This matchup is very interesting. Most Steelers fans won’t worry about this game for a second because Ben Roethlisberger has looked incredible and the Raiders haven’t looked great. But what interests me is that this is a matchup of the two most notably struggling run offenses. Darren McFadden is an exciting talent, but has been contained so far this season by both the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins. I think that defenses don’t fear Carson Palmer enough and are loading up to stop the run. I think that Palmer can still pick apart defenses, especially when throwing to his young speedsters, but he can be inconsistent. Regardless, the biggest struggle for the Raiders has been putting points on the board as they have just 27 total points so far through 2 games.
I think the Raiders will rebound a bit and give Pittsburgh a run for their money on Sunday. Contending against the Steelers will erase the worries they garnered by struggling against the Dolphins. However, the Steelers are set up to play in and win close games. So while the scoreboard may not show a double digit difference in score until the 4th quarter, the game is much further apart than it seems. The Steelers have played efficient and timely football and the Raiders have fallen apart late in games (11 points scored in second halves versus 40 points allowed). At the end of this one, I think the Raiders will be happy they played much better against a talented team, but the loss will make that emotion bittersweet.
You can reference my competition analysis to learn a little more about the Jets by clicking below:
I think that it will be a good day for the Steelers offense. The Raiders defense hasn’t done enough to prove that it can match up against good offenses. Even though Reggie Bush had a big game, he really went off in the 3rd quarter (had under 40 yards in the first half). So I think that the Raiders will add to the Steelers run game frustrations in this one. That may slow some drives and even hurt that scorecard a bit, but passing has been the saving grace of this offense. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown have re-established their 1-2 punch, and I wouldn’t doubt that the end zone success of Heath Miller continues. Emmanuel Sanders is there for big catches, but doesn’t get targeted frequently enough yet to really blow up the stats sheet.
The Raiders seem to have the offense built to perform like they did last week against Miami. Palmer can throw for a lot of yards, but scoring is a concern. The Steelers haven’t been incredible at stopping the run, but they’ve been good enough that McFadden’s slump should continue. I would watch out though because so far the Steelers D has only gone up against slower, power type backs. Oakland has 3 runners who have big play speed and all it takes is one play for them to end a drive. Regardless of how he does on the ground, McFadden will get catches out of the backfield and likely reach the century mark in all purpose yards. I think the Raiders will get behind and Palmer will again throw for big yards, but the Raiders will continue their scoring problems. Denarius Moore has been taken away so far this season, but I think he’s their best receiver from a talent and big play potential (still averaging over 20 ypc but only on 3 catches). I think he will haul in a big play for Palmer\’s lone touchdown pass of the day.
The Steelers have set themselves up so they don’t run away with games until late. As frustrating as this is for fans, it’s a smart strategy. Most teams don’t go to an all out attack until late and the Steelers have made sure that it’s too late. So while the Steelers are likely to continue to struggle on the ground, as long as the Raiders don’t run the ball effectively, or come out firing, the Steelers should cruise to an easy win. McFadden looks like he’s waiting for a week to go off, but I think the Raiders running backs will be the focus of the Steelers, both running and in the passing game. The deciding factor for me is the how the Raiders defense let the Dolphins offense get the better of them last week. Based on the interview that Ike Taylor had with NFL-AM this week, I think he hauls in an interception so he can get himself on his way to a Pro Bowl.
|QB||Carson Palmer||275||1||1 INT||15|
The fantasy points projected below are educated guesses meant to be used with other inputs to influence your decision of who to start and what each player might be capable of. Unlike the statistical sites, I rounded each stat to clean up the numbers and avoided unrealistic divisions (like 0.2 TDs). There are players that will contribute in the game that I didn\’t cover, but these players aren\’t typically expected to do much.
The above point totals are based on the following scoring convention:
Quarterback – Yards: 25 = 1 pt TDs = 4pts Fumbles = -2pts INTs: 1 = -2pts
Rushing – Yards: 10 = 1 pt TDs = 6pts Fumbles = -2pts
Receiving – Yards: 10 = 1 pt TDs = 6pts Receptions = 0.5pts
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