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
WR Danny Amendola 6-80,1
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70,1
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 Jacoby Brissett, NE HOU 0000018002 *
While Jimmy Garoppolo is a game-time decision, Brissett is expected to play. Avoid him in all formats. There's no reason to risk a rookie making his first start against a dominating defense on a short week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE HOU 901000000 ***
The offense will rely on Blount, but with stacked boxes, can he find enough room to run? Highly suspect. Play him with modest expectations against the sixth hardest matchup for RBs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Julian Edelman, NE HOU 005500000 ***
Edelman is probably the only playable option in this offense, and that's if you're feeling brave as a PPR owner. The matchup sucks and so does the quarterback situation. You've been warned.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Chris Hogan, NE HOU 003500000 *
A tough matchup, and a third-string rookie passer. There isn't much to like with Hogan in Week 3.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Danny Amendola, NE HOU 003300000 ***
Don't chance it with Amendola in Week 3, considering the matchup and short notice for rookie Jacoby Brissett starting.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE HOU 004500000 *
Look for the inactives to see if Gronk is available. He's a game-time call. The Texans rank fifth against TEs, and Jacoby Brissett is likely to start on a short week. Play at your own peril.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, NE HOU 002300000 *
Rob Gronkowski is a game-time decision, which matters a good deal for Bennett's worth. Either way, with a third-string rookie at quarterback, Bennett is a risky buy.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE HOU 3311 ***
New England's entire offensive output may come off the foot of Gostkowski with a third-string QB starting.

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 Sr. 5-100,1
WR Mike Wallace 5-80
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 @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 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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