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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: DEN 17, OAK 13

Saturday Update: Both Brandon Stokley and Knowshon Moreno were added to the injury report as questionable today. Moreno was held out with a groin tweak and did not practice on Friday while Stokley missed all of Wednesday and Friday because of his thigh injury. Both players will be game time decisions and are in late afternoon games so you may not be able to adjust your lineup. Remember too that HC Josh McDaniels comes from New England where injury news is sparse and not always accurate. I am lowering the projections for both and be aware they are game time decisions.

The Broncos are flying high with their 2-0 record thanks to the Immaculate Deflection and hosting the sad sack Browns. The Raiders come off a road win in Kansas City which was more about defense than any ability to score. Oddly enough, these divisional rivals traded road wins with the Broncos opening the season 41-14 in Oakland and later the Raiders torched them in Denver by a score of 31-10 in week 12.

Denver Broncos (2-0)
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CIN 12-7 +5 42.5
2 CLE 27-6 -3 38
3 @OAK - +1.5 35.5
4 DAL - - -
5 NE - - -
6 @SD - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @BAL - - -
9 PIT - - -
10 @WAS - - -
11 SD - - -
12 NYG - - -
13 @KC - - -
14 @IND - - -
15 OAK - - -
16 @PHI - - -
17 KC - - -
DEN at OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     240,1
RB Knowshon Moreno 30 20  
RB Correll Buckhalter 60,1 40  
TE Tony Scheffler   20,1  
WR Brandon Marshall   30  
WR Eddie Royal   40  
WR Brandon Stokley   30  
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: While maybe it is less impressive than it may seem, the fact is that the Broncos are 2-0 and a win is a win. Pull the hat trick this week and Denver could look even more impressive than they really are. Looming on the near horizon are games against DAL, NE and SD which will prove much more problematic. The rushing game remains ineffectively diverse as does the passing attack which now claims it doesn't consider anyone as the #1. And all the while you have to know that Brando Marshall wakes up every morning to say "Dang - still not just a bad dream".

Quarterback: Facing the less than vaunted defenses of the Bengals and Browns have left Kyle Orton as an apparently fine replacement for Jay Cutler (87-yard TD not withstanding). So far Orton has no turnovers and just three sacks. He has thrown a score in each game, amazingly enough, and is spreading the ball around as dictated by the scheme so that no one is really fantasy significant.

This week in Oakland, the receiver rotation may help some but the Raiders have only allowed one passing score per game and it could be argued that Philip Rivers is better than Kyle Orton. Look for one score from Orton, somehow amazingly, and reasonable passing yardage as well. The new scheme will actually help against strong corner defenses like Oakland.

Running Backs: Knowshon Moreno is getting the heavier load even though he is not doing as much as Correll Buckhalter is. Moreno only gained 75 yards on 17 carries versus Cleveland and still has not scored his first NFL touchdown. Buckhalter had 76 yards on nine runs and a score last Sunday. The rotation in the backfield is preventing anyone from having reliable fantasy value.

The Broncos rushed for 112 yards and one score in the home meeting with Raiders last season. They gained 123 yards and three touchdowns in Oakland earlier in the season opener.

The Raiders are allowing just under four yards per carry and the Broncos are splitting the load anyway. Expect just marginal yardage with a chance for one rushing score that has to favor Buckhalter more. The sharing is killing Moreno's potential value plus not allowing him to get into a groove.

Wide Receivers: The wide receiver rotation somewhat cloaks the fact that Brandon Marshall still has not completely absorbed the new offense (being suspended will do that to you). He did not even play in the first quarter last week and ended with only three catches for 34 yards. He is a nonfactor until proven otherwise. But sadly all these wideouts have seen their value wilt aside from Brandon Stokley who lucked into his catch in the season opener and then was the most productive receiver again with five catches versus the Browns. Eddie Royal's promising sophomore season is evaporating with three catches for around 20 yards in the first two games. Even Jabar Gaffney has been more productive. At least Royal had nine passes thrown his way last week but only came down with the same three as the previous game.

