There’s nowhere to go but up for Carson Palmer after his -1.36-point debut to fantasy owners in 2011.
The new Oakland Raiders quarterback should have no problem raising that point total quite a bit against a Denver Broncos team that apparently decided to revert back to familiar ways last week.
The Broncos, with Champ Bailey (hamstring) in the lineup had been pretty stingy to quarterbacks. Jason Campbell threw for 105 yards and a score in Week 1, Philip Rivers threw for 250 yards and a score in Week 5 and Matt Moore threw for 197 yards and a score in Week 7.
Then there was Matthew Stafford.
After having scored 23-plus fantasy points in the first three weeks, Stafford began a run of three out of four games at 16.5 points or less, including an 11.32-point effort at home against Atlanta.
The Lions’ quarterback threw for 367 yards on 21-of-30 passing, three scores and no picks.
This will be the second meeting between Denver and Oakland this season. Two different teams face off this week, however from the ones we saw in Week 1.
Oakland obviously has a new quarterback and will be without RB Darren McFadden (foot sprain), who gashed the Broncos for 150 yards on 22 carries in the first meeting. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who booted a 63-yard field goal to give the Raiders the win over the Broncos in Week 1, one of his three field goals that game, may be gimpy in returning from an injured hamstring.
McFadden and Janikowski are two key components to putting points on the board for Oakland. With no Run DMC and an iffy Janikowski, it will fall on Palmer to generate the points. He has plenty of speed receivers at his disposal and should have plenty of time to look for them. The Raiders protect their quarterbacks better than any other team in the league, having given up a league-low eight sacks.
Denver is 31st in the league against fantasy quarterbacks and receivers. The Broncos have allowed a passing touchdown in all but two games this season (Week 1 vs. Oakland and Week 7 vs. Miami). The Broncos are tied for 31st with just three interceptions. They are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.1 percent of their passes (ranking them 31st in the league), throw for 249.7 yards per game (19th) and are tied for 31st in the league with 14 touchdown passes allowed.
It will be just his second game in a Raider uniform, but with the combination of Denver being terrible against the pass, the Raiders perhaps without two of their top point producers and Palmer having had the bye to get more familiar with a Hue Jackson offense he already knew, the quarterback is a top-12 start for me this week. I would start him over Mark Sanchez, Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman and Jay Cutler.
It’s basically a toss up between Palmer and Joe Flacco as to who’s 13th. I’d rather take my chances with Palmer vs. the Broncos in Oakland than a very inconsistent Flacco in Pittsburgh.
By Corby Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter