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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

Projections by Team
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WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU* CIN at CAR* SD at SEA*
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC* IND at DEN*
DET at MIN* TEN at NYG WAS at STL* NYJ at MIA
*updated CLE at BAL* PIT at TB* OAK at ARI* GB at CHI

Prediction: OAK 19, ARI 17

Update: Michael Bush had been practicing fully and is expected to finally get some playing time this year. He will be in support of McFadden and will give us an idea of what we can expect ongoing until McFadden is injured. Beanie Wells has been limited in practice this week but is expected to play in this game as well. He'll be more limited and is not in 100% football shape but will be at home and unlike Bush, is the #1 back when healthy. This game offers up two running backs that have been wasting away on rosters for two week.

Update #2 - Steve Breaston was limited every day this week and was listed as questionable to play. He is expected to play but will not be 100% healthy and is not a good fantasy start.

This makes for an interesting matchup as both teams are in transition. The Raiders may be getting better and are getting a lot more out of Darren McFadden than we figured he had. There is also a quarterback controversy going on in Oakland. The Cards are clearly not he same team that they have been and are 1-1 only thanks to playing the Rams.

Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN L 13-38 10 Bye -
2 STL W 16-14 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 ARI Rush Catch Pass
QB Bruce Gradkowski - - 220,1
RB Darren McFadden 60,1 30 -
RB Michael Bush 40 - -
TE Zach Miller - 40 -
WR Louis Murphy - 80,1 -
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - 60 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Raiders have figured out their rushing game with Darren McFadden apparently willing to make good on his first round selection a mere two years later. Now the passing game is still under construction and yanking Jason Campbell for Bruce Gradkowski paid dividends last week with a close win over the Rams. The starting wideouts are showing up in box scores and there are signs that the Raiders may actually be on their way upwards.

QUARTERBACK: Jason Campbell had only managed to complete 8 of 15 for 87 yards and one interception against the visiting Rams (yeah, Rams!) and he was yanked. Bruce Gradkowski who never gets respect came in and threw for 162 yards and a score. Now HC Tom Cable won't name a starting quarterback because he has not gotten the text message from Big Al but I am assuming that Gradkowski gives them the best chance to win and they want to win. A decision may be made public by Wednesday.

The Cardinals defense has been very suspect and allowed two passing scores on average to opponents. No Raider quarterback is a safe fantasy play but Gradkowski could end up with decent numbers here.

RUNNING BACKS: Hard as it is to accept, Darren McFadden has been one of the better backs in the league for the first two weeks and he comes off a career best 145 yards on 30 carries against the Rams. McFadden rolled up 150 total yards and a score in Tennessee. He has taken complete control of the primary spot and just in time. Michael Bush had his stitches removed on Monday and may return to practice. I will hold him out of the projection until it is apparent that he will have an impact. Bush has been undercut by a productive McFadden and may not see a lot of playing time until the inevitable McFadden injury.

The Cardinals were bulldozed by Jason Snelling last week and rank among the lowest so far in preventing running back fantasy points. Let McFadden calm down this week but he still has a shot at a touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Week one saw the two starting wideouts combine for five catches and 39 yards. Throw Gradkowski into the mix and suddenly Darrius Heyward-Bey had six catches for 80 yards and Louis Murphy produces a score and 91 yards on six receptions. This is why Gradkowski should start. Jason Campbell has struggled to pick up the offense and form chemistry with the receivers. Gradkowski already has that.

The Cardinals secondary has already allowed good games to the likes of Danny Amendola (6-67) and Mark Clayton (10-119) with a rookie quarterback. Roddy White had 78 yards and a score on them just for giggles last week. The Cards do play tougher in the desert but these wideouts can have decent games this week with the right quarterback.

TIGHT ENDS: Nothing major yet for Zach Miller who has been stuck around 40 yards per week. Neither Campbell nor Gradkowski has stepped up the passes to the tight end though Campbell threw more incompletions at them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 17 10 23 20 7 26
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 23 29 27 8 28 26


Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @STL W 17-13 10 SEA -
2 @ATL L 7-41 11 @KC -
3 OAK - 12 SF -
4 @SD - 13 STL -
5 NO - 14 DEN -
6 Bye - 15 @CAR -
7 @SEA - 16 DAL -
8 TB - 17 @SF -
9 @MIN - - - -
Cardinals Report | Statistics | Roster
ARIZONA vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Anderson - - 170,1
RB Tim Hightower 40,1 20 -
RB Beanie Wells 50 - -
WR Larry Fitzgerald - 60,1 -
WR Steve Breaston - 20 -
WR Stephen Williams - 40 -
PK Jay Feely 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Whatever positives came from nipping the Rams in week one were erased last Sunday when the Falcons wiped the floor with the Cardinals. The game wasn't even as close as the 7-41 score suggests and Derek Anderson was pulled late in the decided match. The only bright spot at all was an improbable 80-yard run by Tim Hightower that ended up as the only way to prevent the skunk. This week is the first home game but the offense is sputtering and problems at quarterback aren't easy to fix during the season. It must be tough to know the best part of your offense dumped you for a guest appearance on "Dancing With The Stars".

QUARTERBACK: Derek Anderson got the hook last week after only throwing for 161 yards and two interceptions in the trashing by the Falcons. But the rookie Max Hall is not ready for prime time yet so Anderson will remain the starter despite his inaccurate throws and turnovers.

He has a chance to post decent stats this week against a defense that gave up two touchdowns each to Vince Young and Sam Bradford but the problem lies in the reality that the Cardinals really only have one receiver - Larry Fitzgerald. And the Raiders have above average cornerbacks. Anderson will throw for decent stats this week and could have the two touchdowns as well but one is more likely because the passing game here lacks diversity.

RUNNING BACKS: Tim Hightower comes off a very nice game of 115 yards on just 11 carries with one score but that was an 80-yard scoring run and then 10 carries for 35 yards. Hightower has not been used as a receiver as much either with only six catches for 49 yards on the year. Beanie Wells could suit up finally after missing time with his sprained knee but barring a good week of practice, I am not going to include him in the projections yet. This week should be a a decent chance for Hightower to sneak in one more good game before Wells returns and the workload is split into fantasy irrelevance.

Chris Johnson shredded the Raiders in week one and Hightower should manage healthy yardage and a score in this one.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Early Doucet is out with a sports hernia for the next six weeks and the rookie Stephen Williams has filled his spot. He caught two passes for 26 yards in Atlanta and brings a 6'5" frame into the equation that should better serve Anderson looking for a big target.

Larry Fitzgerald has held onto marginal fantasy value and turned in seven catches for 83 yards last Sunday. But Fitzgerald is not 100% recovered from his knee sprain and has a sprained wrist now as well. He's always worth starting from his potential alone but this week could be a challenge for him with the Raiders sporting a much better secondary than the last two defenses he faced. Nnamdi Asomugha plays the Steve Breaston side and typically does not switch around to match up on the opponents #1. That should give Fitzgerald some breathing room this week.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 25 9 14 32 30 21
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 16 27 12 24 11 18

WEEK 3
2010
BUF at NE DAL at HOU CIN at CAR SD at SEA
ATL at NO SF at KC PHI at JAC IND at DEN
DET at MIN TEN at NYG WAS at STL NYJ at MIA
  CLE at BAL PIT at TB OAK at ARI GB at CHI
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