Matchup Analysis: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Broncos 23, Raiders 20

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Broncos Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Raiders defense.

The Broncos backfield consists of a trio of running backs, all of whom will be expected to contribute in one way or another. Both Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman return to lead the backfield with Devontae Booker serving as the third wheel providing limited support. Lindsay rushed for over 1,000 yards in his rookie season and showed he can be dangerous both between the tackles and through the air. Lindsay did suffer a late-season injury, but he has appeared fully recovered throughout camp and is ready to go for Week 1. Royce Freeman also had his rookie season derailed with an early ankle injury, so while he was productive in 2018, it was far short of expectations. This year, Freeman looks to benefit from the switch to a zone running scheme under new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. This will be the same system in which Freeman flourished at Oregon, where he amassed 60 rushing touchdowns in four seasons while averaging over 110 rushing yards per game. Theo Riddick was also added to the Broncos roster this offseason, but he suffered a fractured shoulder and will miss at least the first four games. From an offensive line perspective, the Broncos will be looking for left tackle Garrett Bolles to make a leap in his third year. New positional coach Mike Munchak is widely believed to be one of the best in the game as he joined the staff this offseason. The Broncos also added left guard Dalton Risner via the draft and right tackle Ja’Wuan James from Miami in free agency. They are currently ranked below average by Footballguys offensive line guru Matt Bitonti, but this line has the potential for rapid improvement if Munchak can pull things together quickly.

The Raiders spent the fourth pick in this year’s draft on bolstering their defensive line via the addition of surprise pick Clelin Ferrell at defensive end. The Raiders hope Ferrell can fill in for what they were missing since letting go of Khalil Mack. They were certainly missing a lot in the run defense department last year as this group allowed the third-most rushing yards per game (140.6). Both Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall are new faces at linebacker this season, but neither was particularly effective against the run in 2018. The Raiders did make a late preseason addition of defensive tackle Corey Liuget, who was with the Chargers last season. Liuget underwhelmed in Los Angeles despite signing a big contract with them a few seasons prior, so he will hope to return to pre-2017 form when he put up solid numbers as a run defender. This mixture of veterans and youngsters for the Raiders will have a lot to prove coming off a terrible 2018 season.

Broncos Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Raiders defense.

Joe Flacco found a new home with the Broncos this offseason as he will lead this passing offense in 2019. While Flacco isn’t known for his fantasy upside, he actually represents an upgrade for what was an embattled Broncos passing offense in 2018. Flacco should be very comfortable running the Rich Scangarello offensive system, which is very similar to the Gary Kubiak offense under which Flacco flourished in 2014 with a career-high 27 touchdown passes. Flacco has a good mix of talent around him with veteran Emmanuel Sanders and young rising star Cortland Sutton at wide receiver. Sanders is coming off an Achilles injury that cut his 2018 season short, but he is ready to go for Week 1 and has been receiving positive reports throughout the preseason. Flacco has shown an affinity for veteran wide receivers throughout his career, so Sanders figures to be a top target to start the season. Cortland Sutton did not live up to expectations in 2018 as he lacked the consistency and poise of a clear-cut WR1. He has top-flight talent that has led to splash plays throughout the preseason, but Sutton needs to show consistency in-game to be trusted with more targets. DaeSean Hamilton is cemented into the WR3 role here as more of a possession option with limited upside. Tight end Noah Fant also enters the mix as the first-round draft selection for the Broncos. Fant has not impressed throughout training camp despite being force-fed targets in numerous scenarios while also dealing with a minor ankle injury that set him back a few weeks. Regardless, Fant should be the top tight end and represent a true red-zone threat for the Broncos.

The Raiders pass defense may have looked average on paper based on 2018 metrics in passing yards allowed, but this defense was one of the worst in the league, accentuated by a big weakness in the pass-rushing department. They added a first-round defensive tackle in Clelin Ferrell along with tackle Corey Liuget to help bolster their defensive line, but pass rush still appears like it will be a key weakness for this group that finished rock bottom with 13 sacks in 2018. For context, the next highest team (Giants) finished with 30 sacks. Their secondary does not look to be much improved from last season as this group lacks playmakers all around. With LaMarcus Joyner covering the slot, look for Emmanuel Sanders to have a positive matchup with plenty of chances to get open. Both Cortland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton should also have great opportunities to open the season on a positive note with their new quarterback.

Raiders Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Broncos defense.

First-round draft pick Josh Jacobs is shaping up to be a bell-cow running back for the Raiders this season. Jacobs has the size and speed to handle a heavy workload, and all signs are pointing to just that with coach Jon Gruden expected to lean heavily on Jacobs. The roster construction also lends to Jacobs owning a huge role in this offense, as the team parted ways with Doug Martin and only held on to change of pace backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington--both of whom will only contribute in clear passing situations. The Raiders made some changes on the offensive line this offseason with the additions of right tackle Trent Brown and left guard Ritchie Incognito. They will be without both starting guards to start the season though as Incognito serves a two-game suspension while Gabe Jackson is out with a knee injury. Rodney Hudson is a solid center to anchor this line, but two backup guards could make for a rough start to the season for the Josh Jacobs against a stout Broncos run defense.

