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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 PHI 0000025011 ***
Dalton simply doesn't have enough weapons to warrant a fantasy start. Philadelphia has allowed only one 300-yard passer on the season, and this is a neutral matchup if you remove Aaron Rodgers' destruction against them in Week 12.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN PHI 7013300000 ***
Philadelphia has given up only two touchdowns on the last 102 attempts faced. This is the fifth worst matchup for a running back looking to find the end zone based on data over the last five weeks. Hill will need to defy the odds -- or least get a good shot from short range -- to find paydirt.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Rex Burkhead, CIN PHI 2002200000 ***
Replacing Gio Bernard, Burkhead managed seven offensive touches last week. There is little reason to trust him in any lineup, especially against fantasy's fourth worst matchup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN PHI 005601000 ***
The rookie has been thrust into a larger role with A.J. Green on the mend. Philly represents the third best potential for points, which has led to the fourth most on a per-game basis (44.0 for teams in PPR). Wide receivers have scored at the fifth most frequent rate against this defense since Week 7.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, CIN PHI 004400000 ***
Over the last five weeks, receivers have tallied averages of 13 receptions, 210.2 yards and a score every 8.1 grabs -- all top-12 numbers for the position. LaFell is a decent flex play in Week 13.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN PHI 005700000 ***
The Eagles have given up the second fewest catches and third fewest yards per game since Week 7, but allowing a TD every eight catches translates to this being the fifth worst at keeping the position out of the end zone.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN PHI 2222 ***
The seventh most field goal attempts allowed plus the 13th highest average of XPAs translates to Philly allowing the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position.

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 MIA 0000027011 ***
A dozen teams have allowed more fantasy points per game than Miami over the last five weeks, but the Dolphins have made quarterbacks work for their points. They rank 21st in points per play, 20th in yards per attempt, and 23rd in yards per game.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Kenneth Dixon, BAL MIA 4004300000 ***
This matchup is soundly in the camp of neutrality. Miami has given up one touchdown on the last 22 receptions faced, so there is potential for Dixon as a receiver out of the backfield.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Terrance West, BAL MIA 5003200000 ***
West hasn't exactly instilled a lot of confidence of late, but Miami offers a reasonable matchup if you're looking to (or have to) play him. The Dolphins have allowed the 14th most points per game in PPR leagues over the last five weeks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith Sr., BAL MIA 006601000 ***
Smith has a tough matchup, but there is some hope. Miami has allowed three TDs in the last four games. Otherwise, any expectations of a big game should be reconsidered.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mike Wallace, BAL MIA 005600000 ***
Miami rates among the toughest six teams in overall matchup index, fantasy points allowed (PPR), and receiving touchdown efficiency for wideouts using data over the last five games. Without breaking free, Wallace's contributes figure to be nominal.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Breshad Perriman, BAL MIA 003400000 ***
The matchup is harsh, and Perriman is consistently involved enough to justify taking a shot on him in fantasy circles.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL MIA 005400000 ***
This is a quality matchup if you want to take a shot that Pitta finds the end zone, as no team has given up TDs with the frequency that Miami has since Week 7. However, this is a neutral matchup otherwise.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL MIA 2222 ***
Fresh off of being a fantasy superhero, Tucker faces a midrange Miami matchup. The Dolphins have granted the 16th most points per game to kickers since Week 7.

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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