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 JAC 0000026010 ***
You'd think Dalton would be an automatic start against the Jags, but they've actually been a decent defense of late--especially against the pass, but that's because opposing QBs are averaging just 33 passing attempts against the non-threatening Jags. Hue Jackson doesn't need an excuse to run more, so this is less about the matchup and more about Dalton simply handing off too much to be of fantasy value this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Giovani Bernard, CIN JAC 5014300000 ****
Curious that after allowing four RB rushing scores in the first two games the Jags have allowed only one RB rushing TD--and only two RB scores overall--in the subsequent six. Also, no rusher has topped 85 yards against them. Gio has been squelched in back-to-back games, but with no AJ Green and this being a home tilt--where he's scored in all four outings this year--it's an opportunity for Hue Jackson to get his meal ticket back on track.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN JAC 401000000 ****
Hill has scored in three of four at home, where he's averaging 10 carries a game. Surprisingly facing the Jags is not a favorable statistical matchup for opposing backs, but you know Hue Jackson is going to run the ball right down Jacksonville's gullet so there should be ample opportunity for Hill to be a fantasy helper as wel.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR A.J. Green, CIN JAC 004801000 *
Green returned to practice this week but you needn't rush to get him back in your lineup as Jacksonville is not the cream puff matchup you might expect; they've allowed just one WR TD in the past month. No reason to over-extend Green until he's needed, so there's a good chance he'll get some token snaps while the ground game and Mohamed Sanu do the heavy lifting. It's certainly worth revisiting on Friday, in case Green is lights out in practice.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN JAC 006800000 ***
Sanu is a solid wingman who sparkled when asked to fill AJ Green's shoes as the Bengals feature receiver. With Green back at practice Sanu returns to wingman duties, and a matchup with a surprisingly effective Jacksonville secondary suggests he's a fringe fantasy play at best this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Little, CIN JAC 003300000 ***
With AJ Green returning to action there's no need to dig any further down the Bengals' WR depth chart than WR2 Mohamed Sanu.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Jermaine Gresham, CIN JAC 004300000 ****
Over the past three games Gresham has 23 targets, 20 catches, and zero TDs. Jacksonville is a decent matchup for TEs so if you're in a bye week bind he's better than a sharp stick in the eye, but don't go overboard with your expectations.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mike Nugent, CIN JAC 1133 ****
Everybody gets their kicks against the Jags, who have allowed multiple field goals in seven of eight and an average of 10 kicker points per game. Nugent should be no exception.

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 @PIT 0000024021 ****
In 15 career meetings with the Steelers Flacco has thrown multiple touchdowns exactly thrice--just once in the past six games, his 166 and 2 in the home meeting earlier this year. His average outing in Pittsburgh? 195 yards, one TD. He has just one total TD in two road games against AFC North foes this year, so even though he has three multiple TD outings in the past five games (two at home, one against the hapless Bucs) don't expect big things here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL @PIT 6014200000 ****
Forsett had a junior share of the workload in the earlier meeting, yet he still produced 72 yards from scrimmage on a dozen touches. He's the lead dog now, against a Steelers D that's allowed six RB TDs, three 75-yard rushers and a 50-yard receiver in just the past three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL @PIT 2002200000 ****
Bernard Pierce carried 22 times for 96 yards in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh. Taliaferro has taken Pierce's gig, and while 22-96 seems aggressive as the Ravens' goal line guy he should at least be able to capitalize on a Steelers D that's allowed six RB TDs in just the past three games.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL @PIT 006801000 ***
Smith is the Ravens' WR1 but he's no fantasy lock this week. He tallied 6-71 on 10 targets in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh and is coming off a rough 3-35 on nine targets against Cincy last week. The upside is that the Steelers allowed multiple WRs to score and top 100 yards last week, but this one isn't likely to be the 85 point shootout that was so dial back expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL @PIT 003400000 ***
Torrey had one catch in the earlier meeting with Pittsburgh and was shut out in Cincy last week. He can take solace in the fact that the Steelers allowed multiple WRs to score and top 100 yards last week, but this won't be a shootout like that game turned into so keep your expectations in check.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL @PIT 005301000 ****
You may remember Daniels from his two-TD outing against the Steelers in the earlier meeting. He was the TE2 that game, as Dennis Pitta was still healthy; now Daniels is working his way back from an injury of his own so he's no lock to take the field this week. It's a favorable matchup against a Pittsburgh D that's allowed three more TE TDs since Daniels pulled his double, so if Owen is healthy enough to go he deserves a fantasy look-see.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL @PIT 1133 ***
Remember when Heinz Field used to be a nightmare for opposing kickers? This season every visiting kicker has tallied at least nine points in Pittsburgh. Tucker has multiple treys in four straight and six of seven; a visit to the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers shouldn't be a deterrent.

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