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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 14
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
* updated

Prediction: OAK 16, SD 23

Well, maybe the Chargers can beat these guys. They won 28-18 in Oakland during week four. What better way to end a three game losing streak? The Raiders are finally equals with the Chargers though since they only separated by one game. That dysfunctional team with the sputtering offense and no passing game can be equal to Rivers, Gates and Tomlinson by beating the Chargers. That ought to motivate the Bolts to win. On a national stage on Thursday no less.

Oakland Raiders (3-9)
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 23-24 +9.5 36.5
4 SD 18-28 +7 46
5 BYE - - -
6 @NO 3-34 +7.5 47.5
7 NYJ 16-13 +3 42.5
8 @BAL 10-29 +7 36
9 ATL 0-24 +3 41
10 CAR 6-17 +9 38
11 @MIA 15-17

+10.5

38.5
12 @DEN 31-10 +9.5 42.5
13 KC 13-20 -3 41.5
14 @SD - +10 43
15 NE - - -
16 HOU - - -
17 @TB - - -
OAK @ SD Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell     140,1
RB Darren McFadden 30 30  
RB Justin Fargas 60    
TE Zach Miller   60,1  
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins   20  
WR Ronald Curry   20  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Since the week four meeting between these teams, the Raiders have not changed much. The rushing game is still lackluster and the passing game pinballs every week from as good as 277 yards (against the Chargers no less) to only 31 yards. The team is a poster child for dysfunction and inconsistency but the odds are always in favor of the Raiders not getting it done every week. Throwing that together with the Chargers who are struggling as well and almost anything could happen in this game.

Quarterback: Jamarcus Russell is quietly playing out his first season as a starter and amazingly he passed for a season high 277 yards and a score against the visiting Chargers in week four. The brakes have been ground into the floorboards since then with only one score in the last four games and never more than 156 passing yards. Having seven passing touchdowns on the season does not equate to a successful first year. Except maybe in Oakland.

Running Backs: The Raiders continue to use Justin Fargas as the primary runner and he had his first touchdown of the year on Sunday against the Chiefs. He has been running stronger lately with a 100 yard effort against the Broncos the previous week but that just leaves less for the rookie phenom Darren McFadden who only had seven carries for 13 yards last week after scoring twice against the Broncos. McFadden is not in a committee so much as he is just a change of pace for Fargas.

The Raiders as a team only rushed for 68 yards on 21 carries against the Chargers this year. Michael Bush had seven catches for 80 yards in the game.

Wide Receivers: There is zero fantasy value with these wide receivers and there is has only been five touchdowns spread out over four wide outs on the entire season. Javon Walker just went on injured reserve in the NFL equivalent of a mercy killing. It's a wasteland.

No Raiders wide receiver had more than 35 yards in the previous meeting with the Chargers.

Tight Ends: Being the lone bright spot to the offense, Zach Miller is not only the lead tight end, he is the top receiver for the team and his 50 or so yards per game dwarfs all others on the team. He has only scored once this year but on the Raiders it still is a select group.

Miller had five receptions for 95 yards and one score against the Chargers this season.

Match Against the Defense: Playing in San Diego should lower the production from the first meeting especially in the passing which has been in decline for a while. Look for a moderate showing here by Fargas but likely no score since only one runner has scored visiting the Chargers.

Russell enjoyed what still is a career best game in his first meeting with the Chargers but Russell has become less effective and the Chargers at home will be tougher. Look for one passing score that has to go to Miller facing the #32 defense against tight ends - that is all the Raiders know how to use anyway.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 32 24 32 18 27 14
Preventing Fantasy Points    SD 30 12 21 32 19 6


San Diego Chargers (4-8)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CAR 24-26 -9 42
2 @DEN 38-39 -1.5 45.5
3 NYJ 48-29 -9 44
4 @OAK 28-18 -7 46
5 @MIA 10-17 -6.5 45.5
6 NE 30-10 -6 44.5
7 @BUF 14-23 -1 46.5
8 @NO 32-37 -3.5 47
9 BYE - - -
10 KC 20-19 -15 48
11 @PIT 10-11 +4 43
12 IND 20-23 -3 49.5
13 ATL 16-22 -5 49
14 OAK - -10 43
15 @KC - - -
16 @TB - - -
17 DEN - - -
SD vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     200,1
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 100,1 20  
TE Antonio Gates   60,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   30  
WR Malcolm Floyd   20  
WR Chris Chambers   40  
PK Nate Kaeding 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: In the end it doesn't matter that the Chargers have lost four games by three points or less this year, it is simply that they lost. The Chargers are refining what it takes to remain in a game until the end and yet still lose. The only close game of any measure that they won was when they best the Chiefs by one point (and were favored by 15). It is like this team has gotten ridiculously old and injured in one season. The good news is that there is a chance to win at least three games since they all come against the AFC West where no one deserves to advance in January.

Quarterback: Philip Rivers' blistering pace of mutliscore games has certainly slowed with no touchdowns in the Steeler and Falcons matchup and even the yardage waned seriously in those games. Rivers only passed for 180 yards and one touchdown in Oakland and could be hampered again this week since the passing game takes a big dive when it faces a good secondary which is all Raiders ever had.

Running Backs: Have to wonder if it hurt LaDainian Tomlinson to watch his old back-up Michael Turner rank up 120 yards on 31 carries in San Diego last week while Tomlinson settled for 24 yards on 14 carries - though at least he scored once. It's been a nightmare season for Tomlinson that provokes a lot more questions than answers. He has only topped the 100 yard mark twice this entire year and once was when he rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries and scored twice in Oakland. Unlike past season, at least there is no reason to hold Tomlinson out of action or try to keep him fresh for future games.

Wide Receivers: Both Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson were smacked down last week with Chambers only having one catch and Jackson getting blanked for the first time this year. But Jackson remains the primary wideout here and led all receivers with 74 yards on three catches while Chambers scored on his only catch in Oakland this season. Facing the Raiders this week will prove tougher than the first time and that was only marginally successful.

Tight Ends: Those last three matchups were tough and when they most needed Antonio Gates to step and make a difference, he has three of his worst games of the year - no scores and never more than 28 yards. But Gates scored once and had 58 yards on five receptions in Oakland for one of his best games of the year.

Match Against the Defense: The Chargers could use a nice win if only for their psyche and the Raiders haven't actually beaten the Chargers in over five years since Jerry Rice and Tim Brown left. Look for one score and decent though not huge yardage from Tomlinson since this should be about as good as he gets.

Rivers will be hard pressed to post many points but should have at least one touchdown pass that will favor Gates the most. The wideouts never fare well against Oakland and yet Gates has often had good games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 8 14 17 6 15 20
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 10 27 7 17 10 11

The Huddle
WEEK 14
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
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