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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 DEN 10000019011 ***
There is no way Dalton should be in a fantasy lineup this week. Denver will stifle the passing game if A.J. Green gets bottled up again this week. Dalton was sacked seven times by the Jets -- a number Denver may come close to matching.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN DEN 5012200000 ***
Gamers get nothing in return from Hill without a touchdown. This doesn't line up to be a good setting to deploy him, considering Denver has given up only one touchdown on the ground to the position in 2016.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN DEN 2007600000 ***
Denver has given up 10 catches, 53 yards and a touchdown to running backs through the air, which at least gives a glimmer of hope for Bernard. He stood out in Week 2 in a similar situation -- A.J. Green was locked down, forcing Andy Dalton into the checkdown game. PPR owners must include Gio in their RB2 plans.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN DEN 004500000 ***
Boyd was in on 79 percent of the snaps in Week 2 and will be looked to when A.J. Green is doubled. The rookie has PPR appeal as a WR3 or flex option.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN DEN 004400000 ***
Didn't see that one coming ... Green was blanketed and removed from the passing attack a week ago versus the Steelers. Green has an even tougher matchup this time out. Play him if you must, but his production should match that of a flex choice.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN DEN 003200000 ***
LaFell saw the playing time (95% of snaps) and targets (8) last week but couldn't catch more than three balls for 39 yards. His true value resides in PPR leagues and in the flex neighborhood. Unfortunately, no team has been better vs. WRs than Denver. The Broncos have allowed only 16 catches to wideouts.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Kroft, CIN DEN 004401000 **
Denver's secondary forces quarterbacks to take shots to their tight ends, which is partly why the position has averaged nine targets per game this young season. Kroft is returning from injury and is a terribly risky play, despite the upside.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN DEN 3322 ***
Nugent's leg should be busy as Denver's defense is likely to stall out Cincy's offense with regularity.

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 @JAC 0000024021 ***
Which Jaguars defense shows up this week? The one that did a sound job against Aaron Rodgers, or last week's road team against which Philip Rivers opened the floodgates? The Jags have given up 26.7 fantasy points per game to QBs, which is the sixth most in the NFL. It's a road game for Flacco, and his targets match up fairly well. Start him with a minor degree of confidence, or toss the vet into DFS lineups to save a few bucks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @JAC 4002200000 ***
Forsett has struggled through two appearances and is ceding double-digit work to Terrance West. Jacksonville's defense of running backs looks stronger on paper based on the small sample size; Melvin Gordon racked up 21 PPR points and scored in Week 2. Even still, Forsett is barely playable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL @JAC 3002100000 ***
West has averaged 13 touches through two weeks that have amounted to a lot of struggling (3.2 yards per carry, no scores). Sit him until he gets it going.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL @JAC 006801000 ***
Wallace has emerged as the No. 1 target in Baltimore and is playing more that 67 percent of the snaps. Jacksonville's offense is capable of scoring some points, which wasn't exactly obvious last week. Nevertheless, the Jags defense is the sixth easiest matchup for receivers, largely by way of giving up five touchdowns (tied for the most).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL @JAC 005500000 ***
Smith is still trying to get his football legs underneath him, and it shows. He has a stat line of 8-83-0 through two appearances, despite seeing the most snaps of Ravens receivers. Perhaps he'll slide into the end zone this outing, but don't bank on it ... he's a sketchy WR3/flex.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @JAC 002200000 ***
Aiken has been on the field for only 46.9 percent of the offensive plays for Baltimore this season, and it shows in his stats. Regardless of the matchup, he cannot be utilized until more playing time comes his way.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL @JAC 004501000 **
Welcome back, Dennis Pitta! After two catastrophic hip injuries in successive seasons, the talented pass-catching tight end has returned to form. Look, he's as risky as anyone, so know what you're getting into with a waiver addition. Jacksonville gave up a short touchdown to Antonio Gates last weekend but has given up only 10 tight end targets in two games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @JAC 1122 ***
Field goals don't keep pace with Jacksonville's potentially explosive offense.

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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