The Broncos have a dangerous front four consisting of some solid run-defenders. Shelby Harris is an underrated defensive tackle who has proven capable of overwhelming opposing offensive linemen. Derek Wolfe is no slouch either, while Von Miller and Bradley Chubb represent an elite pair of defensive ends, excelling in both running and passing situations. Linebacker Brandon Marshall departed this offseason, but Todd Davis remains and will hope to build upon his breakout season with a team-leading 114 tackles in 2018. This is a mediocre group that is better on paper than their production as they allowed 119.6 yards per game in 2018 which was 21st in the NFL last season. This is a group that should rebound and have a better year than last year with new coach Vic Fangio at the helm.

Raiders Passing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Broncos defense.

Derek Carr and the Raiders offense landed one of the top wide receivers in football this offseason when they traded for Antonio Brown. Despite all the drama surrounding Brown this offseason, he should represent a more than adequate replacement for the talent lost when Amari Cooper left in 2018. Brown will have much less competition for targets in this Raiders offense, but concurrently, the Raiders have been much less of a pass-friendly offense than that of the Steelers while Brown has missed valuable practice time for basically the entire preseason. Derek Carr also represents a steep drop-off from what Ben Roethlisberger brought to the table for Brown. Carr struggled mightily last season due to a lack of talent at the wide receiver position combined with a terrible offensive line situation. In their defense, the Raiders have tried to address both of those areas this offseason, first by bringing in Brown along with Tyrell Williams at receiver. Williams will serve as a legitimate #2 option behind Brown. On the offensive line, the Raiders paid up for right tackle Trent Brown while also adding veteran Ritchie Incognito at guard. It may take a few weeks for this line to come together, however, as both starting guards will be out for Week 1. Jalen Richard remains a pass-catching option out of the backfield, but his services along with those of rookie starting running back Josh Jacobs may be needed more so in the blocking department if this offensive line is unable to hold up against a strong Broncos pass rush in Week 1.

The Broncos made a significant improvement in their secondary by adding slot cornerback Bryce Callahan, who came over from the Bears along with new defensive-minded head coach Vic Fangio. Callahan played a big role in the Bears’ success and will be an upgrade over Bradley Roby in this defense. However, the Broncos now effectively have three slot cornerbacks in Chris Harris Jr. Callahan, and Kareem Jackson. Callahan figures to start in the slot while Harris will line up outside with Jackson moving to safety. Isaac Yiadom looks to have won the starting role opposite Harris and has played well during the preseason, but will still represent the most exploitable part of this secondary given his inexperience. Antonio Brown is actually slated to see most snaps against Yiadom based on pre-snap positioning last season, however, take that with a grain of salt considering this will be Brown’s first game with his new team and he could be shadowed by Harris. The defensive line for Denver remains a strength and should have few issues pressuring this mediocre Raiders offensive line missing both starting guards.

Phillip Lindsay (FanDuel: $6600, DraftKings: $5300)

1PROJ-Dodds12600.52.2170.111.313.512.4 (H=23)13.5 (H=34)
1PROJ-Tremblay11550.42.2170.110.212.411.3 (H=20)12.4 (H=29)
1PROJ-Bloom13640.42.0150.110.912.911.9 (H=22)12.9 (H=31)

Royce Freeman (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $4200)

1PROJ-Dodds12490.41.2908.29.48.8 (H=14)9.4 (H=23)
1PROJ-Tremblay10430.30.9706.87.77.3 (H=10)7.7 (H=16)
1PROJ-Bloom13590.51.0809.710.710.2 (H=18)10.7 (H=28)

Courtland Sutton (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $4700)

1PROJ-Dodds3.6520.40007.611.29.4 (H=16)11.2 (H=27)
1PROJ-Tremblay3.0470.20005.98.97.4 (H=10)8.9 (H=18)
1PROJ-Bloom3.0440.30006.29.27.7 (H=11)9.2 (H=19)

DaeSean Hamilton (FanDuel: $5600, DraftKings: $4400)

1PROJ-Dodds2.3260.20003.86.15 (H=5)6.1 (H=10)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.4270.20003.96.35.1 (H=6)6.3 (H=11)
1PROJ-Bloom1.090.10001.52.52 (H=1)2.5 (H=2)

Tim Patrick (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3200)

1PROJ-Dodds1.1160.10002.23.32.8 (H=2)3.3 (H=4)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.3180.10102.53.83.2 (H=3)3.8 (H=6)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Noah Fant (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3400)

