Thursday Night Football provides another one-sided battle, this time stemming from the AFC West. The Broncos ride in on a seven-game win streak, while the Raiders have dropped five straight. They're not exactly going in the same direction.
Last time these two teams faced off, Denver destroyed Oakland at home, totaling 503 yards in its 37-6 victory. Peyton Manning and his offense continues to pay off for fantasy owners. If you own one of the Broncos stars, you're probably about to start off the fantasy playoffs on a bright note.
Let's take a look at who you need to start to kick off Week 14, and who you need to keep on the bench.
Peyton Manning, quarterback - Manning's last game against Oakland produced 338 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders have allowed 10 passing touchdowns in the last four games, and somehow gave up 364 yards to Brandon Weeden last Sunday. Clearly locked in as a QB1, you're starting Manning here.
Knowshon Moreno, running back - Back-to-back weeks of 20 carries seems to solidify Moreno as the primary ball carrier in the Broncos backfield. He only rushed for 69 yards against Tampa Bay, but Oakland provides a much easier matchup this week. The Raiders have given up a rushing touchdown to an opposing back in five straight weeks. Moreno looks to be in for his best day yet on the ground.
Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, wide receiver - Thomas is on fire lately. He has four touchdowns in his last three games, and Manning continues to talk about getting him more involved in the offense. You're starting him, right? Okay, good. Decker on the other hand is in the middle of a rough patch. He's found the end zone once over the past four games. Fortunately Oakland's secondary is in a season-long rut, and Decker did catch seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown last time they faced off.
Jacob Tamme, tight end - The past two weeks boosted Tamme's value after he caught 13 passes and a touchdown in that span. Brandon Stokley's absence in Week 13 gave Manning another reason to target Tamme more. While Stokley looks like he'll play on Thursday night barring another sudden trip to the inactive list, Tamme looks like a decent play against the Raiders defense. Consider him a TE2 with upside.
Broncos defense/special teams - Oakland averaged scoring just 16 points over the past four weeks against mediocre defenses at best. To make matters worse, the Raiders managed just six points against the Broncos in Week 4. Another matchup falling in the Broncos favor, you need to start this D/ST.
Carson Palmer, quarterback - Palmer doesn't seem to have a problem racking up yards while the Raiders are trailing every week, but seven turnovers in the last four games haven't helped his cause. The Broncos defense has given up at least two touchdowns through the air in eight games this season, despite limiting opponents to 212 passing yards per game. His last game against Denver was tough, as Palmer threw for 202 yards and no scores. You might want a safer play for the fantasy playoffs.
Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece, running back - It looks like we'll see the return of McFadden after a four-week absence. Unfortunately the Broncos have allowed just four rushing touchdowns all season. Plus, DMC's last outing against Denver ended with a total of 34 rushing yards. He's a risky play here coming back from injury, but you probably want one of your top draft picks back in the lineup for the playoffs. Reece is dealing with a few injuries himself, and his workload, if he plays, doesn't look promising. McFadden would be the one to start if you have to play a Raiders running back.
Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver - After being benched for dropped passes last week, Moore will return to the starting lineup in Week 14. His four catches in the past three games have left owners confused and disappointed. Heyward-Bey drops a few passes on occasion as well, and his inconsistent play makes him tough to start. The Broncos have only given up just four touchdowns to opposing receivers since their bye in Week 7. Moore is worth a flex play, but don't get excited about any Raiders receiver.
Brandon Myers, tight end - Myers went off last week, catching a ridiculous 14 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. While double-digit receptions isn't expected again, the Broncos have been susceptible to opposing tight ends at times. Dallas Clark managed a touchdown this past Sunday, and with the amount of targets Myers is seeing lately, he'll have a good shot of doing the same.
Raiders defense/special teams - Here's a PSA for fantasy owners: please do not start the Raiders D/ST. That is all. Oakland gives up the most points per game. The Broncos scored 37 last time the two played. Literally any option is better.