ONE TO START, ONE TO SIT
One to Start, One to Sit is a weekly column where each NFL game will be evaluated and the best/worst fantasy match-ups will be listed.
Tonight’s Matchup: OAKLAND RAIDERS @ DENVER BRONCOS
DEN- Demaryius Thomas
OAK- Terrelle Pryor
Oakland has struggled with defending #1 WR’s so far this season. Reggie Wayne torched them in week one going 8/8 for 96 yards, and even Cecil Shorts III with Jacksonville’s awful QB play managed to get 8 grabs for 93 yards. Thomas is arguably a better WR than both those before mentioned players, but also has 2 other WR’s and an amazing TE to take away multiple coverages from him.
While Denver’s passing game eventually will be a crap shoot for the season. Right now, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Welker, and Decker cannot be stopped, and all are close to if not top-tier fantasy WR’s/TE’s (sans Decker for now). They’re all getting huge numbers, and if no defense can stop Manning, who’s to say they won’t continue to put up 40 points a week on anyone? Expect another big game from Thomas tonight.
Terrelle Pryor is here because Denver blows out their opponents (or have done so thus far) so badly, that it usually gives the opposing team a quarter and a half of garbage time to do some damage fantasy wise. Even if Pryor has only thrown 53 passes so far this season, he may match that total tonight if this game gets out of hand. Look at Denver’s first two games, Joe Flacco 62 passing attempts, Eli Manning 49 passing attempts. Unless Oakland’s defense can hold Peyton Manning, there’s no reason to not think that Pryor is going to have to throw the ball in this one.
Adding his 162 yards rushing in 2 games doesn’t hurt either. He’s not as bad of a start as you would think in this game, and could put up some big numbers.
DEN- Knowshon Moreno
As of today, the Oakland Raiders rank 3rd defensively against the pass. Giving up 181 yards through the air a game. Denver however, ranks last, giving up 344 yards a game. Now these stats are very misleading due to Denver’s defense playing it safe in the second half because of them having such a safe lead. However, one thing has remained the same on both defensive squads.
They can shut down the run. Denver ranks 1st, with only 40.5 yards let up, while Oakland is surprisingly at 7th with 80.5.
With Denver’s three-headed monster in the backfield, Knowshon’s already at a disadvantage with getting a lack of carries. Granted he’s done the best and is the first string back and the majority of Ball’s carries have come when the game’s been out of reach. However, while he did have a huge game last week against the Giants, Knowshon did flop against Baltimore going 28 yards on 9 carries.
He does remain the first option on Denver’s running game, I just see a return to form for the passing game tonight. Denver will get the majority of their points through the air, and will once again let Montee Ball run it in the second half.
While they did go up against the Giants crummy running game last week, the Denver offense did manage to hold Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to a combined 58 yards in week one. Oakland is going to run the ball a lot with McFadden today, and like with Pryor, if everything goes as what people are thinking (another Denver blowout), he may find a garbage time TD. However, McFadden is going up against the #1 running defense in the NFL.
Whether or not it’s because they’ve forced their opponents to do nothing but throw in the 2nd half doesn’t change that they’re still #1, and who’s to say that won’t happen against Oakland?
While McFadden’s versatility and good hands allows him to be relevant on passing downs, I still think Denver’s def shuts down the running game completely in this one. McFadden will have to be a reason in the passing game for him to score you points in this one.