Peyton Manning is 4-2 all time against the Raiders, a team he hasn’t played all that well against statistically. Yet Manning is 2-0 in Oakland and in his last meeting at the Coliseum he managed a line of 16-for-30 for 179 yards and three touchdowns with two picks. So why would this time be any different? Well, for one, Knowshon Moreno is behind Manning this time and not Willis McGahee. For his career, Moreno has eked out just 3.2 yards per carry against the Raiders, and has a 3.5 per tote average this season. Moreno is a quick if not delicate back that can get through a hole quickly assuming there is one. He won’t move the pile and won’t create lanes for himself. Rookie Ronnie Hillman, averaging four yards per carry, was anticipated by many fantasy owners to be McGahee’s heir, only to find that Moreno has two straight games of 20 carries though he has yet to find the end zone. He’s a risky start here, as he’s not the red zone plow that McGahee can be, and both times Denver was inside the Tampa Bay ten last week, the team deferred to the pass. Denver hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since Week 10, so even against a Raiders defense giving up the second most fantasy points to opposing runners, I’m not using him if I can help it. His ceiling is 80 yards maximum, but I’d use Steven Jackson over him in a second versus the Bills, or take the risk of Bryce Brown against the Bucs best rush defense over Moreno.
|The Raiders have no reason to be careless with McFadden|
With leading tackler Wesley Woodyard out for Denver, expect McFadden and Reece to split 20-25 carries. If the Raiders can get to 30-plus carries, they’ll win the ball game. Reece should get the yeoman’s load, with 12-15 rushes and should provide 60 yards on the ground. Where he’s most dangerous is out of the backfield in red zone, where he scored his only TD this year. McFadden is more likely to see 7-8 tries and 45 yards. Palmer will have to throw, but any receiver other than TE Brandon Myers is a serious risk. The Broncos are second worst against opposing tight ends and Myers is now the leading receiver on the Raider with 69 grabs in 88 targets. Denarius Moore should be good for a deep ball or two, but he has just four receptions in the past three weeks. Darius Heyward-Bey should be in for some good possession yardage, but it wouldn’t shock the conscious with Denver’s tough corners to see Rod Streater come out of the pack with a few big catches against a Denver nickel package. None are worth slotting into your lineup.
The Raiders are a team bickering amongst themselves and most players are playing for a job next year and not necessarily with Oakland. Manning may start slow, and Oakland will keep in close in prime-time, but in the end, the Broncos will top out again. However, I’d take Oakland and the ten points at home.
BRONCOS 31, OAKLAND 24