Russell had a typical JaMarcus Russell game last week, low passing yardage (156) and 0 TDs. He continues to play as if he's in over his head at the NFL level and he isn't helped by the fact the Raiders easily have the worst WR corps in the league. He gets to face a terrible Denver pass defense (243.5 yards a game) but not even a prime matchup is enough incentive for anyone to start Russell. In time, he might become a good NFL QB. But that time isn't now.
Fargas had a so-so 57 yards on 17 carries last week against the Dolphins. The matchup is terrific this week, however, as the Broncos allow 143.1 rushing yards a game. If the Raiders can keep the game close, Fargas could go off with a huge game. It's more likely the Broncos build a big lead and that lowers Fargas' potential. He's looking good as a RB3 with RB2 upside but the Raiders' lack of talent on offense will be his undoing.
McFadden's rookie season continues to be a bust. He got only three carries last week as he remains hobbled by his turf toe injuries. He has zero value from a fantasy perspective and should have been dropped in redraft leagues weeks ago. Maybe next year the Raiders will get him healthy and use him intelligently but he's dead to me for this year.
From the "Where Did That Come From?" file -- Curry emerged from the dead last week with six receptions for 73 yards. With Javon Walker out for the year, the Raiders need someone to pretend as if he's their No. 1 WR. Curry is the best bet since he is the team's most talented receiver. But he's been a huge disappointment the past two seasons due to his inconsistency. Don't expect that to change now.
Miller remains the only decent option in the Raiders' passing game. He caught four passes for 67 yards last week but that was only the second time this season he has recorded more than 60 receiving yards in a game. He'll be good for 3-4 receptions again with modest yardage being his upside. Exciting, isn't it?
Janikowski had another solid outing last week despite his team's offensive limitations. He converted 2 of 3 FG attempts with a long of 37 yards. For the season, he has made 18 of 24 FG attempts and his big leg continues to give him value in larger leagues. The Raiders should give him a chance for 2-3 FGs this week against a soft Denver defense so he's not a terrible reach in larger leagues if you need him.
The Raiders don't offer much defensively but their pass defense is stout, giving up only 194.7 yards a game. That will be key this week against Jay Cutler and his standout receiving corps. Ultimately, though, the Broncos have too many weapons and the Raiders lack defensive playmakers so expect Cutler to get his and the Raiders give little in the way of fantasy production.
After his boffo performance in Week 10, Cutler came hurtling back to earth last week, passing for only 216 yards and 1 TD despite a great matchup against the Falcons. The Raiders have shut down some strong passing games this season so this isn't an easy matchup. But it's tough to bet against Cutler given how he's thrown at least one TD in every game this season. It may be a struggle at times but Cutler is too good to sit so he'll find a way to deliver.
Hillis took full advantage of the sweet matchup last week against the Falcons, scoring twice and finishing with 70 total yards. This is a committee situation with Selvin Young possibly back in the mix this week but Hillis should at least remain the top option for goal-line carries. He makes for a fine flex play this week as another TD is very likely.
The Broncos will probably be without Selvin Young again this week which means Bell will factor in the backfield mix. He got seven carries last week in his return to Denver and finished with 34 yards rushing. Despite his solid showing, this backfield is a full-blown RBBC with only Hillis having quality value at this time. Bell is worth grabbing because you never know what's going to happen in this backfield but he shouldn't be started this week.
Pope got into the mix last week, rushing four times for 35 yards. He suffered a rib injury but is expected to be ready this week. If Young returns, Pope could be the No. 3 RB or be de-activated with Tatum Bell getting the call. That makes him far too risky to rely on from a fantasy perspective.
Marshall is one of the game's top WRs but this will be one of his toughest tests this week as he squares off against Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha, who is regarded by many as the premier shutdown CB in the game today. The Broncos will look to move Marshall around and away from Asomugha, so he'll get production. But No. 1 WRs who face the Raiders tend to put up less production than normal so it's best to expect the same from Marshall. He's far too talented to sit, but lower your expectations this week in a tough matchup.
With Marshall seeing a lot of Asomugha, Royal could be very active and productive this week. He was neither last week as he caught only four passes for 34 yards one week after his banner performance against the Browns. But he could become Cutler's top target this week so look for Royal to bounce back and be a strong WR2 play at home.
Scheffler struggled mightily last week, failing to catch a pass while watching fellow TE Daniel Graham score for the second game in a row. It's clear Scheffler is still batting his groin injury so it's not wise to project him to be a Top 10 TE while playing hurt. But he's talented and the Broncos will need him this week if Marshall is limited, so look for Scheffler to get back on track with a solid outing and, quite possibly, a TD.
Prater is struggling a bit of late. He's missed a FG in his past three games and for the season he has now made 17 of 21 attempts. The Raiders give up 23.5 points per game so the Broncos are looking good in terms of giving Prater a chance to succeed. Start him this week and expect a better game.
The Raiders offer little offensively so even though Denver's defense stinks they could surprise with some decent production on Sunday. Oakland has major problems in terms of pass protection (the Raiders gave up five sacks last week) so Denver has a chance in that category on Sunday. This isn't a good defense but against one of the worst offenses in the league there is some mild upside if you need to dig real deep in larger leagues this week.