Broncos @ Oakland
Pick (Even spread)
When the Broncos decided to let Brock Osweiler walk and instead spent their money on the running game (C.J. Anderson 4-year for $18M), Gary Kubiak's team looked to be poised for a strong offensive season on the ground. Well, apparently their running is better (17th in the league) than their passing (21st), so we can say that their off-season plan sort of worked out. This team features below average O-line and QB without their starting RB, but the good part is that they are facing the Raider's defense. The Raiders have allowed 410 yards per game, the second most in the league. They are equally bad in both against ground and air, so they should provide some room for the underwhelming Trevor Siemian and the company. The Broncos obviously brag the best defense in the league, but the Raiders are very fierce, creative, and relentless in scoring, so the Broncos will be forced to feed the ball in the air to stay competitive at Coliseum, especially without Aqib Talib covering the corner. Expect their talented receiving corps to be feature heavily in this game while all the skilled position player to have a decent day in the office.
It's still little tough to believe, but the Raiders are actually good this year, and they are somehow very fun team to watch. Their defense still needs a lot of work if they are indeed committed to stay in the playoff race, but man, their offense is just mind blowing. This team averages 401 yards per game, which is good for the 2nd most in the league, and Bill Musgrave runs a very well balanced scheme. Obviously, tonight will be their biggest test of the season, and they need to get over this hurdle to prove how serious they are. There is no question about the merciless Denver front seven will continue to pound on the Raiders' O-line to keep Derek Carr busy, but Talib's absence can certainly open up some spaces for Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Cooper isn't 100%, but the team will rely on him to find holes against the reigning Super Bowl champ to move the chain. It won't be easy, but they are ready for the competition.
Demaryius Thomas: 90 yards, 4 rec, 1 TD
The Raiders don't possess the best corners, but they at least feature great sizes on the both sides. Sanders have been targeted 11 times more this season, but Thomas has been more efficient, and Siemian will look for Thomas when he needs to force feed on one-on-one against Sean Smith (6-3) or David Amerson (6-1).
Amari Cooper: 80 yards, 7 rec, 1 TD
Cooper is the future (and present) of this offense, and the team desperately needs him to bring his A game to beat their division rival (I still feel awkward to say this) at home. With Talib out, Cooper will be mostly matchup against Chris Harris Jr., and Carr will try to exploit the size advantage. It's always scary to play anyone against the Broncos, but Cooper should be a safe play tonight.
Emmanuel Sanders: 80 yards, 6 rec
Siemian needs to pass in this game, and Sanders is his favorite target. He might take a back seat to Thomas on this one, but he will still be heavily involved against one of the worst defenses in the league.
DeVontae Booker: 80 yards, 2 rec, 1 TD
No matter how the game opens up, Kubiak will give enough carries to Booker, and he should be have a fun night at the office especially with the Raiders missing their DT Stacy McGee.
Trevor Siemian: 250 passing yards, 2 TD
He is rarely a playable asset in 1 QB leagues, but this should be one of those games he can actually be useful. The Raiders defense is bad, and the Broncos will feed their receivers tonight, so it's only fair to expect Seimian to play better.
Derek Carr: 250 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Carr is surprisingly one of the least sacked (9 times, 30th in the league) or picked (3 times, 24th) QBs so far, but who are we kidding. This is the Broncos who flash 26 sacks (the most) and 8 INT (5th), and it's never a good idea to start a QB against the violent Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Carr will still show off tons of volume to put up respectable Fantasy numbers, but this won't be the most fun night for his owners.
Latavious Murray: 50 yards
The Broncos D has been somehow curiously below average against the rushing so far this season, but Murray needs to fight off both his internal competitions for carries and the game plan.