The Raiders have allowed a score to the #1 wideout of their opponent this year but who does that equate to on this offense? Expect moderate yardage and one score for this unit but there is no reliability in any of them yet.

Tight Ends: Tony Scheffler scored last week but it was on his only catch in the game. So far, Orton has surprised by not relying on any tight ends. There is no fantasy value here yet.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 21 14 11 19 14 6
Preventing Fantasy Points    OAK 17 22 22 10 7 10

Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SD 20-24 +9.5 43
2 @KC 13-10 +4 41
3 DEN - -1.5 35.5
4 @HOU - - -
5 @NYG - - -
6 PHI - - -
7 NYJ - - -
8 @SD - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 KC - - -
11 CIN - - -
12 @DAL - - -
13 @PIT - - -
14 WAS - - -
15 @DEN - - -
16 @CLE - - -
17 BAL - - -
OAK vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell     160
RB Darren McFadden 50 20  
RB Michael Bush 40,1 10  
TE Zach Miller   40  
WR Louis Murphy   40  
WR Todd Watkins   20  
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey   20  
PK S. Janikowski 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Raiders won in Kansas City despite the Chiefs having a 409-166 advantage in yardage. The Raiders have assembled no less than an average defense and probably better than that. But the offense has been no less lethargic in passing and even the promise of a rushing game now appears overstated. This could be the final week that Oakland can get by being themselves but from here on out they need to wait for home games against the Chiefs and Bengals for a decent shot. Otherwise, this team yet again spends the season hoping to catch someone in a trap game.

Quarterback: JaMarcus Russell is a bust. I hate to admit it and it is only two games into the season but this is his third year. The Raiders are playing him $61 million dollars though 2012 for this? So far he has completed 19 of 54 passes (35%) fort 317 yards and one score in two weeks. Honestly - that is more yardage than he typically has gotten. And the Raiders stand firmly behind him as a starter if only for a lack of other options and having spent millions to get here.

Russell passed for 180 yards and two scores in the home meeting against the Broncos last season. He later had 152 yards and one score in Denver.

So far no team has thrown a touchdown against the Broncos. It would seem almost heretical to think Russell could be the first.

Running Backs: Darren McFadden is a bust. I hate to admit is and it is only two games into the season but this is his second year. The Raiders are paying him $60 million through 2013 for this? So far he has run 29 times for 103 yards ( 3.5 YPC) and one score in two weeks. What little he has done - and the Raiders know rushing is their only hope - has been divided up with Michael Bush who takes around ten carries each week and yet is not worth a fantasy start. Why would you not stack the line against the run when playing the Raiders?

McFadden gained 46 yards on nine runs when the Broncos visited last season and in Denver he only had 38 yards on 10 carries but scored twice. Justin Fargas had nice efforts though, with games of 97 and107 rushing yards.

The Broncos have improved against the run so far with Jamal Lewis and Cedric Benson combining for only 114 yards on 35 carries in the last two weeks. Expect more mediocrity here but a chance for a touchdown run by Bush.

Wide Receivers: Darrius Heyward-Bey is a bust. I hate to admit it and it is only two games into the season but this is the best wideout in the NFL draft? The Raiders are paying him $38 million through 2013 for this? So far he has one catch for 18 yards out of ten passes thrown in his general vicinity (10%) and no score so far. At this point you have to assume that the Raiders are just a huge money-laundering scheme and that Leisure Suit Larry is really a drug kingpin. How else can you explain what $159 million dollars went for? A football team? Come on...

Chaz Schilens remains out this week with his foot injury and this rag-tag crew plods along wondering if eventually any will manage to catch a batted ball or even recover the fumble of some cornerback who is returning an interception.

Having given up no passing scores so far, the Broncos have allowed only two wideouts to have more than 22 yards against them. Yeah, pipe dream on this team.

Tight Ends: After opening the season with 96 yards on six catches, defenses decided to actually cover Zach Miller and held him to no catches last week. Safe to say it is a plan that will be copied.

MIller never had more than 41 yards in a game with the Broncos last season and never scored.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 31 17 29 22 13 11
Preventing Fantasy Points    DEN 4 10 9 2 1 2

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