Game Predictions & Player Projections - OAK vs. BAL

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: OAK 17, BAL 20 (Line: BAL by 3.5, O/U = 46.5)

UPDATE: Kenneth Dixon is removed from the projections and is doubtful to play. His debut will likely be next week.

The Raiders are 2-1 with an inability to win at home so far. The Ravens have a perfect 3-0 mark thanks in no small part to playing teams that combine for a 1-8 record and no win has been by more than five points. This is more of a coin flip than may seem but a second cross-country road game in a row for the Raiders is hard to win.

The Raiders won 37-33 when the Ravens visited Oakland during Week 2 last year.

Oakland Raiders

1 @NO 35-34 10 BYE ---
2 ATL 28-35 11 HOU ---
3 @TEN 17-10 12 CAR ---
4 @BAL --- 13 BUF ---
5 SD --- 14 @KC ---
6 KC --- 15 @SD ---
7 @JAC --- 16 IND ---
8 @TB --- 17 @DEN ---
9 DEN ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Carr 250,1
WR Amari Cooper 5-70
WR Seth Roberts 2-30

Pregame Notes: The Raiders rolled up big stats against the Falcons and Saints who sport two of the worse defenses in the NFL. But in Tennessee, the scoring slowed down and the defense actually showed up. It helped that the Titans have one of the worst offenses along with the lowest points scored. This week is a far tougher challenge against a Ravens team that is undefeated and yet also started out against a weak schedule. If the Raiders are to be contenders, this week matter much less than the following two weeks hosting the Chargers and Chiefs.

QUARTERBACK : Derek Carr threw a score in every game though only once was able to have multiple touchdowns - the only home game and against the Falcons defense. Carr has yet to heavily involve both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in the same game despite facing the weakest part of the schedule. The Raiders are rushing more this year and yet using three backs to accomplish that.

RUNNING BACK : Latavius Murray scored in every game but hasn't rushed for more than 59 yards. His role as a receiver has been minimal in all but the one home game. Jalen Richard gets six carries and one catch in each of the last two weeks and hasn't broken any long runs like the one in the season opener. DeAndre Washington is also getting six or seven carries each week and topping out around the same level as Murray. While Murray is the one to start because he gets the scoring chances and slightly more carries, he's also likely to produce some mediocre games whenever he fails to get that one rushing score. Particularly having already faced two of the weakest defenses he'll face all year.

The Raiders are comfortable with this 40-30-30 rotation that undermines what Murray could have done.

WIDE RECEIVER : Amari Cooper still has yet to score and he's been held to around 70 yards in the last two weeks. Michael Crabtree logged one touchdown in the loss to Atlanta and posted 102 yards on eight catches last week in Tennessee where the Titans limited Cooper to just four receptions for 62 yards. Ironically, Seth Roberts leads the team with two receiving touchdowns despite never gaining more than 27 yards in any game. It is a bit troubling that Cooper and Crabtree have not done more after facing the Falcons and Saints.

TIGHT END : Clive Walford scored once and gained 50 yards on six catches in the only home game but was held to just about 25 yards in the two other road games. Until he shows up away from Oakland, he's not worthy of any consideration in a road game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This week will be telling because the Raiders need to show they can produce on the road against something other than a bad team. The Ravens at home held the Bills to only 111 passing yards and even in Jacksonville last week only gave up 194 yards and two scores to Blake Bortles. Carr has not shown the same spark as he did last year and this will be his toughest opponent so far. Anything more than his one passing score in a road game would be a success. And a first.

The Ravens have allowed some success to the running backs but the Raiders bring three they will involve. This should be where their split really hurts the fantasy value. Crabtree plays the same split end as both Corey Coleman and Allen Robinson and both receivers notched two touchdowns on the Ravens though in road games. Cooper and Crabtree are both worth consideration but expect moderate stats and for Crabtree to have the better matchup..

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 10 2 6 18 26 23
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 5 8 7 9 1 17

Baltimore Ravens

1 BUF 13-7 10 CLE ---
2 @CLE 25-20 11 @DAL ---
3 @JAC 19-17 12 CIN ---
4 OAK --- 13 MIA ---
5 WAS --- 14 @NE ---
6 @NYG --- 15 PHI ---
7 @NYJ --- 16 @PIT ---
8 BYE --- 17 @CIN ---
9 PIT ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 280,2
WR John Brown 4-50
WR Michael Crabtree 6-80,1
WR Breshad Perriman 2-20
WR Willie Snead IV 4-60
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens are undefeated but have yet to play anyone. The tougher part of their schedule doesn't kick in until the final six weeks and overall they do have one of the softest slate of games in the league at least on paper. What is troubling is that the running backs are all divided up and yet still have yet to score. The passing effort is average only on a good day and while that may describe this week's outlook, it will get harder. Flacco has not yet settled into any patterns and someone not named Wallace is going to have to step up.

QUARTERBACK : Joe Flacco ran in the rare touchdown last week but only threw for 214 yards and no scores in Jacksonville. Worse yet, he tossed two interceptions in each of the last two games. The matchup this week should see him with better stats but a weaker schedule hasn't produced as much offense as expected. Entering into the fourth week of the season, he's only thrown three touchdowns and ran in the only rushing score for the team.

RUNNING BACK : On the plus side, there are only two backs that share all the carries. On the downside, neither Justin Forsett nor Terrance West carry any real fantasy value. They split the carries nearly exactly in two and the best either had accomplished is just 45 rushing yards. Neither have scored. Neither have produced more than 21 yards as a receiver.

Kenneth Dixon is supposed to make his debut this week after missing the first three games with a sprained knee. But there is no intention to just hand the reins over to the untried rookie or remove either Forsett or West from the rotation. Until Dixon earns more action by clearly outplaying the other two backs, the assumption has to be that he just makes the rotation even less productive for the individuals. Dixon was the fourth round pick by the Ravens. His biggest attraction now is that he has yet to prove to be just another back. Javorius Allen was the fourth round pick in 2015 and is no longer active for games. This is one of the worst ranked running back crews in the league.

WIDE RECEIVER : Mike Wallace finally was held in check when he was limited to only 34 yards and no scores by the Jaguars. He still owns all three of the passing touchdowns that the Ravens have thrown. Steve Smith only needs 26 more catches to reach his goal of 1000 career receptions. His eight catches for 87 yards last week was a season best but came after the Jags devoted more to stopping Wallace. Breshad Perriman is stuck at two short passes per week and Kamar Aiken is just standing around waiting for Smith to get hurt again so he can play. Wallace is the only fantasy star here though Smith is making a case to be a low end starter for yardage only.

TIGHT END : Dennis Pitta cooled off from his 9-102 effort in Cleveland but he still managed to post six catches for 42 yards last week and his eight targets led the team. He continues to be one of the more reliable facets of the passing offense.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Raiders defense is nothing special but neither is the Ravens offense. With a chance that the mediocre backfield expands to three backs, whatever benefit of facing the Raiders is at best hard to forecast. The Raiders are allowing five yards per carry on average but this week is even less reliable with Dixon potentially taking a chunk.

This will be the weakest pass defense that Flacco will have faced. The Raiders did go against the Saints and Falcons and allow around 400 passing yards and at least three scores but the Ravens are hardly in that class. Expecting up to two scores would be most likely and that should be split between Wallace and even Pitta. The Raiders have allowed three tight ends to top 59 yards already. Steve Smith is also a consideration this week and has a better chance of scoring. Rely on him for catches and yards though.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 24 28 18 10 2 10
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 30 25 31 24 16 1

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