FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

Prediction: NE 24, BAL 26 (Line: BAL by 3)

Players to Watch: Kellen Winslow

Players Updated: Brandon Lloyd

What to think with the Patriots losing to the visiting Cardinals last week? The Ravens will present a far better defense than either of the Pats previous opponents. The Ravens are coming home after getting clipped in Philly by one point and should be primed to have a good showing this week at home. The question for this game is which Patriots team is going to show up? The Ravens have a score to settle since the Patriots beat them 23-20 in the Conference Championship last season held at New England.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL ----- 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 300,2
RB Stevan Ridley 70,1 3-30
WR Danny Amendola 6-80,1
WR Brandon LaFell 5-60,1
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-70,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Perhaps we were a little spoiled with the atmospheric performances of 2011. In his first two games last season, Brady passed for a combined 950 yards and seven touchdowns. Just two games. This year? About half the yardage and only three scores - two for Rob Gronkowski the default scorer and one for Aaron Hernandez who is out for four to six weeks with a low ankle sprain. So far it is Brady-lite and fantasy owners are hurting considering what they paid for him.

Stevan Ridley continues to be a nice fantasy find and while he did not score in week two, he still posted 71 rushing yards and caught three passes for 24 more yards. He was the lone runner in week one but then Danny Woodhead joined in with eight runs for only 18 yards. Ridley remains a solid fantasy play though this week should be about as challenging as any game this year.

The biggest development in the passing game is the loss of Aaron Hernandez and how that will be compensated since he had a significant role in the offense. Kellen Winslow has been signed as interim help and he could show up in box scores but needs to learn the complex offense first and realistically - there is a reason why is still available in week three of the season.

The mystery around Wes Welker is likely something that will never be answered thanks to nothing but cryptic and generalized statements from HC Bill Belichick about anything, let alone personnel assignments. Welker did not start this past week - Julian Edelman did though Welker ended with five catches for 95 yards as opposed to the five catches for 50 yards from Edelman. It certainly looks like Welker has fallen from favor in the final season of his contract. Brandon lloyd has been the primary target for Brady with a team high 21 passes in the last two weeks though he only has 13 catches for 129 yards and no scores so far. The chemistry will improve but is not there yet. And the reality is that Lloyd is the same age as Welker so there is no youth movement afoot.

Playing in Baltimore is going to be a challenge against a motivated Ravens defense. For the first time in a long time, Brady actually seems a risk this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 18 13 21 1 5 11
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 18 14 21 28 8 13

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Tom Brady, NE NYJ 0000029030 ****
Since being left for dead in Kansas City Brady has bounced back with 653 yards and six TDs in two games. And now he gets to face the hated Jets and the league's most permissive pass defense? Yes, please.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shane Vereen, NE NYJ 2005400000 ***
You'd like to think Vereen's fantasy prospects go up after Stevan Ridley went down, but he hasn't had double-digit carries since Week 13 of last year so a big jump in workload is iffy at best. And with his usual share, it's not a favorable enough matchup to move Vereen's fantasy needle off of "the usual".
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Brandon Bolden, NE NYJ 400000000 ***
Can the Jets make it three straight backup backs to take them for 100 yards? If Brandon Bolden truly gets Stevan Ridley's carries, there's no reason he can't follow in the footsteps of Branden Oliver (19-114-1) and Ronnie Hillman (24-100).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon LaFell, NE NYJ 004601000 ****
Has Brady found a non-Smurf wide receiver to rely upon? In two of the past three games the answer is a resounding "yes", with LaFell being that wideout. With Tom Brady rolling and the Jets' secondary reeling, you could do worse than looking to LaFell for another such outing this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE NYJ 006600000 ****
Double-digit targets has equaled triple-digit yardage against the Jets this year, and if any Patriot is going to see double-digit targets it's Edelman.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE NYJ 006802000 ****
In his past three against the Jets Gronk has two 100-yard games and two multi-touchdown efforts. New York has allowed TE TDs in four straight, including two each to Martellus Bennett, Antonio Gates, and Julius Thomas. No reason Gronk can't keep up.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Timothy Wright, NE NYJ 004400000 ***
With Tom Brady putting up bigger numbers there's room for a second tight end to post helpful fantasy digits--plus there's always the chance the Jets overcompensate for Gronk and leave Wright to ring up the big numbers Gang Green has been surrendering to tight ends.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE NYJ 3333 ***
Gostkowski has multiple field goals in five of six and double-digit points in four of his last five. He's the kind of kicker you put in your lineup and don't think twice about.

