FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) *IND at CHI *PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC *JAC at MIN *PIT at DEN *WAS at NO
*BUF at NYJ *MIA at HOU *SEA at ARI *CIN at BAL (MON)
*UPDATED *CAR at TB *NE at TEN SF at GB *SD at OAK (MON)

Prediction: CIN 13, BAL 24 (Line: BAL by 6)

Players Updated: Jermaine Gresham, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard Scott, Andy Dalton

Players to Watch: Armon Binns, Brandon Tate

There are two things to remember when the Bengals and Ravens play. First, the Ravens usually win since they took the last three meetings though the Bengals won five of the seven games previous to those. Secondly - there are rarely any points in these games. The Bengals lost 24-31 in Baltimore last year and again 16-24 at home. Until last season, they had two straight years where neither team scored more than 20 points in any of their matchups. Chances are good we are in for another low point effort here though the Ravens intend to open up their offense more.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL ----- 10 NYG -----
2 CLE ----- 11 @KC -----
3 @WAS ----- 12 OAK -----
4 @JAC ----- 13 @SD -----
5 MIA ----- 14 DAL -----
6 @CLE ----- 15 @PHI -----
7 PIT ----- 16 @PIT -----
8 BYE ----- 17 BAL -----
9 DEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Bengals dumped Cedric Benson and brought in BenJarvus Green-Ellis who is a proven scorer from the Patriots. The question now is how many chances he gets in Cincy and he no longer has the feared Patriot passing attack to take a primary concern with every defense. That makes a big difference. They also intend on using Bernard Scott more (Part III) though they never actually do much with him because he has been ineffective. The Bengals rushing attack will be no worse but then again it was only 30th best last year anyway.

The two rookies of 2011 completely energized the offense. Andy Dalton landed in one of the toughest divisions to be a quarterback and yet ended with 20 touchdowns against only 13 interceptions in his first season. He's bound to be better as a sophomore though games like this are one reason he may always have a lower ceiling. At the least, he did bring the Bengals back to the playoffs last year in the only division that produced three playoff teams.

A.J. Green was a great addition when he turned in 65 catches for 1057 yards and seven scores and he too should be better in 2012. The problem for the Bengals may end up the lack of a credible #2 wideout. Jerome Simpson left for the Vikings and in his place no one has locked in a big role. The rookie Mohamed Sanu has been unable to make any progress towards starting and Armon Binns is going against Brandon Tate and they still are unable to distinguish themselves enough to prevent a committee approach. It bears watching to see which one steps up to be the #2 though last year it only meant 50-725-4 for Jerome SImpson.

Jermaine Gresham could be in line for a big improvement on the 56-596-6 that he turned in for 2011. Gresham is not the sort to be split out or used as a wideout but he has sure hands on a team that may have a big need to fill beyond what A.J. Green does. Gresham sprained his knee in the second preseason game and was held out but should be back for this game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 22 30 15 17 7 12
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 23 4 30 9 9 8

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Andy Dalton, CIN @PIT 0000027021 ***
The Steelers have given up 300-plus passing yards in three straight games and multiple touchdown tosses in eight of the last nine. That stretch includes Dalton's 302 and 2 (with a rushing TD to boot), though in two subsequent games Andy has a total of 263 and 2. The tiebreaker is Dalton's penchant for coming up small in big games, so while there's upside in the matchup you'll likely want to find fantasy help elsewhere.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN @PIT 9001100000 ****
Hill averaged almost six yards a carry in limited work against the Steelers in the earlier matchup; since then he's racked up a pair of 140-yard games--still at a six-yards per carry pace. Hill is on a roll, and while Pittsburgh has been relatively solid against the run they've shown a weakness for bigger backs like Arian Foster, Mark Ingram... and, this week, Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN @PIT 2003200000 ***
Gio has become the complimentary guy, and in a tough matchup he's a far riskier fantasy play than the Bengals' current bell cow, Jeremy Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN @PIT 005801000 *
Green gashed the Steelers for 11-224-1 just three weeks ago. He's banged up coming out of the win over Denver, but all indications are he'll play--and against a secondary that's allowed three 130-plus yard receivers in the past month, all indications are he'll perform well.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN @PIT 004500000 ***
It was all AJ Green the last time Cincy faced Pittsburgh, and that's become typical of the Bengals passing game as Sanu hasn't scored since Week 12 or topped 50 yards since Week 9. He's never broken 40 yards against the Steelers; no reason to believe that changes here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN @PIT 005601000 ***
There's hope for Gresham this week against a Steelers defense that's allowed six TE TDs in the past eight games. Gresham has scored in two of the last three, including last week and the earlier matchup with Pittsburgh. At this juncture there's no WR2 to AJ Green, so Gresham could fill that opening.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN @PIT 2222 ***
The Nuge is coming off his best two-game stretch of the season; the Steelers have allowed six field goals in their last two. Almost makes you believe he's a safe bet to improve upon his three point performance in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh in Week 14. Almost.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN ----- 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI ----- 11 @PIT -----
3 NE ----- 12 @SD -----
4 CLE ----- 13 PIT -----
5 @KC ----- 14 @WAS -----
6 DAL ----- 15 DEN -----
7 @HOU ----- 16 NYG -----
8 BYE ----- 17 @CIN -----
9 @CLE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster

