones Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ARI L 13-17 10 @SF --
2 @OAK -- 11 ATL --
3 WAS -- 12 @DEN --
4 SEA -- 13 @ARI --
5 @DET -- 14 @NO --
6 SD -- 15 KC --
7 @TB -- 16 SF --
8 CAR -- 17 @SEA --
9 Bye - - - -
Rams Report | Statistics | Roster
ST. LOUIS at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford - - 210,1
RB Steven Jackson 70 20 -
WR Laurent Robinson - 70 -
WR Danny Amendola - 50,1 -
WR Mark Clayton - 30 -
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: Not a lot of scoring last week but the debut of Sam Bradford had several shining moments and what appeared to be a mishmash of cast off wideouts turned out to be.... well... pretty much that but Bradford was good enough to make do with what he had. What was just as impressive was the defensive effort though they were facing a Cardinals team in transition from being good. The early results are not that the Rams are a force again, but they are encouraging.

QUARTERBACK: The debut of Sam Bradford saw him throw 55 times and complete 32 for 253 yards and one score. He also had three interceptions but considering the quality of his receivers that was to be expected. All in all it was an impressive first game and he already holds some promise of brighter days in the future. In his first NFL game, Bradford used nine different receivers.

The Raiders always play better at home and are normally subjected to more rushing than passing. That probably won't happen here with a weaker Rams team coming in and the Raiders getting a lead that forces them to throw. The Raiders have an above average secondary so don't expect Bradford to improve on what he did last week. One score and moderate yardage would be success enough.

RUNNING BACKS: As always, the best weapon for the Rams is Steven Jackson who had 22 runs for 81 yards last week. Bradford threw to him eight times but only completed four for six total yards. One of the more impressive aspects to Bradford was that he was throwing deep and intermediate routes and not just dumping off to a running back and tight end. Unfortunately, those catches are what Jackson needs to have consistent fantasy value.

Jackson had an MRI because of a swollen right knee but the results were negative and he is expected to be fine.

Jackson should have at least moderate success here but nothing like the 142 rush yards that Chris Johnson pasted on them last week. Jackson is worthy of a fantasy start but more than a moderate showing in a road game is hard to expect. A better secondary may force Bradford to pass to Jackson more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Laurent Robinson had nine targets but only three catches because he was the main focus of the secondary. That left newly arrived Mark Clayton to have one of his best games ever, catching 10 passes for 110 yards. Danny Amendola played mostly in the slot and came away with six receptions for 67 yards. All told, Bradford threw 35 passes to the wideouts and completed 19. There could be some surprising fantasy points coming out of this unit if Bradford can just match his debut, let alone improve during the season. The Rams will need to throw in pretty much every game.

Robinson was given an MRI for his ankle but is expected to play.

This week the natural matchups would place Clayton who was playing flanker on RCB Nnamdi Asomugha who would shut him down. That would open up the other two for a decent game. They could move him over Robinson if they wanted but it's still too early to rely on any of these receivers for a fantasy team. Maybe in a week or two, but for now the risk remains high.

TIGHT ENDS: The Rams used three different tight ends and the promising rookie Michael Hoomanawanui only had one catch compared to five each for Billy Bajema and Daniel Fells but no one had more than 18 yards - no fantasy value here yet. Bradford's willingness to throw down field may exclude the normal relationship between a tight end and a rookie passer.

Hoomanawanui suffered a high ankle sprain.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points STL 16 27 8 19 15 8
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 20 30 10 27 25 22


Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN L 13-38 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 vs STL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell 20 - 210,1
RB Darren McFadden 110,1 50 -
TE Zach Miller - 50 -
WR Louis Murphy - 40,1 -
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins - 20 -
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - 30 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Life after Jamarcus Russell wasn't nearly as different as hoped but the Raiders did get better passing numbers while being pummeled in New York by the Giants. Hosting the Rams will be a much kinder test for the passing game and with Michael Bush slated to return soon, the offense could be slowly getting on track. The Raiders need to win this week because this is probably as easy as it is going to be all year.

QUARTERBACK: The Jason Campbell era did not start with a win, but he passed for 180 yards and one score in New York and had just one interception and fumble. There's still plenty of work left to do since Campbell threw 37 passes and 22 went to either running backs or tight ends. And no one player had more than 55 receiving yards. Granted - the Giants at home was going to be harder and back at home against the Rams will be better.

The Rams let Derek Anderson pass for 297 yards last week but the Raiders will be rushing enough to lower the passing stats. Figure on just a moderate showing here with likely no more than one score if that.

RUNNING BACKS: Darren McFadden turned in a surprising 95 yards on 18 carries last week which was his second best rushing effort of his career. He also tossed in six catches for 55 yards and caught the lone touchdowns by the Raiders. Michael Bush remained out with his fractured thumb and while he is rumored to be returning this week, I'll exclude him until he practices and it is more likely that he will play. The problem here is that the coaching staff likes McFadden (and with his price tag they had to anyway) and when Bush returns the duo will share the workload.

The Rams gave up five yards per carry to the Cardinals who were without Beanie Wells. This may be the only safe start for McFadden who should have a good game. If Bush doesn't play, McFadden might have a very nice game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No wideout here had more than 28 yards last week and only Louis Murphy had more than two catches. While that will improve this week it may not get too much better since the Raiders should be able to run on the visiting Rams. They were able to hold Larry Fitzgerald to only three catches for 43 yards but there is no wideout here worthy of such attention. Murphy will have the same matchup that gave Steve Breaston 132 yards on seven catches last week. Murphy is is the only player with marginal fantasy value this week and even that is risky to rely on. The Raiders will pass this week more because they can instead of because they need.

TIGHT ENDS: The expectation was that Zach Miller would become the primary receiver for the Raiders again this year and so far that is right other than Darren McFadden last week. And Miller lead all receivers with just four catches for 43 yards. He remains a decent play this week but not one likely to make a difference.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 17 4 31 14 13 23
Preventing Fantasy Points STL 21 27 28 1 11 24

WEEK 2
2010
BAL at CIN CHI at DAL PIT at TEN HOU at WAS
TB at CAR PHI at DET SEA at DEN JAC at SD
BUF at GB ARI at ATL STL at OAK NYG at IND
  MIA at MIN KC at CLE NE at NYJ NO at SF
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