Baltimore Ravens
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CIN 44-13 10 OAK -----
2 @PHI 23-24 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
BAL vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,2
WR Steve Smith 5-100,1
WR Torrey Smith 3-60
TE Owen Daniels 5-60,1
TE Dennis Pitta 7-70,1
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens came within one point of being 2-0 and return home to face their nemesis of the Patriots. This is the same team that faced them in January but this time it happens in Baltimore where the Ravens have lost only once in the last two years and none last season. This week will be a challenge but one that the Ravens need to win to belong to the next level. Especially at home against a Patriots team that may struggle a bit compared to previous seasons.

Joe Flacco has been effective this year and thrown three scores but only came up with 232 yards in Philly. More interesting is that he was supposed to "take the wraps off the offense" and throw more this year. So far - it has contracted with the tight ends taking a much bigger role and the wideouts much less of a factor.

Torrey Smith entered the season with high expectations but so far has consecutive games with two catches for around 50 yards and no touchdowns. Anquan Boldin was decent in week one with four receptions for 63 yards and a score but then was held to just two catches for seven yards against the good Eagle cornerbacks. Jacoby Jones has a touchdown but only four catches over two games. The wideouts just have not done much here though the few catches they make are usually gaining more yardage.

Dennis Pitta has become the primary receiver in this offense with a team high 24 targets for 13 catches and 138 yards. He scored once in the season opener. Ed Dickson has been just blocking with only one or two catches per game. Pitta is a sign that this offense has changed but not so much for the better in passing.

Ray Rice had no scores in Philly but still turned in 152 total yards with six receptions. Rice was held to only 67 yards in New England last January but is at home this week and that always counts big.

The Ravens need to play solid defense and should in this home stand. While they have allowed more yardage this year, they still have been good holding down the opponents score. This will be a big game for the home town crowd who wants to see retribution for denying the team a chance at a Superbowl last January.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 16 6 20 4 2 4
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 13 4 9 13 14 5

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Joe Flacco, BAL ATL 0000027020 ****
Flacco rolls into this matchup off a five-TD, 306-yard performance and should continue the hot streak against a Falcons' secondary that's given up 300 yards in two of their last three outings--and in the other they allowed their only multiple TD-passing game of the season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Justin Forsett, BAL ATL 6004301000 ****
Forsett has settled in as the Ravens' most effective back, if not the most heavily used. He's scored or topped 100 yards in three straight, but his biggest impact this game might come as a receiver against an Atlanta defense that's allowed four different backs to top 50 receiving yards already this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bernard Pierce, BAL ATL 8011100000 ***
Pierce saw more touches than other Baltimore backs last week and found the end zone for the first time this season. However, he averaged just over two yards per carry and the volume may have come thanks to the 30-plus point lead the Ravens enjoyed most of the afternoon. Start him because the Falcons have served up 11 RB rushing scores already this year, but limit expectations because if he continues to languish at two yards per carry the Ravens won't hesitate to give more carries to Justin Forsett or go to the bullpen for Lorenzo Taliaferro.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Steve Smith, BAL ATL 0061001000 ****
Smith's been a monster this season, and there's no reason to think an Atlanta secondary that has consistently allowed multiple receivers to post helpful fantasy numbers against them will shut down Joe Flacco's favorite target.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Torrey Smith, BAL ATL 003400000 ****
The Falcons have allowed multiple receivers to score and/or top 50 yards in every game this season, so with Joe Flacco on a roll you can expect Torrey's semi-resurgence to continue--at least enough to make him a viable fantasy option this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Owen Daniels, BAL ATL 004400000 ****
Daniels has yet to blossom into Dennis Pitta's role in this offense, so a big fantasy day looks unlikely against an Atlanta defense that has yet to surrender a TE TD on the season.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Justin Tucker, BAL ATL 2233 ****
Tucker's averaging better than 10 points a game over the past five, while the Falcons have served up at least 8 (and an average of almost 12) over the past three. Good opportunity for Tucker to get his kicks this week.

WEEK 3
2012
*NYG at CAR (THU) *DET at TEN *NE at BAL SF at MIN
*ATL at SD HOU at DEN *NYJ at MIA *STL at CHI
*BUF at CLE *JAC at IND *PHI at ARI TB at DAL
*Updated *CIN at WAS *KC at NO *PIT at OAK *GB at SEA (MON)

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