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 A.J. McCarron, CIN BAL 0000027020 ***
The Ravens shut out Ben Roethlisberger last week; can they get up for another division rival, on the road this time? McCarron has single TDs and 200 yards or less in each of his two starts, so don't expect fireworks here even though the matchup appears favorable.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN BAL 501000000 ***
While Hill struggled in the earlier meeting (21 yards on 12 carries), the Ravens' run D has softened since that Week 3 meeting. In five of their last six games Baltimore has faced a back who got at least 15 carries; four of those five backs have scored or topped 100 yards or both. Hill has 19 carries in each of AJ McCarron's two starts, so he'll get the volume; Baltimore's track record suggests that volume is enough for a fantasy helper.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN BAL 4003400000 ***
Gio can still give you some PPR help--he has four catches in each of AJ McCarron's two starts--but he has a total of 94 yards on 30 touches in those two games. He's the backseat driver to Jeremy Hill, and while the matchup is favorable on paper it's not such that Gio can be a big fantasy helper alongside Hill.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN BAL 0071101000 ***
Green blew up the Ravens for 10-227-2 earlier this season, and AJ McCarron knows where to find him so you can expect good things again this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marvin Jones, CIN BAL 004600000 ***
Jones has actually outperformed AJ Green in AJ McCarron's two starts, with more targets, catches and yardage. He went 5-94-1 in the earlier meeting with Baltimore, and they're soft enough--and he's targeted enough--for him to put up another fantasy helper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Tyler Eifert, CIN BAL 005501000 ***
Eifert has cleared concussion protocol, but he'll likely be eased back into the mix and is tough to trust with a fantasy start.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN BAL 1144 ***
Always fun to use
Ted songs in Nugent write-up
Wang Dang Sweet... you know

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 Ryan Mallett, BAL @CIN 400540020012 **
Mallett was less horrible than expected last week against the Steelers, but he'll likely live up (down?) to expectations against a Cincy D that's given up just two passing scores in the past five games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Javorius Allen, BAL @CIN 4005400000 ***
Allen was a surprising success last week, finding the end zone and contributing 114 yards from scrimmage against the Steel Curtain. However, a healthy Ravens backfield mustered just 58 combo yards in the earlier meeting with Cincy--plus the Bengals have something to play for and have given up a total of 212 rushing yards in their last four home games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kamar Aiken, BAL @CIN 005601000 **
Aiken is the Ravens' volume guy, but against a Cincy defense that's given up one WR TD in their last four at home, with only one WR topping 65 yards in that span, volume can only take him so far.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jeremy Butler, BAL @CIN 003400000 ***
A secondary target against a Bengals defense that's allowed only one WR TD in its last four at home--and has Ryan Mallet throwing the ball in his general direction--is a bad fantasy bet.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Givens, BAL @CIN 002300000 ***
Givens is a home run guy, but this week he's in a pitcher's park--the Bengals have allowed only one WR TD in their past four at home--and having Ryan Mallet at quarterback is the equivalent of using a wiffle bat.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Maxx Williams, BAL @CIN 003200000 ***
Williams has been decent since returning from a concussion, but there's a different between "decent" and "fantasy-relevant"--especially against a Bengals defense that's given up one TE TD all season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @CIN 0011 ***
Two and a half points
less per game without Flacco
Thanks, Schaub and Clausen

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)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t