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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
*updated

Prediction: OAK 6, BUF 27

Update: Darren McFadden was listed as probable on the injury report but was held out on Wednesday with his injured toe. While he was officially limited on Thursday and then had a full practice on Friday even though HC Lane Kiffen said that McFadden wasn't give a full load. Even if McFadden starts, expect to see plenty of Michael Bush as McFadden will likely be limited this week in what will be a bad match-up. I am adding McFadden into the projections but he is a risk to use at all even with his "probable" listing.

The Raiders come off a rare road win and had the joy of seeing their first round pick Darren McFadden run over the Chiefs - until he was injured. The Bills may be the most surprising team of all this year with a 2-0 record and one of the better defenses in the league. Raiders win two road games in a row? Nah - they are mostly just waiting to see who wins the pool on when Lane Kiffen is finally fired.

Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 14-41 +3 41.5
2 @KC 23-8 +4 34.5
3 @BUF - +9.5 36.5
4 SD - - -
5 BYE - - -
6 @NO - - -
7 NYJ - - -
8 @BAL - - -
9 ATL - - -
10 CAR - - -
11 @MIA - - -
12 @DEN - - -
13 KC - - -
14 @SD - - -
15 NE - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 @TB - - -
OAK at BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell 10   130
RB Michael Bush 50    
RB Darren McFadden 40    
TE Zach Miller   40  
WR Javon Walker   10  
WR Ronald Curry   40  
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins   20  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG    
Pregame Notes: The loss to the Broncos was demoralizing but beating the Chiefs who are amazingly even worse at least bought HC Lane Kiffen one more week before Big Al finally throws his hands up in the air and fires him. The problem now facing the Raiders is that both Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden may be out this week and a team predicating its offense on the run is suddenly running short of tailbacks. And it is only week two.

Quarterback: Jamarcus Russell is unlikely to set any rookie passing records when he only competed six of 17 for 55 yards last week but the Raiders did not need much help to win that game. And Russell came up with 180 yards and two scores against the Broncos in the season opener once the defense finally started shuttling in backups and the Broncos no longer cared. Russell was already sacked three times by Denver. Playing in Buffalo will really hurt if he doesn't make faster decisions this week.

Running Backs: Justin Fargas was running strong this year but strained his groin in Kansas City and will be out for a while. In true Fargas fashion, this could last for a while. Darren McFadden become the primary back when Fargas went down and he made a mockery of the Chiefs defense. He rushed only 21 times but gained 164 yards and one touchdown. He only lost two fumbles but that was a minor miracle since the defenders quickly learned to punch the ball and sent it out of bounds on two other occasions.

That leaves Michael Bush as the last man standing and he rushed for 90 yards on 16 carries with one score in Kansas City as well. Barring further information, I assume that Bush takes the start by himself this week.

Wide Receivers: So far there has been no fantasy value from a Raiders receiver barring playing in a huge league with immense starting lineups and only scoring touchdowns. In that case, minor value for Ashley Lelie and Ronald Curry who both have scored. But the yardage has yet to exceed 37 yards for any wideout. Javon Walker actually suited up and played a bit last week but was never thrown a pass.

If you are holding onto Curry or Walker, you must be banking on a late season surge by JaMarcus Russell. And you are very, very optimistic.

Tight Ends: Zach MIller had four catches in the first game but with al the rushing in Kansas City, he only ended up with two receptions. Miller is probably about as good as it gets for a Raiders wideout but that still doesn't mean that he is any good.

Match Against the Defense: Here is where the problem sets in. The Raiders could run but are almost out of running backs now and go against a defense that has not allowed any runner more than 49 yards this year. Expect a very minimal game here by Michael Bush with no score.

Russell could end up with one score but anything more indicates free trash time in a pasting like the Broncos gave them. Stay away from the passing game here as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 30 1 26 23 19 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 9 5 10 12 15 5


Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
AstroTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SEA 34-10 -1 39
2 @JAX 20-16 +6 38
3 OAK - -9.5 36.5
4 @STL - - -
5 @ARZ - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 SD - - -
8 @MIA - - -
9 NYJ - - -
10 @NE - - -
11 CLE - - -
12 @KC - - -
13 SF - - -
14 MIA - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 @DEN - - -
17 NE - - -
BUF vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     220,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 100,1 20  
RB Fred Jackson 40 30  
TE Robert Royal   20  
WR Lee Evans   80,1  
WR Josh Reed   40  
WR Roscoe Parrish   10  
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The bad beat the Bills put on the Seahawks ended up less impressive when the 49ers beat them too and winning in Jacksonville was helped by injuries to the Jaguars offensive line. But no question - the Bills defense looks better than perhaps any since the early 90's. There is a distinct chance that the Bills reach their bye week 5-0 before the schedule toughens up. And that season finale against the Pats? That could be a very interesting game.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards is not shattering the record books yet but the second year player has taken the next step up from last year. Edwards comes off a close road win in Jacksonville where he completed 20 of 25 passes for 239 yards and one score. He still has no interceptions on the season and has done a great job playing within his own abilities.

Running Backs: For the first time in his career, Marshawn Lynch was held under 60 rushing yards last week in Jacksonville - but he had 59 yards on 19 carries and scored for the second time this season. What became the bigger surprise in week two was using Fred Jackson as a receiver out of the backfield. He set a personal best with seven catches for 83 yards. How much of that was purely related to the offensive package and situation in Jacksonville and how much is a true change gets answered this week.

Wide Receivers: One of the most telling stats about the improvement of Trent Edwards is that Lee Evans had eight catches for 179 yards over two games. The passing offense needs to get Evans involved and so far Edwards has been up to the task. Even the rookie James Hardy who had no catches or passes in week one came in with his first NFL touchdown last week.

it is unlikely this will ever be a prolific passing offense, but it is encouraging to see that Edwards is making it as good as it needs to be. That hasn't happened since the days of Drew Bledsoe.

Tight Ends: Everyone who ran out to grab Robert Royal after he had six catches for 52 yards and a score in week one were not rewarded when he had no catches in Jacksonville. Let him back in the free agent pool. We all make that mistake eventually.

Match Against the Defense: The Raiders defense was abused by Jay Cutler and Eddie Royal but held their ground against Tyler Thigpen. Expect a solid rushing game here that should end around 100 yards and a score for Lynch unless they involve Fred Jackson a lot like last week.

Edwards won't have a huge game here but should manage at least one passing score that strongly favors Evans. As always, beyond the defense, Lynch and Evans there is too much risk on any fantasy starters here. The Raiders on the road after a win but without the running back who delivered it should make for a convincing win here. I like the chance for a defensive score in this game as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 16 16 17 13 11 2
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 25 17 22 28 11 12

The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
 
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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