Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: OAK 17, ATL 34 (Line: ATL by 9.5)

Players to Watch: Darren McFadden, Roddy White

The 1-3 Raiders come off their bye having somehow only beaten the Steelers. Their only two trips away from home produced at total losing score of 19-72 and then have never came closer than 22 points to their opponent.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD 14-22 10 @BAL -----
2 @MIA 13-35 11 NO -----
3 PIT 34-31 12 @CIN -----
4 @DEN 6-37 13 CLE -----
5 BYE ----- 14 DEN -----
6 @ATL ----- 15 KC -----
7 JAC ----- 16 @CAR -----
8 @KC ----- 17 @SD -----
9 TB ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Marshawn Lynch 80,1 3-20
WR Michael Crabtree 5-70
TE Jared Cook 3-30,1
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The new offense and defense being installed in Oakland remains a work in progress though the results are disappointing no matter what qualifier or rationale is given. Carson Palmer's passing has been far more anemic than last season and aside from the fluke three touchdowns against the Steelers, he scored only twice over three games. His worst effort yet was in Denver two weeks back when he only passed for 202 yards and no touchdowns. Palmer was throwing well last year with tons of yards and some scores using the same cast of receivers. This year - just not working out nearly as well in OC Greg Knapp's new scheme.

Worse of all is that Darren McFadden has gone from an oft-injured and yet wildly productive back to just a healthy guy who does almost nothing every week. He racked up 113 yards and a score on the visiting Steelers but otherwise has never gained more than 34 rushing yards in any game. Even his role as a receiver has declined to just a single meaningless catch. It is not that Mike Goodson or Taiwan Jones are cutting into his action. Jones does not even have a touch this season.

McFadden is completely boxed in on almost every play. He joins a growing cast of disappointing running backs. At least last year you got five or six great games from him. Now he just muddles along and kills your weekly score. He has a chance this week against the only real weakness of the Falcons but if he flops yet again it will be hard to start him without heavy consideration each remaining week.

Darrius Heyward-Bey missed one game with a concussion but is expected back for this tilt. He only has one score on the year and no more than 43 yards in any game. Denarius Moore has been much more productive with around 50 to 60 yards when he plays but he too has just one score and with only four catches per week for maybe 60 yards, he is not doing anyone favors. The rest of the wide receivers are so much worse as to be just blockers.

Brandon Meyers seemed to be one of the few productive pieces of the offense when he opened the year with three games of around 60 yards or so but just when people relied on that happening, he only had one catch for 22 yards in the most recent game. And he still has never scored.

Overall - this offense has been lethargic and bumbling. Now they hit the road where they have been distinctly worse. Going to Atlanta is no time to be a bad road team.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 20 11 27 13 21 32
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 12 21 1 20 1 7

QB EJ Manuel, OAK @DEN 10000020010 ***
Manuel will start over Tyrod Taylor in what interim head coach Anthony Lynn called a "business decision." Only a trio of teams have yielded more points per game to quarterbacks in the past five weeks. For what its worth, Taylor lit up the Jets all the way back in Week 2, tossing three TD passes and topping out at 297 yards through the air.
RB Jalen Richard, OAK @DEN 3002100000 *
Richard posted 72 offensive yards in the last meeting and has seen a fair amount of work of late. The Raiders like to use him in passing situations, which naturally lends to more value in PPR. Denver enters the week as a bottom-seven matchup for PPR backs, however.
RB DeAndre Washington, OAK @DEN 3001100000 *
Washington may be tempting to play as a high-risk flier, but the matchup isn't worth it. Denver has regrouped against running backs and is the seventh worst opponent for the week.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK @DEN 003400000 *
Receivers have posted the worst figures in the NFL against Denver in yardage, receptions, touchdown efficiency, and fantasy points per game since Week 11. No Derek Carr. In Denver. It doesn't get much nastier than that.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, OAK @DEN 003300000 ***
Update: Patterson should have a larger role with Stefon Diggs unlikely to play. He is a fringe WR3 or flex in deep leagues.
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK @DEN 003300000 ***
Denver should not have any problem holding the Matt McGloin-led Raiders in check. This is overwhelmingly the worst matchup a receiver can find in Week 17.
WR Seth Roberts, OAK @DEN 002300000 ***
No Derek Carr, on the road, against fantasy's worst defensive matchup ... no thanks. Keep Roberts in reserve.
TE Jared Cook, OAK @DEN 005601000 ***
The Lions have given up 31 catches to tight ends in the last five games, but only one has scored. Detroit cannot guard everyone effectively. Cook wasn't a factor in the earlier meeting.
TE Clive Walford, OAK @DEN 002200000 ***
Matt McGloin could rely on Walford some, but it isn't worth paying the price to find out. Denver has been solid versus tight ends more often than not this season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @DEN 2100 ***
Jan-O gets the 11th best field goal matchup but 22nd best extra point opponent in Week 17. So much comes down to how well Matt McGloin can move the ball replacing Derek Carr.

Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO -----
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI -----
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB -----
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO -----
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR -----
6 OAK ----- 15 NYG -----
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET -----
8 @PHI ----- 17 TB -----
9 DAL ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 300,3
QB Matt Schaub 190,2
WR Julio Jones 6-80,1
WR Andre Roberts 6-80,1
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons are one of only two unbeaten teams left and this home game should get them to the bye week intact. But three of the wins came by a touchdown or less and against the visiting Panthers it was just a two point win probably thanks to a late Cam Newton fumble. While NFL East opponents remain on the upcoming schedule, this is still one of the easiest slate of games in the league and one that actually looks easier once we have a better idea what teams are like this year. Anything short of home field advantage throughout the playoffs is going to be a disappointment and a bit of a surprise at this point.

Matt Ryan has still thrown multiple touchdowns in every game and had healthy yardage as well. He's not had an off week yet and ranks near the top of all fantasy league scoring. Ryan scored 13 times through the air against only three interceptions. He rarely even hit in most games.

Michael Turner has enjoyed his season so far with a touchdown in each of the last four games but only one effort that netted him over 100 total yards. Turner should be fresh down the stretch thanks to only rushing the ball about 16 times per week. He's no fantasy god but offers valuable consistent production every week. Jacquizz Rodgers has been mostly a minimal contributor and is not busy enough to merit a fantasy start.

Tony Gonzalez is singing his swan song but it is drowning out everyone else. He's currently the top tight end in fantasy with four touchdowns and 39 catches for 388 yards. He is everything you thought you were getting when you grabbed Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham only you could have waited about five more rounds to net Gonzo.

Back at home means that Roddy White gets to score and have the big game. In two games in Atlanta, he has 16 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns. In three away games, he only had 15 receptions for 210 yards and no scores. He did this last year. Apparently it is a secret agreement with Julio Jones who does the exact opposite. Jones caught 21 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns but then only five receptions for 44 yards and no scores at home. Seriously - same thing last year. No need to explain it, just accept it as wonderfully consistent.

The Raiders present a defense weak enough in all areas that the fear is the Falcons let down and do not take the game nearly as serious as they should. They know they can win this. Even if they start in the fourth quarter, they can win this. Hopefully with only a bye the next week they take advantage of all the weaknesses of the Raiders defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 2 16 8 1 10 9
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 29 30 23 26 29 1

QB Matt Ryan, ATL NO 0000028020 ***
The Saints have given up the 11th most fantasy points per game since Week 11. Most of the success can be attributed to QBs averaging top-10 figures in passing yards per game, TD efficiency, and points per completion. Ryan went for 240-2-0 in the last meeting.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL NO 9025400000 ***
Both Freeman and Tevin Coleman annihilated the Saints in Week 3. Freemen amassed 207 offensive yards and a score on his way to a 31.7-point day.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL NO 6012200000 ***
The Saints offer a top-10 PPR matchup for the versatile, second-year back. Coleman has to be licking his chops for another shot at the Saints. He scored three times and finished with 29.9 PPR points in the Week 3 meeting.
WR Julio Jones, ATL NO 0081001000 **
Jones was shut down in Week 3, grabbing a mere catch on seven targets that went for 16 yards. The Saints have allowed a TD every 11.3 catches by receivers in the past five weeks, and the position has averaged top-10 figures per game in both catches (13.6) and yards (170).

Update: Taylor Gabriel is out, so look for extra targets to come Jones' way.
WR Justin Hardy, ATL NO 002201000 ***
Despite a good matchup, Hardy doesn't see enough volume to warrant a safe fantasy play in Week 17.
WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL NO 005600000 ***
Sanu has been too quiet lately, and he hasn't scored since Week 8. He was not much of a factor in the earlier meeting, either. Avoid him in all formats.

Update: Now that Taylor Gabriel has been ruled out, Sanu should have enough of a role to deserve fantasy attention in deeper formats.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Matt Bryant, ATL NO 1155 ***
The Saints offer a top-12 opponent for Bryant, giving up 9-for-10 on field goals and 13-for-14 on point-afters since Week 11.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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