1PROJ-Dodds2.2240.135.24.1 (H=4)5.2 (H=10)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.4260.23.86.25 (H=6)6.2 (H=13)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0250. (H=4)5.1 (H=9)

Jeff Heuerman (FanDuel: $4200, DraftKings: $2800)

1PROJ-Dodds1.3130. (H=2)3.2 (H=5)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.8170. (H=3)4.1 (H=8)
1PROJ-Bloom1.0110. (H=1)2.7 (H=3)

Nick Vannett (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $2700)

1PROJ-Dodds1.0100. (H=1)2.6 (H=3)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.990.11.52.42 (H=1)2.4 (H=3)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Jake Butt (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Brandon McManus (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Denver Broncos (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3600)

1PROJ-Dodds22.33582.50.90.700. (H=17)8.2 (H=21)
1PROJ-Tremblay21.53652.30.90.700. (H=18)8.6 (H=23)

Marcus Mariota (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $5200)

1PROJ-Dodds20312071.214220.217.617.617.6 (H=44)17.6 (H=55)
1PROJ-Tremblay182819410.85240.115.915.915.9 (H=37)15.9 (H=46)
1PROJ-Bloom18321791.114170.114.714.714.7 (H=32)14.7 (H=40)

Derek Carr (FanDuel: $6600, DraftKings: $5400)

1PROJ-Dodds22352281.50.913016.816.816.8 (H=40)16.8 (H=49)
1PROJ-Tremblay23352591.40.9240.118.618.618.6 (H=47)18.6 (H=58)
1PROJ-Bloom21371961.1100013.213.213.2 (H=26)13.2 (H=32)

Josh Jacobs (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $5200)

1PROJ-Dodds15590.42.8200.110.913.712.3 (H=23)13.7 (H=35)
1PROJ-Tremblay14600.42.4190.110.913.312.1 (H=23)13.3 (H=34)
1PROJ-Bloom14500.43.0190.19.912.911.4 (H=20)12.9 (H=32)

Jalen Richard (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3500)

1PROJ-Dodds3140.13.4240.25.697.3 (H=12)9 (H=25)
1PROJ-Tremblay5220.14.4370. (H=18)11.5 (H=39)
1PROJ-Bloom140.14.0230. (H=8)7.9 (H=20)

Devontae Booker (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds1501.3100. (H=2)3.4 (H=5)
1PROJ-Tremblay2602.21702.34.53.4 (H=3)4.5 (H=9)
1PROJ-Bloom0002. (H=2)3.4 (H=5)

Rod Smith (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0000.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0000.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Tyrell Williams (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $4500)

1PROJ-Dodds4.6570.40008.112.710.4 (H=21)12.7 (H=36)
1PROJ-Tremblay4.0610.40208.712.710.7 (H=22)12.7 (H=36)
1PROJ-Bloom4.0510.30006.910.98.9 (H=16)10.9 (H=27)

Nelson Agholor (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3900)

1PROJ-Dodds2.5320.20004.46.95.7 (H=8)6.9 (H=14)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.7340.20004.67.36 (H=8)7.3 (H=16)
1PROJ-Bloom3.0370.30005.58.57 (H=11)8.5 (H=20)

Zay Jones (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3700)

1PROJ-Dodds2.7320.20004.47.15.8 (H=8)7.1 (H=16)
1PROJ-Tremblay3.1370.201058.16.6 (H=10)8.1 (H=20)
1PROJ-Bloom3.0340.20004.67.66.1 (H=9)7.6 (H=18)

Hunter Renfrow (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3600)

1PROJ-Dodds2.8300.20004.275.6 (H=8)7 (H=16)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.4330.20004.56.95.7 (H=9)6.9 (H=15)
1PROJ-Bloom5.0360.20004.89.87.3 (H=13)9.8 (H=28)

Darren Waller (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds3.2370. (H=12)8.7 (H=28)
1PROJ-Tremblay3.0320. (H=9)7.4 (H=21)
1PROJ-Bloom4.0540. (H=19)11.2 (H=43)

Jason Witten (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds2.6280.246.65.3 (H=7)6.6 (H=17)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.4250. (H=6)6.1 (H=15)
1PROJ-Bloom3.0320. (H=9)7.4 (H=21)

Derek Carrier (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1PROJ-Dodds1.0100121.5 (H=1)2 (H=2)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.880. (H=1)2.2 (H=3)

Nick OLeary (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1PROJ-Dodds0.8700.71.51.1 (H=0)1.5 (H=1)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.890. (H=1)2.3 (H=3)

Daniel Carlson (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Las Vegas Raiders (FanDuel: $3600, DraftKings: $2200)

1PROJ-Dodds22.13622.10.90.600. (H=18)7.6 (H=30)
1PROJ-Tremblay21.53602.30.90.700. (H=23)8.6 (H=37)