Pregame Notes: The Ravens came within three points of advancing to the Superbowl last year so there is not a lot wrong with this team other than the defense is one more year older. At some point very soon that becomes an issue with Ray Lewis (37) and Ed Reed (34) on the back nine of their career with the clubhouse now in sight. The offense remains well suited for a team with a big defense though the hope is that the Ravens can finally become a better passing team.

Joe Flacco enters his fifth season apparently capped at 3600 yards and around 20 or so touchdowns every year. But he has had a great camp while the Ravens try for an "up-tempo" flavor to the offense with a more open passing attack. How that plays out will be worth watching since the Ravens have basically never been a pass-heavy team.

Most optimism revolves around the continued development of Torrey Smith who had a promising rookie season (50-841-7) and should take another step upwards this year. Smith turned in two monster games with over 150 yards in each but otherwise was "merely good" for a rookie. He stands to benefit most if the Ravens can ramp up their offense. Anquan Boldin enters his ninth year and is just a possession receiver good for around 900 yards each season. This offense has never used the slot for much fantasy value so Tandon Doss and Jacoby Jones are unlikely to be of note.

The Ravens actually ranked #3 in the use of tight ends last year but that came from a split between Ed Dickson (54-528-5) and Dennis Pita (40-405-3). Both players enter the season. Pitta was more used near the end of last year but suffered a broken hand in the preseason and is likely to be less used as a receiver early on. Dickson also suffered a shoulder injury but is expected to be able to play this week. He has a better shot at bigger numbers than Pita for now.

Starting out at home against a very familiar opponent should be a good spot to see just how "up tempo" the offense will be this year.

I like a defensive score in this game as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 2 3 6 3 11 16
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 8 15 14 16 5 4

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL CLE 0000022010 ***
Flacco was ordinary (217 and 1) in the earlier meeting with Cleveland, and there's little in his season stats, history with the Browns, or Cleveland's season thus far suggest he'll stray far enough from ordinary to warrant fantasy consideration.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL CLE 12022100000 ***
After giving up 154 RB rushing yards (63 to Forsett on 11 carries) to the Ravens in the earlier meeting, the Browns have allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers the past two weeks. Forsett has been showing signs of wearing down, but in a must-win for Baltimore expect him to get enough touches--and do enough with them--to be a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL CLE 004601000 *
After ceding WR1 duties to Steve Smith to start the season, Torrey has been the more productive wideout over the past two months. He's scored six touchdowns in seven games, including two last week in Houston. Maybe he draws Joe Haden this time around, or maybe he capitalizes on not getting Haden with another solid effort. Either way, he's a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL CLE 004500000 ***
Steve bettered Joe Haden to the tune of 105 yards in the earlier meeting, so aside from expected pedestrian numbers from the Baltimore passing game there's no need to fear this matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL CLE 003300000 ***
The Browns limited Baltimore tight ends to 20 yards in the earlier meeting, and Daniels has done nothing since to warrant fantasy consideration here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL CLE 1133 ***
Tucker reached double-digit points in Cleveland; chances are he'll meet or beat that performance when the Brownies limp into Baltimore with nothing to play for.

WEEK 1
2012
DAL at NYG (WED) IND at CHI PHI at CLE STL at DET
ATL at KC JAC at MIN PIT at DEN WAS at NO
BUF at NYJ MIA at HOU SEA at ARI CIN at BAL (MON)
  CAR at TB NE at TEN SF at GB SD at OAK (MON)

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