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Date: Sunday, December 29, 2019
Time: 4:25 PM ET
Location: Empower Field at Mile High (Denver, CO)
Oakland Raiders Analysis
5 of the 10 outcomes that kept their playoff hopes alive came true last week. Sitting at 7-8, a win this week and 4 other possible outcomes coming true would land the Raiders in the playoffs. The odds show that those other 4 outcomes are very possible. Considering the drama with Antonio Brown to start the season, there is no reason to call this a disappointing season for the Raiders. The AFC West was relatively down this year, with the Chargers and Broncos winning 5 and 6 games respectively. The quarterback play and defense has been up and down throughout the year. Running back Josh Jacobs has shown star potential this year, but is currently listed as doubtful ahead of the matchup. It will take an all-around effort to ensure they win this game against a hard nose Broncos team. They have lost 5 of their 7 road games this year, so that is not a good sign.
Oakland Raiders Depth Chart
Denver Broncos Analysis
The Broncos have not fulfilled expectations, but injuries at the QB position have put a cap on their potential. After winning 3 of their last 4, they will look to end the year strong at home. Running back, Philip Lindsay and receiver, Courtland Sutton, have been the lone bright spots offensively. The Raiders boast one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, so there is room for success in the passing game. Overall, their talent is comparable to the Oakland Raiders and they will look to protect their home field.
Denver Broncos Depth Chart
Derek Carr has had some great, and not so great stretches throughout the year. With the trust of John Gruden, he has put together some solid performances the past 3 weeks. Look for him to be challenged against a passing defense that has given up the sixth fewest yards per game to QBs. Given that they are on the road, this game may be even more of a challenge if Jacobs is unable to play.
The injury at quarterback has been the downfall of the Broncos, although quarterback play wasn’t great in general. After Flacco went down Week 8, they turned to Brandon Allen. He did not deliver to say the least and the team turned to Drew Lock. The rookie signal caller had his best game of all 4 of his starts in Week 14 against the Texans, with 309 yards and 3 TDs. Oakland ranks 27th in yards given up through the air. They have allowed the 2nd most points-per-drive this season. As a result, there is a chance he can have a huge game.
With Josh Jacobs (13th ranked fantasy back) currently listed as doubtful, running back Deandre Washington will be next in line. He definitely does not have the explosiveness or big play ability, but can get some yards each time he touches the ball. For a defense ranked 18th against the run, the Raiders should look to get their run game established early. That will only make things easier for Derek Carr in this must-win game.
Philip Lindsay has had an up and down year for the Broncos, with his usage changing dramatically from week to week. Yet, he is the No. 1 option in the run game. With over 100 yards last week against the Lions, look for him to receive similar carries and usage. The Raiders do boast a run defense that allows the 9th least rush yards per game. Running back, Royce Freeman, will get some carries as well, although his usage has dipped tremendously since the start of the year.
The receiving core for the Raiders may be one of the worst in the league. Top wideout, Tyrell Williams, has been their most consistent option. After starting the season with 5 TDs in his first 5 games, he has cooled down dramatically since. He went for 82 yards last week against the Chargers. WR Hunter Renfrow is someone to keep an eye on, with 107 yards and a TD last week. He is coming off injury after missing 3 games prior. Tight end, Darren Walker, is the 5th ranked TE in fantasy this year. He can have a huge day at any time, with four 100 yard games on the year. His lack of presence/usage in the red zone (3TDs) makes him limited, but he should be a big part of the offense.
Courtland Sutton is the main option offensively in the passing game for the Broncos. Although he has proven to be consistent, the Broncos have no other receiver ranked in the top 100 for fantasy. That does not bode well for a team with an inexperienced rookie at the helm. The changes at quarterback have certainly affected the system and rhythm for these receivers. Regardless, wideouts Dasean Hamilton and tight end Noah Fant will need to be a huge part of the offense this upcoming week to have success.
This game essentially does not matter for the Broncos and means everything for the Raiders. Denver is favored by 3.5 points, which is reasonable considering they are home and both teams are similar record wise. The Raiders have lost 4 of their last 5. Although they need a few things to fall their way, there is no excuse for the Raiders to not find any and every way possible to win this game against the 6-9 Broncos. Broncos QB play is unpredictable, so they will have to take advantage in the run game and secondary. As a result, they will remain in the game and control time of possession. This game will come down to whether Derek Carr can start strong and make key 3rd down conversions. If he does that, the Raiders will win this game.