Monday Night Football
Denver @ Oakland
Team Totals: Broncos 23, Raiders 20
One of 2018’s least-compelling Monday nighters sends the lowly Raiders back home after last week’s two-score road loss at Cincinnati. As Derek Carr’s kryptonite is pressure, it is concerning that Denver ranks No. 7 in sack rate (7.8%) and No. 11 in QB hit rate (16.6%), while the Raiders have allowed the NFL’s third-most sacks (48). Carr maintains two-QB-league usability with top-15 fantasy scores in three of his last five starts facing a Broncos secondary missing top CB Chris Harris (fibula) and LCB Isaac Yiadom (shoulder). It helps that Oakland is averaging 6.3 more points per game at home than on the road. … For better or worse, the Raiders may have to lean especially heavily on Carr’s arm with slumping Doug Martin facing a Broncos front that held enemy backs to 166/637/0 (3.84 YPC) rushing over its last eight games. The last running back to score a rushing TD against Denver was Todd Gurley in Week 6. … Even as the Raiders played from behind against the Bengals, Jalen Richard logged single-digit touches for the fourth straight week and lost his second fumble in the past three games. Martin and Richard’s fantasy appeal is limited to one-game DFS slates, where Martin’s touchdown odds are higher but Richard offers more PPR upside.
Carr’s Weeks 13-15 targets: Jordy Nelson 26; Jared Cook 23; Seth Roberts 17; Marcell Ateman 13; Richard 11; Martin 3. … Seeing consistent volume with Martavis Bryant, Amari Cooper, and Brandon LaFell out of the picture, Nelson is averaging nearly nine targets with a team-high 224 Air Yards over his last three games. Although Jordy finished Week 15 with a rock-solid 6/88/0 stat line, his day would’ve been much bigger had Carr not underthrown his 44-yard catch, forcing Jordy to work back and get tackled at the seven-yard line. Jordy has reentered WR3 discussion against unimposing Broncos perimeter CBs Bradley Roby and Tramaine Brock. … Even as Cook turned in a dud at Cincinnati, his 88% snap rate was Cook’s highest since Week 5, and Cook is averaging 38 routes run over his last three games after averaging 25 routes in Weeks 8-12. This is a juicy bounce-back spot versus a Denver defense allowing a league-high 71.9 yards per game to tight ends. Cook should play with an edge after being snubbed for a Pro Bowl berth despite ranking top five among tight ends in catches (63), yards (848), and TDs (6). … Roberts has one TD since Week 2 and just two games above 43 yards all year. … Over the past month, Ateman has parlayed 23 targets into an anemic 97 yards (4.2 YPT). Sheer opportunity does give Ateman one-game DFS appeal with potential for a fade-route score. … Blocking TE Lee Smith vultured another goal-line TD in Week 15 but runs just three routes per game. … College WR Darren Waller delivered two big plays against the Bengals and is a player Jon Gruden may want to give a long look down the stretch. Waller’s route totals are 4 and 6 in two appearances, however.
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Held below 60 total yards in back-to-back games, this is Phillip Lindsay’s softest draw since his Week 13 eruption at Cincinnati as a 4.39 burner facing the NFL’s slowest defense. Bengals backs annihilated Oakland for 162 yards and two TDs last week, while Lindsay maintained a stranglehold on Denver’s lead-back job versus Cleveland with 18 touches to Royce Freeman’s 5. Lindsay drew target counts of 7 and 6 in the last two weeks after averaging just 2.7 targets per game in Weeks 1-13. … Freeman’s touch counts are 5 – 6 – 12 – 6 – 8 since Denver’s Week 10 bye with eight receiving yards over his last seven appearances. … Throwing to rookies and practice-squad types since losing Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jeff Heuerman, Case Keenum has consistently fallen short of useful production regardless of matchups, delivering QB22 (Bengals), QB20 (49ers), and QB16 (Browns) scores in Weeks 13-15. Keenum has multiple touchdown passes in one of his last six starts.
Keenum’s Weeks 14-15 targets: DaeSean Hamilton 21; Tim Patrick 18; Lindsay 13; Courtland Sutton 12; Matt LaCosse 7; Devontae Booker 5; Brian Parker 4; Freeman 2. … With back-to-back seven-reception games since Sanders tore his Achilles’, Hamilton catches a plus draw against the Raiders, who let Tyler Boyd do whatever he wanted (4/38/1) in last week’s first half before Boyd got hurt. With usual slot CB Nick Nelson struggling, the Raiders tried mixing in journeyman S Marcus Gilchrist on interior coverage against the Bengals. Hamilton runs 72% of his routes in the slot. … Patrick has outplayed Sutton, registering Weeks 14-15 stat lines of 7/85/0 and 5/65/0 with consecutive team highs in receiving yards. Big (6’4/208) and fast (4.47), Patrick is a positive-TD-regression candidate against a Raiders Defense that has yielded the NFL’s second-most scores to wideouts (20) and may be without RCB Gareon Conley (concussion). Conley’s backup is previously-benched Daryl Worley, who got roasted for six touchdowns in Weeks 6-13. … Sutton remains a low-floor WR4 with one touchdown and three sub-50-yard performances in Denver’s last five games. Sutton did contribute more than Week 15’s 42-yard box score showed, drawing a long DPI flag on Browns LCB Terrance Mitchell to set up Keenum’s rushing TD. … After flopping as a Weeks 13-14 streamer, LaCosse flashed signs of Week 15 life against the Browns, catching 4-of-6 targets for 43 yards on season highs in snaps (93%) and routes (34). LaCosse is back in play as a matchup-based streamer; Oakland allows the most fantasy points in the NFL to tight ends.
Score Prediction: Broncos 24, Raiders 20