OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders throws against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
.Ahoy, Raider fans! RaiderDamus is back again for another exciting installment of the Fantasy Foretelling. Your favorite sage is back after a much-needed bye week rest. I am energized, in touch with the Great Beyond, and ready to kick the second half of the season into high gear. What does the week ahead have in store for our beloved team? What should you do with the real-life players on your make-believe team? Read ahead and find out.
The Raiders, as we all know, are handing the keys to the offense to Carson Palmer. What this means is really anyone's guess. Carson Palmer can be really good, and he can be really bad. He was thrust into an unenviable position during the Chiefs game, with no real grasp of the playbook and no timing with his receivers. The bye week and subsequent practices ought to have rectified some of that, but we shouldn't be expecting 2006 Carson Palmer just yet. That being said, Denver's secondary is fairly awful except for Champ Bailey, and he was torched last week by Matt Stafford. Let's just jump right into the predictions, starting with the bad guys.
Tim Tebow: I am a huge Tebow fan, have been since his freshman year at Florida. I think he has the tools and mental makeup to succeed in this league. However, his team is doing him no favors. His offensive line is deplorable. His running game, minus Tebow himself, is nonexistent. His receivers can't catch the balls that he actually has time to throw. He is going to have to play otherwordly for his team to have an even mediocre game. This week, after being crushed by the Lions defensive line, he has to deal with Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, and Lamarr Houston. How sad. Guy can't catch a break. I predict he goes for 180 yds passing, 1 TD with 75 yds rushing.
Knowshon Moreno: Probably in for a tough day. The offensive line sucks at pass blocking almost as bad as they suck at run blocking. Aaron Curry is going to make it his personal mission to demolish Moreno any time he has the ball. 50 yds rushing.
Demaryius Thomas: He is actually a legitimate threat. Tebow and Thomas appear to be developing some chemistry. They had better, since John Elway in his infinite Donkey wisdom decided to trade Denver's best receiver, Brandon Lloyd, for a bucket of footballs and a 1989 Score Barry Sanders rookie card. Thomas gets 60 rec yds.
Eric Decker: I love this kid. He has great hands and toughness. He is sort of like Ed McCaffrey, except a foot shorter and with a less giraffe-like appearance. McCaffrey would always catch everything Elway threw him, and then get blown up because he was so tall and lanky he couldn't get out of anybody's way. Decker has the same problem, except he isn't big enough to absorb all those blows. Michael Huff is going to ring his bell. Decker ends the day with 50 rec yds.
Broncos Defense: This is the only unit associated with Denver in any way that you should consider starting if you own them, and if you own them you are hereby no longer allowed to play fantasy football.
So basically don't start any Broncos whatsoever. They are all terrible except for Tebow, who CAN be a good fantasy player on a horrible team (as seen vs. Miami) but not this week.
Now on to our heroes, the Oakland Raiders!
Carson Palmer: I'm not sure what to expect from Palmer on Sunday. I do expect the Raiders to run a LOT because Denver can't stop the run and that's what the Raiders do best. However, without McFadden I'm not certain how viable a game plan that is. If Michael Bush can't get it going, I expect Palmer to air it out a lot. Sometimes that will make us all go "Wooo!" and sometimes it will make us all go "Nooo!" I say Palmer throws for 270 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT. He's a pretty good play, especially if your normal QB is on a bye.
Michael Bush: Bush's play is the key to the game. If he dominates like he is capable of doing, the Raiders will win easily. If he does not, they will win less easily. Bush's only real deterrent will be Von Miller. I expect that won't be too much of a problem. Bush gains 80 rushing yards and 1 TD, to go with 30 rec yds. Excellent #2 rusher or flex play this week.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: He is MUCH faster than any of the corners who may be trying to cover him. This is a mismatch of mismatches. If he and Palmer can hook up, it will be devastating to Denver. I predict such an occurance will take place at least once. DHB finishes with 90 rec yds and a TD. Solid #3 receiver play this week.
Jacoby Ford: If DHB is too fast for the Donkeys, then you know Ford is. He will be 100% and ready to go and may take over this game. His return yards will be key to setting up short fields for Palmer. 100 rec yds, 1 TD. Good #2 or #3 WR play.
Denarius Moore: Unfortunately I just don't think there are enough balls to go around this year for Moore to really break out like we thought he would following the Bills game. 40 rec yds.
TJ: Houshmandzadeh: Carson's shiny new toy won't make his presence felt quite yet. He's had even less time to learn the playbook than Palmer. 20 rec yds.
Raiders defense: Good play this week. Denver is one of the teams you can count on week after week to make a bad defense look great. With the addition of Aaron Curry, the Raiders are no longer a 'bad defense' and are moving toward respectability.
So it's a good week to be a fantasy homer! Start as many Raiders as you can.