This week the Raiders head to the Mile High City to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Denver was hyped to the moon before the season started, mostly on the merits of having Manning as their new signal caller. However, they have the same 1-2 record as Oakland by virtue of their having been bested by Atlanta and Houston in weeks 2 and 3. Those two teams are widely considered the two best teams in football and it is not surprising that Denver lost to them; it shows only that Denver is not an elite team in this league rather than showing that they are a bad team.
The Raiders are coming off a very fantasy friendly performance against Pittsburgh last week, with Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore, and Darrius Heyward-Bey all scoring touchdowns and Carson Palmer throwing three touchdowns. The Raiders offense was really clicking in the no-huddle against Pittsburgh, but will that continue in Denver? Let's take a look at the best bets this week in fantasy.
START: Carson Palmer. While Palmer was ranked in the lower third of fantasy QBs coming into the year, he currently ranks as the eighth best fantasy quarterback and the 33rd best fantasy player overall. Right now he is ranked above the likes of Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub. This makes him an every-week fantasy starter and the second best draft bargain at QB behind only Robert Griffin III. Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub both shredded the Broncos' pass defense to the tune of a combined 509 yards and Palmer can probably put up at least 250. His only disadvantage might be the absence of Darrius Heyward-Bey who is out indefinitely with the neck injury he suffered vs. Pittsburgh.
START: Darren McFadden. He broke a long one against the Steelers and had another would-be touchdown nullified by an officials' review. He is still healthy and able to handle the full load for the Raiders. As the line masters the zone blocking system, McFadden will put up better and better numbers. He is a solid play this week.
START: Sebastian Janikowski. You should always start a kicker in any game played in Denver. Jano has hit a 63 yarder there and he wll likely hit at least one long-range kick this week.
There's really only one definite Sit for the Raiders this week and it is...
SIT: Raiders defense. It's not that the unit is bad, it's just that I don't foresee the injury-depleted secondary being able to contain Manning in any meaningful way. At full strength they may have been able to do so, but Manning has retained his accuracy and this unit just gave up over 400 yards passing to Ben Roethlisberger.